Recently I had the privilege to read my colleague Kathryn B. Hauer’s book, Financial Advice for Blue Collar America. Kathryn comes from a blue collar family herself. Her father was a steelworker, and her mother a nurse in the days when nursing didn’t require a college education. With this experience, Kathryn has always had a passion for helping folks with similar backgrounds. This book is an outgrowth of that passion.
“Blue collar” used to mean difficult life and circumstances for the worker and his family. These careers have transitioned in the past several decades, however. These days blue collar careers include highly-trained, very well paid positions. These careers range from carpenters, ironworkers and pipefitters to police officers, other safety workers and enlisted military personnel. The pay ranges for many of these careers can be higher than many white collar workers, without the drag of student loans.
Kathryn Hauer wrote this book in response to the opportunities that folks in blue collar careers have these days. Throughout the book, she points out how the standard of “college is necessary to succeed” no longer applies across the board. Opportunities for new entrants into these careers have never been more abundant nor promising than they are today. With these opportunities comes the need for financial advice to folks who haven’t traditionally sought advice.
The problem with the traditional delivery of financial advice is that many (most?) financial advisors do not have an understanding of the culture. Without this upbringing seasoning their experience, many financial advisors have difficulties relating to this group in a meaningful way. Hauer demonstrates her deep understanding of the issues facing blue collar workers throughout her book. She has blue collar experience in her own personal background, having served in the military, as well as a stint building concrete nuclear waste storage facilities prior to her current work as a financial advisor.
Financial Advice for Blue Collar America answers the call for this advice, providing sound recommendations in context with the worker’s background. Examples fit in with the common financial wants and needs of the blue collar worker. The advice given is a good place for anyone, in any career, to start, but the context really makes it come to life for someone in a blue collar job. The appendices provide a wealth of useful references to continue the educational experience.
If you are currently working in or considering a blue collar career, you can definitely benefit from Hauer’s book. You’ll find the material that can get you started toward financial success, as well as provide yourself and your family with a great foundation of knowledge as you plan for future financial needs. Kathryn Hauer does a great service to America’s blue collar workers with this book, bridging the gap to give wonderful advice in a style that meets their needs.
As an advisor I learned quite a lot about issues that I hadn’t considered that are paramount for blue collar workers. I never realized how this group’s needs weren’t being met with our traditional delivery of advice. I’ll use this knowledge in the future as I attempt to provide similar service to blue collar America in our practice. This is an important component of our society that has been left to fend for themselves (largely) by the traditional financial planning community. I hope I can help – as I know Kathryn does, every day. Thank you, Kathryn!
*Originally published here.
Jim Blankenship, CFP®, EA is an independent, fee-only financial planner at Blankenship Financial Planning in New Berlin, Illinois. He provides expert guidance for your Retirement, Education Funding, and Income Tax issues and concerns. In addition to his blog “Getting Your Financial Ducks In A Row”, you’ll find Jim’s writings all around the internet, as he is a regular contributor to Forbes.com, TheStreet.com, and FiGuide. Several other sites also republish his work. He has also written An IRA Owner’s Manualand A Social Security Owner’s Manual – both books provide comprehensive guides to these vexing subjects.
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