Pound Foolish

“This thought-provoking book alerts us to important issues in today’s postrecession economy.” –Mary Whaley, Booklist

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Helaine's work has been featured in the following publications:

BusinessWeek, The New York Times, Forbes, Slate, and Salon

Do-it-yourself retirement v the plan that guarantees your income for years

A new idea in California could wrest retirement away from the financial industry and guarantee income for generations at risk

There is a long-running idea in American life that all trends start on the west coast and move east. When it comes to the subject of retirement planning, let's hope that's true.

The do-it-yourself revolution in retirement savings has left the United States on the verge of a crisis; 30 years of...Read more.

Giving up coffee to balance the books: how many lattes to financial freedom?

Cutting back on minor expenses won't save you much in a country where luxuries are cheap and necessities expensive

It's not our daily latte that is driving us to the poorhouse. It's our Lipitor … and our houses, our families and other necessities of life.

Yet we still don't want to believe it. A decade after Elizabeth Warren first revealed that the leading cause of bankruptcies was medical spending, Americans continue...Read more.

The curse of student loan debt: owe while you’re young, live when you’re old

Student debt and dead-end jobs have put many young Americans in dire circumstances outside their own control

Once upon a time, we invested in our young people so that they could enter the world without debt. Now, we turn them into deadbeat debtors before they're old enough to legally buy a drink, left far behind their financial betters.

The truth this week came courtesy of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and...Read more.

President Obama’s Amazon jobs pitch is hard to buy with one click

Weak job growth, low pay and Amazon's hypocrisy undermine the administration's story about new opportunities

President Barack Obama inadvertently foreshadowed July's mediocre employment numbers when he picked a new Amazon warehouse in Chattanooga, Tennessee, for a speech last week about the need to improve the quality of American jobs.

Calling for stable middle class jobs from an Amazon warehouse is like announcing a fitness initiative in a grocery store's snack aisle,...Read more.

Making capitalism out of lemons

Today's discerning parents insist lemonade stands teach children lessons about capitalism – can't we all just have fun?

Let's take a moment to praise the humble lemonade stand.

Defending the nation's young merchants of lemonade is something of an annual tradition for me. Last year, I did a spoken commentary for American Public Media's Marketplace Money, protesting the number of lemonade consumers who were less than happy that my 12-year-old son...Read more.

Toils and troubles of a new housing bubble

The real estate market in southern California, like in many parts of the US, is hot again – but we should know better this time

It was while I was standing in the living room of a beach bungalow located about a mile from the Pacific Ocean in Los Angeles' Venice Beach neighborhood, that I heard the phrase "It's just like 2006" uttered twice in a 10-minute span of time by...Read more.

All the president’s deja-vus

Thursday's speech on the economy was just like all the others – it sounded great, we got excited, then poof! We moved on

This week Barack Obama remembered the middle class.

You know them. The people who will suffer in retirement if our Social Security retirement benefits are given a "tweak" as he phrased his own effort at entitlement reform last year. They are the people whose incomes have continued to fall...Read more.

All the president’s deja-vus

Thursday's speech on the economy was just like all the others – it sounded great, we got excited, then poof! We moved on

This week Barack Obama remembered the middle class.

You know them. The people who will suffer in retirement if our Social Security retirement benefits are given a "tweak" as he phrased his own effort at entitlement reform last year. They are the people whose incomes have continued to fall...Read more.

Should You Buy Royal Baby Memorabilia?

Buy this memorabilia if you want a physical memory of the royal baby’s birth. But don’t purchase any of it thinking you will make a mint....Read more.

Pensions? Always someone else’s problem

Detroit's workers are not the first to see their retirement finances suddenly reduced – they are only the most recent

If a city declares bankruptcy and its current and retired workforce ranging from librarians and sanitation men to police officer and fire fighters are forced to take permanent reductions to their promised monthly pension benefits, will anyone care besides the impacted employees and the unlucky retired workers dependent on that income?

Thanks...Read more.

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