If you want to do financial planning right, find a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional.
Everyone who has subject matter expertise, either through their career or academic training, or even through pursuing a hobby, knows pretty quickly when speaking to someone else about their subject, whether that other person knows what they are talking about. I run into some people who have a good understanding of some of the principles of financial planning and have done a pretty good job of investing on their own.
Unfortunately, some of the people that I have met that do their own financial planning and manage their own investments have scared me with their recklessness, which is probably based on overconfidence in their abilities. Amazingly, the most overconfident people seem to think that they know what to do and that no one else should be investing on their own!
Many of the popular books for consumers tend to oversimplify things and make it seem as if anyone can read a 200 page book and then be completely prepared to handle all of their financial planning and investment needs. In some ways, the books do a service when they tell you to avoid the big Wall Street firms. Unfortunately, the real solution is not to try to handle it on your own, but to find an independent financial adviser who will act in a fiduciary capacity to you.
A problem with using books for subject matter advice for your financial planning and investment needs is that the authors don’t know your situation, and therefore cannot tailor their advice to your needs, and even if they could, there is just too much to put into one book. The course work to become a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional is thousands of pages long. How can you read 200 pages and think you can handle everything on your own?
Financial planning covers many subjects and each one is a pretty distinct field of study. A 200 page book on the subject matter of financial planning can really only provide a framework for decision-making at best. You need someone who can put it all together for you, objectively, and that is where your independent financial planner comes in. Find one at: www.letsmakeaplan.org