When it comes to magazines or newsletters about personal finance, I have a soft spot for a newsletter called Bottom Line Personal.
When I was a kid, our neighbor Chris would come over and have a chat with my dad about once a week after dinner. Every time he came over, he brought all sorts of magazines and comic books with him. He was a mail carrier and when those magazines were undeliverable, they would just take whatever they liked.
My favorites were always the little Archie comics digests but when I got a little older, I enjoyed reading Bottom Line. Bottom Line is only ever like 20 pages, paper stock, and contained easy to digest personal finance, investing, insurance, and health-related short articles. I tended to skip a lot until the very end, where you'd get around twenty useful tips.
Little did I know that a subscription to that magazine now runs you $39 a year!
These days, I don't subscribe to any magazines. I tend to rely on services like Pocket to find the best of the best. But sometimes when I'm on a plane or held captive somewhere, nothing beats a good magazine to flip through.
If that describes you, here are what I consider some of the best money magazines out there:
(for what it's worth, you can usually find most of these magazines at your local library)
Founded in 1843 (to campaign against protectionist corn laws!), The Economist is not a magazine about personal finance or investing but one of economics and politics, both globally and domestically. It's a magazine that does a fantastic job of capturing economics, politics, and business on a worldwide level and establishes a baseline of knowledge by which you can make smart investing decisions.
They boast six million subscribers and through Amazon, you can get the Kindle edition for just $12.99 a month or the Print edition for $12 with auto-renewal every three months. There is a 30-day trial.
One interesting factoid – there are no author bylines in the Economist. They're all anonymous.
Barron's is a weekly magazine that only discusses investing. It doesn't cover world news, it doesn't cover basic personal finance, and it doesn't have general business news – the articles are all about investing.
Each issue has investment ideas, stock picks, the in-depth analysis had charts, and requires a more than a basic understanding of how the markets work. It's reader-friendly, without a lot of technical jargon, but you do need to know the basics of investing.
Kiplinger's Personal Finance is a magazine that spans the breadth of personal finance – covering everything from investing ideas to retirement to money management. Unlike a magazine like Barron's, which is laser focused on investing and stock picking, Kiplinger's covers it all and is one of the most popular personal finance magazines available.
Kiplinger's also a few paid newsletters, like The Kiplinger Tax Letter and Kiplinger's Retirement report. These are smaller and more focused on their main subjects, like taxes and retirement, and not included with the magazine subscription.
Bloomberg BusinessWeek is a weekly business magazine that discusses the news and events in the business world. BusinessWeek was started in 1929 but Bloomberg acquired it in 2009, adding its name to the front, from McGraw-Hill.
You can think of Bloomberg BusinessWeek as a magazine that reports news and events important to investors without going as far as making investment recommendations. It's what you'd expect from a magazine produced by Bloomberg, the financial data vendor that operates the Bloomberg Terminal.
Investor's Business Daily
Investor's Business Daily is one of the few daily magazines and it is meant for the serious investor, containing news and research for the day. If you get the physical copy, it is delivered just once a week. You can always access the website at investors.com for daily updates.
The daily updates are quite comprehensive, with commentary and editorial on everything in the financial world.
Investor's Business Daily also runs MarketSmith, a paid research platform that purports to help you make more money in the stock market. It contains stock charts, pattern recognition, and a service known as Growth 250 that combines over 30 proprietary screens used by professional portfolio managers.
Forbes is a monthly magazine that is similar to BusinessWeek in that it covers business news but also includes other news, like technology and law, important to decision makers. It's more of a Businessweek type of current events, with editorial and analysis, and less of an IBD with technicals, charts, and analysis
Alas, the print version of Money magazine is no more. In April of 2019, after being unable to sell the magazine, the publishing house Meredith announced the last print edition will be the June 2019 issue. You will still be able to read the articles online but it will no longer be in print.
Money Magazine was a monthly magazine (now digital-only) and is similar to Kiplinger's in that it contains a broad variety of personal finance subjects from money management to saving money to investing, retirement and taxes. It does provide information to investors but not to the detail and degree of some of the other magazines, like Investor's Business Daily.
It also doesn't cover current events, business news, and other subjects more at home in a BusinessWeek or Forbes.
Founded in 1979, Inc. Magazine is a weekly magazine that discusses the news concerning small business and startups. Unlike other magazines that discuss all business news, Inc. tends to focus on privately held small businesses and startups, making it alone in that focus. It does discuss broader news in the business world but the focus tends to be on small to midsized companies.
Inc. Magazine is also home to the Inc. 500 and Inc. 5000, a list of the 500 and 5000 fastest-growing private companies in the United States. It's a prestigious list and tracks the fastest growing companies over three years, with revenues of at least $2,000,000.
Best Place to Buy a Subscription Online
In the above list, I linked to Amazon.com because it has a lot of other information about each magazine. If you're only getting one, Amazon may be the best option (but not always).
If you are getting multiple subscriptions, many discount magazine sellers have coupons and promotions that you can use to get a cheaper overall price.
With coupons, you'll be able to save a little bit more on each subscription.