Charlotte Stallings' debut publication, I Wish Someone Had Told Me Financial Lessons Learned the Hard Way, will get you talking to your friends and family about money, and that's what she wants you to do. This book revolves around decisions, lots of them, and the role that an open discussion plays in making them wisely. In a friendly, conversational way that completely lacks pretense, Ms. Stalling strips the mystery away from what it takes to live a life free of financial anxiety, and shares how she built her "new and improved" world through careful spending and the development of good savings habits. A young woman from the projects in North Minneapolis, Ms. Stallings graduated from the University of Minnesota and got a great job with a nice salary. She also got about 20 credit cards and a ton of debt ... and kept her dilemma to herself . "My husband and I adopted a 'don't ask, don't tell policy' at our house long before the U.S. military instituted theirs," she writes. One by one, Ms. Stallings shares stories about the problematic decisions she, her family and her friends have made over the years, and how to avoid them. Most importantly, she shares stories about good choices and ways to reverse the consequences of bad decisions. In every chapter, she offers solutions to every day financial concerns -- how to manage a budget, how to find a designer purse without the designer price, when to start saving for your child's college education, how to pay off debt and how to build - or rebuild - your financial security. I Wish Someone Had Told Me Financial Lessons Learned the Hard Way is compelling because it is so empathetic, so compassionate and so practical. Used as a guide to every day decision making about money, it can help the reader find meaningful and lasting success in managing their finances. "I learned so many money lessons the hard way ," writes Ms. Stallings. "That is why I'm sharing them with you and why I hope you will share them with people you know."