February 01, 2010 | By: Laurie Campbell

Books about Doing the Books

Words to the wise on personal money management.

To everyone out there who is anxious about money and credit, let me say this: invest in a little knowledge and you will be surprised by how quickly you can leave your worries behind.

A first big step in this process is to do a little reading - or a lot of reading, as the case may be. There are plenty of great books you can buy to help you on the road to sound personal money management. Here, largely from a Canadian perspective, I provide an overview of just a few books of interest, not necessarily in order of importance.

• Findependence Day. By Jonathan Chevreau. Publisher: Power Publishers.

One of the best books you will find about financial self help is Findependence Day by Jonathan Chevreau, who writes for Canada’s Financial Post. It’s a beautifully written work that combines fiction with fact, resulting in a terrific story that educates even as it entertains. Here is a tale about a couple who are trying to dig themselves out of a financial hole. The story is about how they do it, with a lifetime of common sense lessons thrown in about how to smartly manage, save and invest money. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

• Money 101: Every Canadian’s Guide to Personal Finance. By Ellen Roseman. Publisher: Wiley.

If you’re interested in a crash course about financial basics filled with easy-to understand advice on a wide range of topics, this book offers rich rewards. Author Ellen Roseman - one of Canada's most trusted personal finance columnists – imparts wisdom on spending less and saving more, managing a budget, negotiating mortgages and car leases, getting the insurance you need, saving for your children’s education and your own retirement, and much more, including how to invest money when you’re getting ahead.

• To Have and to Hold: The Smart Woman's Guide to Money and Marriage. By Kathleen Aldridge and Nancy Jane Bullis. Publisher: McGraw-Hill Ryerson.

I caution readers that the title of this book is misleading because the advice it offers applies equally to women and men. In fact, for any Canadian family or individual, it’s as fine a resource for money management as you’re likely to find. Authors Kathleen Aldridge and Nancy Jane Bullis cover financial planning with lots of specifics - everything from tax law, health costs, wills, and pre-marriage contracts – to estates, trusts, divorce and children. The writing does not talk down to readers as though they are know-nothings. It presumes you are bright and informed.

• The Complete Idiot's Guide to Personal Finance for Canadians. By Lori M. Bamber Publisher: Prentice Hall.

Okay, we’ve all seen these Idiot’s Guides covering just about any subject you can imagine. I’ve never been too fond of these book titles, but the guides do have much to offer as they are written by some very knowledgeable people, including Lori M. Bamber, author of this particular Idiot’s installment. It’s a practical guide to personal finance covering the traditional subjects of saving, investing, mutual funds, retirement and insurance. It’s a friendly read – largely easy to get through, though in one section there is detail on venture capital funds, stock-indexed guaranteed investment certificates, and RRSP over-contributions.

• One Year to an Organized Financial Life. By Regina Leeds. Publisher: Lifelong Books.

One thing we stress at Credit Canada to those who come to us with debt problems - money is probably not the real source of the problem - the real trouble is the lack of mindfulness many bring to money. Do you give it focus and respect? Writer Regina Leeds gets to the heart of the matter through a book premised on the notion that organization is the key to success in life - from how you keep your household to how you manage your bank account. Here she addresses finances through week-by-week guidelines based on simple organizing principles. She reminds us that peace of mind has a lot to do with getting your ducks in a row.

• The Wealthy Barber. By David Chilton. Publisher: Stoddart.

Though The Wealthy Barber was originally published in 1989, I have included it in this list simply because it is a publishing phenomenon, selling millions of copies in North America. In any event, the book has been updated over time and the advice it offers is timeless. It’s an engaging book, highlighting fictional conversations between financial hero Roy Miller and his barbershop patrons. As you listen in, you learn that sound personal financial planning is not only relatively simple, it can be fun. You won’t find intimidating charts, graphs and lifeless numbers here, just lively talk that gives you the goods.

So that’s a personal money management book list for you. As I say, it’s just a start as books about this subject are plentiful. Other good reading is available right here at CreditCanada.com. Meanwhile, please keep in mind that prices vary on the books I’ve listed. Your best bet is to simply Google the titles and authors to check out the best price options from different distributors.

Happy reading.


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