REVIEW: America, Welcome to the Poorhouse (Jane White)

It’s been a while since my last book review on Fiscal Fizzle, so I thought I would update you on what I’m reading recently. A few weeks ago, the publisher of America, Welcome to the Poorhouse… was kind enough to send me a review of copy of the book for my enjoyment and to share with you. Here’s a brief overview of the book and my thoughts.

About the Author

Jane White is a fairly accomplished author. Primarily, she is the founder of Retirement Solutions, LLC, which “promotes 401(k) reform and provides investment education.”

She has presented reform suggestions in front of federal policymakers, written as a personal finance columnist for Gannett News Service, and was fast to spot both the 401(k) crisis and the housing bubble long before most others.

Her writing style is sharp, direct, and accessible–with easy to understand data supporting her case for every argument.

What Will You Get Out of This Book?

There’s a lot you can get out of reading this book, which I’ll comment on below, but here’s a brief overview of what you can expect to learn:

  • Why most people in the U.S. can’t afford to retire and what other countries are doing about it.
  • How government regulation affects retirement plans and some proposed reforms.
  • Why most investment advice you get is useless unless you understand how much you need to retire.
  • Strategies for retirement savings until reform happens.
  • Commentary on the housing bubble and its causes.
  • Proposals for much-needed bank reform.
  • Tips on how to take control of your housing situation, including possible relocation to more affordable regions of the country.
  • Why college is getting more necessary and expensive at the same time.
  • How the cost of college is unique and what loans and grants have to do with the big picture.
  • Proposed reform to solve the college crisis.
  • How debt–of all kinds–is contributing to the overall crisis.
  • How to get out of said debt, and how not doing so can cost you.
  • Big business, politics, lobbying, corruption, and all that jazz.

Worth Reading?

The book’s tagline is “What you must do to protect your financial future and the reform we need.” Overall, I think Jane White did a good job in living up to the promise.

The first thought that came to mind after reading America… was how much new information I actually learned. The book is eye-opening, to say the least. The stats are not only informative on a need-to-know basis, but they are practical enough to inform our personal finance decisions. While I don’t necessarily agree with everything she says, Jane White lays out her viewpoints and lets us make up our minds.

While your cup of tea may not be in policy reform and lobbying government (although she certainly covers a great deal of that in the book for those interested), this is a fantastic read for those wishing to understand finances on a personal level, too.

The book does a great job of covering its major topics–retirement financing, housing, college financing, and debt. If you’re interested in any of those four (and most of you will be), it’s something to look into.

If you don’t have an idea of what it takes to retire and how your accounts are working for you right now, you need to read this book. If you’re in the know and your plan is on track, it may not be as useful for  you, but it does at least test your assumptions about what you thought you needed versus what you actually need. I think that’s the #1 piece of advice I got from reading it.

Get a Copy

America, Welcome to the Poorhouse is available at and your local bookstore. Yes, that’s an affiliate link that will make me some cash to keep this site going. 🙂 Use it!

2 thoughts on “REVIEW: America, Welcome to the Poorhouse (Jane White)

  1. This sounds like a recommended read for most people! If you sit down and calculate what it will cost to retire, factoring in inflation and especially medical inflation, it will take millions for most people to be able to enjoy a traditional retirement (no work, total leisure and even a modest compliment of luxury like overseas travel).

    I think if most people could do this, if projecting inflation is even possible, probably the majority would be stunned to find that they won’t be prepared even though they’re saving religiously. Plus we can’t even know what the future of social security and medicare will be, or what effect inflation will have on retirement savings after retirement. With people living 20-30 years past 65 this can’t be ignored.

    For most people, post retirement career planning should be part of the mix.
    .-= Kevin@OutOfYourRut´s last post: Seek Fulfillment Beyond Your Work =-.

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