Setting financial goals at year-end is a smart move. But making a list is only the beginning. Knowing how to reach those goals is the challenge, and most of us could use some tips on getting from point A to Z.
There are so many books on personal finance on the market that it can be hard to know where to start, so we asked some of Long Island’s financial gurus to give us some of their top picks.
If you’re drowning in debt, you’re not alone. According to NerdWallet.com’s annual analysis of U.S. household debt, credit card balances carried from one month to the next hit $443 billion in September. Credit card debt has increased nearly 6% in the past year -- and more than 34% in the past five years, according to the analysis.
Determined to get your debt under control? Abby Eisenkraft, enrolled agent and CEO of Choice Tax Solutions in Melville, says to get your hands on a copy of "Own It!: Be the Boss of Your Life -- at Home and in the Workplace" by Tabatha Coffey. “Most people in debt never 'own it.' It's always the fault of someone or something else. You have to step up and take responsibility, and anyone who has seen Tabatha's show ["Tabatha Takes Over'' on Bravo] knows that she makes people take responsibility,” says Eisenkraft.
Joshua Zimmelman, president of Westwood Tax & Consulting in Rockville Centre, says a great book for getting out and staying out of debt is "The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness" by Dave Ramsey. “It will help you develop good financial habits, recognize dangerous money myths that can damage your finances, and save money for retirement and emergencies. It doesn’t rely on gimmicks but gives you a straightforward list of steps to follow.”
First home purchase
Buying a house is one of the biggest financial steps most people take. It requires much preparation to impress a lender. Annie Holdreith, an associate real estate broker and Manhasset sales manager for Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty suggests "Smart Money Smart Kids" by Dave Ramsey and his daughter Rachel Cruze. “The authors make it relatable to both parents and their young adults. Their use of anecdotes provides clear examples and strategies to avoid debt and save money. Understanding money and learning how to save and budget form the best foundation for being able to purchase a home. That makes this a great read for future first-time homebuyers.”
Changing money mindset
There’s something to the Scripture that says, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Money habits are shaped by thoughts and emotions. To move forward financially, come to grips with your attitudes and beliefs about money, and with how they can be a benefit or detriment. Matthew Rapoport, principal and senior wealth adviser with The Colony Group in Babylon, recommends "The Little Book of Main Street Money: 21 Simple Truths That Help Real People Make Real Money" by Jonathan Clements. “Jonathan Clements writes compellingly in plain English that anyone can understand. Many books about investing are simply too complicated. This book is short and engaging. If you give it to someone, they might actually read it. The author writes about our relationship with money. While money does not buy happiness, if we have a healthy relationship with money, it may help us to live happier and more meaningful lives.”
Make more money
Who doesn’t want to make more money? Leslie Tayne, a debt resolution attorney with the Tayne Law Group in Melville, says women in particular should read, "Secrets of Six-Figure Women: Surprising Strategies to Up Your Earnings and Change Your Life" by Barbara Stanny. “She identifies the differences between high-earning women and those that are struggling. She provides tips on boosting not only your paycheck but your self-esteem. Read this if you want to increase your paycheck and feel better about yourself.”