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Smart and Simple Financial Strategies for Busy People Hardcover – January 1, 2006

46 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Quinn's latest guide to personal finance covers the usual terrain: budgeting, consumer debt, mortgages, college funds and investments. However, not every financial writer is blessed with Quinn's charm-a blend of Pollyanna and Mary Poppins with a snappy wit thrown in-and her sensible approach to streamlining one's financial life make this a stellar entry in the genre. Quinn's most useful observation is that people seldom spend money they can't lay their hands on. Hence, she advocates the use of automated account debits to "disappear" paycheck earnings into savings. Credit card debt is dispatched with admirable simplicity: request lower rates from lenders, switch to a cheaper card, or convert credit card to mortgage loan debt. While such solutions aren't foolproof, Quinn explains the caveats of such methods. Some of the more confusing, recent mutations in home mortgages-Option and FlexPay Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs)-are explained and wisely cautioned against, though Quinn could easily be more emphatic in her warnings. She also addresses the topic of college tuition with a sensible bargain-hunter approach: despite the prestige of the Ivy League, many state or small private colleges offer equivalent or superior educations for considerably less money. Quinn's anecdotes about her own monetary struggles add credibility to her advice and uphold her well-deserved reputation as a source of sound financial guidance.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

No newcomer to the personal financial world, Quinn is best at conveying the simple rules of success--under many different guises, like Jordan E. Goodman's Everyone's Money Book (1993). Here, the emphasis is on streamlining financial plans and actions in today's no-time-for--anything environment. The answers? One: use automatic payments for money obligations, such as the employer retirement plan, college funds, and mortgages. Two: investigate all the insurances, and understand necessities versus nice-to-haves. Three: rely on diversified mutual funds (and continue rebalancing your portfolio) for retirement savings. Four: ensure you've compiled checklists for your critical information and know where to find your files. Her best yet? "You can't see the future. If you're saving steadily, that doesn't matter. Only a few things work, and you've found them here." Barbara Jacobs
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1 edition (January 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743269942
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743269940
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #674,728 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jane Bryant Quinn is the author of the bestselling Making the Most of Your Money and Everyone's Money Book. She writes regularly for Newsweek and Good Housekeeping. She lives in New York City.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

76 of 80 people found the following review helpful By Learning All The Time on January 12, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This outstanding book motivated me to overcome nine years of inertia regarding financial planning. My husband and I have been vaguely worried about not saving enough for retirement or college, but we kept procrastinating research into the myriad of competing plans and investments and strategies.

Fortunately, Jane Bryant Quinn has done the research and makes clear, solid recommendations about how to manage family finances. She covers all of the financial bases (including insurance and wills), so that you can be confident you haven't left anything out.

She helps you establish clear financial goals, and explains which type of investments work best for various goals. Once you create your financial plan and set up automatic deposits into your investment/retirement accounts, she recommends you leave them alone and make adjustments as needed once a year! No time and energy wasted on buy/sell decisions after each stock market wiggle.

Now granted, this investing program is unlikely to provide the spectacular returns that some lucky people have made in real estate or by timing the market. But Quinn argues that people who earn huge returns on their investments are really few and far between. Furthermore, she points out that those investors take on a lot of risk in order to get those kinds of returns.

Her book is more than "common sense" however, - in fact, some of her ideas fly in the face of popular belief. For example, I was convinced any financial plan would have to begin with a strict budget that would ruthlessly prune lattes etc... out of our lives. Quite the contrary - Quinn says that the "latte factor" is not a significant factor in a family's financial health - it's the big ticket items that show up on credit card statements.
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52 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Emerson M. on January 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I've been searching for a personal finance book like this for years! I bought this book because it's Washington Post columnist Michelle Singletary's Book Club selection for January. I was skeptical at first because I've read so many personal finance books that just confuse and bewilder me. This one, however, is perfect. You don't need to work in a brokerage firm to figure out how to invest your money. The strategies and advice are simple just like the author promises.

I now feel like I can form a solid financial plan and stick with it. I've already made changes to my work's 401(k) plan based on her recommendations. I opened an online banking account, checked my credit report, and am opening up an account with Vanguard to start a "Cushion Fund" through a Roth IRA or money market fund.

If you're like me and you've been procrastinating on how to start a retirement plan because the array of choices is too overwhelming, this book is ideal. It's a quick read but every chapter has worthwhile information. And I cannot stress enough how simple and straighfoward the advice is. The author includes websites, phone numbers, specific funds etc. She's done all the work.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Jason E. Smith on November 11, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Over the past five years I've read at least three dozen books on personal finance--everything from Marshall Loeb's classic tome to Ben Stein's contrarian books--and Quinn's latest is easily the best read I've encountered for the *average* person.

Quinn effectively covers budgeting, insurance, wills, investing/retirement, and buying a home. She writes clearly, concisely, and avoids financial jargon. All of the financial advice is sound, there is nothing unorthodox here.

Her defining trademark however, is her emphasis on 'Set it and Forget it' solutions that insure your well laid plans are automatically executed without too much intervention on your part. Quinn is one of the few financial experts that actually understands that most people can't spend hundreds of hours managing their money. If you ask folks to do that then it is just a matter of time until life, family, or work interfere and cause damaging mismanagement.

Most people are either misinformed about financial management or simply too lazy to do the things which they ought. Quinn's book nicely tackles both sorts with straightforward information and low-effort solutions.

HIGHLY Recommended without reservation.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Larry on January 13, 2006
Format: Hardcover
My name is Larry Swedroe and I am the director of research for a large investment advisory firm and also the author of five books on investing.

In my opinion, Ms. Quinn is one of the most respected and trustworthy members of the financial media. She is one of the not much more than a handful that are worthy of respect (e.g.,Jonathan Clements,Jason Zweig, Humberto Cruz, Scott Burns, Lynn O'Shaugnessy, and Paul Farrell).

Her new book more than lives up to its promise of providing simple, yet very comprehensive, strategies that really work that you can put into effect yourself. This is book for investors that understand that the best strategies are usually simple and straightforward and low cost, requiring only the development of a well thought out plan and then having the discipline to stay the course.

It is a wonderful book for beginners and busy people (who know that there are more important things in life than trying to beat the market) that covers the full financial spectrum from spending and saving (and how to save), to debt, to home buying, to paying for college, to retirement planning, insurance needs, investing, and even record keeping. And it provides simple, easy to implement ideas you can do on your own.

Would make a wonderful gift for a friend in need of sound investment advice.

In summary, it is a perfect complement to the Boglehead Guide to Investing. And speaking of compliments, my compliments to Ms. Quinn on a job well done.
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