Books offer do-it-yourself financial advice

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Consider adding these recently released financial books to your shelf or e-reader (all are available as e-books). Look for more suggestions in upcoming issues.

Debunkery: Learn It, Do It, and Profit From It — Seeing Through Wall Street’s Money-Killing Myths

Author: Ken Fisher

Price: $27.95

Summary: Debunkery is the seventh book by Ken Fisher, the founder and CEO of Fisher Investments, a money management firm overseeing more than $32 billion.

In his latest work, Fisher attacks common myths and misperceptions, and shows readers how to analyze and discredit them. He divides the discussion into five sections: Basic Bunk to Make You Broke; Wall Street “Wisdom”; Everyone Knows; History Lessons; and It’s a Great Big World!

Each of the 50 chapters is dedicated to one misperception and is typically only three to five pages long. The short discussions enable you to pick and choose what’s most interesting for your financial situation.

Quote: “Once you intuitively accept that 1) lots of commonly accepted investing wisdom isn’t wise, and 2) you will still make mistakes anyway but can aim to lower your error rate and improve your results, actually doing debunkery can be easy. Simple really!”

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Inc.

The Wall Street Journal Guide to the New Rules of Personal Finance

Author: Dave Kansas

Price: $16.99 (paperback)

Summary: It makes sense that we should be acting differently about our money in the wake of the financial crisis. Some time-tested lessons of personal finance still hold true: saving, budgeting and avoiding over-borrowing and overspending.

But Kansas makes a persuasive case that we need a new way of thinking to replace others that failed us, such as overreliance on the stock market and real estate.

One new rule is to really embrace thrift and abhor loading up on debt. As this veteran personal finance writer puts it, debt is deadly and credit cards are cursed objects.

Another is that diversification really matters, not just in stocks but in retirement planning — IRAs, insurance plans and savings accounts in addition to 401(k)s.

When it comes to investing, be where the action is going to be: international markets and commodities such as oil, gold, wood and other natural resources. Other chapters focus on debt reduction, spending smarter on your home, and other important topics.

If the lessons aren’t all brand new, the focus and priorities are. In plain language and Kansas offers wise advice that points out a clear path to a stable financial future for those who follow it.

Quote: “The New Rules aren’t simply quick fixes to financial problems. Instead they’re about learning how to save, invest, and plan better, and they require discipline, prudence, and taking personal responsibility for your financial future. They’re also about understanding that financial strategy is about more than money.”

Publisher: HarperCollins.

Spousonomics: Using Economics to Master Love, Marriage, and Dirty Dishes

Authors: Paula Szuchman, Jenny Anderson.

Price: $26

Summary: Forget the flowers and romantic getaways. If you want a happy marriage, think like an economist.

That’s the premise of this new release by Wall Street Journal editor Paula Szuchman and New York Times reporter Jenny Anderson.

The authors have fun with their theory by taking 10 economic principles and explaining how they can be used to avoid the common pitfalls of marriage.

In the opening chapter, for example, the authors invoke Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations in arguing for a division of labor based on skill sets, rather than automatically splitting chores 50-50. Another chapter titled “Moral Hazard, Or the Too-Big-to-Fail Marriage” discusses how the emotional safety of marriage can lead spouses to take each other for granted and wear away at a relationship.

And in “Trade-Offs, Or the Art of Getting Over It,” Szuchman and Anderson encourage examining spats through a cost-benefit analysis rather than letting minor grievances fester.

On their own, marriage and economic theory aren’t exactly fertile ground for lighthearted reading. But by bringing them together, Spousonomics injects some levity into both.

Quote: “At its core, economics is way simpler than all that. It’s the study of how people, companies and societies allocate scarce resources. Which happens to be the same puzzle you and your spouse are perpetually trying to solve: how to spend your limited time, energy, money and libido in ways that keep you smiling and your marriage thriving.”

Publisher: Random House       — AP