Sunday, April 06, 2014

The Savvy Reader Book Club Selection for Financial Literacy Month

In honor of Financial Literacy Month, I am selecting Helaine Olen’s book Pound Foolish: Exposing the Dark Side of the Personal Finance Industryfor The Savvy Reader Book Club’s April/May selection.

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
(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*


  1. I haven't read this book but it sounds WONDERFUL and just like something I need to read. I'm putting it on my list right now! --Lisa

  2. I love the premise of the book to shed some light on these claims by gurus. Not sure I can join you in time but I will keep up with the discussion and interested to hear your thoughts on it.

  3. I LOVE the premise of this book! The Mister and I followed "all of the rules" that the gurus suggested (including getting a really good education) but still found ourselves having to start over in our 50's (talk about scary) because of the economic collapse. It annoys the heck out of me when people assume that folks in financial straits are slackers and didn't follow "the rules." Yeah, because most people earning Ph.D's would be considered slackers and lacking in the smarts department... (sorry, got a little snarky there) Anywho, I'm looking forward to the discussion!

  4. Thanks for sharing this with my #SmallVictoriesSunday #linky. Pinning and sharing too!

  5. Anonymous7:18 PM

    I know the little things can send your finances into a tailspin. I had to cut back on monthly pedicures and bi-weekly manicures. I will check out the book. The Frugal Exerciser

  6. I am a mess when it comes to taking time to read. I just launched my own little freelancing business and I could really use a few books like this to help me navigate what are sure to be some muddy financial waters.

    I also wanted to stop by and let you know I've nominated you for The Liebster Award. I know - it's kinda like a chain-blog thing...and you technically don't qualify because you've got more than 200 followers....but I love you blog, visit it often, and wanted to share you with my readers. I think you're awesome, take it or leave it.

  7. No, I have not read it but I will be interested to see you posts on it.

    Alas, reading blogs seems to be taking all my time since I started this blogging thing.

  8. Congrats on the Liebster, Savvy! This sounds like an interesting book!

  9. Lisa,
    If you do read it please stop back in and let us know what you think.

  10. Tanya,
    I hope to ask questions that don't require you to read the book. Would love to hear your thoughts.

  11. Dr. Julie Ann,
    Your story is described in the book. It is hard to read and not get annoyed and snarky.

  12. The Frugal Exerciser,
    I haven't gotten to the section on cutting out small expenses yet. That is one of the easiest way for me to save money. She's probably going to say it doesn't do much good if you overspend on the big items like a home.

    I try to make my pedicures last as long as possible. I don't get manicures. I'm a gardener and think I would ruin them anyway. I keep my nails short, wear clear polish and call it a day.

  13. Jennifer,
    Thanks so much for nominating me for the Liebster award. I'm honored. And congratulations on starting your own little freelancing business. If you ever have any business/finance questions let me know. I'd be happy to research them for you Also, I have a lot of sources I can go to in real life. Good luck.

  14. i love the fastlane millionaire! you have to check it out. i think it would be right up your alley.

    i don't plan on reading it, but michael lewis's flash boys is getting a ton of press.

  15. Debt Debs,
    I know what you mean about reading blogs taking up all of your time.

  16. Susie,
    Thanks for the congrats. I'm still reading the book - it is making me angry.