The Little Book of Main Street Money PDF

The Little Book of Main Street Money

The Little Book of Main Street Money PDF (21 Simple Truths that Help Real People Make Real Money)- In this book, Clements brings us back to basics, with commonsense suggestions for intelligent money management. Chock-full of financial guidance that will stand up in any market, the book also reflects a financial philosophy that Clements has developed over a lifetime of watching Wall Street and writing about money―and that is even more important in the current volatile market.

Category: Personal finance

Author: Jonathan Clements

William J. Bernstein

Language: English

Free download link: At the end of the post


The Little Book of Main Street Money PDF

In a financial world gone mad, you still need to manage your money, put your kids through college, and save for retirement. To the rescue comes Jonathan Clements with 21 easy-to-follow rules to help you secure your financial future. Clements has spent a quarter century demystifying Wall Street for ordinary, real people on Main Street, including more than thirteen years as the Wall Street Journal‘s hugely popular personal-finance columnist.

In The Little Book of Main Street Money, Clements brings us back to basics, with commonsense suggestions for intelligent money management. Chock-full of financial guidance that will stand up in any market, the book also reflects a financial philosophy that Clements has developed over a lifetime of watching Wall Street and writing about money―and that is even more important in the current volatile market. From the big picture (home, retirement, financial happiness) to the micro (taxes, inflation, investment costs), he offers clear-cut advice for taking control of your financial life, detailing the strategies needed to thrive in today’s tough economic times.

The 21 truths outlined throughout this book are a guiding light for everyone, young and old, whether starting out or soon retiring. Each chapter reads like a Clements column―clear, pithy, and feisty. From the obvious to the counterintuitive, the truths will bolster your returns, cut your costs, and give you financial peace of mind. Collectively, the 21 truths show you how to think about your entire financial life―not just stocks and bonds, but your home, your debts, your financial promises to your children, your income-earning ability, and so much more. They will help you not only survive today’s treacherous financial terrain, but also prepare you for success tomorrow.

Renowned for his spirited writing and shrewd investment guidance, Clements is the sane voice investors need to stay grounded in the midst of so much financial insanity.


Let the Rebuilding Begin


But trust me, you and Wall Street could learn to love each other. In 2008 and 2009, we have been hit with what is arguably the worst financial debacle since the Great Depression of the 1930s—a devastating mix of plunging share prices, crippling consumer debts, slumping home prices, and rising unemployment. And things weren’t exactly hunky- dory to begin with. Consider the financial backdrop. In recent decades, traditional company pensions have been disappearing. Retirements have grown longer and hence more expensive. Financial choices have become more befuddling.

Job security has faded. College costs have soared.

What to do? We don’t have much choice: We need to seize control of our financial lives, embrace the markets, and be smarter about money than ever before. For most of us, this is a daunting proposition. Wall Street is tough to love. Markets skyrocket one moment, plunge the next. 

The lingo is baffling. The complexity can be mind- boggling. And the stakes are huge. Feeling nervous? Fret not. If we can keep some simple truths in mind, we could make this marriage work.

In fact, a firm grip on financial basics has rarely been more important. This is a moment of extraordinary doubt— about the stock market, about the housing market, about the economy, about our future prosperity. But we have recovered from worse and we will recover from this. To rebuild our finances, we need to cast aside yesterday’s fanciful thinking and profligate ways, and get back to first principles. Don’t let today’s economic mayhem distract you: The value of time – tested financial truths still endures.

This Little Book may run a modest 36,000 words and writing it may have taken just a fistful of months. Yet, to me, it represents a lifetime of work, pulling together the many ideas I have wrestled with and advocated during my quarter -century watching Wall Street and writing about money. Eighteen of those years were spent at the Wall Street Journal, where—as the newspaper’s personal finance columnist —I tried to help regular investors make sense of their finances. More recently, I have endeavored to do the same as Director of Financial Guidance for myFi (www, short for “my financial life,” a new financial service from Citicorp that ’ s geared toward everyday Americans.

This book, however, is more than just a compendium of useful financial ideas, though there are plenty of those in the chapters that follow. Rather, it reflects the financial philosophy I’ve developed over the years. The tax rates, historical returns, and other gory financial details mentioned in these pages will soon be out of date. But I hope the philosophy espoused here—the way of thinking about financial issues — will have lasting value.

