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This review is from: Smart Is the New Rich: If You Can't Afford It, Put It Down (Hardcover)
I was excited when this book was released, for three reasons: 1) I appreciate Ms. Romans' down-to-earth, neighbor-next-door approach to her stories and reporting; 2) I wanted to see how her commentary, advice, and view of money would agree with the one we've adopted in our family; and 3) I wanted to learn where we could do better by being "smarter."
"Smart is the New Rich" is a well-written, easy-to-read, accessible and engaging book with cleverly-turned phrases, helpful metaphors, inspiring stories, and bits of irony, humor, and conversation. I found it a real page turner, or in my case, a real "screen swiper" (Kindle for the iPhone).
Of course, and this isn't Romans' fault, but what was not so easy-to-read was the back-story--her accounting of the events, arrogance, and negligence leading up to the Great Recession, as she calls it. But the final chapters were even less comforting as she laid out the current state of our country's current financial situation, followed by a litany of ostensively reckless practices, and predictions of the potential grand calamity that awaits us if our government continues on it's current short-sighted course. Scary stuff.
A couple of caveats for potential readers. 1) this is not a "how-to" book. Yes, there's some great common sense advice, but not the block-n-tackle point-by-point instruction I anticipated. 2) this book is probably better intended for younger people and families. As one approaching the big 6-0, having run my own business for over 30 years, and knowing my three offspring are on career tracks, and free from school debt, I didn't relate as much as a younger person might. 3) "Smart" probably has a limited shelf life. While it will always contain a concise historical roundup of the events of the past few years, phrases like "this Spring" and other timely facts will date it faster than it deserves (great fodder for "Rich 2.0").
As to points 2 and 3 of why I wanted to read the book, 2) agreement: "yes," but only if I can boil down "Smart" to a phrase, "be good stewards." Note: about 20 years ago, my wife and I made a conscious decision to get off the money train and forget about the "Jone's." Not feeling the need to buy "stuff" for sport took the pressure off and helped us to concentrate on staying out of debt and building up a reserve (my wife must be a magician because I don't give her a lot to work with). 3) lessons: "maybe." As mentioned above, being older we've had the benefit of learning some tough lessons on our own--we could have used this book 30 years ago.
Bottom line (appropriate language), even though it wasn't exactly what I thought it would be, I'm "smarter" for having read it. However, and I'm not sure this was her intent, I came away with a lot less confidence in those that run the financial world, and even less confidence in our government, and was left with the real fear that neither will do the right thing in the end. As Romans advises us in the closing chapter, we need to do our part to get our own financial houses in order--at least we can control that.
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Initial post: Mar 18, 2011 11:45:43 AM PDT
I didn't read the book, but I, too share your thoughts that the government is not going to do the right thing. I fear we are going to default on the mountain of debt that is accumulating.
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