cover image This Is the Year I Put My Financial Life in Order

This Is the Year I Put My Financial Life in Order

John Schwartz. Avery, $27 (320p) ISBN 978-0-399-57681-2

Veteran New York Times reporter Schwartz (Oddly Normal) takes readers on a genial, conversational, sometimes overly circuitous tour of all things money-related. Schwartz, who readily confesses his former ineptitude with finances, discusses myriad aspects of his subject, from spending and investment to estate planning and long-term care, in a folksy, down-to-earth manner. The book’s 13 chapters are not equal in depth. The investment chapter is comprehensive and includes an extensive look at how different personality types approach investment and an assessment of risk comfort level. However, the bankruptcy chapter offers only a cursory view of the topic, with few examples but loads of warnings. Schwartz is open about his own finances throughout and readily admits that he’s been lucky: he has a pension, a 401(k), and solid employment. He’s not smug, though, and good-naturedly reprints a tweet criticizing his initial Times essay on retirement worries, acknowledging the dilemma faced by younger American workers. Though the title promises a year, the author admits it took him longer to get his finances together. With his lessons learned, the last chapter gives a 12-month outline of what to do—including nothing at all for some months. Schwartz offers a personable, amused take on a subject about which most people quickly lose their sense of humor. (Apr.)