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Personal Finance For Dummies Paperback – November 9, 2009

73 customer reviews

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From the Back Cover

Making Everything Easier!

Personal Finance for Dummies

6th Edition

Learn to:

  • Assess your financial fitness

  • Save more and spend less

  • Review your credit report and improve your score

  • Make smart investments in any economic environment

Eric Tyson, MBA

Bestselling author, Investing For Dummies

The easy way to achieve your financial goals!

Renowned personal finance expert Eric Tyson combines his time-tested financial advice with updated strategies to give you everything you need to protect your financial future. Inside, you'll get concrete, action-oriented guidance for tracking expenditures, reducing spending, getting out of debt, investing wisely, saving for college and other events, and financially surviving life's unexpected twists and turns.

  • Assessing your fitness and setting goals — improve your financial literacy, measure your financial health, find out where your money goes, and set your monetary goals

  • Saving more, spending less — get practical advice on how to deal with debt, reduce your spending, and tame those daunting taxes

  • Building wealth with wise investing — learn important investment concepts and discover how you can boost your personal wealth with real estate, mutual funds, and everything in between

  • Protecting what you've got — find out how to get insurance coverage for all of your assets at the best price

  • Where to go for more help — get helpful guidance on working with financial planners, on using your personal computer to manage your money, and on seeking (and avoiding) media outlets for the latest in financial news

"Provides tremendous insight and guidance into the world of investing and other money issues."

– PBS Nightly Business Report

"Smart advice?rewards your candor with advice and comfort."

– Newsweek

Open the book and find:

  • Information on understanding and improving your credit score

  • Coverage of new tax law changes

  • Tips on how to budget, trim expenses, and save money

  • Advice on how to plan for the future

  • Tactics to thwart identity theft and fraud

  • What's going on with government assistance programs, Social Security, and Medicare

  • The best ways to reduce and eliminate debt

About the Author

Eric Tyson ( is an internationally acclaimed and bestselling personal finance book author, syndicated columnist, and speaker. He is also the author of the national bestsellers Investing For Dummies and Home Buying For Dummies.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: For Dummies; 6 edition (November 9, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470506938
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470506936
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #464,817 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Eric Tyson is a best-selling personal finance book author and has penned five national best sellers. He is also the only author to have four of his books simultaneously on Business Week's business book bestseller list.

His Personal Finance for Dummies, a Wall Street Journal best-seller, won the Benjamin Franklin Award for Best Business Book of the Year. Eric's syndicated newspaper column is read by millions of readers weekly. He is a former columnist and award-winning journalist for the Sunday San Francisco Chronicle. His website,, rocketed into the top one percent of financial websites within its first year of operation.

Eric's work has been featured and quoted in hundreds of local and national publications and media outlets including Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Forbes, Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine, Money, Worth, Parenting, USA Today and on the NBC Today Show, ABC, Fox News, CNBC, PBS Nightly Business Report, CNN, and on CBS national radio, NPR's Marketplace Money and Bloomberg Business Radio. He's also been a featured speaker at a White House conference on retirement planning.

Tired of working as a management consultant to Fortune 500 financial service firms which more interested in maximizing short-term profits than in providing sound financial products and services, Eric founded in 1990 the nation's first financial counseling firm which works exclusively on an hourly basis. He started his new company with a simple mission: to provide objective, cost-effective personal financial advice, especially to non-wealthy Americans. Through family and friends, Eric had seen many otherwise intelligent people make horrendous mistakes in managing their money, in part, because the failure of our schools and colleges to teach personal finance.

In addition to his counseling work, Eric also hoped to make an impact in the writing and media fields. Much of the personal finance writing and reporting he saw and heard was biased, jargon-laden and, in some cases, filled with bad advice. For example, rather than telling people the hard truth - that one must live within one's means as a prerequisite to building wealth - many publications offer up hyped and unrealistic "get rich without making sacrifices or taking risk" type approaches.

