The holiday shopping season is upon us. Whether you have a hefty list of clients to buy for, or just a few special ones, you might want to consider books as gifts. We spoke with some advisors to find out their favorite gift choices.
Susan John, in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, gives her clients a varied selection of books that includes How to Care for Your Parents: A Practical Guide to Eldercare by Nora Jean Levin, and The Wall Street Journal Guide to Understanding Money and Investing by Kenneth M. Morris, Virginia B. Morris, and Alan M. Siegel. The latter, she points out, “is updated every year. It explains what stocks and bonds really are and what they do on the most basic level.”
Cicily Maton of Aequus Wealth Management Resources in Chicago gives books “all the time.” She has some favorites, including her own, (Financial Passages: For Women By Women, 2001), Karen Ramsey’s Everything You Know About Money Is Wrong (1999) and Susan Bradley’s Sudden Money (2000), as well as George Kinder’s Seven Stages of Money Maturity (2000) and Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes by Gary Belsky and Thomas Gilgovich (2000).
Maton, a self-confessed fan of behavioral finance, points out that quite often clients make decisions about money based on feelings and ideas that are completely separate from their financial health. “We’ve gone through a terrible period these last 18 months,” she says, “with all kinds of things coming to the fore. One man called me up–he’s a brand-new investor, and we’re heading into a recession. I sympathized with him [about the timing] and he said, ‘You know Cicily, this isn’t about the account or about you. It’s just hitting me so much harder because I just found out I’ve got cancer.’ Investment performance and everything else is totally different [under those circumstances]. It’s totally colored by what clients are going through.” Books on behavioral finance can help them, Maton argues. “I suggest clients get this book [Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes], or I give it to them. This particular client really got it. That helped him and relieved his anxieties.”
While not necessarily suggesting them for holiday presents, she also gives situation-specific books. “For some of the women clients I work with, whether divorcees or widows, I might give them a book of affirmations of some sort–prayers or from that direction–or psychological help books. Anything along the lines of ‘people have been through this before and you’ll get through this too’ kinds of books.”
Harold Evensky has some thoughts on the subject, too.