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The Little Book of Main Street Money: 21 Simple Truths that Help Real People Make Real Money Hardcover – June 9, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 194 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (June 9, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470473231
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470473238
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 5.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #385,266 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Street Smart Tips for Main Street
Content from author Jonathan Clements

1. Don’t pay an insurance company to shoulder risks you can afford to shoulder yourself.

2. To make it easier to amass enough for retirement, aim to start saving no later than age 30

3. Make it a point to sock away tax refunds, year-end bonuses, overtime pay, and any other extra money you receive

4. Mentally divide your portfolio into growth money and safe money – and expect a rough ride from the former and comfort from the latter

5. The harder you try to beat the market, the more likely you are to fail, thanks to the investment costs involved.

6. By building a portfolio that is unlikely to suffer big short-term losses, you should improve your long-run investment compounding.

7. Unless your health is poor, plan on a retirement that lasts until age 90 – and maybe longer.

8. Resist following the crowd, whether it’s chasing hot performers in bull markets or shunning stocks during market declines.

9. Before purchasing a house, make sure you will stay put for at least five years and preferably longer.

10. If you’re a conservative investor inclined to buy bonds, consider making extra principal payments on your mortgage instead.

21 Simple Truths that Help Real People Make Real Money
Content from author Jonathan Clements

1. Our finances are bigger than a brokerage account

2. We can’t have it all

3. Money can buy happiness – if we spend it carefully

4. Even the best investors need to be great savers

5. Time is as valuable as money

6. No investment is risk-free

7. Portfolio performance – it’s all in the mix

8. Stocks are worth SOMETHING

9. To add wealth, we need to overcome the subtractions

10. Aiming for average is the only sure way to win

11. Wild investments can tame our portfolios

12. Short-term results matter to long-term investors

13. A long life is a big risk

14. Markets may be rational, but we aren’t

15. Our homes are a fine investment that won’t appreciate much

16. Paying off debts could be our best bond investment

17. Saving taxes can cost us dearly

18. A tax deferred is extra money made

19. Insurance won’t make us any money – if we’re lucky

20. Even if we have a will, we may not get our way

21. Financial success: it’s about more than money

Review

"Any consumer concerned about money issues, from managing college to retirement, will find The Little Book of Main Street Money an excellent reference. Wall Street is demystified, with common strategies for money management geared to general readers and based on the wisdom of Wall Street successes. Taxes, inflation concerns, and investing are all covered within a series of 21 'truths' about success, perfect for general lending libraries."
(Midwest Book Review)

"’The Little Book of Main Street Money’ is aptly named. . . it's unintimidating to all but the most hopeless finance-phobics. The book is also written in spare and concise language. . . Clements's sure-footed advice on fundamentals is comforting after last year's meltdown. When he strays toward more opinionated views, he's even better: Investing in your house will historically offer you a lackluster 4.7% annual return. Or, to those buying insurance as an investment. . . Best of all, Clements isn't only a sound financial planner, but something of an armchair shrink. Beating the market isn't what it's all about. It's more about meeting your personal goals and achieving peace of mind: ‘We should strive to ensure money is enhancing our lives, rather than getting in the way.’" (SmartMoney.com)

“The Little Book of Main Street Money . . does a brilliant job of navigating us through the post financial crash landscape. . . offers investors some tried-and-true, timeless advice, such as keeping investing simple and uncluttered by emotion. . . but what I love best about this book is the exploration of the relationship between money and happiness. Clements notes, in spite of the U.S. standard of living skyrocketing over the past few decades, that quantitative research indicates Americans are no happier than when we were less economically well off. . . Clements goes beyond the accumulation of money and essentially tells us how to convert the stored energy from our portfolio into happiness.” (CBS Moneywatch.com)

"This small book . . . packs a good dose of practical financial advice to help you weather this brutal economy and work toward building wealth. Clements . . . advice goes beyond simple money management and offers tips for living a more fulfilled life. The book's nuggets of valuable information include 'We can't have it all,' 'Our Finances Are Bigger than a Brokerage Account,' 'Time Is as Valuable as Money' and 'Markets May Be Rational, but We Aren't' . . . The take-away from this book is that money is tied up in all aspects of our lives, and we should give appropriate attention to managing it wisely." (WalletPop)

"Because it is a "Little Book," each chapter is short. The entire book can almost be read in one sitting (unless you’re a slow reader like I am). The concepts in the book aren’t new but have clearly been ignored by lots of people as you can tell by watching the news or reading the newspaper. It’s time to get back to the basics and that is what Jonathan’s book is all about." (AllFinancialMatters)

"The Little Book of Main Street Money is far and away the best of the "Little Books" series. The advice is truly approachable and actually useful, particularly for people who are in reasonably good financial shape and have a lot of years left ahead of them. . . it just provides - in Clements' approachable writing tone - excellent basic advice and principles to follow. This advice is timeless and forms the foundation of whatever personal finance strategy you might choose to follow - this book is a great starter." (The Simple Dollar)


More About the Author

Jonathan Clements writes a weekly column for The Wall Street Journal Sunday. He's currently working on a new book, the "Jonathan Clements Money Guide," scheduled for publication in early 2015. Jonathan was born in England, graduated from Cambridge University and now lives in New York City. He wrote for Euromoney and Forbes before joining The Wall Street Journal in 1990, where he worked for 18 years. He then spent six years at Citigroup as Director of Financial Education for the bank's U.S. wealth-management business. In 2014, he returned to The Wall Street Journal Sunday. Jonathan has written five books -- a novel and four guides to personal finance. For additional information, go to www.jonathanclements.com. There are two other authors called Jonathan Clements, both of whom are also from England. One died in the late 1990s and wrote a slew of children's books. The other is very much alive and writes about East Asian history.

