I have been hearing a lot about Pound Foolish: Exposing the Dark Side of the Personal Finance Industry, by Helaine Olen. Without having read the book, it sounded like a muckraking survey of the ways that the financial services industry fleeces individuals. Commentators in the financial services industry have been broadly critical of the book. Larry Swedroe, a well-known advisor and journalist concludes that “problems are well exposed, but investors are left in the dark about how to deal with those issues. This book has many positive aspects, but in the end, it comes up short of helpful.” Morningstar’s John Rekenthaler comes to a similar conclusion in his review, suggesting that the book is entertaining and worth reading, but is somewhat biased in terms of telling Olen’s audience what they want to hear. The reviews and controversy inspired me to read the book myself, and it is a fairly quick and enjoyable read for those interested in the issue. Continue reading
Dave Ramsey is a well-known author and media personality famous for his focus on saving and getting your financial house in order. His books have hit The New York Times’ bestseller list and 137,000 people follow his radio show’s Twitter feed.
Praise seems to be universal when it comes to his advice on how to pay down debt and save. But his ideas about investing are far less popular with some, who argue they are irresponsibly optimistic. Why does he set hopes so high? Continue reading