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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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Street Smart Tips for Main Street
Content from author Jonathan Clements
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
(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)
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Top Customer Reviews
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 ›
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.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Jonathan Clements is the top financial writer in the country. If you take some of the top ideas from his 18 year plus career as principal personal finance writer for the Wall... Read morePublished 10 months ago by James Lange
Good basic money primer, but not if you are financially informed. Yet, you may pick up some tidbits that are useful.Published 12 months ago by Dr. Mike S
What I really enjoyed about this book is that it skips the long analyses of historical data (that you find in so many other personal finance books), doesn't preach to you, and gets... Read morePublished 16 months ago by David
One of 3 "little books" that make up my investing library.
Would also recommend The Little Book of Safe Money by Zweig and The Little Book of Bulletproof Investing by... Read more
Not many surprises if you read Jonathan's article every week (I do - you should). But, great stuff regardless. Keep it simple and avoid common mistakes like Jonathan suggests. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Eric
I have about 6 in the series. I am a huge fan of Clements, Bogle and Buffet. You can enjoy this book in one day. I always re-read and highlight my favorite parts. Read morePublished 24 months ago by Anthony Kosobud
So much of personal finance is common sense, but sometimes it helps to have a knowledgeable reminder from someone who has really developed a great perspective over the years. Read morePublished on May 21, 2014 by R. M. Mayhew