I’ve read that people spend more time planning their vacations than planning their personal finances.
It seems that part of the problem is too much free information: on the internet, magazines, TV — most of it more confusing than useful, imho.
I’m a big believer in minimizing investment fees and taxes as one of the best ways to increase your investment returns — rather than chasing the latest hot stock. Which means working with an investment management company which acts as a custodian of your assets, not a salesman.
I also recommend reading Jonathan Clements’ personal finance column in the Wall Street Journal, “Getting Going.” An annual subscription to WSJ.com costs $99, or two tanks of gas (four if you drive a Prius).
Clements receives lots of hate mail for his simple index funds-based approach, but in developing an investment strategy, simpler is better. Besides, who wants to spend all their free time managing their finances?