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Simply Does It

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By Michelle Singletary
Sunday, January 1, 2006

Kids do say the darnedest things.

I once promised my daughter Jillian that I would do something the following day. (Honestly, I don't remember what it was she wanted me to do.) By the end of the day, I knew I couldn't keep my promise. So I warned Jillian, who was 4 at the time, that I would have to try again the next day.

"Tomorrow, Jillian, tomorrow," I said.

The next day, with a firmness that no little person who can't dress by herself should have, Jillian said, "Mommy, today is tomorrow."

What a simple but profound phrase. It made me finally act on my word.

I think about what my daughter said when I see surveys that find one of the top resolutions people make for the new year is to get their finances straight.

How many tomorrows have you been promising that you will start handling your money better? When it comes to your finances in 2006, adopt the mantra, "Today is tomorrow."

Of course, you'll need more than just that mantra. You'll need help. To that end, I'm recommending for the Color of Money Book Club's January selection "Smart and Simple Financial Strategies for Busy People" by Jane Bryant Quinn (Simon & Schuster, $26). It will be available for purchase online Tuesday and in bookstores Jan. 9.

Quinn has written a book keeping with the KISS theory. You know, "Keep It Simple, Stupid." Except in this case, Quinn thankfully drops the stupid part. She knows we aren't stupid. The fact is, the world of personal finance has become complicated, and our best defense is to keep our financial lives super simple, she says.

"If a salesperson shows you a gee-whiz but complicated financial product, you can be sure of two things: You don't need it and it's overpriced," Quinn writes. "You can get the same result with something easier, wiser and lower-cost."

What you get with Quinn is advice and wisdom from someone who has been writing about personal finance for decades. She spent 27 years writing a syndicated newspaper column. She worked 10 years for CBS News. Quinn currently writes a regular column for Newsweek and Good Housekeeping. She helped develop the top-selling computer finance program Quicken.

Quinn delivers on the promise that her book is designed for people who want reliable, unbiased information, not a lot of details.


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