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Review: Smart is the New Rich by Christine Romans

I’ve been a little behind on reviewing books and so this next review is on a book published last year. It’s Smart is the New Rich by Christine Romans [3] and it’s a 299 page book published by Wiley. The book is a general personal finance book, as opposed to one focused on a specific subject like debt or investing, and written by someone who has covered the range extensive.

Christine Romans [4] is the host of Your Bottom Line, CNN’s Saturday personal finance show, and regular contributor to CNN’s AMerican Morning and other CNN programs. She’s had a career in personal finance journalism and received an Emmy Award in 2004 for “Exporting America,” a Lou Dobbs Tonight investigation on the impact of globalization on the U.S. worker.

The core message of the book is that after the economic collapse and the emergence of the “new Normal,” people might be feeling the ways of old creeping back into their lives. The creditor mentality of buy it now, pay for it later; something that was repressed during the collapse and subsequent recession, is starting to reemerge and Romans gives advice on how to combat it. This broad personal finance book, which covers everything from credit scores to student loan debt, is built around that core philosophical idea perfectly summarized in the subtitle – if you can’t afford it, put it down.

The book covers a variety of topics, many of which are glossed over in other personal finance books, and does so in less than three hundred pages. Here are the different chapters:

  1. Reset, Repair, Recover
  2. Spending Your $$$$$
  3. Your Job
  4. Debt
  5. Credit Cards
  6. Home Sweet Home
  7. Save, Invest, Retire
  8. Family Money
  9. Health Care
  10. Small Business
  11. Government

As you can see, it’s a pretty wide variety of topics (small business and government, outside of taxes, aren’t usually covered in basic personal finance books) but I think it did a good job at tackling all the issues. The government chapter is one in which a bit of editorializing starts creeping in, which is fine if you can look past it, but otherwise it’s a pretty balanced book.