From Publishers Weekly
By highlighting the "personal" in personal finance, New York Times and MSN Money columnist Dunleavey offers advice as easily understood as it is implemented. Dunleavy focuses her program on conquering the behavioral impulses that keep people from getting the bigger things they really want from life-whether that means packing in a jetset lifestyle, buying an alpaca farm or ditching the newly-purchased suburban dream home to return to the city to be near friends. By emphasizing the quality over quantity of spending and providing quick exercises to help prioritize what matters, she produces a holistic and realistic method of financial planning. Though she does not shy away from the obvious cure for under-saving, overworked, financially-stressed consumers-that being to buy less stuff-she does provide the framework for doing so, along with easy strategies for saving for retirement and erasing debt. Her advice is as solid as it is sympathetic and encouraging.
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Not another how-to-manage-your-money book of advice?! Well, yes and no. New York Times business columnist Dunleavey does resort to the pay-down-debt, save-more-money spiel. It is accompanied, however, by some smart-aleck quotes (for instance, Quentin Crisp's "Never keep up with the Joneses. Drag them down to your level. It's cheaper"); more than enough thoughtful exercises (including "your money or your life," asking readers to rate a 4,000-square-foot home and one-week vacation and a 2,000-square-foot home and three weeks of vacation, among others); and a make-sure-that-fun-matters philosophy. She advocates spending for convenience and saving time; after all, it is false economy to spend $60 on two pairs of shoes that wear out in 90 days. There's much good discussion, too, on boosting fun yields and gaining by giving; the elements of happiness, for most, involve relationships of all sorts and paying rent for the spaces we occupy on this earth. Worth a second and third read. Jacobs, Barbara