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Securing Your Financial Future: Complete Personal Finance for Beginners [Paperback]

Chris Smith

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Book Description

April 16 2012 1442214228 978-1442214224
When it comes to personal finance, the rules may have changed, but the time-tested principles of sound personal financial management haven't. Those starting out on their paths to financial security just need to learn them better and apply them earlier than ever before - ideally, right from the start. Previous generations have had some help in achieving financial security that young people can't count on today: generous employer pensions, steady housing price increases, and a well-funded Social Security program, to name a few. In short, the old "muddle through" approach won't cut it anymore - not even close. A steady income is still a must, but parlaying this into long-term financial security is now an entirely different proposition than ever before. The institutions of the past can no longer be relied upon to handle the process; each person now needs to manage the long-term financial planning and decision making on their own. Fortunately, though, anyone just starting out can still achieve a very strong financial future from almost any income level - but only by doing the right things to make it happen. Those things aren't particularly hard to understand or to do, but it is important to do them right, to do them consistently, and to do them in the right order. Most importantly, if you get an early start, the risks are minimal and the payoff is substantial. But each year that passes, the risks go up and the payoff goes down. If you have just started out in your financial life, or if you are just about to, and you want a complete and practical education in the fundamentals of personal finance for a secure future, then this book is for you. Chris Smith guides readers through the basics of saving, investing, and financial planning in language that is clear, accessible, and lively, making difficult concepts understandable to the novice, and enjoyable to those who already have some understanding. He shows readers how to apply this knowledge, and to avoid the most common pitfalls, to insure the best possible outcome for long-term financial security.

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A Seattle-based author and father of two college-age children offers the basics of personal finance. Budgeting, borrowing, buying — it's all here "in clear, accessible, and lively language." (The Seattle Times)

Beginners befuddled by the morass of available financial advice need look no further—Smith offers a thorough and straightforward approach to personal finance in this clear guide. Though his target audience is folks in their 20s and 30s, readers in all stages of life will benefit from Smith’s insights. Broken up into four sections, the author covers “The Essential Concepts,” “Building Your Foundation,” “Big-Ticket Items,” and finally, “Long-Term Investing.” In addition to explaining basics like credit scores, mortgages, and compounding interest, Smith—a former VP of finance for two of Hewlett-Packard’s global divisions—also suggests ways to work against one’s natural impulses. People often spend, and then save whatever’s left. Smith, however, encourages readers to “Pay Yourself First” (at least 10% of everything you make), and then spend the remainder. While he admits this is nothing new, his frequent insistence on time-honored wisdom backed up by the numbers makes his reasoning particularly convincing. Though highly accessible, this is still an exhaustive introduction to finance, which doesn’t exactly make for light reading; accordingly, Smith provides useful chapter summaries and a valuable index for readers looking to quickly reference specific information. (Publishers Weekly)

Financial security—an impossible dream for young people today? This may be the Age of Economic Anxiety, but Chris Smith explains how making a few good early decisions and sticking to sound principles can put today’s college students on the road to financial success. Required reading for every college student and recent graduate (and for their parents, too). (Mike Veseth, author of Mountains of Debt and Robert G. Albertson Professor, University of Puget Sound)

It isn't easy making financial topics fun to learn, but that's exactly what Chris did for years at HP with his creative approaches and trademark humor. Young adults everywhere: prepare to be entertained and learn how to manage your finances at the same time! (Jim Murrin, Senior Vice President and Corporate Controller, Hewlett Packard Company)

Were I to recommend just one book for a young person just starting his or her financial life, Chris Smith's Securing Your Financial Future would be it. Comprehensive yet lively and easily readable, it covers everything from saving habits to a sound, stone-simple investment strategy; the chapters on the multiple facets of house buying alone are worth the price of the book. It will improve both the peace of mind and bottom lines of its recipients, and it may even make them better people. (William J. Bernstein, Author of The Four Pillars of Investing and The Investor’s Manifesto)

Chris Smith's book is a must-read for all those beginning their financial lives. Indeed, this superb book has clear and compelling guidance for financial decision making throughout life. (Suzanne Nora Johnson, Former Vice Chairman, The Goldman Sachs Group; Board Member, American Red Cross, Women's World Banking)

