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America, Welcome to the Poorhouse: What You Must Do to Protect Your Financial Future and the Reform We Need

Book Description

“Crack open this book and enter a bromide-free zone. Jane White knows why American families feel as if they are on a treadmill running out of control, and she explains the reasons with clarity, insight, and rare honesty. She also offers several practical suggestions for how we as individuals, families, and a nation can get out of the mess. Policymakers would be wise to listen.”

Evan Cooper, Deputy Editor,InvestmentNews

“This eye-opening book sounds the alarm about many Americans’ dim financial futures if consumers, businesses, and politicians don’t change their ways. Jane White lays blame and names names. Until change happens, White offers prescriptions for your biggest money concerns--retirement, housing, college costs, and credit cards--featuring tried-and-true advice.”

Gregory Karp, Syndicated Newspaper Columnist and Author ofThe 1-2-3 Money PlanandLiving Rich by Spending Smart

“Americans need this vigorous wake-up call if they are to make it through the first half of the 21st century. They are burying themselves in debt--for education, for homes, and for toys--leaving too little for savings and investment. Jane White shows them where they are going wrong and how they can put themselves right.”

Thomas G. Donlan, Editorial Page Editor,Barron’s National Business and Financial Weekly

“Jane White has written a barnburner of a book. Though the title may cause alarm, America, Welcome to the Poorhouse is ultimately reassuring. We can protect our own financial futures if we get wise--and get together to demand real change.”

Jacob S. Hacker, Author ofThe Great Risk Shift: The New Economic Insecurity and the Decline of the American Dream

Too many American families are racing toward financial catastrophe--saddled with exploding credit card and college debt, out-of-control housing costs, and underfunded 401(k) accounts.

America, Welcome to the Poorhouse reveals the political and economic forces that got us into this predicament, strategies to get Congress to enact needed reform, and practical tips you won’t find anywhere else on how to make the most of your money until reform happens. White offers indispensable practical advice for regaining control of your own financial future--specific strategies for reducing your debt, safeguarding your retirement, and helping your children get the education they’ll need to compete in today’s world.

Shrimp on the barbie, Koala bears, and a secure retirement. Why most Australians will end up with at least half a million dollars in their version of a 401(k) plan--and what we can do to transform our 401(k) plans into actual pensions.

How the mortgage industry lobbied to dismantle regulation and offer bait-and-switch adjustable rate mortgages.

How to protect yourself--no matter what happens. Your personal plan for saving for retirement, finding “bargain” colleges, and getting out of credit card debt.

How to build a citizens lobby that wins. Making taxpayers as powerful as the so-called financial services industry and getting rid of the members of Congress that do its bidding.

Table of Contents

  1. Title Page
  2. Copyright Page
  3. Contents
  4. Acknowledgments
  5. About the Author
  6. Introduction: Are You Better Off Than You Were as a Kid?
  7. Part I. 80% of Americans Can’t Afford to Retire
    1. Chapter 1. Why You Can’t Retire from a 401(k) Plan: You Won’t Have Ten Times Your Salary in Your Account at Age 65
    2. Chapter 2. How to Save Wisely Until We Get 401(k) Reform and How to Make Reform Happen
  8. Part II. How the American Dream Turned into a Nightmare
    1. Chapter 3. The Mortgage Mess: It Ain’t Just Subprime—It’s Half of Americans in Overpriced Homes
    2. Chapter 4. How Laws Protect Banks, Not Borrowers, and the Reform We Need
    3. Chapter 5. The Fix: Refinance to a Fixed-Rate Mortgage; Move to an Affordable Region
  9. Part III. College Is Unaffordable When the Majority of Americans Need Degrees
    1. Chapter 6. Why We Need More College Graduates to Compete with China and India
    2. Chapter 7. How Sallie Mae Lobbied Congress and “Enticed” Colleges to Offer Its Loans
    3. Chapter 8. The Fix: Grants, Government Loans, and Colleges That Are Free
  10. Part IV. 35 Million Americans Are Drowning in Credit Card Debt
    1. Chapter 9. How Credit Card Debt, Home Equity Loans Get You Over Your Head in Debt
    2. Chapter 10. The Fix: How to Get Out of Credit Card Debtor’s Prison
  11. Part V. Real Campaign Reform That Puts Citizens, Not the Business Lobby, First
    1. Chapter 11. How Big Business Owns Both Political Parties
    2. Chapter 12. The Fix: Replacing Corrupt Politicians with Ones Who Work for Taxpayers
  12. Conclusion: The Big Fix: Recruit the Smartest Workers from Around the World, Send Most Kids to College, Measure Household Wealth
  13. Endnotes
  14. Index
  15. Financial Times Press