When it comes to money, do you play it by ear or plan ahead? Jean Chatzky, author of "Money Rules--The Simple Path to Lifelong Security," cites a startling statistic: "50 percent of people will run out of money in retirement." Chatzky, a financial editor and author, would like to insure that senior citizens who have worked all their lives will be comfortable during retirement. In this slender book, the author presents 94 succinct and straightforward rules about making and saving money, avoiding unnecessary debt, spending and investing wisely, and protecting your assets.
This is not a comprehensive manual about IRAs, estate planning, credit card regulations, stocks and bonds, and student loans. Many other works of non-fiction cover these topics. Chatzky's goal is to grab her readers by their lapels and startle them into making wise decisions in order to avoid unnecessary grief down the road. For instance, she urges us: Don't buy things you don't need; stay on top of bills; look for hidden expenses; save as much as possible for the future; shred documents that contain personal information; don't incur unnecessary debt.
"Money Rules" would be useful for individuals (especially the young and naïve) who know little about monetary matters, tend to make rash purchases, and are reluctant to put aside funds for the proverbial rainy day. Chatzky, in a jargon-free, conversational style, warns us to avoid common pitfalls. For example, do not buy life insurance as an investment; "free" can be expensive; rebalance your portfolio periodically; don't lend money to friends and relatives. This handbook would be a good gift for a recent college graduate who is trying to land a job and taste financial independence for the first time. On the other hand, those who have their fiscal houses in order will find Chatzky's advice too elementary to be useful.