That philosophy encompasses seven key beliefs I have harped on again and again during my career.

1. Money is a means to an end. It isn’t an end in itself. Before we buy a mutual fund or purchase an insurance policy, we need to figure out why we’re amassing money and what we are looking to protect. If we don ’t know what our goals are, we may not settle on the right strategy and we’ll be less inclined to make the necessary sacrifices.

2. We shouldn’t neglect today. We’re often encouraged to save for distant goals, like our toddler’s college education and our own retirement. But this is an awfully long time to wait for financial nirvana. My advice: Also strive for peace of mind today. That means getting our debts under control, living comfortably within our paycheck, ensuring we have the right insurance, devising a plan for financial emergencies, and spending our money on the things that matter most to us. Indeed, if we take care of today, we will likely find we are also taking care of tomorrow.

3. We need to think harder about what we want. We imagine that our lives will be somehow transformed if we win that next promotion or we buy the bigger house. But even when we get our heart’s desire, eternal satisfaction eludes us. As we take care of today and prepare for tomorrow, we need to think much harder about how we spend our money and how we spend our time.

4. Money is emotional. We struggle to save regularly and we find it difficult to invest rationally. There’s the prudent, unemotional strategy. And then there’s the plan that we can live with. If we’re going to be contented stewards of our money, we need to settle on strategies that will get us to our goals—and that we’ ll stick with along the way.

5. Our financial lives are bigger than we think. Managing money isn’t just about our stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. There are also our debts, our homes, our financial promises to our children, our income- earning ability, and so much more. To handle our finances wisely, we need to consider the whole as well as the parts, so we can make key tradeoffs, spot opportunities, and figure out what ’ s missing.

6. We should focus on the things we can control. We may not be able to influence the inflation rate, the direction of bond yields, or what happens to stock prices. But there’s much we can control, including how much we save and spend, how much we pay in investment costs and taxes, how much investment risk we take, and how we react to the markets’ ups and downs. My suggestion: Let’s stop worrying about the things we can’t control and focus on the things we can. This is a humbler approach to managing money — and yet one that ’ s often more rewarding.

7. Simplicity is one of the great financial virtues. Most of us may never understand credit default swaps, commodities backwardation, and mortgage derivatives, but we don ’t have to. It’s possible to make good money using straightforward strategies and plain vanilla mutual funds. In fact, simpler is usually better, because it will often involve lower costs and less chance for foolishness. Moreover, if we stick with simple strategies and simple investments, we will likely understand what we own—and that should make us more tenacious when we ’ re tested by turbulent markets.

These seven points guide my thinking, influence my own finances, and infuse the pages that follow. Everybody’ s financial situation is a little different and the specific suggestions offered in the next 21 chapters may not be right for you. Before you make any decisions, you’ll want to consider a host of factors, including your stomach for risk, your goals, your income, your nest egg’s size, and your tax bracket. Still, whether you invest on your own or you rely on a team of financial advisers, I hope the philosophy and financial principles advocated here will help you better manage your money.

In the spirit of the Little Book series, I have tried to keep this book short, so that it is accessible to even the most financially phobic. With any luck, you will like what you read and you’ll want to share this book with your friends, neighbors, siblings, and—maybe most important— your adult children. As I wrote each chapter, I often thought about the ideas I want to pass along to my children, Hannah and Henry, who are on cusp of the adult world. To make those ideas easy to digest and easy to understand, I have attempted to cut out all verbal flabbiness, distill my thinking down to some key notions, and express myself as succinctly and clearly as possible. I can’t promise to have achieved those goals. But I tried mightily

Table of Contents- The Little Book of Main Street Money PDF

Foreword xv
Let the Rebuilding Begin xxi
Chapter One
Our Finances Are Bigger than
a Brokerage Account 1
Chapter Two
We Can’t Have It All 11
Chapter Three
Money Can Buy Happiness—If We
Spend It Carefully 17

