Friday, December 22, 2006

Personal finance books under my Christmas tree

In our house, celebrating Christmas has become a month-long affair. With in-laws and siblings down south, a daughter attending college in Boston, and a blended family in general, M and I have been involved in family gift exchanges the last two weekends. We have three exchanges to go before the year is through (counting Christmas morning).

All the early exchanging makes the holidays a little more hectic , but it has perks. For instance, I've already gotten two things on my gift list: Jane Bryant Quinn's Make the Most of Your Money, and The Wall Street Journal Complete Personal Finance Guidebook, by Jeff Opdyke.

Author, author
Both books are tremendous resources for just about everything personal finance-related, from excellent writers. Jane Bryant Quinn is one of the most well-known personal finance experts around. I interviewed her once for my job, and she's as classy as she is money-smart. (Interesting notes I didn't know about her until now: She helped develop Quicken, the personal finance software I use, and her stepdaughter is Martha Quinn, one of the original MTV video jocks. Source: Wikipedia)

Jeff Opdyke is The WSJ's Love & Money columnist. He doesn't have the long list of credentials of Jane Bryant Quinn, but he has been covering personal finance and investing for The WSJ for more than a decade and has a real knack for clear, non-intimidating finance writing. (Interesting note about him I didn't know: He works for The WSJ but lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.)

Everything personal finance
I'm already halfway through the guidebook. It's a "lighter" read than JBQ's book, both in tone and weight. Mr. Opdyke covers all the basics of personal finance, from banking to investing to insurance, in less than 250 pages. My daughter Jess got it for me (because she "admires my passion for finance"), an irony because I think it's ideal for someone like her--young, busy, and just starting out in life. It also has a companion workbook (sold separately).

Ms. Quinn's book has been staring at me from the top of dresser the past two weeks. It covers the same ground as the guidebook and much, much, more, and in greater detail. It's more than two inches thick and 1,000 pages, including appendixes. However, it's well-organized and easy to navigate. Just don't try to stuff it in your special someone's stocking.

For me, perhaps the greatest gift from both of these books: Fodder for an abundance of personal finance ideas and thoughts to share with you here at The Coin Jar in the months ahead.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have given your recent blogs some thought-cut my daily commute by 4milesRT which saves approx $225/yr. I am cutting out the muffin/coffee I buy every a.m.-not only more healthy but saving $1075/yr-this is starting to be real money- next I will examine my cable/phone bill for savings.

kim.more said...

Thank for publishing such a article,I will read those books very soon, keep publishing articles, I read some of books from here . look at once,They don a great job