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Personal Finance For Dummies Paperback – 15 Jun 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; 7th Edition edition (15 Jun. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1118117859
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118117859
  • Product Dimensions: 18.8 x 2.6 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 462,260 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

From the Back Cover

The fast and easy way to achieve your financial goals

Renowned personal finance expert Eric Tyson combines his time–tested financial advice with updated strategies to give you everything you need to protect your financial future. You′ll get concrete, action–oriented guidance for tracking expenditures, reducing spending, getting out of debt, investing wisely, saving for college and other events, and financially surviving life′s unexpected twists and turns.

  • Assess your fitness and set goals improve your financial literacy, measure your financial health, find out where your money goes, and set your monetary goals

  • Save more, spend less get practical advice on how to deal with debt, reduce your spending, and tame those daunting taxes

  • Build wealth with wise investing discover how you can boost your personal wealth with real estate, mutual funds, and more

  • Protect what you′ve got find out how to get insurance coverage for all of your assets at the best price

  • Where to go for more help get helpful guidance on working with financial planners, using your computer to manage your money, and seeking (and avoiding) financial media outlets

"Provides tremendous insight and guidance into the world of investing and other money issues."
PBS Nightly Business Report

"Smart advice . . . rewards your candor with advice and comfort."

Open the book and find:

  • The best ways to reduce, minimize, and eliminate debt

  • Smart ways to use credit and qualify for the best loan terms

  • Advice, reviews, and dangers of "free" online personal finance content

  • New and pending changes to tax laws

  • Tips for buying the right insurance

  • Strategies for investing in your home and other real estate

  • How to make sense of the news and various financial resources

Learn to:

  • Evaluate and manage your financial fitness

  • Save more and spend less

  • Assess your credit report and improve your score

  • Make smart investments in any economic environment

About the Author

Eric Tyson ( is an internationally acclaimed and bestselling personal finance book author, syndicated columnist, and speaker. He is also the author of Investing For Dummies and coauthor of Home Buying Kit For Dummies, both national bestsellers.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Gavin Saunders on 26 July 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I bought this book after leaving a career to go back to University. Not being able to rely on the next pay cheque made me have to 'lean' my finances and I thought this book would help. Idiot me for not reading it properly before buying it. While the basic advice is sound, and stands up across the globe, all the specifics are for the US market only. Unfortunately this also affects the basic advice as comparisons of good debt over bad debt are working on foreign interest rates, advice on taxation takes into account state and federal tax, advice on pensions is based on a VERY different system etc. etc.

Good book for broad knowledge I guess, but in essence I have started leaning my finances by wasting 11 quid on an American book...
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 77 reviews
26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
A good book, but probably not worth it if you have another in the series 28 Feb. 2013
By Jonathan - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'm coming at this book from a somewhat unique perspective. I recently read the same author's Personal Finance in Your 20s For Dummies. In fact, Mr. Tyson has written a range of finance-related "For Dummies" books.

I'm not saying this book is bad; far from it. It contains a plethora of pertinent, practical information. However, after finishing a read-through, it felt like I had already read about 75% of the information before.

If you are looking into a book to make personal finance easier to grasp, this is it. However, if you have already read one of Tyson's other books, be forewarned that you will be treading over much of the same ground.
52 of 64 people found the following review helpful
You Can Safely Pass On This One 22 Aug. 2012
By Gregory McMahan - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Personal Finance for Dummies seemingly begins well and like all other books in the Dummies series, it reads easily. The book consists of twenty-two (22) chapters organized into six (6) parts, with a glossary of key terms and an index. Also, like other Dummies books, it has an abbreviated and an extended table of contents, allowing the reader to partake in the book's contents out-of-sequence and to focus solely on the topics of interest.

The book contained just enough good points to leave intrepid readers that finish it with the impression, beyond the impressive heft of the text (it has some 460 pages), that they got something for their precious time and valuable money. Readers new to the topic of personal finance, the target audience of the book, will benefit to a limited extent from its contents. Old hands to the topic, however, will find the book's length daunting, its execution frustrating and the content problematic.

Still, the book did possess a few notable merits, particularly its wholehearted encouragement to the reader to 1) investigate all financial products and information before making a decision and 2) develop a healthy skepticism towards financial information. For this the book deserves high praise.

However, these two merits failed to overcome the book's principal demerits, which include, among other things, too much self-promotion, a preachy tone, too many ill-conceived biases and poorly considered advice based on flawed assumptions. The book generally fails as a personal financial guide because of a number of dubious assumptions- some explicit, but many implicit- that the author makes throughout the text. The book also fails because the author chose to use it more as a promotional platform for his website and his previous books in the Dummies series (he's written several on various sub-topics of personal finance), and less as an informative guide to all things having to do with personal finance.

This latter point warrants more elaboration, as there were many instances when reading the book that a particular topic, such as protecting oneself from identity theft (chapter 22), piqued my interest; yet, the author either fails to provide specifics beyond a few general comments, or he simply inserts a direct reference to his website or a book (more often than not, one that he wrote) for more information. I became very interested in obtaining a `credit freeze' after reading his description of the product, but Tyson failed to reveal specifics- in particular, which states offer it (either to fraud victims or to those careful consumers seeking to restrict access to their credit file), what to do and where to go to get it.

