Top Personal Finance Books - A CompleteKit!

[This post is written and copyrighted by FIRE Finance (]

Reading books is always a pleasure. More so when it is a weekend or a holiday and we have an entire afternoon to ourselves. The thought of settling down with a great book and a cool drink on a lazy afternoon is extremely inviting. We urge you to consider reading one of this engaging books. Not only will it provide useful knowledge but it will help you get started towards the goal of bringing your finances in shape. After all who does not like to retire early and bid the 9 to 5 daily drone goodbye forever at the earliest opportunity!

We have compiled a useful list of most frequently read books in the domain of personal finance. As with most lists this will grow or shrink with time. We require your feedback to help it remain in shape so that its utility is intact. Your comments about any other useful book on personal finance will be greatly appreciated.


A Random Walk Down Wall StreetA Random Walk Down Wall Street: The Time-Tested Strategy for Successful Investing, Ninth Edition (Hardcover)
by Burton G. Malkiel

The million-copy bestseller, revised and updated with new investment strategies for retirement and the most current research into behavioral finance.

Malkiel, a Chemical Bank Chairman's Professor of Economics at Princeton University and a former Vanguard board member, has revised and updated his investment primer for the eighth time, showing why investors historically can't beat the stock market and including a new section on the dot-com boom and bust.

A Random Walk Down Wall Street long ago established itself as a must-read, the first book to purchase before starting a portfolio. So whether you want to brief yourself on the ways of the market before talking to a broker or follow Malkiel's easy steps to managing your own portfolio, this book remains the best investing guide money can buy.

The Intelligent Investor: The Definitive Book on Value Investing. A Book of Practical Counsel (Revised Edition) (Paperback)
by Benjamin Graham, Jason Zweig, Warren E. Buffett (Collaborator)

First published in 1949, this classic has sold more than a million copies. Senior Money magazine editor Jason Zweig bolsters the wisdom of Benjamin Graham, the father of value investing, with additional commentary in footnotes and updates relating to newer investment vehicles and trends.

Among the library of investment books promising no-fail strategies for riches, Benjamin Graham's classic, The Intelligent Investor, offers no guarantees or gimmicks but overflows with the wisdom at the core of all good portfolio management.The hallmark of Graham's philosophy is not profit maximization but loss minimization. In this respect, The Intelligent Investor is a book for true investors, not speculators or day traders. This policy is inherently for the longer term and requires a commitment of effort. Where the speculator follows market trends, the investor uses discipline, research, and his analytical ability to make unpopular but sound investments in bargains relative to current asset value. Graham coaches the investor to develop a rational plan for buying stocks and bonds, and he argues that this plan must be a bulwark against emotional behavior that will always be tempting during abrupt bull and bear markets.

Wealth of Experience: Real Investors on What Works and What Doesn't (Hardcover)
by Andrew Clarke, Jack Brennan (Foreword)

Based on interviews and survey responses from more than 600 Vanguard shareholders, this book distills the experience and wisdom of ordinary investors into a simple plan that can help you enhance your prospects for long-term success and avoid major financial mistakes.

The Vanguard Group, one of the world's most respected investment companies, asked hundreds of investors who have succeeded in accumulating real wealth to explain how they've gone about it. Their personal accounts make this a one-in-a-kind book with extraordinary insights on saving, investing, and managing money from "ordinary investors" for their peers. Wealth of Experience has straightforward, battle-tested advice on investing for retirement, learning about finance, and managing money. The invaluable guidance from experienced fellow investors can help readers avoid major financial pitfalls and learn from mistakes others have made. Vanguard's research confirmed its long-held belief that individual investors-sometimes derided on Wall Street as unsophisticated-are a savvy and capable group. This book proves that their collective wisdom is as valuable as any "expert" advice.

Common Sense on Mutual Funds: New Imperatives for the Intelligent Investor
by John C. Bogle

Bogle, founder of the Vanguard Group, makes a strong case for index funds with this exhaustive study of investing. In his second book, Vanguard's founder provides timeless investment wisdom in his characteristic hard-hitting style. Through a series of essays, he spells out commonsense principles for novice and sophisticated investors alike.