Customer Reviews

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In Clements's usual style, it's easy to read, understandable, and helpful.
Dan Danford
If you are financially astute this book is not for you but it would make an excellent gift for some young person in your life.
John Paul Ledesma
If you were a fan of Jonathan Clements' personal finance columns at The Wall Street Journal, you'll love this book.
Charles Farrell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Dan Danford on June 14, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In a sense, Jonathan Clements's new book was painful to read. Clements was the long-time personal finance columnist for the Wall Street Journal, and he has a real knack for explaining investment stuff. He wrote nearly 1,000 columns for the Journal and he's forgotten more about personal finance than many brokers ever knew.

Mainstreet Money, 21 Simple Truths that Help Real People Make Real Money is an excellent book. I recommend it highly to anyone who needs a basic finance guide, or those who want a refresher course. In Clements's usual style, it's easy to read, understandable, and helpful. I'll add this to our website's recommended reading list.

Clements once famously noted that there are only seven real stories in personal finance, and he cites them in his introduction. I won't list them all here, but one is "simplicity is a great financial virtue." I agree with his other six, too, but as a practicing advisor, this one stands out as genuine wisdom. There are few absolutes in economics or finance, but that comes pretty close!

It tracks that his 21 Simple Truths follow this theme. He tackles everything from portfolio construction to the merits of saving. Each chapter illuminates a different topic, and offers explanations, ideas, and suggestions. All in that comfortable and engaging style he's known for.

I especially like his tenth chapter, where he offers ten reasons why it's so tough to beat the market. This is heresy in many hallowed halls of Wall Street, but he does a nice job of explaining why so many smart people abandoned that game. "The harder you try to beat the market, the more likely you are to fail, thanks to the investment costs involved."

Why, then, was my reading painful?
Read more ›
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Mel Lindauer on June 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover
In his new book, The Little Book of Main Street Money, Jonathan Clements provides readers with solid financial information in an easy-to-read writing style that's been polished over years of writing his columns for the Wall Street Journal. The book covers investing and financial matters from A to Z in Jonathan's usual clear and concise manner.

While this is not a "get rich quick" book, it is, nevertheless, a "get rich the old-fashioned way" book. Jonathan provides solid common sense information that's too often overlooked or ignored by investors.

This book is a must read for young investors and it's a great refresher course for all investors. Give a copy of this book to your kids and grandkids, and don't forget to keep a copy for youself.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A. Reed on June 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is Jonathan Clements' best writing yet, and I've been following his financial advice since 1992. Out of all the works of respected financial authors I've read, none have proved to be as provoking or as true over the years as his. There is something about his clear-headed approach and British wit that inspires me to keep doing better. (It's one thing to know what to do; and then it's a second thing to actually do it. This book helps the reader in both.) The bottom-line is that reading this book helped me firmly acknowledge my true priorities (financial and otherwise) and inspired me to sally forth with the gumption to stick to them. The book also clears up the thorny financial questions a typical investor has. I am giving copies of this book as gifts to people I care about, and I recommend it to everyone who wants to get ahead financially and otherwise. And after you read this book, you'll see clearly what the "and otherwise" means in relation to your finances.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Larry on June 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover
There are very few journalists who actually have investor's interests at heart. They write about what might be called the science of investing, or evidence based investing. The rest write about the noise, or what Jane Bryant Quinn called "investment porn."

Jonathan was not only one of the few that truly had investor interests at heart but he was one of, if not the best, of the group. I considered his weekly column a must read. The same could be said of this little book.

It is only little in size. It is giant in terms of the number of pearls of wisdom that it contains; pearls not limited to investing but finance in general and life as well.

I highly recommend this book especially for those just beginning their financial journey--it is a journey you should not take without this book as a guide.

Larry Swedroe, author of Wise Investing Made Simple and six other books on investing.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By James C. Onorato on June 22, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book can benefit alomst anyone from the novice investor to the experienced financial advisor. After 27 years in the investment business I have also found that investing is simple but not easy. With all of the financial porn and noise that we are inundated with daily, investing can seem overwelming and confusing. Following these simple and practical investing guidelines will not make you rich overnight but in my view will achieve long term results that will outperform over 90% of investors.

Jonathan's book distills the essence from the collective thinking of many respected investors including John Bogle, William Bernstein and Charles Ellis and combines it with his more than 25 years as a financial columnist.

Although this is a short book it really says it all.
The concepts in this book are timless.

I especially like many of the thoughts Jonathan conveys about making wise everyday life decisions and living richly and mindfully.

This book is a must read for virtually anyone.
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