A guide to the basics of personal finance and planning for long-term financial stability.
In this debut personal finance book, Schwab uses the human body as an analogue for the reader’s finances, encouraging readers to pursue fiscal as well as physical health. Financial instruments are “organs,” debt is a “cancer,” and, as in the body, the components of the personal financial system are closely interrelated. Schwab covers standard financial topics including compound interest, saving, borrowing, insurance, and retirement, along with a discussion of estate planning and relevant legal processes. Anecdotes from Schwab’s client files (all protected by pseudonyms) serve as illustrations of the principles and guidelines laid out. Schwab, a certified financial planner, is knowledgeable about her topic and presents the fundamentals clearly; she also offers recommendations for further reading for those seeking more detailed answers. Although the book’s title indicates a focus on women’s financial planning, there is little—apart from a few awkward asides: “Because many women are not mathematically inclined, they tend to have an aversion towards anything mathematical”—that won’t appeal to a general audience. Schwab’s endorsement of The Secret (2010) and her enthusiasm for astrology may raise some eyebrows, and she makes no attempt to conceal her antipathy toward taxes: “Taxation confiscates a percentage (potentially a very large percentage) of your income, removing that money from your control and putting it directly in the coffers of the government to spend”; “Isn’t that an interesting way to word it—that you are ‘allowed’ to gift a specified amount? It’s your money but the government gives you permission to gift some of it.” Readers who accept or overlook these quirks, however, will find a solid, highly readable guide to the key components of responsible financial planning at all stages of life, with lucid concepts in terms that enlighten without intimidating.
Responsible guidance in a handbook for readers at the beginning of financial literacy and planning.