Looking for a gift that will keep on giving? With the year wrapping up and the gift-wrapping set to begin, here are some personal finance books for the special people in your life. Young or not-so young, wealthy or struggling, happy or not quite so, there's something for everyone here.
The Investment Answer, by Daniel Goldie and Gordon Murray (Business Plus, 2011)
The product of a forward-thinking financial advisor and a former Wall Street honcho, this book is remarkable for the intersection of its authors' perspectives. Dan Goldie is an investor 'outsider', bucking the conventional Wall Street wisdom with his focus on a passive investment approach. Gordon Murray was a Goldman Sachs alumnus who, after 25 years playing for the big boys, retired and realized he had no idea how to invest his own money. Murray sought out Goldie and it changed his life. This book, called 'a dying banker's last instructions' by the New York Times (Murray passed away from a brain tumor shortly after the book's publication) is filled with compelling advice from a man who saw both sides of the street and knew where the dark shadows lurked.
The Behavior Gap, by Carl Richards (Portfolio Hardcover, 2012)
The inimitable 'Napkin Guy', Carl Richards doesn't just like to scribble investment concepts on squares of cloth with a sharpie. He has an uncanny knack for distilling a large truth about irrationality (which, left unchecked, almost always trumps rationality) into diagrams everyone can understand. This is his first book, and each page could be reprinted and pinned up around your house. If he can't manage to crystallize one irrational aspect of your relationship with money, I'll eat your New Year's tinfoil hat.
Money, A Love Storyby Kate Northrup (Hay House, 2013):
"You are enough. You are worth it." This is one of Kate's go-to phrases, and it sums up many of her observations about self-worth and its direct tie to financial wellbeing. Through self-denial, waiting for a financial savior or just rejecting help in favor of prolonged ignorance we can neglect ourselves, and the effect that neglect has on our finances is real. The book's many exercises will help you get out of debt and make use of your most precious asset: time. Before you think about asset allocation and portfolios, Kate's insights will help you approach money and wealth from a position of strength.
Can I Retire? By Mike Piper (Simple Subjects, LLC, 2013)
A slim volume (122 pages) this is a no fuss, no muss accounting of retirement and your goals. Mike's pragmatic approach and long-view perspective are ideal for Millenials who, he often notes, are quite conservative in their approach to investing, perhaps too much so. A terrific primer for anyone, this might be just the ticket for the loved one in your life who has the tools to learn investing but hasn't yet started. But don't stop there - read it yourself, no matter what your age. This has become my go-to recommendation for anyone, of any age, who has ever asked, "Can I retire?"
On My Own Two Feet: a modern girl's guide to personal finance, by Manisha Thakor and Sharon Kedar (Adams Business, 2013, 2nd edition)
'Tis the season for. . . self-promotion! All kidding aside, I'm very proud of this second edition of my first book, updated for the post-Lehman world. I wouldn't suggest it for your gift lists if I wasn't convinced of its value. Give this to your daughter, niece or protégé who has the smarts and the drive but may still be lacking the financial savvy required to make the most of money in a tough, new world. If you're still searching for answers, heck, give it to yourself: you have the right to understand money and make it work for you!
[This post originally appeared at MoneyZen.com. Photo credit Louis Leray]. For more MoneyZen in your life, follow Manisha on Twitter at @ManishaThakor, on Facebook at /ManishaThakor, or sign up to receive Manisha's MoneyZen blog via email by clicking here.