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Ask Money

Books recommendations

Chris Farrell May 18, 2010

Question: I love your show and have had fantastic luck with the books you have recommended. In particular I find myself recommending Jane Bryant Quinn’s “Smart and Simple Financial Strategies for Busy People” all the time, which I found on your blog.

I have a good friend who is going through a divorce, and I’m wondering if you have any other recommendations well suited to a divorced, professional, mother of two. She is largely done with negotiating her divorce agreement; the needs lie more in recalibrating her budget and planning for reduced salary and managing raising a family.

Of course, a lot of those challenges are more general than just related to divorce. Thanks in advance! Chris, Madison, WI

Answer: I’m glad the show and the book recommendations are working out for you. That’s good to hear. I have a couple of suggestions.

First of all, it goes without saying that your friend is going through a difficult, emotional time. When it comes to her finances my main recommendation is to stay conservative with her money and to keep her finances as simple as possible. She has enough demands on her time and energy.

Two books that emphasize simplicity with money are my own, The New Frugality: How to Consume Less, Save More and Live Better and Burton Malkiel’s The Random Walk Guide to Investing: Ten Rules for Financial Success. Both books are also fairly short and a quick read. Neither book is geared toward the particular chalenges of divorce, but both will help her stay in control of her finances.

For a much longer, far more detailed approach to personal finances I’d look at Eric Tyson’s Personal Finance for Dummies and Jane Bryant Quinn’s Making the Most of Your Money Now. I’d use these two as reference resources.

I don’t have a specific book to recommend when it comes to divorce and finances, but I do have a website that I like: The self-help legal organization offers solid, well-researched information on all aspects of divorce (and other difficult topics). Janet Bodnar has a good chapter on the financial basics of divorce in her book, Think Single: The Woman’s Guide to Financial Security at Every Stage of Life.

This isn’t a personal finance book, but it’s a wonderful read for anyone going through tough times: Daniel Gilbert’s Stumbling Toward Happiness. It’s learned, wise, and fun–a good combination.

Does anybody else have a recommendation for Chris’ friend?

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