Young adults today face so many economic pitfalls, including excessive credit card bills, student loans, investing blunders and more. If you're just starting your financial life, or you know someone who is, Securing Your Financial Future can help you or a loved one avoid all those money-draining mistakes that we've all made—and later come to regret. Securing Your Financial Future is truly a life-changing gift for anyone seeking long-term financial security. Best of all, it's chock-full of interesting, sound advice dispensed in a way that makes learning about money matters fun and doable. (Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, Author of the New York Times bestseller Zero Debt and co-founder of the free financial advice blog

The majority of young adults are not taught basic money management either by parents or through school. Consequently, they receive their financial education by attending the School of Hard Knocks. It doesn't have to be that way. Chris Smith's Securing Your Financial Future is the easy to understand and enjoyable primer that shows young adults how to create a strong financial foundation for, as the title says, a secure future. (Melissa Tosetti, Author of Living The Savvy Life)

About the Author

Chris Smith worked for Hewlett-Packard for 27 years, where he held a number of positions in finance before rising to the level of Vice President of Finance for two of HP's global business units, eventually playing a key role in HP's merger with Compaq. He has taught at Florida A&M's School of Business and Industry, where he was presented with an Outstanding Service Award for bringing real-life business experience into the college classroom. He is based in Seattle, and is the single father of two college-age children.   Link to the book's page.  

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.9 out of 5 stars  14 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sound advice and impressively complete May 5 2012
By Rick Van Ness - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I recommend this book. Three things that I like about this book are (1) the advice is sound, (2) he writes well, and (3) the book is impressively complete in the breadth of topics it covers. I wouldn't hesitate giving this to my son and daughter, both in their twenties. Truthfully, at 315 pages (mostly text), I don't see them reading it from cover to cover but rather using it as a good reference book for when buying a car, buying a house, wondering about credit scores, or setting up an investment portfolio. It's impressively complete! Best of all, he gets the big picture correct about the role of money in our lives to secure a healthy and happy future.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read for all college-age kids Jan. 9 2013
By Ken Johnson - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Brilliant Book. Should be required reading for young and old alike. Chris Smith has a wonderful writing style which easily conveys understanding.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Advice and Funny Aug. 21 2012
By L. Garment - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Saving money for retirement wasn't even on my radar until I read this book! Since I'm still in college I thought I didn't really have to worry about saving up for my future or emergencies. Now I know better. This book explains why saving is so important and how to get started. For example, I was able to explain how credit scores work to my roommates when I was done. It's good for a laugh, too! (I actually laughed out loud while reading it.) I loved reading the case studies.

The section about supplemental income was a special eye opener. Now I can tell which people have good financial habits and which are going to be stressed out for a long time coming. (Not me!)

Even though I don't see myself buying a car or house or opening an IRA anytime soon, I can now say that I understand how all of that works and how starting to manage my finances now can have a big impact when the time comes. Best of all, this book got me really excited to save! That sounds silly, but it's true!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good overall - a few criticisms March 13 2013
By Shaun Somers - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
I very much enjoyed this book. I am currently in the position of making the transition from the "1st third" to the "2nd third" of my financial life; and I very much wish I had followed the advice contained within it when I was in my early 20s.
The book is very readable and easy to understand, and I would recommend it to anyone interested in personal finance even though it is targeted at beginners.

One of my only criticisms would be that the author is VERY strong in his recommendation and advice on owning vs. renting a home. His example where he compares two couples who choose the opposite paths is biased, as he makes the renters out to be incompetent money handlers with very little discipline. A fair comparison of rent vs. buy would have the renters start with a potential down payment equal to the buyers; but choose to invest it instead. Then they could also invest the difference between their rent and the higher payments made by the buyers. The buyers will still come out ahead over a 30 year period (usually), but at the expense of mobility and financial liquidity over that period. Much more a lifestyle choice than a financial one.

Still, the house buying portion is only one section of the book - a book that is well worth a read.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read for young adults Oct. 7 2012
By Tim - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book addresses all of the basics you need to understand before planning your financial future. Buy one for every young adult you know; if you care about them.

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