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Review: Making the Most of Your Money Now by Jane Bryant Quinn

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Author Jane Bryan Quinn took her massive personal finance book published in 1997 and revised and updated the information to create Making the Most of Your Money Now: The Classic Bestseller Completely Revised for the New Economy, which will be released on December 29, 2009. I got my hands on a copy of this 1,242 page book for a preview.

The strongest aspects of Making the Most of Your Money Now are its scope and its depth, from basic finances to insurance, home ownership, paying for education, and retirement. Quinn emphasizes that individuals form their beliefs about and relationships with money in early years of their lives, and can therefore be generalized based on what the experiences lived through as they matured and grew into a financially aware person. This allows her to contrast the Depression Kids, Inflation Kids (raised in the 1960s and 1970s), Bubble Kids, and Struggle Kids.

Making the Most of Your Money Now is best described as an encyclopedia with annotations. For example, Quinn explains the differences between four ways to own property with another person (joint ownership with the right of survivorship, tenancy in common, tenancy by the entirety, and community property) but goes further by building cases for and against joint ownership of property in any form depending on various situations.

jbq-make-most-moneyThe checklists included in chapter seven will come in handy. For every milestone one might encounter throughout life, Quinn offers a checklist to ensure the important considerations are covered. Each point on each list is described in detail. If you find yourself in the midst of a divorce, there is a (long) checklist for that. If you want to offer your kids allowances, there is a checklist for that. There is even a checklist for those of us starting a home-based business.

In one small section, the author takes on a topic with my admiration. As I, she is not particularly a fan of The Latte Factor — the idea that taking away a pleasurable but expensive daily habit will change your financial life. She agrees with me — the money you save by cutting out $3 or $4 a day can add up, but the real effect is caused by unnecessary spending, particularly on credit cards.

Quinn tackles investing, particularly those concepts that everyone needs to know. As someone who purchased company stock through an automated quarterly investment plan and is still hanging onto stock purchased at its peak waiting for it to return, I had an eye on the author’s thoughts on what it takes to break even, the four illusions I am cherishing:

1. You think that the price will come back soon because you couldn’t have been so wrong. In fact, the price could stay down for years. It might never come back. [ed. note: my company’s stock needs a 100% return starting now to get back to its high.]

2. You think that as long as you don’t sell, you don’t have a loss. But a “paper” loss is just aas real as the other king. The stock is worth less than you paid for it. Period.

3. You think that there’s only one way of earning back the money you lost: by holding ion to the stock you lost it in. But you might earn your money back faster by selling the stock and reinvesting in something else.

4. You think that gains come just as easily as losses.

There are many more goodies in this book. But don’t buy it and expect to sit down and read it from cover to cover. If you want a book from which you can get specific ideas for action and read in one night, look for something like I Will Teach You to Be Rich by Ramit Sethi. Making the Most of Your Money Now is a book that is more valuable on your bookshelf, always available in an emergency when you need to understand a financial concept in detail.

Jane Bryant Quinn, the author of Making the Most of Your Money Now, is scheduled to appear on an upcoming episode of the Consumerism Commentary Podcast. We will be talking about some of the information found in this book. If you have any questions you’d like Quinn to answer, please leave them here and we’ll try to include them in the show.

Updated May 5, 2014 and originally published December 17, 2009.

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About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar 1 Anonymous

She really had a lot to say–1242 pages!
But you reviewed it fairly! It wasn’t all good stuff. There are better books as you mentioned.

John DeFlumeri Jr

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avatar 2 Anonymous

I just inherited $10,000. What do I do with it so that it earns rather than loses value? I currently have it in a checking account earning 3.25%.

Female, age 61, married. Income: Husband’s retirement $1,700/mo, annuity income #1 $1,040/mo and #2 $2000/yr, parttime job $20,000/yr. I do not work outside the home.

We can collect Soc Sec in Jan 2011 as we will both be 62 in Oct. Husband expects ~$1,700/mo in SS and I expect ~$700/mo. He hopes to retire after we recieve Soc Sec. Is this a good idea or should he keep working?

No expenses except household (cars & house paid for). Current credit card debt $3,000 at 0% and ~$8,000 in savings earning 3.48%.

After my mother’s estate is settled in Jan 2012, I may receive as much as $100.000. Should I ask you again at that time?

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avatar 3 Anonymous

a number of the index funds you list have a poor record over time ; taking years to get back to the original value. Why then is indexing so good and what is an alternative?

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