Money can't make you happy, but it can make you miserable, explains money maven Jean Chatzky in You Don't Have to Be Rich: Comfort, Happiness, and Financial Security on Your Own Terms. Her premise is provocative: the financial habits of people who believe that money equals happiness will stand in the way of achieving that happiness. Chatzey, a financial editor for the Today show and a columnist for Money magazine, leverages money smart habits of mind from her research with 1,500 Americans and their wallets.
She begins with short and savvy history of how Americans turned from market observers to "in the game all the time participants." Then, she focuses on how to use market down turns as an opportunity "to take back our money by living within our means." Chatzky's down to earth advice is practical and confronts the reader head-on with a non-nonsense approach: "five steps to wanting less," "Feng Shui finance to simplify," "advice for the organizationally dyslexic," "non-gaseous goal setting," or "how to stop digging a financial hole and spotting unconscious spending."
Chatzky illustrates with clear examples and includes survey questions so readers can assess their own money matters. Although some of the advice will sound familiar, (pay your bills when they come in), this is a priceless blueprint for balancing your checkbook along with your outlook. --Barbara Mackoff
From Publishers Weekly
Chatzky, a Today show contributor and columnist for Money, Time and USA Weekend, acknowledges that the combined impact of the declining stock market, war and continuing unemployment have led people to worry about money more than in the recent past. However, Chatzky says, they don't know what to do with their concerns. The solution: "It's time to take back our lives. And in order to do that we need to take back our money.... We need to regain our financial power if we feel we've ceded it. Or to grab hold of that power, even if we've never paid much attention before." To find out what steps people should take, Chatzky and the Roper Center surveyed 1,505 people about the impact of money on their happiness, and how prepared they feel with their financial plans for the future. Chatzky uses the survey responses as chapter openers and then goes on to offer anecdotes and advice. She discusses finding the right job, saving, setting realistic goals, planning for emergencies and more. Chatzky's style is friendly and her counsel sound, though less extensive than some readers may need. Those struggling with basic money woes, like debt or trying to put away savings for their children's college education, will find this book helpful, but people wanting more in-depth or sophisticated information would do better with other investment guides.
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