This is the only personal finance magazine I continue to subscribe to today. At one point 2 or 3 years ago, I was receiving at least 8 other similar-yet-just-different-enough publications. In my usual way, I was taking my personal education in all things financial to excessive lengths. A good question to ask would be, after letting all those others lapse, why the continued interest in, and commitment to, this one?
For me, each issue of Smart Money seems to be a healthy and very well-balanced serving of personal finance and investing information. It is not the "smartest" of the magazines I was reading, nor is it the "dumbest". What I mean by that is, it doesn't assume a demographic of super wealth and education like "Worth", nor does it seem to be speaking to the newest students to these topics like "Your Money".
A typical issue includes about 5 Feature articles. I find them so well written and compelling that even if it is a topic I have little interest in, I can often be persuaded to read the article anyway. Quite often they will focus the majority of the features on a hot topic. Some recent themes include: Caring for Your Parents (Nov. 99), IPOs (May 99), The Best Mutual Funds of 99 (Sept. 99), and a great Internet Guide Issue (April 99).
Their ongoing monthly columns are always interesting as well. A few of my favorites are: "Ten Things", "Real Life Index" and "Inconspicuous Consumer".
There seems to be a slightly discernable effort to personalize this publication in a low-key way so that the reader doesn't feel like they have suddenly barged in on some couple in middle America struggling to pay their taxes. They have a smooth and balanced way of including profiles of "real people" without leaving me feeling like I need to worry about them once I set the magazine down.
I am not a graphic designer, so I can not be more specific than to say that the layout, graphics, photography and typesetting all work very well for me in this magazine. They use creative and intelligent photos and illustrations for the features and shorter columns. They lay it all out in a manner that is easy to read through sequentially, cover to cover, without getting eye or brain fatigue. Must be something about the right mix of graphics, font style and size, and amount of white space on the page. Whatever the secret recipe it, it works for me. Somehow it inspires me to keep turning the pages, instead of getting bored or overwhelmed by the substantial amount of information presented in just one issue.
In addition to all the great information provided, what probably makes this one different for me is the look, feel, and flow to it all. Someone at "Smart Money" (would that be the Editor?) knows how to integrate many different topics and themes, all the while keeping their eye on the whole - the bigger picture - the entire issue, which is always dynamic and cohesive.
I am a faithful SmartMoney reader and think it is one of the more useful financial magazines around. However, rather than spending whatever it costs to subscribe/buy at the book stand, I read SmartMoney online. The information is virtually identical to what you get from the magazine and it is free.
SmartMoney is a great read because they break a difficult subject down to laymen's terms. For instance, the charts and screening methods that they utilize are virtually incomprehensible to those outside of the financial world. However, SmartMoney breaks down the screening devices and tells you what they are looking for and what they found, rather than making you look for it yourself. A nice touch and easier to read than Individual Investor's similar screening tables.
The magazine also does a great job of taking a rather mundane and difficult subject and making it readable for the average person. SmartMoney skips some of the big terms that are so prevalent in finance and instead uses simple language to make points.
A nice feature on the website is the retirement calculator. I know that many sites have them these days, but it is nice to have one nearby to utilize immediately after reading an article on retirement. Too often you will read something and then go to another site to use the calculator, only to find that you have forgotten the numbers you needed. SmartMoney lays it all out in front of you.
I would recommend SmartMoney for anyone interested in learning more about the financial world. However, check out the free website first.
From a college student who studies investments to a professional broker, I believe a wide array of people would profit from reading Smart Money. You may not always agree with their advice but their reasoning is always interesting and it is presented in a bright, fresh manner. Investment professionals commentary is included. I look forward to each issue because each one focuses on a new issue. The most recent one was on 401K's, and most people do have 401Ks even if they aren't major investors. Many types of investments are discussed and Smart Money can be used as an educational tool. I don't know any other magazine like it. It is heavy reading though; sometimes when I read it I take notes. If you are interested in making your money work for you in Investments, you should take a look at Smart Money.
While there are many personal finance magazines that give good advice on investing your money what sets apart Smart Money is the many articles on SPENDING your money wisely. How to get the best deals on autos, how to shop smartly online, scams to avoid, etc... And on the investing end they are top notch. Reliable, concise advice. Are they right all the time? Of course not. Who is? But they give you a good foundation on which to do additional research to determine of a stock/mutual fund is right for you. Their "Ten Things" column is unique and useful. It's the first thing I read each month.
I am an investor for many years, and I use to read money and mutual fund magazines, but I really do enjoy reading Smart Money. I feel that it gives the reader an insight into the investing world. I work for a mutual fund company, and every article that includes where I work is very up to date and correct.
The magazine is also very easy to read and understandable. I think it is great for someone that is just learning how to invest and they dont have the time to pick up the wall street journal.
I have been a subscriber of Smart Money for about 3 years now and it never fails me. I always find out at least one thing in each issue that more than offsets the cost of the subscription. As you probably know this is a Wall Street Journal publication, so its on the up and up. It always has excellent information for personal finance, taxes, travel, careers, autos and so much more. There are features through out that talk about various ways of saving money and special offers and websites etc. And perhaps my favorite feature, Ten Things Your ____ Won't Tell You. This has been everything from caterer to stock broker. It doesn't hold anything back and lays out all the dirty little secrets. Another thing I like about Smart Money is that its written in English. They are also very upfront if they make a mistake or if one of their stock recommendations tank. The sooner you subscribe to this magazine, the sooner you will start saving more money.
I have been a subscriber for 5 or 6 years now and I always find each issue to be valuable. SmartMoney strikes a good balance between investment advice/coverage and information/articles that deal with the other aspects of your financial life. Among the features I look forward to every month:
- Ten Things: a "watch out" list of 10 things that you should know about the different professionals you interact with (your dentist, your accountant, a real estate broker, etc.). Always an eye-opener.
- Stock Screen: Paul Sturm is a knowledgeable, value-oriented journalist who puts together a list each month of 8-10 stocks that make it through a rigid screen of several characteristics. Each month, he features a different screen and he uses a good mix of quantitative characteristics and common sense to generate the list.
- Feature articles that profile common people and the serious personal finance problems they have endured (e.g., collecting on insurance, fighting the IRS, traveling overseas).
SmartMoney is frequently compared to Money magazine, but Money is often more narrowly focused on investing and it sometimes dumbs down its articles. I also read BusinessWeek, Forbes and Fortune regularly. While they all have their place, none provides the depth and common sense focus of SmartMoney when it comes to personal finance. I have photocopied and saved countless articles and I sometimes refer to them years later. ... my advice is to get a subscription now - it's definitely worth it.
I subscribe to all of the big names, Fortune, Forbes, Money, Businessweek and by far Smartmoney has given me the best bang for my buck. It's easy-to-read timely articles are a no-nonsense approach to what every individual needs; honest, straight-forward advice.
Great magazine. The editors are somehow able to keep it timely although it is a monthly magazine. It does a great job of addressing the needs of baby boomers. Definitely one of the top ten magazines I recommend to my clients.
I have been reading SM for about 3 years now. I have it in rotation with Money, Black Enterprise, Kiplingers, Forbes and Fortune. I only recently officially subscribed. With anything investing/finance related, you need to do your homework. It has given me great tips and information I've further investigated to make my own decisions. I will remain a customer and will be sending gift subscriptions to my Mom, sisters and brother.