The best 401k books

1 authors have picked their favorite books about 401k and why they recommend each book.

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The Great 401(k) Hoax

By William Wolman, Anne Colamosca,

Book cover of The Great 401(k) Hoax: Why Your Family's Financial Security Is at Risk, and What You Can Do about It

Wolman and Colmosca, former BusinessWeek writers, were among the early writers to expose just how bad 401(k)s were for workers. They showed how Wall Street interests profited from the plans at the expense of retirement security. They knew a lot about stock market investing and doubted that, even in the best of situations, the stock market would be able to produce enough value to adequately support retirees. They came to the conclusion that the 401(k) system could not be reformed and should be abolished. I liked the book because it was coming from people within the system (BusinessWeek) who realized that it was not working. 


Who am I?

I became fascinated with retirement plans and policy when I realized that my 401(k)-like retirement plan with a high rate of savings and investment returns would still come up way short in terms of the retirement income needed for me and my family. That led me to initiate a winning campaign to allow those of us in that plan to switch to our employer’s pension plan. In leading that struggle, I had to learn everything possible, beyond what I already knew, about retirement plans. I have a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Wisconsin and have studied retirement plans in Latin America and Europe as well as the United States.


I wrote...

The Labor Guide to Retirement Plans: For Union Organizers and Employees

By James W. Russell,

Book cover of The Labor Guide to Retirement Plans: For Union Organizers and Employees

What is my book about?

What do workers need to know as they assess the security of their retirement plans? What should union activists keep in mind as they push for the national and workplace reforms needed to produce greater retirement security? This nuts-and-bolts book provides a much-needed demystification of the retirement system and enables workers to take charge of their own personal futures.

Clever Girl Finance

By Bola Sokunbi,

Book cover of Clever Girl Finance

I have recommended Clever Girl Finance to several of my coaching clients, and every one of them has reported that they found it very helpful—perhaps because Sukunbi starts by inviting readers to let go of past mistakes. (Regret is a frequent companion of financial anxiety.) Sukunbi is a wonderful storyteller, and she does a great job of breaking down financial concepts to make them clearer and more accessible. The book helps readers master concepts that build upon each other, and as such it is especially useful for women who feel overwhelmed by the prospect of taking charge of their money. 


Who am I?

I am a writer and financial wellness coach, and I am on a mission to help women like you become more confident and capable with money. Previously, I was an award-winning business and financial journalist with The New York Times, Business Week, and CNBC, and I have a graduate business degree from a top university. Even with all that, though, it took me years to build healthy personal financial habits and start using my money to achieve my life goals—so I understand the pain of financial stress and self-blame. I wrote my book to help you find an easier path to financial wellness and empowerment.


I wrote...

You Are Worthy: Change Your Money Mindset, Build Your Wealth, and Fund Your Future

By Kelley Holland,

Book cover of You Are Worthy: Change Your Money Mindset, Build Your Wealth, and Fund Your Future

What is my book about?

Many women live in silence about their finances, holding anxiety and fear inside. Many want to change, but don’t know how to even start. In You Are Worthy, I go to the heart of your money issues; shining a light on problem areas, providing solutions, and instilling confidence and skills to help you achieve financial well-being. 

You Are Worthy takes you step by step through the process of taking charge financially, weaving in the voices of dozens of real women. You will shed outdated beliefs; you will be inspired to learn; and you will learn to create an integrated financial plan to achieve your goals. You will come away with greater confidence, clarity, and hope, not just about money but about your whole life.

Retirement Heist

By Ellen E. Schultz,

Book cover of Retirement Heist: How Companies Plunder and Profit from the Nest Eggs of American Workers

Retirement Heist is a tour de force. It is a book to make you informed and angry about why pension plans are disappearing in the private sector. In a few words, according to former Wall Street Journal investigative reporter Schultz, it was because corporations took financially healthy pension plans and diverted their surpluses to other uses to inflate their bottom lines. They then ended the plans when they inevitably became financially weaker, substituting them for 401(k)s that do not produce near as much retirement security. 


Who am I?

I became fascinated with retirement plans and policy when I realized that my 401(k)-like retirement plan with a high rate of savings and investment returns would still come up way short in terms of the retirement income needed for me and my family. That led me to initiate a winning campaign to allow those of us in that plan to switch to our employer’s pension plan. In leading that struggle, I had to learn everything possible, beyond what I already knew, about retirement plans. I have a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Wisconsin and have studied retirement plans in Latin America and Europe as well as the United States.


I wrote...

The Labor Guide to Retirement Plans: For Union Organizers and Employees

By James W. Russell,

Book cover of The Labor Guide to Retirement Plans: For Union Organizers and Employees

What is my book about?

What do workers need to know as they assess the security of their retirement plans? What should union activists keep in mind as they push for the national and workplace reforms needed to produce greater retirement security? This nuts-and-bolts book provides a much-needed demystification of the retirement system and enables workers to take charge of their own personal futures.

The Paradox of Choice

By Barry Schwartz,

Book cover of The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less

More is not always better. More choices, more options—although they are what we crave to have and even see them as part of our definition of "freedom" sometimescan be devastating and paralyzing. As I was writing my own book, which deals a lot with choices and the way we make them, Barry Schwartz's clear and smart book was a reminder about how narrowing down our options can be a good thing.


Who am I?

As I was writing The Coincidence Makers I found out I am not writing about coincidences, at all. I found out I was writing about fate and free will, about the way we make choices, and how these choices affect us, define us and change us. Choices and the way they build our happiness is the theme of this list, which is made out of books that I read before or during the writing process of my own (fiction) book, and probably influenced it, one way or another.


I wrote...

The Coincidence Makers: A Novel

By Yoav Blum,

Book cover of The Coincidence Makers: A Novel

What is my book about?

Guy, Emily, and Eric are three seemingly ordinary people who work for a secret organization devoted to creating and carrying out coincidences. What the rest of the world sees as random occurrences, are, in fact, carefully orchestrated events designed to spark significant changes in the lives of their targets—scientists on the brink of breakthroughs, struggling artists starved for inspiration, loves to be, or just plain people like you and me…

But a secret mission, a killer who can't hurt a fly, and memories from previous lives are going to change all that and teach them about the true nature of fate, free will, and the real meaning of love.

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