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Personal Finance For Dummies, 5th edition Paperback – September 12, 2006

43 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Helps you improve your credit score

"Detailed, action-oriented advice . . . A standout personal finance primer."
—Kristin Davis, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

Need help planning your financial future? You're in luck! This practical guide has been updated to cover college saving options, credit issues, and new tax and bankruptcy laws. You'll also find ways to request and review your credit report. Take control of your finances — so you can live better, spend more wisely, and survive economic downturns.

Praise for Personal Finance For Dummies

". . . provides tremendous insight and guidance into the world of investing and other money issues."
PBS Nightly Business Report

"Tyson doesn't tell you what to do or consider doing without explaining the hows and whys — and the booby traps to avoid — in plain English."
Chicago Tribune

"Smart advice. . . . Rewards your candor with advice and comfort."

Discover how to

  • Set priorities and stick to them
  • Avoid identity theft and scams
  • Make smart investments
  • Protect what you?ve earned
  • Identify the best resources

About the Author

Eric Tyson first became interested in money more than three decades ago. After his father was laid off during the 1973 recession and received some retirement money from Philco-Ford, Eric worked with his dad to make investing decisions with the money. A couple years later, Eric won his high school’s science fair with a project on what influences the stock market. Dr. Martin Zweig, who provided some guidance, awarded Eric a one-year subscription to the Zweig Forecast, a famous investment newsletter. Of course, Eric’s mom and dad share some credit with Martin for Eric’s victory.
After toiling away for a number of years as a management consultant to Fortune 500 financial-service firms, Eric finally figured out how to pursue his dream. He took his inside knowledge of the banking, investment, and insurance industries and committed himself to making personal financial management accessible to all.
Today, Eric is an internationally acclaimed and bestselling personal finance book author, syndicated columnist, and speaker. He has worked with and taught people from all financial situations, so he knows the financial concerns and questions of real folks just like you. Despite being handicapped by an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and a B.S. in Economics and Biology from Yale University, Eric remains a master of “keeping it simple.” An accomplished personal finance writer, his “Investor’s Guide” syndicated column, distributed by King Features, is read by millions nationally, and he was an award-winning columnist for the San Francisco Examiner. He is the author of five national bestselling financial books in the For Dummies series on personal finance, investing, mutual funds, home buying (coauthor), and taxes (coauthor). The prior edition of this book was awarded the Benjamin Franklin Award for best book of the year in the Business category.
His latest book, Mind Over Money: Your Path to Wealth and Happiness (CDS/Perseus), examines the problematic financial habits people engage in and provides proven strategies for overcoming them.
Eric’s work has been featured and quoted in hundreds of local and national publications, including Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Forbes, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine, Parenting, Money, Family Money, and Bottom Line/Personal; on NBC’s Today Show, ABC, CNBC, PBS Nightly Business Report, CNN, and FOX-TV; and on CBS national radio, NPR’s Sound Money, Bloomberg Business Radio, and Business Radio Network.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 5 edition (September 12, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470038322
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470038321
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,057,854 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

60 of 61 people found the following review helpful By M. Anderson VINE VOICE on October 3, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
They don't teach personal finance in schools. In this book, author Tyson teaches what every high school in the nation should teach anyone who plans to earn money.

This book provides excellent advice on how to save your money and how to set your savings and spending priorities. In particular, Tyson takes into account the tax advantages and disadvantages of various approaches, and he gives an easy to implement way to maximize the tax benefits that the government provides to encourage wise financial decisions.

It is true that the author likes Vanguard's mutual funds and his book clearly recommends them (along with some others). He's in good company: Consumer Reports also recommends some of Vanguard's mutual funds, and Vanguard consistently has the lowest costs in the mutual fund industry.

