Revolutionize your finances in 2017 with these books

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It's that time of year again, when you eagerly jot down your financial New Year's Resolutions … then break them by the end of January. So make this year a little different by ordering these 12 personal finance books to make your resolutions simple. Read one a month to thoroughly examine every corner of your money situation, from retirement to daily spending. Then decide what you're going to do to change it. Here's our pick of the latest personal finance books, all available on, to help you overhaul your finances in 2017:

1 Pogue's Basics: Money – David Pogue

Published: December 2016

St Martin’s Press: US$13.38

Better known as a technology writer, this is the third of Pogue’s snappy little books of hacks, the others being on technology and on life.

Never pay full price for Gap or Banana Republic, he says, as they run 40 per cent off sales every couple of months. Pay for insurances and utility bills on cashback credit cards to get something back. Don’t buy extended warranties – statistically, products fail soon after purchase. And shop around for sites that buy up unwanted gift cards to buy them at a discount.

If you used all of his 150 tips, says Pogue, you’d end up US$61,195 better off. It has to be worth Dh73 to find out if you can get even a tenth of those savings.

2 The 100 Best Stocks to Buy in 2017 – Peter Sander & Scott Bobo

Published: December 2016 US/January 2017 UK

Adams Media: $13.35

A straightforward book of stock recommendations with a good pedigree. This series has been running since 2000, and has been written by the investment writer Peter Sander since 2010, with the analyst Scott Bobo joining as co-author from 2012.

Although the authors acknowledge that the selection-to-publication process takes six months, they say the businesses they pick are “not apt to change a whole lot” as they generally pick established companies with sustainable performance.

As one librarian reviewer says, “There is this mistaken view that if you ‘Google it’, you have done your research. The authors of this work know how to do financial research.”

The book claims to choose picks that have “beaten the S&P average seven years in a row” and includes some recommendations on exchange-traded fund (ETFs) – as well as a performance review of their previous year’s stock picks. That’s putting your money where your mouth is.

3 The Real Book of Real Estate – Robert Kiyosaki

Published: December 2016

Plata Publishing: $13.30

There are 26 books in Kiyosaki's Rich Dad series, and this reprint of a 2009 book includes advice from 21 other real estate experts (including his wife Kim and the new US president-elect, Donald Trump). As with all his books, diehard fans will tell you this is informative and motivational, while critics say there are not enough formulas or data.

Each expert takes a chapter to talk about their specialist subject – from building an entire development to accounting. Mr Trump talks about his first big deal, a 1,200-apartment block in Ohio; there’s also a chapter from his sons Donald Jr and Eric, and the reprint is perfectly timed to coincide with Mr Trump taking office.

If you are looking to get into real estate investment, this probably won’t provide you with huge amounts of actionable information, but may help you investigate new options, from commercial property to foreclosures.

4 The Art of Frugal Hedonism – Adam Grubb & Annie Raser-Rowland

Publishing: January 2017

Melliodora Publishing: $15.29

Our houses are three times bigger than in the 1950s (at 83 square metres per person) and our debt has quadrupled in 70 years. We seem unhappier than ever and the authors reckon it’s time to get frugal to work less and frolic more. It’s certainly a highly appropriate book for the UAE lifestyle.

Here are some ideas from the book: order an espresso and make it last an hour; maintain your material goods – oil your bike chain, sharpen your knife blades; don’t go “fake frugal” and buy cheap, disposable goods, and limit the number of choices to cut your stress levels.

Advertisers spend $1,000 annually per person hitting you with sophisticated messaging, so step back and learn to relish experiences and spend less, the authors say.

5 Think and Grow Rich: The Original – Napoleon Hill

Published: December 2016

Napoleon Hill Foundation: $17.95

Probably one of the best-selling books of all time, Think and Grow Rich ("for men and women who resent poverty" – a line guaranteed to appeal to everyone) has sold 80 million copies since it was first printed in 1937 by the Depression Era author. This is a reproduction of his own copy of the first edition – a good bit of marketing behind yet another reprint.

Hill interviewed more than 500 successful businessmen of the day, including Andrew Carnegie, Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, John D Rockefeller and Henry Ford, to understand how they made it.

Wealth, he says, is rarely coincidence but the result of traits and skills anyone can learn, as long as they can overcome their own psychological barriers to wealth. If you prize motivational books, this is the original.

6 The Automatic Millionaire — David Bach

Published: December 2016

Crown Business: $11.28

Bach's Finish Rich series has sold more than seven million copies; this book, now expanded and updated, was first published in 2003.

Bach calls his model the “tortoise approach”. The premise is uber-simple: automation. That is, have money taken straight out of your account after payday and whisked away into your savings. He says it’ll take you an hour or two to set up then 10 minutes a month to monitor.

There’s nothing ground-breaking here but, as Bach says, this is what you should have been taught in school – like compound interest – but weren’t. And perhaps we still need the basics; he says that half of Americans have less than $25,000 in savings, while one in five has nothing at all.