This also raises another bone of contention with the book. Although the book did provide a fair share of good, solid general advice, it also lacked specifics on practical implementation. A few examples will suffice to demonstrate this principal demerit. The author exhorts readers to live below their means and to be frugal. However, he shares no practical steps, beyond getting warehouse club memberships, as to how to go about doing it. I found this a glaring omission, given all of the interest in and proliferation of coupon websites, books on frugal living and price comparison websites- just three of several ways to save money. Nor does he offer any useful references on this. He also tells readers to seek out ways to become more of a valued employee at work. Apart from the potentially erroneous assumption that employers value the individual contributions of all workers (this recession seems to strongly indicate otherwise!), he does not share any practical specifics on how to do this, either. This is yet another omission, given that there is now a plethora of online learning and training venues where one can learn valuable information and pick up useful (and potentially transferable) skills, such as edX and Coursera, among others. Tyson also tells the reader to explore turning a hobby into a side business venture, or even a full-time, paid pursuit in place of a day-job. Yet again, he offers no specific advice on just how to go about doing this. Tyson also talks about dividend reinvestment plans for stocks, again in very general terms, but then does not offer any sources for further information, no lists of stocks that have such plans, and no list of books (and there are several, such as All About DRIPs and DSPs, All About Dividend Investing, Second Edition (All About Series), and The Pocket Idiot's Guide to Direct Stock Investing ) or websites that tell you which stocks offer these plans, provide plan details and how to enroll. These examples clearly indicate that the book would have benefitted from a detailed, comprehensive resources section at the end, either as a standalone chapter, or as a series of appendices.

Overall, the book makes for an unsatisfactory introduction to the topic of personal finance. It also came across as a bit behind the times, or rather more to the point, not fully in step and completely cognizant of the troubling and desperate times that many of us now face. For a book aiming to be topical and relevant, making no mention of those things that seemingly dovetail with the author's stated biases, such as couponing, bartering for goods and services, renting assets on a time-use basis as opposed to owning them and buying used, seems to me like Tyson fell off the economic radar for the last five years, given the global recession and US housing debacle and whatnot (it also occurred to me that he recycled material from the other six editions of this tome without bothering to update it much). This book could have benefited from the inclusion of one or more appendices that provided useful resources, from books to websites, as well as contact information for things like the credit bureaus mentioned in Part One, the various consumer protection agencies at the state and federal level, useful forms and form letters to use when dealing with creditors or settling disputes with creditors, among other things. This alone would have done much to elevate the book's value to something close to its exorbitant asking price. I suggest that readers interested on the topic of personal finance take a pass on this book and instead pick up either The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness or The Total Money Makeover Workbook or the most recent (and age-relevant) edition of The Complete Idiot's Guide To Personal Finace.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
moderately disapppointed 26 Dec. 2012
By vkapur - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The advice was overall good, but I was expecting more detail. For instance, in the saving in retirement accounts section, the advice is so basic that it is even less useful than a Wikipedia definition. It quickly summarizes only some of the rules and leaves the reader confused. In discussing ETFs and mutual funds, it would be helpful if the author highlighted certain funds. Yes, that would entail some risk for the author, but the book was purchased to gain some insight and value out of it. The advice rarely ventures beyond the generic.

It's almost like the book was written to tempt us to go and purchase a subscription to the author's website which is mentioned repeatedly. Ironically, the author criticizes various for cost subscriptions, but does not hesitate in promoting his own subscription based website.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
I wish I had read this 10 years ago 16 Nov. 2012
By MarquisMark - Published on
Format: Paperback
I give this book a large share of credit for putting me back on the right path financially.

About 4 or 5 years ago, I started to enter my early 30's with the very uncomfortable realization that my knowledge of financial matters was severely lacking. I wasn't a reckless spender by nature, but I was just making bad decisions with money. I had been carrying a couple thousand dollar balance on a credit card for the previous 6 years, I would finance any large consumer purchase I needed to make, and (just for good measure), I was refusing to participate in a fully matched 401(k) program at work because I didn't want to lose the money out of my paycheck. All of this prohibited me from accumulating real savings of any kind during my 20's.

So in an effort to educate myself and remedy the problem, I picked up this book and read it. I found it to be immensely helpful.

Like many books in the Dummies franchise, Personal Finance provides a very broad overview of many of the major factors that a person should know about. It may not give as much detail on certain subjects as you would like, but Tyson lists many other sources and additional reading that you can follow up on if you wish to. I learned many helpful things in this book, especially the importance of paying off consumer credit cards, knowing how to distinguish between good and bad debt, and the overview of mutual funds and investing.

Now, 5 years later, I can say things are different: I have gotten rid of all my consumer debt and put together a 6-month emergency fund. I now take advantage of my employer's 401(k) and I have been maxing out my own Roth IRA for the last 3 years. I've saved a nice bit of money towards retirement...more than I could imagine would be possible just a few years ago. But more than anything, I now feel like I am in control of my finances, rather than being controlled by them.

If you are in your early 20's now, do yourself a favor and read this book. You will thank yourself in 15 years...
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
This books makes finance easy to understand and apply. Highly recommended. 2 Nov. 2013
By spacecarrot - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've always been fascinated with personal finance, and have tried my own strategy by reading up online. I finally came to terms that I should get a book and lear about it after reading the reviews - and i'm so glad I did! there were a lot of things I wasnt aware of and I was about to learn AND apply the knowledge right away. Actually am making way more using the knowledge than had I not spent the $15 for the book.
I liked it so much I got another copy for my sister who hates finance. I never thought she would pick up a book and learn about finance, but wow, was I wrong!
Highly recommended!
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