Financial Planner’s Reading List: You Are What You Read

This past Sunday morning I (and, I suspect, millions of others) read an article in the New York Times Magazine by Elizabeth Weil.

So many books, so little time.

Married (happily) With Issues takes the reader along on a fascinating and personal journey in search of a more perfect union. Elizabeth Weil manages to convince her good sport of a husband, that even though their marriage is “good” they might benefit by attempting to make their good marriage better through various counseling and therapy strategies.

In the story, Weil discussed some of her peccadilloes (she doesn’t like French kissing) and his (he’s overly obsessed with cooking gourmet meals every day) that chipped away at their otherwise good marriage.  After I read the article, I remembered that my husband had “suggested” an idea that he thought might lead to a more perfect union between us. I might want to “review my magazine collection” he said, in the hope that some of them could be recycled, “before they took over the house.”

I know my magazine habit is a pet peeve of his…and the article triggered my unconscious and motivated me into action. It’s hard for me to discard my beloved magazines: The New Yorker, More, Gourmet, Sunset, Good, California Home & Design, and Cook’s Illustrated all hold for me hours of pleasurable entertainment.  But, because I knew it would be good for my marriage, I threw out everything but the 2009 issues.

Would I have agreed to purge my magazine collection if I hadn’t read about one couple trying to build a better marriage? Probably not. Could Elizabeth Weil have become a writer or a well-informed, always-trying-to-improve-spouse without reading? Probably not.

Reading is so important. One of the most powerful advantages to being an avid reader – you not only learn so many new and interesting things, (“Hey, let’s try and make our already good marriage better!”) reading has the power to change your behavior in positive ways. Reading can even help you think about, manage and handle money better!

My Personal Finance Reading list
This brings me to my list of favorite personal finance books –  guaranteed to change one or two of your money behaviors the first time you read them and more if you read again and again.  Just give some of these books a try and see if you start gaining money smarts!

1.   I Will Teach You To Be Rich, Ramit Sethi.  Meant for a 20-30’s audience this book is full of tips about how to live within your means but enjoy the things you love, and how to automate your finances so that saving and investing are on auto-pilot.

2.  Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence: Revised and Updated for the 21st Century by Vicki Robin, Joe Dominguez, and Monique Tilford.  Do you ever feel like you are spending money on things you don’t even really care about but buy anyway?  This book really makes you think about the value of your time and money and helps you to align your values with your spending.

3.  Get Financially Naked: How to Talk Money with Your Honey by Manisha Thakor and Sharon Kedar.  An inspiring, practical guide that will help you to talk about money with your partner and create a successful financial life together.

4. Your Complete Retirement Planning Road Map: The Leave-Nothing-to-Chance, Worry-Free, All-Systems-Go Guide, Ed Slott.   Ed Slott is the guru of retirement planning and his books will teach you everything you need to know about 401k’s, IRA’s pensions, etc.

5. Making the Most of Your Money Now – The Classic Bestseller Completely Revised for the New Economy,  Jane Bryant Quinn.  A very comprehensive book covering all stages of your financial life. Discusses the pros and cons of major financial decisions.  (Buy the 2010 version, will be available soon).

Happy Reading!

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Curtis Financial Planning