Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Kam McHugh reviews SMART AND SIMPLE FINANCIAL STRATEGIES FOR BUSY PEOPLE by Jane Bryant Quinn (Simon & Schuster, 2006).

Whenever a new personal finance book comes out I have to read to it, so it should not come as a surprise that I picked up Quinn’s latest book Smart and Simple Financial Strategies for Busy People. Quinn does a good job of covering all of the bases of personal finance – budgeting, debt, mortgages, college, retirement, and investments. Most importantly, and like the title suggests, Quinn’s book is written for those who have little time to be concerned with their finances. The book is in plain talk and is understandable to those who are not money savvy. It is also written for those busy folks who don’t have time to read more than a chapter a night.

Like other financial authors, Quinn advocates automatic investing and other “tricks” for those who are concerned about their available time to spend on financial planning. These are not get rich quick schemes, but rather tried and true ways of building a nest egg – patience and diligence. Her advice is for those at all income levels.

Although it is a great book for beginners, it should not be shunned by those individuals who are familiar with their finances. Quinn’s book can offer a great beginning for those who are new to personal finance as well as new insight to those who have been following a financial plan for years.

Kam McHugh, Randolph Branch Library

I forgot to mention that the Memphis Public Library has a new Personal Finance Center on the 3rd floor of the Central Library. It is an endowed collection that is great for people interested in personal finance, research, retirement, etc. I've used it several times and find it to be a valuable resource for myself and the community.
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About three years ago, I read Rich Dad, Poor Dad (1998) by Robert Kiyosaki and The Millionaire Next Door (1996) by Thomas Stanley and William Danko.

The subtitle of Kiyosaki’s book is “What The Rich Teach Their Kids about Money--That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!” Kiyosaki’s father (Poor Dad) was a professor and not very astute in financial matters.

The author learned about money--how to make and invest it—from his Rich Dad, the father of one of his friends. Although Rich Dad did not have much formal education, he became wealthy from several (unglamorous) businesses and shrewd investments.

Kiyosaki laments that middle class parents like his own are cheating their children by not teaching them the fundamentals of money management.

Rich Dad, Poor Dad is more of a cautionary tale than a financial how-to-book. Kiyosaki has written several subsequent titles which may give more specific advice.

I remember feeling that he was unduly critical of his own father.

More helpful was The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley and William Danko.

They complained that middle-class and upper middle-class Americans spend too much of their income on things of little long term-value. They contrasted these big spenders to another group of Americans who, despite not earning extremely large salaries, had accumulated wealth through savings, thrift and investment.

Stanley and Danko give solid advice on how to live well below ones means.
I've read both Kiyosaki's book and Stanley and Danko's book as well. I have to agree that Kiyosaki wasn't very practical - not for me anyway. But Millionaire Next Door was very interesting. Who would have thought wealthy people drive old cars and have modest homes? But that is the reason they have money! (Guess I'll keep my used car and modest home a bit longer)

Other fianacial books I would recommend are Suze Orman's books, David Bach's Automatic Millionaire series, and Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover. Eventhough I find Orman to be very annoying on her CNBC show, her writing style is very matter-of-fact and I can appreciate that.
Kam wrote: "Who would have thought wealthy people drive old cars and have modest homes?"

A month or so ago, one of Warren Buffett's granddaughters was on Oprah.

She said that granddad paid for her education, but that's it. No fancy ski trips for her. She seemed okay with NOT having been spoiled by one of the world's wealthiest men. I wonder.

I wonder how much money Osceola McCarty (benefactor of the Univ. of So. Mississippi) would have accumulated if Warren Buffet had been her investor?
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Years ago (20?) Jane Bryant Quinn was a regular on the CBS Morning Show. I remember that she had a calm, confident, no-nonsense voice. I have to agree with Kam that Suze Orman can be annoying on TV. For a while, I listened to the Motley Fool Radio (you can find it online--I don't think it's broadcast in Memphis). But, their advice seemed over my head--aimed at people who follow the stock market closely. Jane Bryant Quinn may more my speed. Thanks for the recommendation.

BTW, my fellow Generation Xers, who watched MTV when it first aired in 1981, will remember that Jane's daughter Martha was one of the first MTV VJs.
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