The Little Book of Main Street Money: 21 Simple Truths that Help Real People Make Real Money

The Little Book of Main Street Money: 21 Simple Truths that Help Real People Make Real Money

by Jonathan Clements

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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

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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.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Any consumer concerned about money issues, from managing college to retirement, will find The Little Book of Main Street Money an excellent reference. Wall Street is demystified, with common strategies for money management geared to general readers and based on the wisdom of Wall Street successes. Taxes, inflation concerns, and investing are all covered within a series of 21 'truths' about success, perfect for general lending libraries."
(Midwest Book Review)

"’The Little Book of Main Street Money’ is aptly named. . . it's unintimidating to all but the most hopeless finance-phobics. The book is also written in spare and concise language. . . Clements's sure-footed advice on fundamentals is comforting after last year's meltdown. When he strays toward more opinionated views, he's even better: Investing in your house will historically offer you a lackluster 4.7% annual return. Or, to those buying insurance as an investment. . . Best of all, Clements isn't only a sound financial planner, but something of an armchair shrink. Beating the market isn't what it's all about. It's more about meeting your personal goals and achieving peace of mind: ‘We should strive to ensure money is enhancing our lives, rather than getting in the way.’" (

“The Little Book of Main Street Money . . does a brilliant job of navigating us through the post financial crash landscape. . . offers investors some tried-and-true, timeless advice, such as keeping investing simple and uncluttered by emotion. . . but what I love best about this book is the exploration of the relationship between money and happiness. Clements notes, in spite of the U.S. standard of living skyrocketing over the past few decades, that quantitative research indicates Americans are no happier than when we were less economically well off. . . Clements goes beyond the accumulation of money and essentially tells us how to convert the stored energy from our portfolio into happiness.” (CBS

"This small book . . . packs a good dose of practical financial advice to help you weather this brutal economy and work toward building wealth. Clements . . . advice goes beyond simple money management and offers tips for living a more fulfilled life. The book's nuggets of valuable information include 'We can't have it all,' 'Our Finances Are Bigger than a Brokerage Account,' 'Time Is as Valuable as Money' and 'Markets May Be Rational, but We Aren't' . . . The take-away from this book is that money is tied up in all aspects of our lives, and we should give appropriate attention to managing it wisely." (WalletPop)

"Because it is a "Little Book," each chapter is short. The entire book can almost be read in one sitting (unless you’re a slow reader like I am). The concepts in the book aren’t new but have clearly been ignored by lots of people as you can tell by watching the news or reading the newspaper. It’s time to get back to the basics and that is what Jonathan’s book is all about." (AllFinancialMatters)

"The Little Book of Main Street Money is far and away the best of the "Little Books" series. The advice is truly approachable and actually useful, particularly for people who are in reasonably good financial shape and have a lot of years left ahead of them. . . it just provides - in Clements' approachable writing tone - excellent basic advice and principles to follow. This advice is timeless and forms the foundation of whatever personal finance strategy you might choose to follow - this book is a great starter." (The Simple Dollar)

"From how to save more to how to invest better, this book delivers the goods on how to lead a rich life (in every sense) and does so in less than 200 pages."
MoneySense magazine

“This useful guide is unintimidating but chock full of excellent advice, presented in spare and concise language. Clements … offers sure-footed advice on fundamentals.”’s list of “Best Finance Books of the Year”

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Product Details

Publication date:
Little Books. Big Profits Series, #23
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.10(h) x 1.00(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"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,

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