From Publishers Weekly
With so many people having trouble managing their money, it's not surprising that different attitudes about finances can cause serious arguments between otherwise happy spouses. The solution, according to Opdyke, a reporter and columnist for the Wall Street Journal, is for individuals to first understand their own relationship to and views about money. Drawing on his own marriage as well on the experiences of his readers, Opdyke takes a simple approach to the basic personal finance decisions. He says people shouldn't think about budgets-which, like diets, rarely work-but instead should devise a spending plan (which encourages one to look to the future rather than focus on previous spending habits): "Once you create your spending plan, strive to live with the boundaries you've set. Remember, there's fluidity to your plan. If you realize you're not going to spend $200 this month eating out, you can shift that money to some other expense you'd rather make, or just shovel it into savings for a later date." The writing is clever and the inclusion of comments from readers makes this an enjoyable primer on the psychological and emotional issues related to money. But the chapters on saving for college, retirement and helping aging parents, for example, provide few strategies for readers.
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If it's not sex, it's money, the root cause of so many family breakups and divorces. This well-reasoned personal-finance guide offers help in harmonizing love and money. Wall Street Journal reporter Opdyke, in this book drawn from his newspaper column and reader e-mail, talks personally about his own life: his personal finances, his wife and son, his worries and successes. The result is a series of amazingly candid conversations about money, a philosophy borne out through his belief that "talk is cheap; it's the silence that's expensive." He discusses emotional events everyone can identify with, from his and hers accounts to inequality of salaries, and arrives at common-sense solutions. Trust is important in his ethos, often opening completely new ways of dealing with monetary pitfalls, as in his resolve not to lie to his son and say, "Dad doesn't have money," when his youngster pleads for a toy. Different chapters explore situations such as divergent vacation desires, parental support, and financial compromise with aplomb, respect, and much love. The new Bible for money management. Barbara Jacobs
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