If you are struggling with Christmas shopping, consider one of William Bernstein‘s books. For a young adult, his “If You Can, How Millennials Can Get Rich Slowly” would make a great stocking stuffer. Another choice for any age is “The Investor’s Manifesto.” If you like history, his “A Birth of Plenty” and “A Splendid Exchange” are mind candy. Bernstein has a reading list on his website and prefaces it with, “ … power off your computer and read some books (with emphasis).” Burton Malkiel's “A Random Walk Down Wall Street" and “Winning the Loser’s Game” by Charlie Ellis are decades old, but each has been revised post-The Great Recession. For near-retirees, Ernie Zelinski’s “How to Retire Happy, Wild and Free” is perfect. Remember Aristotle’s quote, “Education is the best provision for old age.”

While almost a century old, George Clason’s, “The Richest Man in Babylon” is another option. Choose his original set in ancient Babylon or the updated, 21st-century version. Another good idea, Jonathan Clements’ “How to Think about Money” is a wonderful financial blueprint and includes a William Bernstein preamble. I also recommend “On Tyranny” by Timothy Snyder. Wealth gets destroyed four ways: inflation, deflation, geopolitical turmoil (war) and government confiscation. Americans focus on inflation; double-digit annual increases cuts buying power in less than eight years. Few of us remember The Great Depression, but its massive deflation shook economies around the world. The US dollar is one of the handful currencies that has never been devalued by confiscation or war. “On Tyranny” is a short little book that fits in a stocking and fits our times.

Santa, I know you’ve been watching; either one of Margo Price’s albums works. She put a hurting on the bottle and the country back in country music. I would also like Dr. Wade Pfau’s new book, “How Much Can I Spend in Retirement?: A Guide to Investment-Based Retirement Income Strategies” It’s how I roll, Santa. Your friend, Buz.

Merry Christmas Baby, You Look Good to Me

I like Christmas music and saying Merry Christmas is almost as much fun as asking little kids if they have misbehaved. I realize “Merry Christmas” offends some but John Lennon, hardly an altar boy, wrote a classic Christmas song right up there with “Merry Christmas, Baby” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” Since Lennon was cool with “Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, let’s hope it’s a good one without any fear,” I’m with him. If keeping Christ in Christmas concerns you, consider what Jesus did. Feed the hungry, help the downtrodden, forgive your enemies, look after the poor and sick, be tolerant of other cultures; it’s all in The New Testament. Merry Christmas, y’all.

You can’t always get what you want but Buz Livingston, CFP can help you get what you need. For specific recommendations visit us online at livingstonfinancial.net or come by our office in Redfish Village, 2050 Scenic 30A, M-1 Suite 230.