I have found the resources below valuable over the years, and include categories of personal finance, investing, simple living and wealth. Each category has a list of books, websites and videos. Gathering information from multiple independent sources is the best way to improve these areas of life. Not everything written or said has necessarily been a fit for me but I have found the majority of information to be first rate and useful within my own life. I hope you find them useful as well.
“You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.” – Charlie “Tremendous” Jones
“All I know is what I’ve been told. All I know is what I’ve seen. How little I know.” – Mark Vining
The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey – the most straight forward book I have found on getting out of debt and personal finance. Dave Ramsey has changed the way people look at debt from something that was accepted as the norm to there is no reason for it whatsoever. It’s just common sense.
How To Think About Money by Jonathan Clements – excellent personal finance advice coupled with how simple living allows us to enjoy our money more. The author was the personal finance editor of the Wall Street Journal and a columnist for Forbes.
How To Make Your Money Last by Jane Bryant Quinn – the title is exactly what is in the book. Excellent advice on how to make your money last throughout your life. Ms. Quinn has written many books on personal finance and is widely respected.
Bogleheads Guide to Retirement by Taylor Larimore, Mel Lindaur, Richard A. Ferri & Laura F. Dogu – the Bogleheads are a national organization of people who believe in index investing and common sense personal finance. This is just one of a number of books that have been written by various members. They are all excellent. Their website is listed below.
The Cheapskate Next Door by Jeff Yeager – the title is a take off on The Millionaire Next Door book. The author humorously describes how he was able to retire at a young age through “frugal” living. It’s a funny read with some good advice.
Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin & Joe Dominguez with Monique Tilford – this book is a classic and changed how many people view working for money. You will question many areas of your working and spending life after reading this. A great book with many devoted followers of the program.
Getting a Life by Jacqueline Blix & David Heitmiller – this sequel to Your Money or Your Life tells a story of the authors changing their lives dramatically for the better from the status quo of society to what they really value using the program prescribed in Your Money or Your Life.
Get What’s Yours for Social Security by Laurence J. Kotlikoff, Philip Moeller, and Paul Solman – probably the most detailed book written on social security benefits available to you. Make sure you get the most current edition, as the rules of social security do change.
http://www.thecrazymaninthepinkwig.com – this site was created by Mike Finley. He is based in Cedar Falls and has been teaching locally about personal finance and investing for ten years. His classes are free and open to the public in Cedar Falls and Waterloo. Mike is an excellent instructor and the classes on investing and retirement may change your life. It’s worth the drive.
http://www.ssa.gov – this is the official social security website. You can open an online account that will show you your estimated benefits, work history, other benefits available, etc.
http://www.maximizemysocialsecurity.com – this site is run by Laurence Kotlikoff (author of Get What’s Your for Social Security) one of the country’s foremost experts on social security. There is a charge for the service but it will help you to figure out your best scenario for when to receive your social security payments if you need assistance.
http://www.kentonmoney.com – this site is run by Kent Smetters, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business. He hosts a weekly podcast and radio show that gives advice on personal finance. Prof. Smetters is an advocate of fee only financial planners and index investing.
http://www.donotcall.gov – this site is to prevent phone calls from telemarketers.
http://www.dmachoice.org – this site is to eliminate junk mail.
http://www.optoutprescreen.com or 888-567-8688 – this site is to opt out of credit card offers.
http://www.yellowpagesoptout.com – this site is to opt out of phone books.
http://www.unrollme.com – this is to opt out of email lists.
Documentaries & Videos
The Financial Diet YouTube Channel – this series of videos is hosted by a millennial named Chelsea Fagan. The advice is tailored towards millennials but would work for anyone. She addresses many areas of life and how things can be changed for the better financially. The advice is spot on and may change your perspective especially if you’re a millennial. http://www.youtube.com/thefinancialdiet
Index Funds: The 12-Step Recovery Program for Active Investors by Mark T. Hebner – Mr. Hebner lays out the facts on index investing and why so many Nobel Laureates agree that passive index investing will provide the best chance at an excellent return on your money.
The Simple Path to Wealth by J L Collins – when I sold my business my thought was to write a book for my children on investing. When I read this book, I realized it had already been written. Mr. Collins wrote this for his daughter and I couldn’t have done it better. It provides investing and life advice told in a humorous and straight to the point style. Good advice for any age.
The Smartest Investment Book You’ll Ever Read by Daniel R. Solin – this is one of a series of short, concise books on handling money. Mr. Solin doesn’t waste your time telling the truth about the financial industry and how fees and active management destroy your long-term returns.
