Money Makeovers: How Women Can Control Their Financial Destiny

Christopher L. Hayes, Author, Kate Kelly, Author, Kate Kelly, Joint Author
Christopher L. Hayes, Author, Kate Kelly, Author, Kate Kelly, Joint Author Doubleday Books $24.95 (448p) ISBN 978-0-385-48540-1
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Hayes, founder of the National Center for Women and Retirement Research, has spent more than a decade surveying financial habits of women and providing educational resources and money. Here, Hayes and Kelly (Organize Yourself!) looks at why women generally are less well informed about their finances than men, how they can change their money habits and, finally, what specific steps will enable women to take charge of their finances. While Hayes's research influenced many financial institutions that now actively target women, his findings aren't revelatory. For example, he explains that women are often taught that money issues are traditionally the concern of men and notes that when women are suddenly forced to make financial decisions for the first time, they're often nervous. Some sections are superfluous--how many women buying this book would believe ""winning the lottery would solve all my problems"" or ""conversations about money and investing are boring,"" two of the ""Ten Misguided Myths About Money."" On the other hand, Hayes's quizzes designed to help readers identify why they have trouble handling finances are helpful; there are tests to determine how receptive to change readers are or how risk-averse they are. These tests along with the author's analysis and suggestions for follow-up action are the book's most useful feature. The final section on setting goals and making investment decisions is helpful as a primer, although some readers will find they need more detailed explanations of investment choices. (Jan.)
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