Chapter Four
Even the Best Investors Need
to Be Great Savers 25
Chapter Five
Time Is as Valuable as Money 33
Chapter Six
No Investment Is Risk-Free 41
Chapter Seven
Portfolio Performance: It’s All in the Mix 51
Chapter Eight
Stocks Are Worth Something 59
Chapter Nine
To Add Wealth, We Need to Overcome
the Subtractions 67
Chapter Ten
Aiming for Average Is the Only
Sure Way to Win 75

Chapter Eleven
Wild Investments Can Tame Our Portfolios 93
Chapter Twelve
Short-Term Results Matter to
Long-Term Investors 105
Chapter Thirteen
A Long Life Is a Big Risk 113
Chapter Fourteen
Markets May Be Rational, but We Aren’t 121
Chapter Fifteen
Our Homes Are a Fine Investment
that Won’t Appreciate Much 135
Chapter Sixteen
Paying off Debts Could Be Our
Best Bond Investment 143
Chapter Seventeen
Saving Taxes Can Cost Us Dearly 151
Chapter Eighteen
A Tax Deferred Is Extra Money Made 159
Chapter Nineteen
Insurance Won’t Make Us Any Money—If
We’re Lucky 167
Chapter Twenty
Even If We Have a Will, We May Not
Get Our Way 175
Chapter Twenty-One
Financial Success: It’s About More
than Money 181
Wall Street? That Isn’t So Far from
Main Street 189
Acknowledgments 193


“A gem from one of the most brilliant minds in personal finance.”
Ben Stein, author, actor, TV personality and New York Times columnist

“Investing, as it is said, is simple but it is not easy. Jonathan Clements’ fine new Little Book underscores the priceless (and price-less) value of simplicity. And his sage advice on living the good life and on spending well and saving wisely will surely make it, if not easy, at least easier for us to achieve financial peace of mind.”
John C. Bogle, founder of Vanguard and author of Enough

“Nobody, and I mean nobody, can make the world of investing as easy to understand as Jonathan Clements can. In this wonderful book, he teaches Main Street how to beat Wall Street at its own game-and how to have fun along the way. This book does not stop at merely making you richer and smarter; it will even help you lead a better life.”
Jason Zweig, author, Your Money and Your Brain, and Editor of Benjamin Graham’s The Intelligent Investor

“Jonathan Clements is one of our wisest and finest writers in the field of personal finance. This Little Book contains gems of wisdom not only about investing, but also about living a full and satisfying life.”
Burton G. Malkiel, author of A Random Walk Down Wall Street

“Easy to read, easy to understand – and easy to put to work – this little book is a winner. I’m getting copies for our children – and their children too.”
Charles D. Ellis, author, Winning the Loser’s Game

“Jonathan Clements is one of those rare financial writers who is thought-provoking, sensible, informed, and insightful. This new book is his best yet!”
Eric Tyson, author of Personal Finance For Dummies

“Personal finance books are a dime a dozen, but this one is a gold mine. Jonathan Clements has taken his must-read Wall Street Journal columns and distilled them into the simple truths that help real people make real money.”
Consuelo Mack, anchor, Consuelo Mack WealthTrack

“Jonathan Clements is one of the best personal finance writers of our time. He has crafted a pithy primer to help us navigate stormy seas. Those who care about their happiness, ignore it at their own peril.”
Terry Burnham, Ph.D., author of Mean Markets and Lizard Brains

“There are very few journalists who actually have investor’s interests at heart. Those that do write about what might be called the science of investing, or evidence-based investing. The rest write about the noise . . . Clements was not only one of the few that truly had investor interests at heart, but he was one of the best of the group (if not the best). I considered his weekly column a must read. The same could be said of this little book. It’s only little in size. It’s giant in terms of the number of pearls of wisdom that it contains; pearls not limited to investing, but finance in general and life as well. I highly recommend this book especially for those just beginning their financial journey ― it’s a journey you shouldn’t take without this book as a guide.””
Larry Swedroe,

About the author

Jonathan Clements is Director of Financial Guidance for myFi (, a new financial service from banking giant Citicorp. Before joining myFi, he spent eighteen years at the Wall Street Journal, where he was the newspaper’s award-winning personal finance columnist. He has appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America, CNBC, CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, NBC’s Today show, and Consuelo Mack WealthTrack, and is an occasional guest on public radio.

William J. Bernstein

Download ebook The Little Book of Main Street Money PDF


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