Reviewed by Gary Hunter
Life outside prison crosses the minds of most prisoners daily, but how many times do those thoughts include the direction of their financial future? Prisoner Assistant has put together a helpful text book, the Banking and Financial Management Course, specifically designed to help prisoners understand and plan for their future finances.
Banking and Financial Management offers a detailed description of how financial institutions operate and how they can be successfully used. The reader will learn the subtle differences between a debit card, credit card and ATM card, for example. The book also describes a number of fee-based financial services offered by Prisoner Assistant.
Chapter one addresses banking basics with a concise explanation of what financial institutions offer and how they work. Debit card and credit card functions are clearly explained. Prisoner Assistant even provides a list of questions that will help you find the financial institution best suited to your personal needs.
Chapter two examines savings accounts, and illustrations take the reader through an easy to understand, step-by-step process. Technological advances now offer everyone a variety of ways to access their funds once they are deposited in a financial institution.
Debit cards and online banking save people time and money when it comes to shopping and paying bills. Banking and Financial Management explains these options and the good and bad points of each. It also discusses how to reverse the effects of a negative credit history that may disqualify you from doing business at certain banks.
Chapter three covers checking accounts, which have changed dramatically over the years. While people still use paper checks, money is more often managed with debit cards. A debit card allows the card holder to shop, pay bills or get cash without the hassle of writing a check, though there are also disadvantages.
Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) are everywhere; they are the bank’s way of making it easy for you to access the money in your account. But convenience is seldom free, even when the money belongs to you, and Prisoner Assistant’s detailed book describes the hidden costs of accessing your money through ATMs.
Further, Banking and Financial Management will teach you how to read bank statements, perform online banking transactions and manage checking accounts to avoid penalties that result from overdrafts.
Because almost 85% of identity theft occurs through the theft of paper documents, banks now offer their customers the security of online banking services. Online banking also allows the convenience of 24/7 access to your money and lets you view, print and download bank statements anywhere.
Mobile banking – i.e., banking from your phone – is another option. Prisoner Assistant informs the reader about mobile banking services and other ways you can manage your finances in today’s technologically-advanced world.
Chapter five is arguably the most important chapter, as it teaches the fundamentals of how to budget your money. Banking and Financial Management breaks down budgeting into three fundamental steps: establishing a budget, using your budget and creating an emergency fund.
Basic budgeting consists of balancing income and expenses, and Prisoner Assistant explains budget basics with complete instructions whether you prefer to use pencil and paper or computer spreadsheets. Banking and Financial Management will help you understand the differences between fixed and variable expenses, for example.
Credit cards and credit history can make or break your plans for financial success. In chapter six, Prisoner Assistant covers the importance of credit, how to qualify for credit and how not to get caught in traps that can ruin your credit rating. You will learn about credit reports, credit scores and how to build a strong credit history.
Chapter seven covers loans, while chapter eight addresses credit cards. Both discuss how to avoid paying high interest rates; different types of interest and interest rates play a major role in determining what kinds of loans and credit cards are best for you.
For the reasonable price of $30.00, this highly informative text, complete with illustrations and end-of-chapter exams, can help prisoners learn how to manage their money and achieve financial success. In addition to this book, Prisoner Assistant offers a variety of fee-based services to assist prisoners in preparing for their financial future while incarcerated, such as opening accounts and building a credit history.
The Banking and Financial Management Course is available from Prisoner Assistant (www.prisonerassistant.com), or from online booksellers such as Amazon.