What’s wrong with personal finance coverage?

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Linda Stern of Reuters examines the new book from Helaine Olen called “Pound Foolish: Exposing the Dark Side of the Personal Finance Industry,” which examines, in part, personal finance journalism.

Stern writes, “Olen doesn’t fault the financial writers of the mainstream media (a point that I found comforting), though she sometimes portrays us as cockeyed optimists, persisting in offering financial advice, year after year, even though there is scant evidence that it does any good.

“At least, she says, financial journalists aren’t taking payola to push products. ‘We can’t accept a cup of coffee without being accused of conflict of interest,’ she told me. Olen had been a personal finance columnist for the Los Angeles Times.

“She says no personal finance or investment scheme can fully protect people from downward spirals or plain bad luck. ‘For that we need family, friends and, finally, the government, the … enforcer of everything from the rule of law to insurer of last resort.’”

Read more here.