“What’s keeping you from being rich? In most cases, it is simply a lack of belief.” —SUZE ORMAN, The Courage to Be Rich
“Are you latte-ing away your financial future?” —DAVID BACH, Smart Women Finish Rich
“I know you’re capable of picking winning stocks and holding on to them.” —JIM CRAMER, Mad Money
They’re common refrains among personal finance gurus. There’s just one problem: those and many similar statements are false.
For the past few decades, Americans have spent billions of dollars on personal finance products. As salaries have stagnated and companies have cut back on benefits, we’ve taken matters into our own hands, embracing the can-do attitude that if we’re smart enough, we can overcome even daunting financial obstacles. But that’s not true.
In this meticulously reported and shocking book, journalist and former financial columnist Helaine Olen goes behind the curtain of the personal finance industry to expose the myths, contradictions, and outright lies it has perpetuated. She shows how an industry that started as a response to the Great Depression morphed into a behemoth that thrives by selling us products and services that offer little if any help.
Olen calls out some of the biggest names in the business, revealing how even the most respected gurus have engaged in dubious, even deceitful, practices—from accepting payments from banks and corporations in exchange for promoting certain products to blaming the victims of economic catastrophe for their own financial misfortune. Pound Foolish also disproves many myths about spending and saving, including:
Weaving together original reporting, interviews with experts, and studies from disciplines ranging from behavioral economics to retirement planning, Pound Foolish is a compassionate and compelling book that will change the way we think and talk about our money.
It’s no surprise that even my most successful friends feel confused or paralyzed. Even if they have a shelfful of personal finance books, they don’t have time to make sense of all the information available. They don’t just want good advice, they want the best advice—so rather than do the “wrong thing,” they do nothing. Their 401(k) and bank statements pile up, unexamined or maybe even unopened.
What they don’t realize is that bad calls about money aren’t failures; they’re just what happens when emotional creatures have to make decisions about the future with limited information. What I tell them is that we need to scrap striving for perfection and instead commit to a process of guessing and making adjustments when things go off track. Of course we’re going to make the best guesses we can—but we’re not going to obsess over getting them exactly right.
The fact is, in a single page you can prioritize what you really want in life and figure out how to get there. That’s because a great financial plan has nothing to do with what the markets are doing, what your real estate agent is pitching, or the hot stock your brother-in-law told you about. It has everything to do with what’s most important to you.
By now you may be wondering, “What about the details? How much do I need to invest each year, and how do I allocate it? How much life insurance do I need?” Don’t worry: I’ll cover those topics and many more, sharing strategies that will take the complexity out of them.
The most important thing is getting clarity about the big picture so you can cope with the unexpected. Maybe you’ll lose the job you thought was secure; you’ll take a financial risk that doesn’t pan out; you’ll have twins when you were only budgeting for one. In other words: Life will happen.
But no matter what happens, this book will help you bridge the gap between where you are now and where you want to go.
You CAN take control of your money. Build up your money muscles with America’s favorite finance coach.
Okay, folks, do you want to turn those fat and flabby expenses into a well-toned budget? Do you want to transform your sad and skinny little bank account into a bulked-up cash machine? Then get with the program, people. There’s one sure way to whip your finances into shape, and that’s with The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition.
By now, you’ve heard all the nutty get-rich-quick schemes, the fiscal diet fads that leave you with a lot of kooky ideas but not a penny in your pocket. Hey, if you’re tired of the lies and sick of the false promises, take a look at this—it’s the simplest, most straightforward game plan for completely making over your money habits. And it’s based on results, not pie-in-the-sky fantasies. With The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition, you’ll be able to:Design a sure-fire plan for paying off all debt—meaning cars, houses, everythingRecognize the 10 most dangerous money myths (these will kill you)Secure a big, fat nest egg for emergencies and retirement!
Includes new, expanded “Dave Rants” sidebars tackle marriage conflict, college debt, and more. All-new forms and back-of-the-book resources to make Total Money Makeover a reality.
Dive deeper into Dave’s game plan with The Total Money Makeover Workbook: Classic Edition. The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition is also available in Spanish, transformación total de su dinero.