A debut manual offers tips on managing both money and the mind.
Piercy’s book packs a lot of information into only a little more than 100 pages, and it opens with a wake-up call aimed at his U.S. readers. He points out that average Americans over the course of a normal working life will see more than $1 million flow through their hands—but end up on the doorstep of retirement with little or nothing to depend on other than Social Security. (Piercy is certainly not the first writer to remind readers that the fund is projected to go broke as early as 2037.) The author cites studies showing that the percentage of Americans enrolled in some kind of pension plan has dropped precipitously in recent decades. These dire figures are laid out early in the work to underscore the importance of the straightforward and often startlingly simple rules and pieces of advice that are given in the following pages. Piercy breaks down financial obligations along the lines of some of life’s most prominent expenses in America: going to college, buying a car, purchasing a house, managing credit cards, minimizing debt, and saving for retirement. The financial advice boils down to living within one’s fiscal means and planning for the future by always spending only 70 percent of one’s income, setting aside the rest. Many of the strategies Piercy outlines are self-evidently pragmatic and workable. What gives his book its extra interest is its back half, in which the author supplements his financial pointers with personal ones, buttressed by his personal born-again Christianity (he “received Christ” in 1972). They range far from religious matters, extending to the importance of things like health, exercise, personal relationships, and the vital role of keeping a positive attitude (as Piercy bluntly puts it, “I am convinced that some people wouldn’t know happiness if it kicked them in the rear end”).
The combination of this book’s two parts makes for an inviting, general-purpose life guide for readers of all ages.