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Pound Foolish: Exposing the Dark Side of the…

Pound Foolish: Exposing the Dark Side of the Personal Finance Industry

by Helaine Olen

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Fascinating critique of popular personal finance advice/personalities/movements.
  brokensandals | Feb 7, 2019 |
Before you make your next investment or meet with a financial adviser, I recommend you read this book first. The author also gave an excellent interview on C-Span Book TV. One of the most worthwhile finance books I have ever read. ( )
  VGAHarris | Jan 19, 2015 |
For the second time today I’ll remind readers that I received this book as part of a GoodReads drawing. Despite that kind consideration which saved me upwards of $12, I give my candid feedback below.

The simple premise of this little treatise is to tear everything you know about finance limb from limb. All the rot designed to help you with money from self-help to Dave Ramsey to the latest stock market guru is nothing but a fraud designed to get you to pay for something. Anybody who claims to know something you don’t is just selling something. There, now I’ve saved YOU $12.

In greater seriousness, the author has a point and she very skillfully illuminates it for us. She methodically goes from one financial fad to the next and very neatly deconstructs them. She’s even polite enough to tear everything down and at the end NOT really present us with an answer. There are some liberal leanings in which she suggests that government regulation is the real answer to our problems but even that, she admits, isn’t a panacea.

To summarize, since I have little else to say, Pound Foolish happily tells us all what we long ago suspected about the financial services industry. Nobody really knows the answer to how to get rich excepting through an inordinate amount of faith in straight up luck or perhaps getting your own talk show to sell your wares. The book is at times rather ponderous and redundant but ultimately informative with its most important take-away being the attitude of realism which accompanies it rather than any specific detail the author provides. ( )
  slavenrm | Mar 6, 2013 |
Depressing but important messages: you are not one latte a day away from financial security; the key things that make peoples’ savings insufficient and insecure are structural and can’t be fixed by individual self-management. People who tell you that there is an easy solution are selling something. Pensions have disappeared, replaced by uncertain stock investments (topped by fees that greatly cut into gains from saving); an annuity is unlikely to be a good idea for almost anyone, and even if it is, the people selling them will try to steer you into ones that are lucrative for them but not necessarily right for you, and it will be very hard for you to figure out what the costs and benefits are. Again and again, Olen emphasizes the importance of the overall economy; individuals can’t reliably escape just by being fiscally virtuous (for example, having a savings plan won’t do much good if you earn 77 cents on a man’s dollar and are also a primary caregiver for an elderly parent). ( )
2 vote rivkat | Feb 14, 2013 |
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Describes how a financial column assignment revealed to the author the unethical machinations of the multi-billion-dollar personal finance industry and its false promises of quick and easy wealth, explaining how everyday investors are routinely misled by self-proclaimed money experts who exploit clients to increase their own wealth.… (more)

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