Edited Volume of Research – and More

Resources that may interest Squared Away readers keep coming over the transom.  Check out new federal guidelines on what to ask a financial adviser or broker, an edited volume of academic research on financial literacy and behavior, iPhone investment apps, or a summer financial thriller.

On Interviewing Financial Advisers:
Is hiring a financial adviser or broker daunting?  How do you know you can trust him or her?  These are complex issues, but the U.S. Department of Labor has just released a list of questions that provide a good start to your search.  And click here for more such questions, based on research by Boston University law professor Tamar Frankel.

On Financial Behavior Research:
Douglas Lamdin, an economics professor at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, compiled an edited volume of research papers about financial education and behavior, “Consumer Knowledge and Financial Decisions.”  The table of contents sorts issues by age groups, starting with “Cognitive Development and Children’s Understanding of Personal Finance” and ending with “Financial Preparedness for Long-Term care Needs in Old Age.”

On Your Phone:
T. Rowe Price is the latest mutual fund company to offer an iPhone app for individual and 401(k) investors to access their accounts on the go.  Most of the major fund companies now offer these apps, including Vanguard Investments, Fidelity Investments, Putnam Investments, and Morningstar.

Now the U.S. Treasury Department is getting into the act.  The government this week launched a contest to solicit ideas and designs for mobile apps to help Americans make financial decisions.  The “IdeaBank” will pay winners $250 to $1,000 for 140-character proposals from the general public, including academics and consumer advocates.  The App Design Challenge” will pay between $2,500 and $10,000 for winning designs from companies or teams of individuals.

On the Beach:
Financial Times columnist John Gapper’s new financial thriller has just hit bookstore shelves and Kindles.  “A Fatal Debt” is about a Wall Street highflier, Ben Cowper, who isn’t as dead as he appears.

Publisher’s Weekly’s review said, “Solid prose and a strong cast compensate only in part for a contrived plot with too much of Cowper’s backstory and not nearly enough suspense.”  But suckers for financial thrillers may prefer to form their own opinions.

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