He begins with primer-like essays on investment strategy, championing mutual funds for their inherent investment value, and then grinding each point home with a bevy of graphs, charts, entertaining anecdotes, and common sense. He repeatedly stresses time as a basic tenet for investing, listing these simple rules: "Time is your friend"; "Impulse is your enemy"; "Stay the course." And then he proceeds to blast fund managers, who have become marketers rather than managers.

Winning the Loser's Game (Hardcover)
by Charles D. Ellis

Written by Charles D. Ellis, senior advisor to Greenwich Associates, member of Applecore Partners, and Vanguard board member, this insightful, accessible guide to how the financial markets work and how to put them to work for you. It was described by legendary management expert Peter Drucker as "by far the best book on investment policy and management."

The premise of the bestselling Winning the Loser's Game is that individual investors can achieve far greater success working with financial markets than against them. This premise has grown increasingly popular in today's hard-to-predict markets. The latest edition of this concise yet comprehensive classic offers updated strategies to leverage the power of time and compounding, protect against down cycles, and more.

The Bogleheads' Guide to Investing (Hardcover)
by Taylor Larimore, Mel Lindauer, Michael LeBoeuf, John C. Bogle (Foreword)

This witty, commonsense guide to investing grew out of the authors' (longtime Vanguard investors) participation in the Vanguard Diehards message board on It includes a foreword by Vanguard founder John C. Bogle, from whom the self-described "Bogleheads" take their name.

"It is both a textbook for beginners and a refresher course for old hands. It blends elements of financial-planning primers like 'The Wealthy Barber' with tips on why it pays to be cheap, a la 'The Millionaire Next Door.' ... The Bogleheads march readers smartly through the basics of how much they need to save for retirement, how to allocate their assets and when to rebalance their portfolios. The authors steer through the minefield of taxes and warn neophytes to master portfolio-gutting emotions including greed and fear." - James Pressley,

Straight Talk on Investing: What You Need to Know (Paperback)
by Jack Brennan

With a Harvard Business School degree and 20 years' experience at the world's second-largest mutual fund company, Vanguard's chairman and CEO shares insights on building wealth that he's learned from clients and crew members in his 25 years at Vanguard. He provides sensible advice on how to build and manage a portfolio and reveals some common things that push investors off track.

He offers readers a plain-speaking primer on how to build a sensible long-term investment portfolio. While Brennan applauds the "democratization of Wall Street" that has allowed anyone to become an investor, he notes that the resultant explosion of investment advice includes much that's "dangerous to your wealth." This guide, he says, is the book he himself would have liked to have received when he began his personal investments. The emphasis is on long-term goals and balance rather than playing the market: throughout, Brennan cautions against micro-managing the profile or getting sucked into fads.

The Four Pillars of Investing: Lessons for Building a Winning Portfolio (Hardcover)
by William J. Bernstein

William Bernstein's The Four Pillars of Investing gives investors the tools they need to construct top-returning portfolios without the help of a financial adviser. In a relaxed, nonthreatening style, Dr. Bernstein provides a distinctive blend of market history, investing theory, and behavioral finance, one designed to help every investor become more self-sufficient and make better-informed investment decisions. The 4 Pillars of Investing explains how any investor can build a solid foundation for investing by focusing on four essential lessons, each building upon the other.

Whether you're an experienced investor or just getting started, you'll appreciate William Bernstein's sage, straightforward guidance on creating a portfolio that can weather the market's long-term ups and downs. His key thesis—that it's usually impossible to beat the market by chasing performance or market timing—dovetails nicely with Vanguard's philosophy.


The Power Years: A User's Guide to the Rest of Your Life (Paperback)
by Ken Dychtwald, Daniel J. Kadlec

In the future, "retirement" will be more than just a life of golf, travel, and leisure. Dr. Ken Dychtwald, a leading expert on aging and the baby boomer generation, and Daniel Kadlec, a Time magazine columnist, will help you get ready for perhaps the best years of your life—where "old age" is instead a vibrant new age full of activity and personal reinvention.

