In the words of P.T. Barnum, “Money is a terrible master but an excellent servant.” These books are sure to help your money serve you better in 2017.
DITCH THE DEBT
Rachel Cruze hates debt. Really hates it. In Love Your Life, Not Theirs, the financial adviser and daughter of money guru Dave Ramsey advises readers to stop trying to keep up with the Joneses and—most importantly—to live debt-free. No credit cards. No car loans.
“[W]hatever you have to give up to live without debt is worth the peace of mind you’ll have and the money you get to keep instead of sending it to the bank,” she argues.
The message is hardcore for a country in love with credit, but Cruze makes a compelling argument for using cash for most purposes, building an emergency fund, saving for the future and donating a healthy portion of your earnings.
“People who love their money and stuff more than they love other people will live small, lonely and ultimately ineffective lives,” she writes.
YOU & YOUR MONEY
Self-described holistic wealth expert Leanne Jacobs views money as something we earn when we open ourselves to it. In Beautiful Money, she details a path to wealth that includes changing our thought patterns about money, building multiple income streams, practicing yoga and (sorry, Rachel Cruze!) building a credit history with a credit card or car loan.
An MBA and former executive, Jacobs clearly knows her stuff. Her unorthodox approach is not for everyone, but it’s full-hearted and sincere. She advises readers to adopt a wealth mantra, such as: Beauty, abundance and grace flow my way every day. Every cell of my body reminds me that I deserve the very best. In the end, she writes, there is one essential truth about money: “How we treat, respect, discuss, use or abuse money is a real-life measure of our own self-worth.”
In Pogue’s Basics: Money former New York Times tech columnist and life hack enthusiast David Pogue shares nifty tricks for holding onto more of your hard-earned cash. By focusing on what he calls “quirks in the system,” Pogue offers some pretty ingenious ways to save, from keeping your tires inflated to reduce gasoline costs, to earning extra cash by signing up for online focus groups. The advice is packaged in a nicely designed, graphics-heavy book that highlights ballpark savings in red.
Pogue’s tips cover virtually every aspect of life, from tech and TV to food and drink. In The Last Legal Tax Dodges, he lists dozens of deductions and tax credits, downright gleeful as he explains 529 plans, charitable giving and home sales profits. “If you made a profit from selling your home after living there at least two years, the first $250,000 of profit is yours, tax free,” he writes. “If you’re married and filing jointly, make that $500,000. Ka-ching!”