Tidbits of financial wisdom for the American consumer.
This slim, 25-chapter volume addresses topics from protecting against identity theft, to understanding pension plans, to balancing the checkbook. The tips are common sense, common knowledge or common practice, such as using public transportation to save on gas; obtaining financing before making a major purchase, like a car or home; and living on a budget. Carter advises tackling high-interest credit-card balances first and paying more than the minimum amount due. This bears repeating and may be beneficial to ingÃ©nues at finance, such as students or newlyweds. The author encourages readers to discuss personal finances with a partner before marriage, to comparison shop on the Internet before buying and, in the event of layoff, to contact creditors as soon as possible to explain their change in circumstances. Carter suggests obtaining annual credit reports to check for inaccuracies, conducting an annual review of insurance coverage, maintaining savings equal to six months’ salary and learning to save by dropping change in a jar. One insightful chapter tackles the subprime mortgage meltdown and its effect on homeowners–contact information is provided for Hope Now, a government agency that offers counseling and foreclosure assistance. Another chapter concerns adult children moving in with their parents, with Carter recommending that parents charge rent. The book is indexed and includes a list of websites and phone numbers for government and credit-reporting agencies. The chapters are brief, and the author provides information in an easy-to-read format. Still, the list-like approach fails to address one’s core relationship to money and finances, as may be found in the work of Jerrold Mundis, who worked his way out of debt. The book is better suited to those new to personal finance. Mature individuals with complex financial and tax situations should look elsewhere for guidance.
A basic financial reference guide for beginners.