The Power Years is your step-by-step guide to empowerment and personal reinvention after forty. In this unique guidebook, world-renowned psychologist and leading authority on aging Ken Dychtwald and award-winning journalist Daniel J. Kadlec combine their decades of cutting-edge research and reporting to reveal how you can make the Power Years the best years of your life—by far. As we baby boomers move into the next stage of life, we now have the opportunity to experience a mold-shattering period of reinvention and personal growth, career liberation, nourishing relationships, and financial freedom. The Power Years helps us envision and embrace this new chapter of life as we develop a carefully thought-out plan for personal fulfillment.

How to Retire Happy: The 12 Most Important Decisions You Must Make Before You Retire (Paperback)
by Stan Hinden

Award-winning Washington Post retirement columnist and financial expert Stan Hinden covers 12 crucial decisions for those getting ready to retire, such as when to take Social Security and what to do about health insurance.

With the right planning, retirement can be the happiest time in life. Stan Hinden helps you guarantee that your retirement will be as enjoyable as possible. How to Retire Happy provides answers to all your complicated retirement questions. From Social Security and Medicare to long term care insurance and estate planning, Stan covers all the bases. This fully updated and expanded edition of the bestselling guide includes: practical advice on the 12 most important decisions to make before retiring; guidance on the critical emotional, psychological, and health issues of retirement; the latest information on Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and changes to the rules governing IRAs and 401(k)s; and expert tips on how to arrange an estate to save money on taxes and probate.

Retirement Bible (Paperback)
by Lynn O'Shaughnessy

Whether you're in your 20s or 60s, single or married, work in a big corporation or own a small business, you'll find most answers to your retirement-planning questions in this comprehensive, 500-plus-page resource.

Retire when you want and how you want. Retirement Bible can help you plan for a prosperous retirement. From 401(k)s and IRAs to stocks and bonds, you'll learn tricks to pinpoint high-performing investments, shelter your cash from Uncle Sam, and manage your nest egg so that it will see you through one, two, or even three decades of retirement. No matter where you stand on the retirement time line, this book spells out the rules, explains your rights, and shows you how to build a future that's financially secure, starting today!

The Savage Number: How Much Money Do You Need to Retire (Paperback)
by Terry Savage

Chicago Sun-Times personal finance columnist Terry Savage's latest book answers one of pre-retirees' most common questions. Her plainspoken style helps make sense of the increasingly popular financial forecasting technique of Monte Carlo modeling and explains how to grow and draw down your assets to help make sure they last throughout your retirement.

The Savage Number provides the hands-on techniques to plan a successful, satisfying retirement. Savage takes readers beyond "guesstimates" and wishful thinking. Instead, she introduces readers to the world of Monte Carlo modeling—the statistical science of modeling multiple alternatives to come up with a range of highly probable results. The process guides readers through the critical decisions about how to invest their retirement money—and how much they can withdraw to live on—so their money lasts their entire lifetime! Filled with in-depth insights and practical advice, The Savage Number takes the guesswork out of retirement planning, so readers can overcome those obstacles and comfortably enjoy the rest of their lives.

Mind over Money: Your Path to Wealth and Happiness (Hardcover)
by Eric Tyson

The author of Mutual Funds for Dummies, Personal Finance for Dummies, and several other titles offers indispensable guidance on how to avoid the most common mistakes Americans make with money, such as spending too much of it, and how to change the way you think about wealth.

Mind Over Money presents a compilation of common financial obstacles (overspending, investing errors, working harder thinking that more money will solve problems, spousal disagreements over money, etc.) and proven methods for developing and retaining the best financial habits. The book also synthesizes research that explains why we do what we do and who is most at risk and why for certain behaviors. The book takes a holistic approach to fitting money and financial decisions into your life.

