Thursday, December 4, 2008

Money-Minded Gifts: Finance Books

Holiday gift shopping may be hurting more than your checking account this winter. A new study shows that Christmas shopping increases blood pressure to dangerous levels in 50% of holiday shoppers. When researchers tested men and women after having them buy gifts, women were three times more stressed than they had been before shopping.

It's hard enough to try to find the perfect gift, and braving crowds and cold weather can make shopping feel especially stressful. When you combine these factors with a tighter budget, it's no wonder that shoppers' heart rates increase by 10% while shopping during the holiday season . But if you're feeling financial pressure, chances are the people you're shopping for are experiencing similar money-related stress. So why not channel your shopping anxiety into a helpful, money-minded gift? This week, we're taking a look at finance books. In 2008, 52% of consumers' New Years resolutions were related to getting out of debt. Help your friends and family get a jump start on improving their financial situations by giving them a personal finance book this holiday season.

Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance in Yours 20s and 30s by Beth Kobliner:
This book is a smart choice for any person who is new to managing her finances or who is interested in managing her finances in a more responsible way. Get a Financial Life is exceptionally thorough but never dull or overwhelming. For the most time-strapped readers, Kobliner offers a "Financial Cramming section" at the end of each chapter to summarize the chapter's most important ideas.

The Number: A Completely Different Way to Think About the Rest of Your Life by Lee Eisenberg

The number is a less a retirement guide than a reflection on issues facing the aging population. Eisenberg is a journalist, not a financial planner, but his experience writing on the topic is evident. According to Eisenberg, everyone should be thinking about his or her "Number," which is the amount of money required to meet an individual's expectations for life in retirement.

Smart and Simple Financial Strategies for Busy People
by Jane Bryant Quinn
Jane Bryant Quinn is informative and charming in this book. She covers all the bases, but perhaps the most helpful chapter is "Putting Your Whole Financial Life on Cruise Control"-- the idea being that money saved automatically is less likely to be spent frivolously. Shifting to automatic saving can save you both time and money. Quinn's personal stories of struggling with debt make this both an enjoyable and worthwhile read.
Next Week's Money-Minded Gift: Online Savings Accounts (coming Thursday)

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