Chapter One: Getting Started Why Am I Even Reading This, I Don't Have Time! I think I can change your financial life, from muddle-along to easy, permanent success. That's why I wrote this book. "Easy" sounds phony but trust me, it's not. Of all the ways of managing money, nothing beats the simple ways. I'll go even further -- the simple ways are not only smart, they're also the most sophisticated. It takes a clear head and a wise eye to distinguish the good from the bad in the confusing world of personal finance. Only the good can make you financially secure. From experience, I know how much time it takes to find the financial products that work the best, and time is what nobody has today. The path of least resistance carries you toward the usual stuff that the money industry sells -- investment, insurance, and banking products with high (and often hidden) fees. They're what most people buy, so you figure they must be okay. I wish that were so. When you really study this subject, as I have, you learn that what's on offer is mostly mediocre and sometimes downright bad. The products are expensive, which wastes your money. They're often complicated, with risky angles that you didn't know about. If you pick your own investments, you may choose things that don't go together well, leaving big gaps in your security fence. If you buy from brokers and planners who earn commissions, you may find yourself trapped in a poorly performing product that you don't understand. Even your company's 401(k) may be stuffed with losers. Maybe everything will still work out, but maybe not. No wonder so many people feel a little bit anxious about their money, and out of control. It doesn't have to be this way! Managing money isn't hard as long as you keep it simple. Not only are simple products, er, simple to understand, they cost less, gain more in value, and leave you more secure. In this book, you'll find the most straightforward, sensible products and strategies I know -- and in case you're wondering, I use them all. In fact, they're all I use. Why am I so sure they'll lead you to success? Because simple systems fit into our busy daily lives. That's where lots of personal-finance advice falls short. You're expected to morph into some kind of expert -- a lover of picture-perfect budgets, a student of stock price/earnings ratios, a sponge for new financial terms. If you could do that -- or wanted to -- you'd have done it already. Maybe you've even tried, by reading other money-management books. If so, I know what happened. You underlined sentences, made some notes to yourself, and then went to the movies. Maybe you tracked your spending for a couple of weeks before giving up. You thought about fixing your 401(k) but your mind (or gut) still clenched. Given this history, you assume you're a failure -- a klutz who'll never be any good at personal finance. Not true. To start with, you're smart (this isn't a "dummies" book). You're good at your job, wise about your children and friends, and know about stuff that mystifies me -- airplanes, synthesized music, quarks, patent law, ultimate Frisbee, cooking (yes, cooking). You're perfectly capable of managing money, if only it interested you. But it doesn't, so you defer, denounce, deny (and worry in the night). This book understands that. Good financial planning builds from your personality up. To gain control of your money, your strategies have to fit you like a glove, so you know -- without fretting -- that you're doing the right thing. You need a program you can practically write on the palm of your hand. One that takes into account the distractions and inertia that embody normal life. Including my normal life. Money is my business but it's not my hobby. I think, talk, and write about personal finance all day. After hours, I want family and friends. I'd rather read a John Grisham thrilleQuinn, Jane Bryant is the author of 'Smart And Simple Financial Strategies for Busy People ', published 2006 under ISBN 9780743269940 and ISBN 0743269942.