Smart and Simple Financial Strategies for Busy People (Hardcover)
by Jane Bryant Quinn

One of America's preeminent writers on investing and personal finance, Jane Bryant Quinn has helped make the markets a less mysterious place for millions of investors. In her new book—described by former Vanguard board member Burton G. Malkiel as "encyclopedic in scope and written with clarity and style", Ms. Quinn outlines her "No Worry" strategy for money management. It's a simple, easy-to-follow approach designed to help Americans save more, reduce debt, and invest wisely.

To start with, she tells you to forget all the complicated stuff the financial industry sells. You don't need it, it costs too much, and some of it is downright bad. It's designed to make the banks, brokers, and insurance companies rich, not you. The best ideas (a super-short list!) are simple, low in cost, and easy to use. They're also sophisticated and smart. The strategies shown here are followed by some of the most successful planners and money managers around today, yet they're something everyone can understand. They'll give you what you need from your money: regular savings, financial security, long-term investment growth, personal control, and best of all, peace of mind.


The Automatic Millionaire: A Powerful One-Step Plan to Live and Finish Rich (Paperback)
by David Bach

Despite its sensational title, David Bach's The Automatic Millionaire: A Powerful One-Step Plan to Live and Finish Rich is not a get-rich-quick guide. Rather, the book is a straightforward march through common-sense personal financial planning that suggests readers "automate" their contributions to retirement and investment vehicles. Bach, in fact, calls his model the "tortoise approach" to becoming wealthy by retirement age.

In the early part of the book Bach suggests using pre-tax retirement accounts (i.e. 401(k)s, IRAs, or Roth IRAs) to set aside a fixed, monthly sum of money before considering what is left for living expenses. The "automatic" part of the title comes from Bach's emphasis on using automated payroll deductions to avoid the temptation of using the money to pay today's bills. Bach insists that "regardless of the size of your paycheck, you probably already make enough money to become rich."

Work Less, Live More: The New Way to Retire Early (Paperback)
by Bob Clyatt, Robert Clyatt

Professionally, you're experiencing the success that years of hard work brings – but the long hours are taking their toll and you're burning out fast. You see it in your health and even in your family life. Your ambitions no longer include the rat race. You're thinking that retirement can't come soon enough. Fortunately, there’s an alternative to the grind: Early semi-retirement. Work fewer hours, realize your goals and dreams, spend time with your loved ones and do it all years, even decades, before the "normal" retirement age of 65. With Work Less, Live More and a little planning, you can do it. After several years as a corporate overachiever, Bob Clyatt realized there was more to life than "just this." Using the techniques in this book, Clyatt entered early semi-retirement at 42 and has never looked back.

Work Less, Live More provides a rational investment system based on Nobel Prize-winning research, a safe lifelong withdrawal plan and sensible spending guidelines. More importantly, the book provides inspiring stories and insights of many successful early semi-retirees, walking proof that meaningful work rather than full-time work is both fulfilling and rewarding.

The Lazy Person's Guide to Investing: A Book for Procrastinators, the Financially Challenged, and Everyone Who Worries About Dealing with Their Money (Paperback)
by Paul B. Farrell

In todays volatile market, jittery nerves are the norm when it comes to investing. But with these keep-it-simple, easy-to-understand, proven strategies that best of all take very little time or energy to maintain, readers can relax. Dr. Farrell has distilled the most successful plans from the Couch Potato to the Coffee House to the No-Brainer approach so that even inexperienced investors can chart their financial future with confidence. Farrell provides a thoroughly enjoyable and straightforward look at what he sees as "the future of investing"-"simple lazy portfolios that'll work for anyone and are easy to understand." He provides three different model portfolios based on one simple formula: "rock-solid, easy-to-understand asset allocation using no-load index funds."Packed with clear examples of how regular people can easily handle their own investments, Farrell's guide also takes on other sacred cows, such as Wall Street's belief that brokers know more than you do, and provides an exciting and illuminating section on no-load stocks, or DRIPs, which he calls "Wall Street's best-kept secret."

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