Summer reading is a classic American pastime—as is worrying about money. That is why this summer we turned to financial planners for their go-to summer financial reading recommendations. There is something here for everyone from children to retirees, with accessible advice that often goes beyond managing your money to thinking about how money fits into the rest of your life.
Fundamentals and more
Looking for a good old-fashioned money classic? Try “The Little Book of Common Sense Investing” by John Bogle, the godfather of index investing, a top pick of Marguerita Cheng, a certified financial planner who is the chief executive of Blue Ocean Global Wealth in Gaithersburg, Md. “It offers timeless and trusted advice,” Ms. Cheng says.
Lisa Weil, a certified financial planner with Clarity Northwest Wealth Management in Seattle, seconds Ms. Cheng’s vote, but also suggests that investors read “Your Money or Your Life” by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez. “This book goes beyond investing and helps readers see that in truth, while you might try to game the markets, your best bet is to change the way you think about your money—what you make and where it goes,” Ms. Weil says. “It’s really terrific for helping readers address the fundamentals, think about what matters most to them.”
“A Random Walk Down Wall Street” by Burton Malkiel is another classic Ms. Weil recommends, because it can “help readers understand what makes Wall Street tick—or fail to tick. It is written in an engaging, accessible style and offers lessons from as far back as “tulip mania” in 17th-century Holland.
“I’m a big fan of William Bernstein,” says Abby Morton, a certified financial planner with SagePath Financial Planning in Bangor, Maine. She recommends Mr. Bernstein’s “The Investor’s Manifesto: Preparing for Prosperity, Armageddon, and Everything in Between.”
“It’s a good overview of sound investing strategy for interested novice investors,” Ms. Morton says. “It’s intelligent and well written, but not overly lofty.”
“The Investment Answer” by Daniel Goldie and Gordon Murray is the book Derek Lenington, a certified financial planner at Lenington Financial in Portland, Ore., recommends to clients regardless of their level of financial literacy. “This book remains the most concise and easy-to-read general investment knowledge type of book I’ve found. It also is a size that is not intimidating to most clients—one reading for some,” Mr. Lenington says.
Keith Rauschenberger, a certified financial planner with Rauschenberger Financial Advisors in Hoffman Estates, Ill., also recommends “The Investment Answer,” calling it an “accessible primer.” Another of his top picks is “The Little Book of Main Street Money” by Jonathan Clements. “It provides more than just investment advice,” Mr. Rauschenberger says. “It provides good, basic financial advice—and the introduction alone is worth the read.”
Nearing retirement? Consider George Kinder’s “The Seven Stages of Money Maturity: Understanding the Spirit and Value of Money in Your Life,” says Jake Engle, a certified financial planner at Wealth Planning & Management in Vancouver, Wash. “Kinder provides questions and answers to help people deal with what retirement is really like,” Mr. Engle says, and it isn’t just about the money—it also helps readers “understand that work isn’t your identity and that freedom is a great thing.”
“The New Retirementality” by Mitch Anthony is recommended by Skip Fleming, a certified financial planner at Lodestar Financial Planning in Colorado Springs, Colo. “It provides a modern way to think about and plan for not having to work anymore,” Mr. Fleming says, noting that it offers worksheets for investors to tackle on their own that can be informative in the planning process. “I have clients tell me that the book made them think. Often, it’s more than just money that they need to consider in retirement. The book’s worksheets tend to correspond to planning work I do for them.”
Another pick: “How to Retire Happy, Wild and Free,” by Ernie Zelinski. It’s recommended by Ira Fialkow of Fialkow Financial Planning in West Palm Beach, Fla., for advice on retirement financing and retirement living. “What are you going to do with your time?” Mr. Fialkow asks. “This book helps facilitate the next steps to a fulfilling retirement.”
A simple tale
Last but not least, investors who want to lull children to sleep with a good tale that also instills investment principles should look no further than “Aesop’s Fables,” where the tale of “The Tortoise and the Hare” demonstrates that patience pays, says Michele Clark, a certified financial planner with Clark Hourly Financial Planning and Investment Management in Chesterfield, Mo.
“Slow and steady wins the race. That idea can also be applied to saving for a goal—short-term goals like buying furniture or long-term goals like retirement. Just keep putting a bit away consistently and you will get to the finish line,” Ms. Clark says. “It is an excellent story to read to your children and grandchildren, while a good reminder for ourselves.”