cover image Smart and Simple Financial Strategies for Busy People

Smart and Simple Financial Strategies for Busy People

Jane Bryant Quinn, Author Simon & Schuster $26 (242p) ISBN 978-0-7432-6994-0

Quinn's latest guide to personal finance covers the usual terrain: budgeting, consumer debt, mortgages, college funds and investments. However, not every financial writer is blessed with Quinn's charm-a blend of Pollyanna and Mary Poppins with a snappy wit thrown in-and her sensible approach to streamlining one's financial life make this a stellar entry in the genre. Quinn's most useful observation is that people seldom spend money they can't lay their hands on. Hence, she advocates the use of automated account debits to ""disappear"" paycheck earnings into savings. Credit card debt is dispatched with admirable simplicity: request lower rates from lenders, switch to a cheaper card, or convert credit card to mortgage loan debt. While such solutions aren't foolproof, Quinn explains the caveats of such methods. Some of the more confusing, recent mutations in home mortgages-Option and FlexPay Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs)-are explained and wisely cautioned against, though Quinn could easily be more emphatic in her warnings. She also addresses the topic of college tuition with a sensible bargain-hunter approach: despite the prestige of the Ivy League, many state or small private colleges offer equivalent or superior educations for considerably less money. Quinn's anecdotes about her own monetary struggles add credibility to her advice and uphold her well-deserved reputation as a source of sound financial guidance.