In our special Good Friday edition of Masters in Business podcast, we speak with Helene Olen, personal finance columnist for Slate, and Inc. magazine. Olen was named “one of the 50 Women Who Are Changing the World.” She is a graduate of Smith College, and author of Pound Foolish: Exposing the Dark Side of the Personal Finance Industry, as well as The Index Card: Why Personal Finance Doesn’t Have to be so Complicated (w/Harold Pollack).
She tells the history of how she accidentally began writing about personal finance – she lived near the Beverly Center in Los Angeles, and when a reporter called in sick, she took a freelance assignment that became a career.
You may be surprised to learn that the personal finance industry has its roots in the Depression era 1930s, and was an outgrowth of the Self-Help industry. We discuss this history as well as many problematic issue of the industry today. As an example, Olen calls financial literacy a failure, with deep ramifications for a future retirement crises.
We discuss her distaste for the “gurus, pundits, self-anointed experts, crackpots, cranks, and outright frauds who populate the backwaters and slipstreams of American finance.” You definitely want to hear what she has to say about personal finance gurus such as Suze Orman, Dave Ramsey, and Robert Kiyosaki.