Making Bank: The Personal Finance Lessons They Never Taught Us in School, Claudio M. Ghipsmann, Bridgeway Books, 2010
This book attempts to distill a subject like personal-finance into small, easy to read pieces. The author speaks as someone who learned personal-finance the hard way.
The first thing a person should do is to purchase, or free download, some sort of money management software like QuickBooks. Get in the habit of entering all of your income, and all of your expenses. After that is done, you can start printing reports, like a Balance Sheet and Profit and Loss, which will show you exactly where your money is going. Each month your expenses need to be less than your income. If that is not your situation, the sooner you start changing things, the better.
If you are thinking of getting into the investment world, have extra cash on hand, and pay off your credit cards first. Decide on your level of acceptable risk. Are you more interested in safe, conservative investments, or in high risk investments that could go through the roof, or crash and burn? There are, seemingly, 1 million places to invest, so research is needed ahead of time.
Paying off your credit cards, by itself, is a good way to put money in your pocket. Imagine a card with 20% interest, and you are carrying a $2000 balance. You are giving the credit card company $400 a year, for no reason. Pay off the card and that $400 will go in your pocket. Banks are getting rich on the everyday mistakes of their depositors. Use only your bank's ATM, and you will save that one or two dollar fee each time. Sign up for online access to your bank account, and check it often. When your balance gets low, you can transfer money from another account, or just not use that account for the time being. It will save you from an overdraft fee, and a bad check fee, which can be substantial. Get familiar with your 1040 form, so you can intelligently talk to your tax preparer, or do it yourself and save some money. The author also looks at insurance, real estate, and how to take care of your credit score.
This book does a very good job in taking the reader through the basics of personal-finance. Money management skills are rarely taught in high school, so even if the reader takes away one or two concepts from this book it will be a big help. Yes, this one is worth reading.