In addition to his writing and counseling, Eric also taught the nation's most highly attended personal financial management course at the University of California. He has spoken at many corporations and non-profits. His educational background includes having earned his bachelor's degree in economics at Yale and an MBA at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Eric is the only best-selling personal finance author who has an extensive background as an hourly-based financial planner and who does not accept speaking fees, endorsement deals or fees of any type from companies in the financial services industry or product or service providers recommended in his articles, books and his publications.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

468 of 471 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
When I bought the first edition of this book, I was a poor post-graduate loaded with bad debt. At the time, I knew nothing about CD's, funds, stocks, bonds, insurance, 401(k)'s, home-buying, budgeting, saving, debt-reduction, taxes, or any other basic issues of personal finance. All I knew is that I never could seem to "get ahead" financially. Tyson's book led me from this sorry state through four years of self-education and growing self-confidence about controlling my own financial future. Even now, debt-free and market-positioned, I still reference this book when I encounter a new facet of my financial life.
No "get-rich-quick" scheme, Tyson lays out a solid framework for anyone interested in getting and maintaining control of their own financial situation throughout a lifetime. The ideas he lays out help a person not only educate him/herself concerning money, but also instill confidence that a financial situation can be corrected or controlled personally.
Although this book would serve as a valuable reference to ANYONE interested in their own financial future, it would especially be useful to a young person just "starting out" or to any person who feels overwhelmed by their own financial situation.
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58 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Eric Gudorf on February 24, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is the financial equivalent of a weight loss book that rejects fad diets and instead advises you to stick to the fundamentals, such as getting regular exercise and eating more lean foods like fruits and vegetables. In this book, Tyson lays out the basics of personal finance, namely, eliminate "bad" debt, reduce frivolous spending, invest wisely, and start saving for future expenses such as retirement, home ownership, and children's education. He has no agenda to push, so he is free to warn his readers of the risks of taking investment advice from those who do. And it is written in a clear style that is easily understood by even the least financially savvy reader.
Of course, some of his advice will meet with resistance in consumer happy America. For instance, he recommends never buying consumer items such as cars on credit, because the car itself (unlike a house) has no investment potential, and the interest you are paying on the loan is not going to further your own long term financial health. In theory, this makes perfect sense, but in practice, most people simply cannot afford to buy their first car with cash (not if they want a new one) and a used car can be a maintenance nightmare if the previous owner didn't take care of it properly. Other advice is questionable, such as buying your groceries only at "club" stores like Sam's Club. Well, that's nice if you're feeding an army, but most young, single people don't want to buy their peanut butter by the barrel and lug these huge packages up several flights of stairs to their apartments, and will gladly pay a bit more for the convenience of getting goods in quantities they can actually use.
But these minor nitpicks aside, this is a fine introductory work.
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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By J. Grosser on September 23, 2002
Format: Paperback
When I entered the real world fresh out of graduate school, my financial situation was not too healthy, which most new graduates can empathize with. After overcoming the horror of my overwhelming debt, I started reading books on personal finance (a great hobby that is not expensive if you use libraries and friends). Personal Finance for Dummies was a very refreshing, practical book on personal finances. Unlike most books, it gave a lot of necessary PRACTICAL DETAILS in an EASY TO READ fashion. And it was not full of bogus get-rich-quick schemes or attempts to sell a plethora of expensive get-rich-quick products that you "need." If you want down to earth advice, read this book.
The money it took to buy this book and the time it took to read this book were the two best investments I ever made! Two years later, I have investments, and I am almost debt-free. It took a lot of work and a lot more discipline. But without this book, I probably would not have come as far as fast.
Good luck! Jason
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Pumpkin King on April 22, 2001
Format: Paperback
Personal finance is a subject rarely taught in schools, and so it's understandable that many may be uncomfortable when they have to face their financial situations. This book is for those people who feel as though they don't have control over their money and financial goals, and don't know where to turn to in order to get that control. There are many other books out there, mainly motivational, that prey on such readers, but they hardly give any practical or useful advice. Rather, they tell you what you already know intuitively, and make you think that you're hearing it for the first time. You don't gain any more understanding, and you don't change your bad habits.
Eric Tyson helps you to learn about ways to save, invest, and buy insurance. He doesn't fluff up the book with lame, tangential stories. He doesn't try to sound profound when speaking simple truths. He sounds more like a teacher who is just trying to explain the basics of sound financial behavior. If you know a lot about personal finance, there may not be much that is new here; it's a "dummies" book after all. But all the advice is well grounded and he explains it well. Of course, some people will disagree with some things. Perhaps you don't want to invest in mutual funds (which he enthusiastically recommends) and would rather play the market by researching individual companies on their own or day trading according to message board tips. But to advise that would be ridiculous. For all the time and hassle involved, the average person may not realize any returns doing that. For the average person, mutual funds are a very good way of earning healthy returns in the long run, without much effort.
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