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Your Money Ratios: 8 Simple Tools for Financial Security by Charles Farrell
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Of all the personal finance books that I've read, this has been one of the best. The ratios described help you track your progress towards securing your financial future. Elegant in their simplicity, they rely on a hundred years of financial data to provide a reality check that ensures that you'll have enough money to provide for a secure retirement. Just as important, the author explains the steps you need to take to protect your financial resources through prudent investing strategies, using insurance to protect your personal and financial resources and using strategies that avoid the emotions that come with the ups and downs of the economy and the stock market. Where other books rely on complex or gimmicky strategies that rely on your emotions to get you to do the right thing, the author boils it down to simple numbers that can be easily understood.
The only weakness in the book is that it doesn't really address credit card debt, which many people struggle with, other than to say "don't have it". Sounds great but people who do have it need strategies to pay it down. Also, this book is about financial planning. While the author spends a lot of time on smart strategies for investing, you may want to talk to a personal financial adviser about the actual details about investing. Or read a title more focused on investing. But keep the key concepts from the book in mind as you move forward with your investments.
Also, if this is your first book on personal finance, some of the topics may be unfamiliar to you. You may want to start with a more basic introduction on personal finance to get more familiar with some of the terms and concepts used in the book. But then come back and read this book. After the financial collapse of 2008, the author's realistic and unblinking assessment of how to plan for your personal finances in the real world is a must-read for anyone from the age of 18 - 60.