Magazines for Grown-ups

Archived Q&A and Reviews

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Where to buy old back issues of magazines?

May 2007

I'm looking for a website that sells back issues of magazines (I forgot to buy some when my kids were born and I'd love something from their birth dates for them to look back at when they are older). I recently saw a blurb about a site but forgot to save the article. And I've done some google searches and have found two possibilities but they are pretty pricey. Does anyone have any recommendations for a one-stop website where I can buy back issues? Thanks! Anon

I've had great luck finding magazine back issues on ebay - there's a whole section for them. Seems like they are usually sold in lots, for instance, I just bought a whole year of the New York Times magazine (which is what I was looking for). But there are plenty of single issues of all kinds of magazines being offered as well. And the prices are great. Julie

I've had very good luck buying back issues (we're talking 1940s- 1960s; haven't searched for anything recent) of magazines on Ebay. JP

Personal Finance Magazine?

March 2003

Hi all, My wife and I are considering subscribing to one of the many personal finance magazines, as part of our attempt to feel more like adults. :) We've paged through some of them (Money, Kiplinger's, and a couple others), and are having a hard time trying to figure out (a) if there's any real difference between then, and (b) if so, which has the best useful information. For example, we're not likely to plunk much (any) money into individual stocks, so the articles on how to pick stocks don't do much for us. Finally, if there are any magazines with a particular focus on socially responsible personal finance, that would be great as well. Any suggestions or comments are welcome. Thanks! Michael

Possibly the worst thing you could do for your personal finances is subscribe to a finance magazine and try to use it to guide your decisions. These magazines offer contradictory 'hot tips' which follow far too much the winds of the times and would end up costing you big not only in commissions but also consternation; remember, they are sustained by advertisements from the finance industry itself. While they occassionally offer an article with decent basic advice, these articles are impossible to distinguish from the chaff. Thus, financial press is best thought of as entertainment rather than education. You will be far better off investing your time and money in reading carefully a solid book on personal finance by a good author.

I have read almost every personal finance book out there and most are junk. Fortunately there are several excellent exceptions. For starters, try Eric Tyson's ''Personal Finance for Dummies.'' Don't let the Dummies brand turn you off; the author is very good and and covers all the bases (insurance, investing, home buying, etc.). This is by far the best introduction to personal finance with rock-solid advice; if you read it cover-to-cover you will be better advised than most people writing in the finance press. If you are interested in investing only, check out his more in-depth books on Mutual Funds or Investing for Dummies.

If you read that and find you want to read more, other good options are Andrew Tobias's ''The only investment guide you'll ever need'' and, for more theoretical detail, Burton Malkiel's ''Random walk down Wall Street''. Some people swear by Suze Orman; if you like her style, check out one of her earlier books like ''Courage to be rich'' or ''9 Steps'', or her encyclopedia. Ellen

I spent many years working at Morningstar, a company that provides investment information to both individual investors and pros. I would stay away from Money - too many simple, ''you can't lose'' solutions. Kiplinger's was slightly better. Also consider SmartMoney and Barron's newspaper (more sophisticated and targeted to pros, but good.) I would recommend checking out Morningstar's consumer web site or maybe some of their newsletter products.

Although I'm no longer employed by Morningstar, I'm a big fan of their intelligent, reasoned, unbiased investment info. Good luck. Jill

With regard to socially responsible investing, more and more 'green funds' are investing in companies that are not socially responsible. In the past, funds that did lagged behind in performance so they were compelled to invest more traditionally (less green) to bring their numbers up. Then you get in the debate over if a company is green or not (HR Block...helping many inner city residents with their taxes (good) but charging them high fees on loans for their refunds (bad)). I tell my clients to invest traditionally and then donate locally to a cause that best fits their goals. Before investing in a socially responsible fund, look at their top 10 holdings. Then decide.

In terms of magazines, I agree, please do not make investment decisions based on these. Their is a difference between investment professional and journalist. Plus, by the time your read it in a magazine, it is already priced in the markets. Read a book or talk to an advisor regarding basic investments. Vincent

Like the previous person who responded to this query, I do not have magazines to recommend but I would highly recommend Suze Orman. She is on cable (CNBC?) and has a talk show in which she answers lots of questions in a very clear manner. She is very good at pushing you to think about what is good for YOU. So, it's not just information overload (which is what I experience when I read the magazines about the ''Best Mutual Funds of the Year'' or something like that), but she actually helps you make some important decisions about what you should do with your money. I recommend any of her books. I am currently reading ROAD TO WEALTH, which puts many of the major, complex matters in an easy-to-read, digestible Q format. If you still want periodicals, then I do believe she recommends either magazines or websites in her books (i.e. Courage to Be Rich, I believe). One of her recommendations is David & Tom Gardner's MOTLEY FOOLS GUIDE TO INVESTING, which very frankly demystifies notions around investing. She also recommends their website. Both Suze Orman and the Motley Fools stuff would be good to read before you start looking at the magazines, which can often be heavy on the hype and advertising, which Orman and the Gardners caution against. Suze Orman Fan

Instead of a personal finance magazine, I highly recommend checking out The Motley Fool at These guys are great! PBS had a show they did last year sometime that was really useful.
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