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Your Money: The Missing Manual Paperback – March, 2010
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If you need a book on personal finance, "Your Money: The Missing Manual" is a solid choice. It gets all the important stuff right, and does a great job of distinguishing between that stuff (that you have to get right) and the peripheral stuff (that you can do any of several different ways, as long as you do it).
-- Philip Brewer,
J. D. Roth's book is a much-needed dose of reality in the world of personal finance, and I would strongly recommend it to anyone looking to "clean house" when it comes to their financial affairs.
-- Thomas Duff, --Thomas Duff
Your Money: The Missing Manual is not a cutesy quick-fix for those of you with the 'McDonalds Mentality.' If you're looking for something like that, keep looking. But if you're looking for a real manual, a text book if you will, on money management, spending habits, and the psychological insight needed to understand why we do some of the dunderheaded things we do, this could be your ticket. Your Money The Missing Manual can show you how to get out of debt and to truly understand what makes you, personally, tick. You will learn how to manage your resources so that you can pursue the things/activities that make you truly happy.
-- Artie Alinikoff, --Artie Alinikoff
Your Money: The Missing Manual a good, basic manual on learning how to manage your money in such a way that it doesn't consume you.
-- Miranda Marquit, --Miranda Marquit
If you need a book on personal finance, Your Money: The Missing Manual is a solid choice. It gets all the important stuff right, and does a great job of distinguishing between that stuff (that you have to get right) and the peripheral stuff (that you can do any of several different ways, as long as you do it).
-- Philip Brewer, --Philip Brewer
About the Author
J.D. Roth is an accidental personal-finance expert--a regular guy who found himself deep in debt. After deciding to turn his life around, he read everything he could about money and finance. In 2006, he started the award-winning website Get Rich Slowly, which Money Magazine named the Web's most inspiring personal-finance blog. Over the past four years, Get Rich Slowly has grown into an active community where thousands of readers a month share ideas on how to improve their financial lives. J.D. lives with his wife and four cats in a hundred-year-old house in Portland, Oregon.
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Pros: well-organized, layman's perspective
Cons: lack of originality, heavily laden with redirection to online content
Bottom-line: don't bother buying a printed version, as a large portion of the book references content online. However, an e-book with clickable links could be a decent reference.
Further, Roth's writing is little more than a prism through which other, original authors (principally Dave Ramsey, apparently) are refracted and reformatted. I have read end notes with more substance and fewer refences than much of the body of Mr. Roth's compilation of tiny URL's...ahh, I mean, "book."
The preceding is my honest impression of "Your Money: Missing Manual." It was formed before I had the opportunity to interact personally with Mr. Roth. While that interaction did not affect my opinion of the book, it did motivate me to share that opinion here, for I was previously inlinced to give the author the "benefit of the doubt" that subsequent works would improve upon this poor start.
Mr. Roth has subsequently removed any doubts from which he might have previously benefitted. He is indifferent to the quality of the material he writes, edits, and/or publishes, and committed to manipulating and misrepresenting reader opinion of said material to flatter his work and further his pecuniary interests. So long as his work sells, any future works will be as mediocre as this one, so one might as well stop reading now.
The first half of the book or so is just good common sense spending and budgeting information. There are links to useful services which can help you balance your checkbook and keep track of your monthly finances. There's no shame in reading and learning good practices if you didn't have them growing up, nor is there any harm in reading what you may already know and bringing it to the front of your mind.
I was most impressed with the sections on retirement and investment. I found myself bending down the corners of a lot of pages so I could go back and look later. It explains the two types of IRA and other retirement strategies. You've got links to blogs and articles on finance and even financial/planning calculators. Very helpful. The book doesn't come with a CD, but it has "The Missing CD". On the website you can look up links from the book, downloadable software, and other information related to the book. The book claims to save you $5 by not including a physical CD.
There is one omission in the book that I found a little strange. The author doesn't mention some of the penalties involved in saving. For example, when saving for things like school, you/your parents have to fill out forms disclosing your financial situation. I know from personal experience, if you do get a job and save up money for school it becomes harder for you to qualify for certain student loans and grants. You may actually be penalized for saving "because you have enough money you don't need it."
If you plan ahead in certain ways for retirement, like taking a lower paying job to get a pension, it can restrict your ability to get some Social Security funds, "because you have enough money you don't need it". I'm not making any argument whether it's good to base your financial decisions on things like that or not; the world could change by the time you retire. It's just good to have all the information when making any decisions for your future and I'd have liked to see a chapter or section devoted to that kind of thing.
I've been a big fan of O'Reilly Press for over a decade now, but I'd only read their technical books like CSS: The Missing Manual in the past. I've yet to get a bad book from them. I'm especially liking this Missing Manual series because they are written in a very accessible way. You're eyes aren't going to gloss over looking at tons and tons of raw data, you'll get useful information in a reader friendly format.