But put away even $10 a day and you could soon be laughing all the way to the bank thanks to the magic of compound interest.

7 The Sale of a Lifetime: How the Great Bubble Burst of 2017-2019 Can Make You Rich – Harry S Dent Jr

Publishing: January 2017

Portfolio: $20.46

The founder of Dent Research, Dent studies demographic and geopolitical trends after a career as a Bain & Company consultant.

He says we’re due for another big bubble burst (“the worst you will see in your lifetime”) after a six-year bull market, just as the Great Depression came after the Roaring 20s and the Great Recession followed the “Roaring 2000s”.

He says it’s now time to “shed the excesses” and “prepare the soil for new blossoming in innovation and a spring boom”.

Italy, he says, is about to become the next Greece and spell the end of the euro zone, while China will crash by the end of 2017 – as will gold. If you’re going to buy stocks, he says, stick to pharmaceuticals, health and wellness.

If you think he’s got it right, now is a good time to read up on what to do to mitigate the effects until 2022, when he calculates the markets will steady.

8 Millionaire Teacher – Andrew Hallam

Publishing: January 2017

Wiley: $22.95

Few people, says Hallam, would choose to become a teacher to become wealthy – yet he did and still became a debt-free millionaire in his thirties. Money is taboo in families, he says, and financial literacy is not taught at school – so this book will help you change that.

Hallam shows he’s just like you and me by admitting to having once been sucked into a Ponzi scheme, losing $7,000 personally and $25,000 in a shared investment club.

His rules are to spend less, invest in low-cost index funds instead of actively managed funds, build a balanced portfolio, avoid schemes that “tickle your greed button” and, if you must buy stocks, do it with a small percentage of your portfolio.

As a Singaporean expat himself, there’s even a specific section on “roboadvisor” funds for Americans, Canadians, Australians, Singaporeans and Britons.

9 How to Make Your Money Last: The Indispensable Retirement Guide – Jane Bryant Quinn

Publishing: January 2017

Simon & Schuster: $11.25

With millions realising their pensions won’t take them through an extended old age, make 2017 the year to plan your retirement savings to ensure your money doesn’t run out before you do. On average, you’ll reach your mid-to-late 80s, so map out your investments wisely.

The veteran finance writer Quinn says you should look at your retirement as a time of two halves, with different savings goals (bonds for liquidity, stocks for growth), and an investment plan simple enough that you should be able to manage it yourself.

You should invest in just two or three funds (never individual stocks), she says, have a two-year cash reserve and withdraw about four per cent of your savings pot (which doesn’t include your real estate) annually to ensure it lasts you 30 years.

10 What Your Financial Advisor Isn't Telling You – Liz Davidson

Publishing: January 2017

Mariner Books: $16.95

This is not an expose of financial advisers, Davidson hastens to point out. But as the chief executive of a company that provides “unbiased financial guidance” to staff as part of companies’ employee benefits packages, she knows that nobody cares about your money as much as you do. An employee can lose as much as $1m over a career, she calculates, by not taking advantage of benefits – but there is no incentive for most commission-based financial advisers to warn you about this. Obviously this is more of an American phenomenon, based on employees choosing their own health care and pension, but much of what Davidson has to say is still salient for the Gulf-based.

She offers advice on how to cut through debt faster, how to work through financial issues with your partner, how to track your worth quarterly and how to spot bogus advisers. The appendix holds a checklist to work through in a “Financial Independence Day”, to get you going.

11 Worth It – Amanda Steinberg

Publishing: February 2017

North Star Way: $26

Daily Worth has become the go-to finance site for American women and now its founder has written a book about how to hit the financial reset button. You can’t afford to fall into a “money coma”, she says – after all, 90 per cent of women in the US will be on their own financially at some point. Steinberg sets an excellent money quiz for you to understand your own “money story” and beliefs, as well as detailing different spending personalities, from the luxury-loving Epicure to the diligent Producer. Then get to know your net worth and build your roots (long-term investments) and wings (your income and cash) to fit. There are good finance nuggets: your returns should double every decade, and put away 10 times your salary for retirement. But mostly she warns, don’t end up doing nothing, as inaction is the biggest risk of all. That’s certainly a New Year’s resolution to follow.

12 Make Your Kid A Money Genius (Even If You're Not) – Beth Kobliner

Publishing February 2017

Simon & Schuster: $19.99

With financial literacy so poorly taught at schools, here's your chance to get a jump-start on this vital area of your child's education. A former staff writer at Money magazine, Kobliner has served on Obama's advisory council for children's financial literacy. The top influence on kids' money habits is their parents, she says, which are formed by the age of seven.

Don’t overshare money mistakes, she says, or fight with your spouse over money in front of your children. And never tell them you don’t have the money for something they want, she warns – they know you have credit cards. Just explain that you don’t need to spend that money now. Kobliner looks at the right age to give your child a credit card and whether you should give them an allowance – or push them to get a part-time job. A great book to help you teach your child a vital skill.

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