Recommended Books on Financial Planning?
February 28, 2015 1:59 PM   Subscribe

My wife and I are looking for a good book to help us make some better financial plans. We had our first child in the past year and my wife will finish graduate school and start a job in a few months. Accordingly, we'd like to redo our financial plans, and we'd like a book to help guide us.

Specifically, we're looking to figure out how much we should be saving for retirement, how much we should be saving for college for our daughter, and whether we should consider buying a house versus renting (we live in the SF Bay Area, so houses are very expensive, but so is rent). Ideally, what I'd like is a book that comes with a software tool for doing projections of all these things.

Also, if anyone has recommendations of good financial planners in San Francisco, that would be welcome.
posted by pombe to Work & Money (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Check out Dave Ramsey's website and podcast.
The bad news is, living thin the SF Bay area throws all good sense regarding finances out of the window. You need at least $160k per year just to rent a condo or half rotten house and "survive" in that area. Let alone save...

We just sold our condo and bought a 3 acre property with a house not far from the Ocean in Southern California. The Bay area is insane....

Good luck!
posted by Mac-Expert at 2:29 PM on February 28, 2015 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I cannot recommend Dave Ramsey. He is one of those evangelical prosperity theologians, a grifter after your money. Yeah, I hear lots of people say he helped them get out of debt, but that is only so he can sell you on his investment schemes that make him, not you, rich.

I would suggest taking a look at and perusing their recommended book list. The book list is just part of an extensive wiki that covers all aspects of finance and investing in a readable manor. Bogleheads is the largest volunteer, non-commercial finance blog on the web anywhere.
posted by JackFlash at 9:34 AM on March 1, 2015 [4 favorites]

Elizabeth Warren wrote books with her daughter Amelia Warren Tyagi: All Your Worth and The Two-Income Trap. I had to buy the former used online, but it's not terribly old. It's got worksheets for percentages of your income that should go to particular places, and is flexible based on your priorities. It was also good about saying things step by step, in a hierarchy. It's written in an approachable, sensible style that manages to be friendly, too.

I was hesitant about the Dave Ramsey books because of the evangelical connotations -- aside from prosperity gospel stuff, many evangelicals seem to have religious components tied into their willingness to hold debt and other stuff. I didn't see that in his book, but I felt like it was just one big long "you should really get rid of your debt" message. Yeah, that'd be nice, dude. HOW do I get rid of my debt? The Snowball Method seemed a little simplistic, because -- as I've found -- you have to think strategically about amassing money for a down payment or similar while you're paying down debt.
posted by St. Hubbins at 4:17 PM on March 1, 2015

Yeah I agree about the evangelical prosperity part. I tune out on that. But he still has good points.
posted by Mac-Expert at 1:27 PM on March 2, 2015

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