3 new, must-read money books

College SavingsThree recently-published books are well worth your time and money, thanks to talented authors who offer new takes on some familiar financial topics: Social Security, raising money-smart kids and investor manias.

The first is “Get What’s Yours: The Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security” by economist Laurence J. Kotlikoff and journalists Philip Moeller and Paul Solman. This book is a deep dive into Social Security claiming strategies, which may not sound sexy until you learn that people are costing themselves hundreds of thousands of dollars by making bad decisions about when and how to get their benefits. Larry is one of my go-to sources for Social Security questions, and his grasp of the intricacies of this complex system is amazing. Even more amazing is how readable this book is given those complexities.

The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money” by New York Times personal finance columnist Ron Lieber is one of the best books I’ve read about children and money. Ron aims his book at more affluent families–those with incomes over $50,000–but most of what he writes pertains to any American family that can buy its children everything they need and at least some of what they want. The chapters on what to tell your kids about how much you make and how to handle allowances are particularly thought-provoking.

The Great Beanie Baby Bubble: Mass Delusion and the Dark Side of Cute” by best-selling author and all-around wunderkind Zac Bissonnette. You don’t even have to be old enough to remember the Beanie Baby craze to enjoy this gossipy (but deeply researched) account of how so many people lost their minds–and not infrequently their savings–in a frenzy to corner the market on mass-produced stuffed animals. It’s not just collectors who should read this book. Any investor who wants to avoid being taken in by an unsustainable mania should take note. In fact, this book should be required reading for every high school personal finance course, although some of Beanie creator Ty Warner’s weirder proclivities might have to be edited out.



Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

iStock_000016540552XSmallWhat 20-somethings can learn financially from their elders, how much that adorable new baby is going to cost you, and why the more you know could mean the more you spend.

7 Key Money Lessons for 20-Somethings
Old-school money habits can help the new school financially.

Raising Baby: Just How Much Does it Cost?
So very cute and so very expensive.

Same-Sex Couples Face New Financial-Future – and Opportunities
What same-sex couples should focus on financially now that DOMA is done.

When Informed Shopping is Dumb Shopping
How more information can lead to dumber purchases.

How Credit Card Companies Spot Fraud Before You Do
Credit card companies are tracking your spending patterns in order to prevent fraud.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Leader of business teamThe best places to work when you’re over 50, how not to support your kids for the rest of your life and tips on retiring almost tax free.

The 50 Best Employers for Boomer Workers
The fifty best employers for those over fifty.

5 Methods for Setting Retirement Targets
Strategic planning to reach your retirement goals.

5 Tips for Parents On How to Be Good Financial Role Models
Being a good financial role model could save you from supporting your kids in their 20’s and beyond.

How to Negotiate Financial Aid With Your College
Everything is negotiable; even financial aid.

3 Moves to Make Your Retirement Almost Tax Free
How to pursue as much tax free retirement income as possible.