The Facts of Life

The author believes that “the safest, most dependable financial security . . . is what you build yourself.” He employs this thesis to describe how a successful young person can achieve financial security while working and in retirement. Hardy assumes some basic knowledge in accounting, business, and investments as he discusses the myriad ways financial assets may be used to the best advantage.

The first chapter deals with financial goals, calculation of net worth, the need for a will, and how to choose an executor. Basic suggestions for the management of money through loans, credit and debit cards, and other bank services are included in the second chapter. The rest of the book covers company perks, insurance, owning a home and other real estate, investing in stocks and bonds, and planning for college costs of children.

The text is interspersed with examples of financial situations which aid in illustrating concepts; the examples use fictitious names such as Dr. Ouch and Peter Pickle, which detract from the seriousness of the subject. A number of tables and checklists are useful in clarifying and summarizing the text.

With tax laws continually changing, the reader should be aware that future legislation may negate some of Hardy’s recommendations. As an example, Hardy himself notes that the dividend exclusion for reinvested dividends of public utilities expired on December 31, 1985, ending an excellent tax saving.

The guide updates much of the material in two of Hardy’s earlier books, FUNK AND WAGNALLS GUIDE TO PERSONAL MONEY MANAGEMENT (Funk and Wagnalls, 1976) and YOUR MONEY AND YOUR LIFE (AMACOM, 2nd ed. 1982). Although written for a specific age and income group, this book would be useful for others who are interested in suggestions for managing money wisely.