THE WOMAN'S GUIDE TO FINANCIAL SAVVY by Judith Briles

THE WOMAN'S GUIDE TO FINANCIAL SAVVY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This no-nonsense primer on financial planning, aimed at young working women with annual incomes in the $15,000 to $25,000 range, delivers nicely on the promise of its title. Although Briles, who heads her own counseling firm in the Bay Area, does not go into great detail on any single subject, she manages to hit virtually all the high spots. She starts conventionally by calling for an inventory of personal assets and credit. Less conventionally, she next turns to tax minimization on the logical grounds that less for the IRS means more for investment; particularly useful are tips on how to use the W-4 form to avoid overwithholding that can reduce the amount of cash currently available. She then reviews almost every possible outlet--passbook savings accounts, Treasury bills, money market funds, annuities, securities, options, commodities, and real estate--in such a way as to command the attention of her target audience. In the section on commodities, for instance, Briles recounts how she and three friends made over $70,000 trading futures contracts shortly after they noticed the retail price of coffee starting to climb in 1976. Similarly, the cautionary examination of common stocks includes Avon Products as a case study. There is also instructive material on insurance (which argues for term, as opposed to whole or paid-up, life policies) and on the mechanics of limited partnerships. The risks and rewards of all commitments (personal as well as fiscal) are clearly spelled out--with precise instructions on how to proceed when involving oneself in, say, a tax shelter. Infrequently, Briles can be charged with an error of omission (she neglects to mention, for example, that any profits accruing from short sales are taxable as ordinary income); and she closes with a strong pitch for professional financial planners. Such quibbles apart, her text provides sound introductory guidance to women seeking a good start in financial life.

Pub Date: June 12th, 1981
Publisher: St. Martin's