Capital 101: Personal Finance Books 2018


When it comes to what stresses Americans out, personal finance regularly tops the list. And although “the future of our nation” was the most frequently reported stressor in the American Psychological Association’s 2017 Stress in America survey, cited by 63% of respondents, almost as many respondents (62%) identified money worries as a major source of anxiety. .

Not surprising. Recent polls have found that nearly two-thirds of Americans don’t have enough cash on hand to handle an unexpected $ 500 bill; about half have nothing set aside for retirement.

Against this background of unpreparedness and apprehension, there are many personal finance books coming out in 2018 that offer help with fundamental money management skills. Developing sensible saving, spending and budgeting habits are often the aspirations under discussion, not the dream of getting rich in a bustling stock market.

One way the authors approach these themes is through personal stories. In Meet the Frugalwoods (Harper Business, March 2018) Blogger Elizabeth Willard Thames shares how she and her husband saved enough to quit their jobs in their early 30s, discovering purpose and contentment along the way (see “The Zen of Frugality “).

New York Times science journalist John Schwartz tells a different story in This is the year I got my financial life in order (Avery, April 2018). Reaching his late fifties with a trail of miserable money behind him – stretching excessively over a New York City apartment, falling for an expensive rent argument – Schwartz dedicated himself to mastering money once. for all.

After a 2015 Times A story chronicling his first steps towards financial literacy struck a chord with readers, Schwartz decided to dig deeper. The resulting book, says Megan Newman, publisher of Avery and publisher of Schwartz, “is nutty soup advice on everything from investments to wills, driven by the lived experiences of this ordinary guy.”

While Schwartz writes for readers in their 40s and 50s who, as Newman puts it, “know they’re behind the eight ball and need to put things away,” many other titles of 2018 are aimed squarely at the coveted readership. millennial, a generation just starting to tackle money management. To capture this demographics, some authors have turned to unconventional formats.

In Earn money (Hachette Books, April 2018), Kristin Wong applies the concept of gamification to money, teaching the basics through exercises, worksheets, quizzes, flowcharts, etc. “The book is easy to read but also stimulating,” says Wong, who writes the Two Cents section of the blog. Lifehacker. “Gamification is about engaging that part of your brain that motivates you and makes you feel like you have autonomy over money. She hopes the book takes a beating – dog ears, handwriting, highlighting. Reading, she says, “should be very convenient.”

Chelsea Fagan, who launched The financial regime blog in 2014 (his YouTube channel has 321,000 subscribers), also takes a non-traditional approach to financial advice, positioning his next book as “personal finance for people who don’t care about money”. The financial regime (Holt, January 2018), written by Fagan and designed by Lauren Ver Hage, weaves money tips; expert profiles on home, fashion and finance; and literal recipes – food, notes Fagan, is the biggest budget eater after housing.

Intended for young women, The financial regime takes a broad view of the personal finance field, says Fagan, incorporating advice on fashion and decor as well as money management, and avoids a prescriptive tone (“That’s the anti-Suze Orman,” says Fagan). The color design, she says, is key to the book’s appeal: “We want it to look so chic on a woman’s desk that she would take a picture of it.

Seeking to capitalize on the popularity of infographics on major personal finance websites, The personal finance infographic guide (Adams Media, December) targets readers in their twenties and thirties with a book composed entirely of charts, graphs, lists, and other visuals, covering topics ranging from student loan debt to buying money. ‘a first home.

“This age group is used to consuming content in an easily digestible format,” says Brendan O’Neill, managing editor at Adams Media. Author Michele Cagan, CPA, has written several beginner’s financial guides for Adams Media, including this one from 2016 Invest 101; Designer Elisabeth Lariviere also worked on a 2017 college guide in the Infographic series.

Other upcoming beginner’s guides take a more traditional and prescriptive approach to personal finance advice. Shortly after the birth of Catey Hill’s first child two and a half years ago, the financial writer saw his budget discipline crumble in the face of a lack of time. “As I found myself making more impulse and late-night purchases on Amazon, my spending went from being out of control to out of control,” says Hill. And other moms have told her how overwhelmed they are with new unexpected expenses.

His book The 30 Minute Money Plan for Moms (Center Street, May 2018) is written for that time-pressed parent, with advice in two areas: how to save money when you don’t have time for an exhaustive search for deals and how to manage a budget. quickly. “Those were the two things I knew other moms would really benefit from,” Hill says. His advice is broken down into 30-minute tasks or a series of half-hour missions. Why 30 minutes? “I thought it was a reasonable time to spend a week on your finances.”

In You need a budget (Harper Business, January 2018) Former CPA Jesse Mecham describes the four-rule budgeting method he developed in college, then in 2004 morphed into YNAB, a company that sells software budgeting tool to help clients track and repay debts, and also offers free workshops and newsletters. Its money management system includes tracking every dollar spent, breaking down big expenses into manageable monthly costs, and flexibility as circumstances change.

Despite the emphasis on budgeting and the basics, books on wealth building aren’t completely off the calendar in 2018. Following the recent reissue of David Bach’s hit in 2004 The automatic millionaire, the author revised and expanded his successful 2001 Guide to Financial Planning and Investing for Couples, Smart couples end up rich (Random House, January 2018).

The new version takes into account changes in tax laws, healthcare, investment products and retirement accounts, as well as new technology that allows couples to track their money and track their investments. Additionally, Bach added a chapter on how to plan a “money date” to work better together on money. A revised version of Bach Smart women end up rich will follow in fall 2018.

A decade after the real estate bubble burst, 13-year-old BiggerPockets has grown into an online community of over 900,000 real estate investors seeking advice, education and support. In addition to its popular webinars, online guides, forums, tools, videos and podcasts, BiggerPockets has expanded into books, with programming anchored by The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Real Estate Investing by Joshua Dorkin and Brandon Turner (BiggerPockets, Nov 2018). The book is an extended version of an electronic guide that has seen over a million downloads, Dorkin says.

While many real estate titles focus on a single strategy, this book will be an overview of the entire niche. “Most of the other books and gurus say ‘do it this way and win’,” says Dorkin, founder and CEO of the site. “We want to give you all the options so that you can find the path that’s right for you. “

In 2018, readers will have no shortage of paths to follow to find the path to financial peace.

Below, more on the subject of personal finance books.

The zen of frugality: PW talks with Elizabeth Willard Thames
In “Meet the Frugalwoods”, the blogger recounts how she and her husband gave up 9 to 5 for a more fulfilling life.

How to Avoid the Retirement Crisis: Personal Finance Books 2018
Among the proposals for future books on retirement: guaranteed retirement accounts.

Teaching Financial Skills With A Message: Personal Finance Books 2018
Generous Kids, a new children’s series from Christian publisher Sparkhouse Family, combines money lessons with moral teachings.

Ellen Stark, former associate editor of Money review and, is a freelance writer and editor specializing in business and personal finance.

A version of this article appeared in the 04/12/2017 issue of Editors Weekly under the title: Capital One-Oh-One


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