The Wealth of Choices: Use the New Economy to Put Power in Your Hands and Money in Your Pockets

The Wealth of Choices: Use the New Economy to Put Power in Your Hands and Money in Your Pockets

Language: English

Pages: 288


Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

The world has been turned upside down. The economy is unpredictable. And it’s time for you to take control.

There’s no better guide to being a savvy buyer and a smart investor than Alan Murray, the Washington bureau chief of The Wall Street Journal. A clear and confident voice in times of chaotic change, Murray combines the big picture and street-smart tactics that will help you profit and live well. He begins with a perceptive overview of a rapidly changing economy, pointing out that even with the stock market zigging and zagging, the American economy is opening up more and more power to the individual consumer and investor. There is indeed a wealth of choices. Alan Murray doesn’t just talk about the new economic landscape—he shows you how to live in it.

Health care: The most potentially traumatic change will be in the relationship between you and your doctor. Murray explains what you need to know to be an effective consumer.

Education: The price of a good education has gone sky high. But your mind is your most important investment. Murray shows how to cut costs and cut deals that will help you grow.

Your job: The revolution in the workplace means that you have to think of yourself as a brand. Murray shows you how to compete and excel.

Investing: “Professional money manager” is an oxymoron. Money managers don’t know much more than you do. Murray provides easy-to-use rules that will let you get great returns on your own.

Retirement: Old age isn’t what it used to be. Murray explains why the traditional three-legged stool (social security, private pension, personal saving) is rickety—and what to do about it.

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Secretary Lawrence Summers shuttled about Asia—like a “new MacArthur,” said the German analyst Stephen Gotz-Richter—urging Asian nations to rebuild their financial systems in the American image. For a story I was writing at the time, I called Jeffrey Garten, dean of the Yale School of Management, who was one of many who had praised the Japanese financial system, in his 1992 book Cold Peace. “I certainly made some misjudgments about the strength of the Japanese system,” he acknowledged. “These

goalie.” Greenspan never would have said that. But Alan Greenspan, I learned, had his finger on the pulse of the economy like no one else alive. He would burrow into the statistics, parse them fifteen different ways, and tell you exactly what they were saying. He was smart, he was thorough, and he was wise. He had both knowledge and experience. I learned to call on him whenever I felt deeply confused about what was happening in our economy and was in need of guidance. Greenspan, in turn,

Globalization, deregulation, and digitization are turning the entire world into a modern version of the Istanbul bazaar. But there is a new twist: pervasive information. Throughout capitalism’s history, sellers have usually had an edge over buyers, because they have been better informed. The merchant in the bazaar knew more than the buyer about the quality of the carpet he was hawking and knew what it cost him to acquire. Today, the tables have been turned. With a little effort, the consumer

percent interest have decided to meet the stiff competition of the New Economy by offering teaser rates. Their hope is that once you switch, you won’t switch again. But if you understand the new competition, you’ll become a frequent switcher. Move your balances every six months, and you’ll end up ahead. The story on annuities is much the same. These are hybrid investments that are part insurance, part mutual fund. Until recently, they were invariably a rip-off, charging high, often hidden, fees

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