From the Publisher
Somewhat surprisingly, our educational system, at the high school level and beyond, rarely addresses this myriad of issues—both problems and opportunities—that can be categorized as personal finances. Our schools lecture ceaselessly about the challenges of drugs, sex, alcohol, smoking, social media, and wellness—and appropriately so, since young people are exposed to endless opportunities to make poor and harmful decisions regarding each of those matters.
But so also are adults at all ages—teenagers to senior citizens—confronted by a host of challenges and opportunities as to how to manage their personal finances—from before they receive their first paychecks and continuing on through retirement and death. As we proceed through high school, college, and even graduate school, we may take courses in accounting, finance, economics, and taxation, all of which offer tidbits of advice on handling our personal finances, but none are comprehensive in addressing personal finance. This book seeks to fill that void.
We are bombarded with information, suggestions, inducements, promises, threats, and political dialogue that relate to our financial well-being. This bombardment comes primarily from individuals and companies that have a stake in getting us to enter into a financial arrangement with them (e.g., banks, lawyers, securities brokers, life-insurance agents, lenders—including auto, appliance, and other retailers—and real estate brokers). Many of these—in fact, most—are subject to some governmental regulations that restrict them from outright lying. But regulators are hard-pressed to fashion requirements that would result in full and unbiased disclosure of benefits, costs, and risks associated with various financial decisions. Sellers of financial products and services will inevitably, and understandably, emphasize benefits more than risks, even as they meet the requirements for disclosure of both.
The result, caveat emptor—buyer beware.