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Green With Envy: Why Keeping up with the Joneses is Keeping Us in Debt

by Shira Boss

A silent struggle with our money is raging across America, each of us is harboring secret financial desires and discontents, but few dare confess. No matter how much we refuse to admit it, our contentment is based not on the size of our bank account but on how we measure up to those around us. Everyone, regardless of income, occupation, or net worth, wants to keep up with the Joneses, even when it means making financial messes and covering them up.

In this myth-shattering tour of America's mind-set about money, Shira Boss offers a tantalizing mix of hard facts and juicy gossip as she peers into the lives and checkbooks of our neighbors…and exposes the shocking gap between public image and what's really going on behind closed doors. Meet:

  • The young couple who move in next door. They pay cash for their apartment, go on shopping sprees, and the wife quits her job to start having babies. You wonder how they can afford it all…

  • The up-and-coming manager and his family who move into a gated community. Within five years their savings are gone, their credit-card debt is over $100,000, and they are still spending.

  • The newly elected U.S. congressman who wants everyone to think he's arrived. Meanwhile, he has to sleep on a cot in his office-for the next fifteen years!

  • The baby boomer at fifty. Some of his old classmates are lawyers and doctors with safety nets, but he's got kids in college and no retirement fund-and the clock is ticking.

These financially stressed Americans are the rule, not the exception. And with more of our nation's families going through bankruptcy than divorce, it's time to bring the problem out into the open and tackle it head-on. A compelling tell-all about what's really going on with the Joneses, GREEN WITH ENVY offers a whole new perspective on financial well-being and simple, practical steps for how we can stop trying to keep up once and for all.


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