- Princeton University Press (World English)
Why does financial stability seem further away than ever for so many? Why do our retirement savings accounts, educational loans, mortgages, and insurance policies so often confuse and burden us rather than offering us the security and confidence they promise? Why has wealth inequality continued to increase in almost all societies worldwide in the twenty-first century? And what role are our key financial firms playing in all this? In a world destabilized by rising costs, geopolitical uncertainty, environmental threats and technological disruption, how do we make the best decisions about our financial futures when the system seems designed to disguise the choices that would suit us best and when our own instincts can so often prove treacherous?
The financial system, throughout the world, has evolved in recent decades in ways that chiefly serve the interests of financial services providers and their most sophisticated customers, at the expense of many ordinary people less familiar with the intricate workings of finance’s machinery. A “fixed” system is one that works to the advantage of the people operating the system, in a way that is unfair and imperfectly understood by its victims. And when people believe a system is fixed, they become angry and distrustful, and can make financially self-harming decisions. These circumstances describe all too well the relationship between modern finance and the general population, more or less worldwide. Under such conditions, what should a concerned citizen, borrower, regulator do? After decades of analysis and argument, underpinned by the factual foundation of extensive global datasets, two of the world’s pre-eminent experts in household finance join forces here to diagnose our financial system’s ills, and prescribe the right cures for the borrower, the householder, the politician, and for society as a whole. No-one knows more than they do about how all the cogs of this system interact or can see more clearly how they might be re-engineered. They argue that data should be our servant not our master, and that human intervention in market operations is not only systematically efficient but ethically compulsory. And where others choose to nudge, they are inclined to shove…
“Fixed is important in increasing financial wellbeing for everyone who invests in risky assets, buys or sells a house, refinances a mortgage or takes out a student loan. The book is a shout out to the world that a good deal of our problem with inequality stems from the misuse of financial instruments. The book should have a lasting impact around the world, like that of Louis Brandeis 1914 book Other People’s Money or Stuart Chase’s 1932 book A New Deal.”
Robert J. Shiller, Sterling Professor of Economics at Yale University and Nobel Laureate in Economics
“John and Tarun have spent decades doing serious academic research on personal finance, an area which requires significant reform and restructuring. A book on these issues is sorely needed, and I am delighted to see that they are writing on this important subject given their unique qualifications to do so."
Anat Admati, Parker Professor of Finance & Economics at Stanford Graduate School of Business and co-author of The Bankers’ New Clothes
“John Campbell and Tarun Ramadorai are two of the foremost researchers in personal finance. They have, together and separately, done ground-breaking work on personal finance systems around the world. They have used the rich data available today to understand why decision-making in personal finance is so difficult for ordinary people. They have found that the difficulties arise not only from the inherent complexity of financial decisions in relation to the wiring of the human brain, but also from the incentives of firms that sell financial products and services to ordinary people, and the design of the financial system in which these firms operate. A book on these issues is much needed, and this is a great team to deliver such a book.”
Raghuram Rajan, former Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, former Chief Economist at the IMF, currently Professor of Finance at the Booth School in the University of Chicago