Sunday, July 31, 2011

Book Review: Tarrin P. Lupo's "Stash Your Swag"


Note to readers: I LOVE reviewing books; let me know if you're interested in having your stuff reviewed, and I'll happily do so :-).  


Tarrin P. Lupo’s Stash Your Swag is both history lesson and financial advisor … and it’s timely.  Very timely.

As a boy, Lupo learned that both of his grandfathers hid cash money, causing him to wonder aloud why they didn’t just go to the bank.  Turns out that, after being burned by the Great Depression, both men (gentlemen to whom Lupo dedicated his book) came up with creative ways to keep their money close at hand.

But isn’t that just one of those quaint, antiquated mindsets?  After all, there are a lot of people in the older quartile of American society who feel more comfortable dealing in cash. 

Shortly before my grandfather passed away, he told my mother and my uncles to “find the basket” in his house.  They had no idea what he was talking about, and tore the house apart looking for an answer to the mystery.  They finally located his secret stash, and there was so much money in it that my mother wouldn’t tell me a dollar amount.

Lupo’s question, following a brief overview of the banking industry and how they absconded with people’s money during the Depression, is whether or not this could happen again … and he explains how this very nearly happened in 2008. 

It’s not just banks, either … your money is coveted from many and varied directions, so Lupo’s advice?  Spread it out.  A lot.

Now, as I was reading, I was thinking to myself, “Self, I’d have to be a real idiot to leave wads of cash lying around.  I mean, I could hide some in my car, I suppose, since there’s only one set of keys.  And I could stick a couple hundred in a jar and bury it in the backyard … but I have dogs that revel in digging holes, and just my luck they’d find it.  There’s always the ‘Purloined Letter’ concept of hiding it in plain sight, I guess, but ..”
And then I decided I should get back to reading.

Am I ever glad I did!  The possibilities are endless, even in the yard (and much better glimmers of thought than my completely non-creative jar-burying concept—my personal favorite is the “fake bird house roof”).

Stash Your Swag is a real treat, one of those rare books that combines useful advice on a topic of wide  interest to the general public with relevant history lessons along the way.  And, uh, the history lessons aren’t boring … I learned a lot of really interesting stuff even as my brain was grappling with how to put a pond in my backyard so I could hide money in the middle of it.

You can sample Stash Your Swag online, although I definitely recommend that you buy it.  Useful + relevant doesn’t always equal a good read, but in this case, Lupo pulls it off with aplomb.

The versatile Lupo is also the author of the historical fiction novel Pirates of Savannah and a children's book, Catch that Collie!

You can learn more about Tarrin P. Lupo at his website or by following him on Twitter.