Friday, April 27, 2012

What I've Been Reading: Lost and Found by Geneen Roth

Lost and Found by Geneen Roth is a memoir about the author's experience with loosing her life's savings to Bernie Madoff's ponzi scheme.  Previously Roth has written about women and food issues; her recent book Women Food and God spent weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.

I highly recommend Lost and Found if you are attempting to examine the psychological issues related to overspending and or extreme saving followed by binge buying.  Roth's thoughts on food issues make complete and total sense to me; it is as though she is reading my mind.  However, unlike Roth, the emotions behind eating do not carry over into my financial life.  At times I wanted to put the book down because I could not believe how self-destructive she or her friends were being.  Towards the end of the book she writes about going to Costco, post Madoff, and assuming that her husband had brought his wallet because her money was only for "fun" things in life -- clothes, shoes, eating out, etc.  Childlike is the best paraphrase I can come up with to describe her mindset.

Roth delves into issues from her childhood that have manifested in her adult financial life.  Through recognition she aims to overcome the self-destructive habits, primarily ignoring financial issues and sticking her head in the sand.  The belief that money was too complicated and lowly led her to put everything, yes everything, into Madoff's hands.  Diversification was something she had heard about, but choose not to explore.  Shocking is how I felt when reading this.

I'm glad I've taken the time to read her book.  I have more understanding and compassion for people who do not have their financial life under control.  And I'm thankful that my weakness is limited to food, and does not also flow into the money aspect of life.

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