A helpful introductory guide to financial planning for singles and families looking to get the most out of their money.

IF I'M SO SMART... WHERE DID ALL MY MONEY GO?

BALANCING YOUR FINANCIAL OBJECTIVES FOR LASTING WEALTH

A realistic, detailed guide to planning for your financial future.

Warshauer was a small business forecaster by trade, skilled at incorporating the myriad of financial factors that make up the universe of a small company and projecting their expenses and profitability. In a burst of insight, he decided to apply those same methods on a more intimate scale. He has thus come up with an excellent set of guidelines in the hopes of ensuring a stable financial future for individuals and families. The plan—five big steps composed of 18 smaller steps—is very sensible, and each bears Warshauer’s hallmark: accounting for the different life goals that each person or family will have. He begins by explaining how much of our net income should be saved, spent on homes and auto, and even spent on clothing. He provides a numerical guideline for each area, insisting that if spending in one category goes up, it must drop in other areas. These short-term goals segue into long-term planning, such as the decision to save for public school versus private, and how to understand how much each family will need for retirement. These insights take the book one step deeper than the average financial-planning instructional. The book is also unique in that Warshauer presents the rules for financial success in the form of a story. Joe, one of the main protagonists, is a generic young adult who spends more than he’s earning, and thus decides to attend one of the author’s financial seminars. Other characters include single mothers and young parents. The fiction structure is loose, basically just a tool to help the author dispense his financial rules in a way that keeps readers engaged. Naturally, the dialogue itself tends to get tedious, as seminar attendees ask dry questions about finance, but on the whole it’s more readable than a strictly nonfiction manual.

A helpful introductory guide to financial planning for singles and families looking to get the most out of their money.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2010

ISBN: 978-0984493746

Page Count: 279

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: Sept. 7, 2010

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Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...

THINKING, FAST AND SLOW

A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner summarizes and synthesizes the recent decades of research on intuition and systematic thinking.

The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. We rely heavily, writes, on System 1, resorting to the higher-energy System 2 only when we need or want to. Kahneman continually refers to System 2 as “lazy”: We don’t want to think rigorously about something. The author then explores the nuances of our two-system minds, showing how they perform in various situations. Psychological experiments have repeatedly revealed that our intuitions are generally wrong, that our assessments are based on biases and that our System 1 hates doubt and despises ambiguity. Kahneman largely avoids jargon; when he does use some (“heuristics,” for example), he argues that such terms really ought to join our everyday vocabulary. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2!), but the passages that deal with the economic and political implications of the research are gripping.

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our minds.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-27563-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.

It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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