Bogleheads Guide to Investing by Taylor Larimore, Mel Lindaur & Michael LeBoeuf – the Bogleheads are a national organization of people who believe in common sense investing through index funds primarily. This book is great for beginners or anyone interested in common sense investing.
The Little Book of Common Sense Investing by John C. Bogle – a short concise book on investing written by one of the worlds foremost experts on the subject. A must read for the beginning investor.
Bogle on Mutual Funds by John C. Bogle – John Bogle is the founder of Vanguard. He brought low cost investing to the public through his company along with the widespread use of index funds. Any book that he has written is full of information and data regarding how index investing is superior to managed funds.
John Bogle on Investing by John C. Bogle
Common Sense on Mutual Funds by John C. Bogle
Stocks for the Long Run by Jeremy Siegel – this book is a statistical history of the U.S. stock market written by a professor of finance at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business. The book will confirm that stocks as a whole have been the best investment by far in the United States for over 200 years.
Irrational Exhuberance by Robert Shiller – an interesting read regarding investing, human nature, and markets. Prof. Shiller is a real estate expert and the chapter on real estate appreciation historically will probably surprise you. The author is a professor of finance at Yale University.
A Random Walk Down Wall Street by Burton Malkiel – this book was first published in 1973 by Prof. Malkiel and has been considered a classic since. It has been updated many times but the information is timeless. He shows index funds have higher returns than trying to buy individual stocks or purchasing funds with professional managers. Burton Malkiel is a professor of economics at Princeton University.
Winning the Loser’s Game by Charles Ellis – another best seller that shows emphatically that index funds are clearly the best way to invest. The author has more credentials that I can list including teaching investment courses at Harvard and Yale.
The Investor’s Manifesto by William Bernstein – Dr. Bernstein is a teaching neurologist along with being a respected national voice on investing. He has several excellent books on investing and chose to add this book after the Great Recession. A must read to understand volatility in markets.
All About Asset Allocation by Richard Ferri – the author is a Boglehead who is a nationally known CPA and investment expert. He shows in great detail how a simple portfolio, diversified appropriately with low expenses will achieve superior returns.
Your Money & Your Brain by Jason Zweig – the author is a long-time financial journalist for Money, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, Time, and is editor of Benjamin Graham’s The Intelligent Investor. This book is a fascinating look into why we make poor choices with investing and more importantly how to correct it.
http://www.bogleheads.org – this site is a good source for information on investing and personal finance along with asking questions online. There are many knowledgeable investors that help other investors on an open source platform. Best of all, they are primarily index investors who follow the wisdom of Jack Bogle, founder of Vanguard.
http://www.napfa.org – this site can be used for finding a fee only advisor who is a fiduciary. NAPFA (National Association of Personal Finance Advisors)
http://www.finra.org – this site can be used to do a background check on an advisor or broker. FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority)
http://www.letsmakeaplan.org – this site is for finding an advisor with the CFP (Certified Financial Planner) designation. They are trained to handle all aspects of personal finance. Unfortunately, many can be commission based but the site does show how they charge and some are fee only.
http://www.investopedia.com – this site is much like the name implies, a Wikipedia for financial information.
http://www.dqydj.com – this site has many useful tools including calculators to look up historic returns of different asset classes.
http://www.betterment.com – this company is an online investing service with low cost options to help you handle your money.
http://www.wealthfront.com – this company is an online investing service with low cost options to help you handle your money.
http://www.vanguard.com – Vanguard is financial industry leader in low cost and transparency. They offer low cost index fund choices along with low cost help if you need it.
Documentaries & Videos
The Retirement Gamble on YouTube – this is a PBS documentary from 2013 that shows how the financial industry in large part misleads people with their retirement accounts in a variety of ways. There are several edited versions, although I would recommend watching the entire documentary. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ohl5kfTpbBA
The Simple Living Guide by Janet Luhrs – this book was written in the 1990’s but is still one of my favorites on the subject. The book opened my eyes to another way to look at my life.
80/20 Principal by Richard Koch – this book based on the “Pareto Principal” commonly known as the 80/20 principle. In short, 20% of your efforts account for 80% of your results or put another way, 80% of your efforts are generally a waste of time. It helped me recognize how many daily activities I participated in had little value.
Timeless Simplicity by John Lane – the title says it all. Wonderful book about the good things life has to offer when we don’t clutter it up with our own misconceptions.
