Andrew Allentuck

Friday, October 6, 2000

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Personal Finance in Your 20s and 30s
by Tracey Longo
Prentice-Hall Of Canada , 352 pages

Organized in 25 chapters of advice, this Idiot's Guide is provocative, chatty and distinctly American in its concerns and perspectives. Authors Fisher, a financial planner, and Shelly, a writer, cover the conventional topics in personal finance from types of bank accounts to personal credit histories, investments, U.S. personal taxes, property and disability insurance, home buying and borrowing money. Much of the advice is not really financial.

For example, the authors suggest one buy regular rather than premium gas, hand wash sweaters rather than sending them to a dry cleaner, and wash your own car. In sum, in this book's panoramic sweep of earning, living and spending, there's information and advice anyone can use. However, the investor who wants to get beyond the advice that "stocks are generally considered higher risk investments than bonds" should browse elsewhere.