Throwing around the idea of writing a personal finance book

I’ve mentioned the idea about writing a personal finance book to a couple people, but I thought I’d get some feedback from all of you. I’ve become a bit of a personal finance nut over the past year and it took me a while to figure out what was relevant to me as a 20-something and young investor. I sifted through a lot of information and found things that I think people coming out of college or starting a career would want to hear. I want to write what I wish I had a couple of years ago: a book that explores important personal finance topics in an easy to understand way.

The outlining I’ve done so far has the book broken into one part on saving for retirement and a second part on more general personal finance topics. There’s a lot of ground to cover, but each topic discussion would be concise and useful. For example, I would cover Roth and Traditional IRAs, the differences between the two and then provide enough analysis to help the reader figure out which fits them best. I think a big goal of the book would be to help people get a grasp on their financial situation and make smart, informed decisions with their money and about their future.

At this point I think a book would be the best option to contain everything I’m planning to cover. I thought about writing a running series of blog posts, but the topics are going to be tied together enough where it would be annoying to have to constantly say “remember what I talked about in this other post”. In a book format I’d know exactly what the reader has already read. I’d be able to build upon previous ideas and really tie things together when it comes to talking about strategies and the bigger picture.

So I guess my question is, would you be interested in reading a book about personal finance and investing targeted at a younger crowd who still has 30-40 years until retirement?

6 thoughts on “Throwing around the idea of writing a personal finance book”

  1. I would say go for it. The only thing I would look for is an interesting way to present it. If you do a quick search for “personal finance” on Amazon you can see there are a ton of personal finance books already…so the question is, what will make yours different?

    I think if you find some unique angles on different topics, then give it a go. I can’t say I’ve read any of the “personal finance for Dummies” or “complete idiots guide” etc, but I bet it’s worth a look to see what they’ve included, and perhaps find something they haven’t covered, or maybe how you could cover it better.

  2. i think that’s a great idea. i’m with nathan, an interesting way of presenting it is what would draw me to a book about personal finance. i think you should write it for sure, and my suggestion as far as finding unique angles and such like nathan said, is that you don’t hesitate to put your own personality into it. finances has always seemed like a pretty dry topic to me. but in general, when i hear you talk or read what you write, you seem to have a way of adding just enough humor to your knowledge about things to make them interesting without taking away at all from the credibility of your opinion…if that makes sense. haha.

    i guess what i’m saying is, i like hearing your opinion about things because a) you have a kind of confidence that is inviting and trustworthy and b) there’s often some biting wit in there that leaves me thinking “haha, man he is hilarious…..and he’s so obviously right.”

    so…i would totally read that book. go for it!

  3. Thanks Amy. I’d probably try and insert a good amount of humor and wit without coming across as snarky.

    A few “young” investor books that I looked at were talking about stuff like investment clubs, “ten sources of instant cash” and rental properties. None of those have any place in a book for people starting out and would make me reluctant to recommend them to anyone. For example, investment clubs were invented by people in cubicles who had delusional fantasies about being day traders and making mad money with their hot stock tips. I lolz to myself when I hear people talk about them at work.

    After the housing bubble and recession I think there will be place for a book that takes how things have been done for the past 30 years, throws it all out the window and starts clean. I think a lot of the fundamentals of the economy are going to be changing and younger people will want to hear something that reflects this. Our generation’s quick adoption of technology also plays a big part into how we operate. I don’t know about everyone else, but I do all my banking and stuff online and I actually get annoyed when I get something in the snail mail. I know I’m weird.

    Once I get some free time I’ll finish flushing out my outlines, do some prewriting and see where it leads.

  4. I would most definitely read the book. My own personal finances and the future of such is something that I am completely in the dark on. Also, by the time you got the book out I would be a prime candidate for your target audience.

    I say go for it.

    As far as the illustrations go… do them using magic cards. Come on, you know you want to.

  5. First- Thanks for the my-links widget!

    As someone considerably older than you I can tell you that you know next to nothing about the real world ( at 24 you’re not in any real position to advise anyone on financial matters unless you happen to be series 63 or 65 certified and working in the money mines on Wall Street.) At your age (and I was no different) your potential and optimism shield you from many of the harsh truths of life. Your desire to write a book is noble, but likely misguided.

    Complicating matters is the fact the financial world is undergoing upheaval and many of the growth based paradigms Wall Street used for decades are being destroyed. Are you so well versed in financial lingo that you can lead others out of the darkness?

    On a daily basis you should read

    http://www.calculatedriskblog.com
    globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com

  6. William,

    Your comment is extremely condescending and is a good example of the ageism I run into at work. I’m not trying to “lead others out of the darkness” or give financial advice, just want to lay out the basics for people my age who really have no idea what’s going on. And based on your IP address I’m assuming you’re in the academic world which would explain why you are so hung up on the importance of being a subject matter expert. Why would I need to work on Wall Street or be old or be well versed in financial lingo to present useful information and ideas. Lingo is no problem for me, I have to translate technical lingo into layman’s terms everyday.

    Now if you think there’s something else I should be doing besides investing in low-cost index funds, maintaining an emergency fund and waiting to buy a house until the market in my area stabilizes then I’m all ears. Written anything that would give us youngsters insight into your great old wisdom?

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