Finally, a word of advice: Avoid, avoid, avoid any book that recommends dubious tax evasion schemes like starting your own fictitious business for the purpose of taking tax deductions on personal expenses. Instead, buy this book and follow Tyson's recommendations on taking advantage of legitimate tax benefits associated with wise saving and spending.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Lisa Shea HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 12, 2007
Format: Paperback
I remember when the Dummies series first came out, and I thought it was a rather insulting title for a book for people to pick up and read. Now, many years later, the series is firmly entrenched in our culture. The books do an extremely good job of laying out the basics in very easy to understand terms on a number of topics. The Personal Finance for Dummies by Eric Tyson really does do a great job of explaining the basics of personal finance.

Now, some might say "oh it's common sense. Don't overuse credit cards. Shop around for the best loan." However, most high school and college students have NO idea how to do these things. Just look at the huge number of people in personal debt. Look at the vast numers who declare bankruptcy, who have no idea what a CD is, who are befuddled by the whole real estate market. This book makes it easy for them. If you have debt, this is a book that can help take you step by step through what your options are and how to work your way towards a financially solvent position.

Yes, the information here isn't million-dollar investment material. That's not what the book says it offers. It gives you a starting-from-the-ground layout of how to get started on your debt reduction, how to start choosing wise ways to save money, how to figure out the savings accounts you need, and hopefully as you go along you'll actually have some free spending money to invest. I remember when I got started out of college, that I was literally living hand to mouth. Each paycheck barely covered the bills I had. Savings? Hah - I needed the security deposit back from one apartment before I could afford to put that money down for my next apartment! I didn't even have a single month's rent saved up.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By S. Bolliger on March 31, 2009
Format: Paperback
Although very simply and accessibly written, this manual just was not what I was looking for. I had been expecting a volume on understanding IRAs, Bonds, Stocks, 401ks and the like, and got a book on budgeting and saving Great for people who need help in that area, but not quite what I wanted.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ms. Fever on February 19, 2007
Format: Paperback
My spouse and I have been making our way through this book systematically. We have found the organization extremely helpful. You won't need to read cover to cover, just the chapters which apply to you. The level of detail is sometimes not as deep as I would have hoped, but the book covers a wide breadth of information and consistently points you in the right direction when your particular cirumstance merits further research. Moreover, you can use this book as a workbook to: 1. get a snapshot of your current financial health, 2. create financial goals, and 3. make a plan of action. The book has given us some accountability. We have weekly "PF4D" meetings where we discuss our 'assigned' readings and discuss what we need to do as individuals (me: reduce spending, him: increase rate of savings) and what we need to do as a couple (get life insurance and increase 401k contributions.) The next week we report on our progress. The language is broadly accessible. The suggestions are sound. Whether you are 20 or 60 this book will have information helpful for you. I actually have an MBA, so I already had a good idea of the state of my personal finances and knew what I should be doing. I just needed a book and a system to help me actually do something about it, and this book has worked for me and my spouse. Though I did learn quite a bit new in the section on how to choose a personal financial advisor, should I need one. (So there are some not so obvious things for you other smarty-pants out there.)
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ian Martin on February 4, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What a wonderful book. I'm 28. When I was younger I received little financial advice from my parents beyond: you should save. But no advice as to how to do that, especially when circumstances in life require you to take on a certain amount of debt. At that point, what I never knew was, when there are ten pots I'm supposed to be putting money into, which one comes first? What do I do with bad financial karma I created as an idiot in college? And to top it off, what about the pipe dreams of a home ownership and retirement?

Tyson's book answered my questions and more. The book starts by having you take stock of where you're at and how to deal with your present circumstances, moves on to creating goals, and then goes about the task of fulfilling them. Through it all he helps lay the basic groundwork for a fundamental education in financial principles and terminology which should be required course for any high schooler and yet...isn't.

This book will probably become annual reading for me every tax season as I examine what I did and where I'm going. If you're like me and suffer a lot of confusion and doubt as to your own financial situation or how to set and fulfill goals for your money, this is the book you want.
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