Reading List for Labor Day Weekend, 2019

Aug 30, 2019
Advocacy, Economics, Investing, Paying for College, Credit Cards, Retirement, Parent Conversations

The Labor Day reading list covers a range of topics, but starts off with two articles by folks well known in the FinLit community.


  • Annamaria Lusardi’s most recent article in Education Week discusses how transformative a personal finance class can be for a teenager, but warns that it only works if the teachers themselves are truly fluent in the content and comfortable delivering the information. Can’t disagree with that!
  • A CNBC piece by Billy Hensley (NEFE) explains how politics is hindering the effectiveness of financial education, taking the recent passage of the legislation requiring personal finance for graduation in North Carolina, and all the baggage attached to that bill. 


Economics and Investing

  • The Economist Buttonwood column always provides thoughtful and enlightening view of a topic. Last week it described the “Japanification” of the bond markets, shedding light on today’s low interest rates globally and the whether we (US or any other countries) are doomed to follow the path of Japan 20 years ago.
  • By now, most have heard of the inverted yield curve. But have you heard of the Business Cycle Dating Committee? This group of NBER (nongovernmental, nonpartisan) economists calls the beginning and end of recessions. (WAPO)
  • Insiders are selling stock. Is it time to bail on the stock market, or at least cut back our holdings? Or are they anticipating lower bonuses and compensation this year and beefing up their cash flow? (CNN)
  • This WSJ article has some very cool, dynamic graphics that demonstrate how the bottom 50% has barely recovered from the Great Recession, while the top half have prospered.


  • The picture says it all. Imagine the mob scene as Costco opened its first store in China in Shanghai earlier this week. It got so crowded they had to shut the doors!! (CNN)


Managing credit

  • Will new payment plan options offered by credit card companies help with big/unexpected expenditures, or lead to habitual overspending? (NYT)


Paying for College/Higher Ed


  • An NYU Anthropologist looks at what paying for college is doing to the middle class. (NYT)

“Perhaps the central theme that emerged from this research was that for middle-class parents, the requirement to help pay for college is seen not merely as a budgetary challenge, but also as a moral obligation.”


  • Michelle Singletary of the WAPO, while addressing a reader’s question, tackles the intricacies of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.
  • This one about teaching students how to email their professors had me in stitches and could be used to help high school students learn how to appropriately address you. Their college professors will be very appreciative if you share this with them. (Inside Higher Ed)
  • Read about a new AmeriCorps program called Catalyst, currently used by nine universities, that provides mentoring to low-income students to help them successfully navigate their way through the college experience. (Inside Higher Ed2)
  • Tax laws now allow it, but should you use your 529 plan for K-12? (Forbes)



  • Converting tax-advantaged retirement plans to a Roth IRA sounds like a great idea, until you have to deal with the tax hit. Don't Mess With Taxes suggests ways to pay the Roth IRA conversion taxes.



  • Digital Privacy? There is no such thing. This article is an eye-opener about just how much information is collected and distributed about your daily internet activity. (NYT)



  • Learn how to make your child a life-long reader. (hint: no rewards for reading, and don’t make it a punishment either.) (NYT)

About the Author

Beth Tallman

Beth Tallman entered the working world armed with an M.B.A. in finance and thoroughly enjoyed her first career working in manufacturing and telecommunications, including a stint overseas. She took advantage of an involuntary separation to try teaching high school math, something she had always dreamed of doing. When fate stepped in once again, Beth jumped on the opportunity to combine her passion for numbers, money, and education to develop curriculum and teach personal finance at Oberlin College. Beth now spends her time writing on personal finance and financial education, conducting student workshops, and developing finance curricula and educational content. She is also the Treasurer of Ohio Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy.