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America, Welcome to the Poorhouse: What You Must Do to Protect Your Financial Future and the Reform We Need 1st Edition

56 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0137020171
ISBN-10: 0137020171
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

White (The Cost Conscious Homebuyers Guide) paints a grim picture of America's financial future in this scathing indictment of our big banks, retirement system, mortgage brokers and legislators. White argues that middle-class families are headed for an even more disastrous financial catastrophe down the road, a result of our undersaving, overspending and overcharging ways, not to mention an excessively expensive educational system that leaves our citizens mired in debt before they've even begun earning. She explores the roots of our present woes, including underfunded 401(k)s, bad mortgages and unaffordable college tuition, offering such helpful advice as avoiding adjustable rate mortgages and steering clear of home improvements that don't add to your home's resale value. Despite the validity of White's tips, the consumer finance directives seem incongruous along with her pleas for legislative reform and diatribes on larger political issues. While she tries to solve too many problems—large and small, personal and political—in one volume, the tone is winning, and this book will appeal to cash-strapped, mortgage-challenged Americans who are looking for answers. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"The starkly titled ''America, Welcome to the Poorhouse,'' talks about the severe lifestyle changes ahead for future retirees if they don't prepare now. "  -- The New York Times,  October 23, 2009.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: FT Press; 1 edition (September 24, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0137020171
  • ISBN-13: 978-0137020171
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,241,820 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Elisa 20 TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is an important and informative book. It covers four important (and difficult) economic realities of life in 2010 America, from college and retirement costs, to mortgage and credit card debt. So it is especially important for the legion of Baby Boomers (born 1946) who will begin retiring in 2011 and for the new generation of consumers, who'll have to make difficult economic choices in the world the Boomers have left them.

I don't understand the reviewers who've criticized "America: Welcome to the Poorhouse" for being "scattershot". Personally, I can't imagine how it could have been better organized or more focused than it is. And the thesis is clear, too: American lives and financial choices are linked to an American economy that creates and perpetuates great financial stress.

Jane White divides the book into four financial themes: retirement; mortgages; college expenses; and credit card debt. In each section, she takes a clear-eyed and specific look at what the problem is, why it continues, and what should be done about it--both by the consumer and through specific legislative reforms.

Essentially her legislative recommendations are: regulate/eliminate lobbyists...require greater employer contributions to employee 401Ks...get rid of adjustable rate mortgages...and reduce your credit card debt and reliance on home equity loans.

I appreciated the clarity of this book and the numerous examples and facts that were used to support the recommendations for change--both change in consumer behavior and legislative change.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Cherise Kachelmuss TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I admit it I am not very intelligent when it comes to political issues and retirement. To keep myself up-to-date, I do try to watch the news, but mainly I read. I love to read personal finance books that are for the everyday Joe as I am always looking for tips and ideas. I may have to re-read a few pages and sometimes I admit I get lost, but I do like to try out personal finance books.

"America, Welcome to the Poorhouse" by Jane White is a book that deals with ways to protect your future by offering current problems and solutions. Now the book offers White's opinions on how to fix issues, which may or may not work and be something I agree with, but I enjoyed how she spoke up. Too many times people keep ideas to themselves and it always helps to put your thoughts out there and have others work together to build upon them.
According to a CNN Opinion Research poll, only 39% of respondents felt they would be able to continue their current quality of life, 50% were confident they would be continue to be able pay their mortgages, 24% felt they would be able to send their children to college and only 22% had saved enough for retirement. Now I don't know about you, but those figures scare me. I know college and retirement are a long ways off, but really they are things my husband and I should be thinking about. Now this book does not offer personal plans, as much as it is a "We need to do this" and "The government needs to fix this." It was still an interesting read and brought up some good ideas. She also references personal experiences in the book.

Through the following topics of Empty Nest Eggs, Unaffordable Homes, Overpriced Colleges, and Credit-Card Debt, White uses current issues to explain how we are as a society are in trouble.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bucky VINE VOICE on September 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The usefulness of political polemics generally depends on whether the individual reader agrees with the political viewpoint of the author. If the reader of this book is of a liberal bent, he or she will probably enjoy and agree with this book. If not, then this book will only lead to an increase in blood pressure.

Books like this have no real intellectual value, they are briefly in vogue for a few months after publication, then when no longer current, they are consigned to the remainder bins to make way for the next batch of political jeremaids from the political commentariat. This book is no different.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jason Stokes VINE VOICE on January 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I enjoyed this book for concisely telling the story of how monumentally bad things are for the majority of Americans. Rather than pull punches about affordable homes, making payments, etc., the author clearly shows how most people can't afford to keep up with the lifestyles they've become accustomed to. While those at the top continue to do well, the rest are falling further behind, led by mortgages they cannot afford, retirement savings they don't make, and college tuition that is growing faster that inflation. In the face of all these costs, people are actually earning less per hour of work than they did 30 years ago. Certainly, it's a middle class crisis.

Unfortunately, the author, instead of pushing for rational improvements, pushes her own agenda of mandatory government savings plans, encourages us to contact Congress to push the agenda, and follows up with some diatribe about how the government should be paying for school, since they do in other countries. It's a shame that her solutions aren't more reasonable and attainable, because her indictment of the current system was truly a 5 star effort.
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