National Financial Literacy Month is recognized in the United States in April in an effort to highlight the importance of financial literacy and teach Americans how to establish and maintain healthy financial habits.
Why Pound Foolish?
Journalist and former financial columnist Helaine Olen has written a book exposing the myths of popular financial advice promoted by Suze Orman, David Bach and others. Here are some of her claims:
Small pleasures can bankrupt you:
Gurus popularized the idea that cutting out lattes and other small expenditures could make us millionaires. But reducing our caffeine consumption will not offset our biggest expenses: housing, education, health care, and retirement.
Disciplined investing will make you rich:
Gurus also love to show how steady investing can turn modest savings into a huge nest egg at retirement. But these calculations assume a healthy market and a lifetime without any setbacks—two conditions that have no connection to the real world.
Women need extra help managing money:
Product pushers often target women, whose alleged financial ignorance supposedly leaves them especially at risk. In reality, women and men are both terrible at handling finances.
Financial literacy classes will prevent future economic crises:
Experts like to claim mandatory sessions on personal finance in school will cure many of our money ills. Not only is there little evidence this is true, the entire movement is largely funded and promoted by the financial services sector.*
In case you are not familiar, The Savvy Reader Book Club is an online nonfiction book club created for the serious reader. I select a nonfiction book early in the month, and then host discussion posts covering my selection throughout the month. There's no signing up just read the book and stop back in to participate in the discussions at your leisure.
*I selected this book because I think it could lead to several interesting discussions. I plan to write discussion posts in both April and May.
Other book recommendations for financial literacy month:
If you are looking for a book to understand personal finance Helaine Olen recommends Personal Finance For Dummies. She describes this book as one of the most, informative, basic and unintimidating books on the subject she's read, and one that appeals to all ages and both sexes.
For a great list of personal finance books see:
Toby Bowers list of 10 Best Finance Books on Badcredit.org.
(Note: Popular authors such as David Bach, Dave Ramsey, Robert Kiyosaki and Suse Orman whose advice is disputed in Pound Foolish are not included on this list.)
Personal finance books I previously covered on this blog:
Susan L. Hirshman's Does This Make My Assets Look Fat?: A Woman's Guide to Finding Financial Empowerment and Success:
This book written for women is a comprehensive introduction to personal finance. Hirshman uses dieting strategies as metaphors for successful money management. There is good information here, but I thought the dieting references were not necessary and annoying.
Mariko Chang's Shortchanged: Why Women Have Less Wealth and What Can Be Done About It:
In addition to or as a result of the wage gap, women also experience a wealth gap. Read Chang's book to learn why and what can be done about it.
Have you read Pound Foolish? If so, what were your thoughts? What book would you recommend reading for financial literacy month?
Please Note, I am an Amazon Affiliate*Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on Femme Frugality and The Million Dollar Diva*