Everything That Remains by Joshua Fields Milburn & Ryan Nicodemus (The Minimalists) – these guys were in their twenties when they wrote this book. I didn’t have 10% of their wisdom at that age. Amazing memoir of their path from corporate wannabes to simplicity.
Essential: Essays by the Minimalists by Joshua Fields Milburn & Ryan Nicodemus (The Minimalists) – a collection of their essays from their website listed below. Minimalist wisdom on many subjects.
The More of Less by Joshua Becker – the author shows there is no one definition for minimalism. He lives in a suburb in Arizona with his wife and children.
Soulful Simplicity (How Living With Less Can Lead to So Much More) by Courtney Carver – Ms. Carver had a wake up call in mid-life and realized there was a better way of living after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
The Year of Less (How I stopped shopping, gave away my belongings, and discovered life is worth more than anything you can buy in a store) by Cait Flanders – this book is written from the heart as she describes the ups and downs of her life and how eventually at age 29 she came to understand what gave her life meaning. It wasn’t stuff.
How to Retire Wild, Happy and Free by Ernie J. Zelinski – this is an interesting take on retiring from the author who has spent the majority of his life not working. The title may seem to be a better fit in personal finance but it’s more a story on personal liberation. I have kept many quotes out of the book for inspiration.
Essentialism by Greg McKeown – this book is simply about eliminating the non-essentials from your life for the essentials. In short, learning to say no. No to all the non-essential things that come up in our daily life that don’t provide value and learning to understand that there are only so many things we can do well.
How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie – yes, it’s the same author that wrote How to Win Friends and Influence People. This book is way ahead of it’s time regarding the stress that many people feel daily. Although many cultural references are dated, the advice is timeless and still holds up today.
The Blue Zones by Dan Buettner – a fascinating book on the longest living populations in the world. Mr. Buettner working for National Geographic zeroed in on five groups in various parts of the world that live the longest to find out why. They not only live the longest but live with vitality and contentment. I believe it makes a case for simple living.
Younger Next Year by Chris Crowley & Henry S. Lodge, M.D. – this book explains how proper exercise can help keep us not only healthy but active as well into our eighties. The chapters alternate between Chris Crowley, the 70-year old patient and Dr. Lodge. Mr. Crowley is quiet humorous on explaining how well it works for him and Dr. Lodge explains the science as to why. A great read.
http://www.theminimalists.com – this site is operated by Joshua Fields Milburn & Ryan Nicodemus listed above. There are many resources within their site including their blog and podcast.
http://www.becomingminimalist.com – this site is operated by Joshua Becker listed above. Mr. Becker publishes an inspirational blog through his site and his many additional resources.
http://www.bemorewithless.com – this site is operated by Courtney Carver listed above. Ms. Carver is also the founder of the fashion challenge called Project 333 that has been widely followed by many downsizing their wardrobe.
http://www.richroll.com – this site is operated by Rich Roll. Mr. Roll is a recovering alcoholic and former corporate lawyer who realized there was a better way. He went from overweight couch potato to completing five Ironman Triathlons’ in seven days on each island in Hawaii. He accomplished this in his forties. He has written several books and has an excellent podcast geared towards healthy lifestyles.
Documentaries & Videos
Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things – this documentary created by Matt D’ Avella featured Joshua Fields Milburn & Ryan Nicodemus of the Minimalists. Currently this video is available on Netflix or by renting.
Matt D’Avella YouTube Channel – Mr. D’Avella has created dozens of short videos on minimalism and living a purposeful life. He is funny and entertaining at times while providing thought provoking ideas on how we live our lives. http://www.youtube.com/mattdavella
The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley, Ph.D & William Danko, Ph.D – the book that inspired all the sequels below. A best seller written in the 1990s that still holds up today. Millionaires are not what you think and this book will show you. Of all the books listed I think it is still the best.
The Millionaire Mind by Thomas J. Stanley, Ph.D – this book goes further in exploring how and what millionaires think about to achieve not only wealth but a good life as well.
The Millionaire Woman Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley, Ph.D – as the title suggests this research shows how woman millionaires achieved their wealth and how they live.
Stop Acting Rich! by Thomas J. Stanley, Ph.D – another Millionaire Next Door sequel that shows material consumption is not how to achieve wealth and that most millionaires are quite frugal.
Everyday Millionaires by Chris Hogan – this book was just released this year and is an updated version of the Millionaire Next Door albeit with a much larger survey sample. The results are the same: millionaires are frugal, work hard, save and invest and are not who you think they are. If you want to understand how to become wealthy this book will guide you.