An enthusiastic guide to financial planning focuses on the highly masculine.
In this debut business book, Carpenter makes his target audience clear in the opening pages: “So if you have a wife and kids but you hate their guts, stop reading. If you’re single with no kids, stop reading. If you’re a player, a hoochie, a cougar, a badger, an international playboy, or a party girl—STOP.” “Family Men,” in the author’s view, “have taken on the responsibility of supporting, sustaining, and protecting the lives of others.” Readers who appreciate that approach will find that the volume is filled with standard, sensible financial advice, from managing spending and saving regularly to diversifying across asset classes and hiring a professional adviser. In a tone that will appeal to fans of Esquire, Deadspin, and The Billfold, Carpenter encourages readers to cut back on luxuries until all basic financial needs are met, to engage in estate planning, and to take sensible risks in allocating assets. The majority of the advice is general and philosophical, but it includes some unique elements among the more concrete tips, such as how to find out if complaints have been filed against a financial planner. On the whole, the work is a collection of sensible and practical advice, distinguished from other personal finance literature primarily through its hypermasculine narrative voice. That voice may draw in some readers, but the active exclusion of others limits its potential market. While the writing brings a welcome enthusiasm to a potentially dry topic, the book is not without shortcomings: a few references that were accurate earlier in the decade (gas prices of $4 per gallon, a Dow Jones index several thousand points below its current level) seem out of place in a recently published work, and the idea that the Declaration of Independence provides “all the knowledge you’ll ever need to be a successful investor” is cause for a raised eyebrow.
A common-sense volume on personal finance, written for men who take responsibility for their families’ fiscal well-being.