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The why and how of your total wealth

Your Total Wealth _ IIBy Lyle Sussman, Ph.D., and David Dubofsky, Ph.D., CFA, authors of “Your Total Wealth: The Heart of Soul of Financial Literacy”

Guest bloggers

Many Americans lack financial literacy. Moreover, regardless of their financial wealth, many Americans also aren’t as happy as they could be … lacking what one of our reviewers defined as “life literacy.”

We wrote “Your Total Wealth: The Heart and Soul of Financial Literacy” because of these two reasons.

To address the lack of financial literacy, we define what we believe are the 74 most important financial terms that every American should know. If you don’t know what a “fiduciary” is, or why “diversification” is important, then our book will tell you.

We define each term and explain its importance in under 400 words. Knowing these terms will help you understand when reading or listening to the often-confusing financial jargon.

The language of finance is complex, and maybe even a little intimidating. We make it simple and reduce that intimidation. You’ll understand more when talking with your financial advisor, banker, tax accountant, insurance sales representative, and anyone else about credit, interest rates, stocks, or business.

You’ll also reduce the chance of being victimized by fraud or a scam. Our lesson on financial fraud: If someone offers you a deal that is too good to be true … run!

The 74 terms are listed at

But “Your Total Wealth” goes beyond a typical introduction to finance. It is, to quote a Kiplinger reviewer, “the most unique and accessible financial advice resource I’ve ever seen and goes well beyond how to make money.”

Neither money nor financial literacy by themselves can buy personal fulfillment. Accompanying each of our financial terms is a short essay on how to achieve that fulfillment. For example, “financial annuity,” a predicable series of cash flows, is accompanied with a discussion of “emotional annuity,” which describes a predictable series of expressions of the human bond between people … bonds of caring, commitment, and concern.

Just as an annuity yields predictable cash flows over time, an emotional annuity yields predictable emotional support and bonding over time.

Similarly, our definition and discussion of “derivatives” comes with an essay on “common sense.” If you don’t understand what derivatives are, how they’re valued, and if you aren’t aware that most individuals who trade derivatives, such as options, lose money, then common sense dictates that you avoid speculating with derivatives.

“Forbearance” is explained and associated with an essay on “forgiveness” as the final form of love.

Our book offers 148 practical lessons to enrich your life: 74 financial and 74 humanistic. And, as an added feature, each of the Life Literacy principles is introduced with a quote ... ranging from the “down home” wisdom of Loretta Lynn to the perspective of Nobel laureate Richard Thaler.

Enjoy the book, the lessons, and the updates at our blog at … because ultimately life is about “Your Total Wealth.”


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