Book Review: Banking and Financial Management Course (1st Ed.)

Book Review: Banking and Financial Management Course (1st Ed.)

Reviewed by Gary Hunter

Life outside prison crosses the minds of most prisoners daily, but how often do those thoughts include the direction of their financial future? Prisoner Assistant has put together a helpful textbook, the Banking and Financial Management Course, specifically designed to help prisoners understand and plan their future finances.

Banking and Financial Management offers a detailed description of how financial institutions operate and how they can be successfully used. For example, the reader will learn the subtle differences between debit cards, credit cards, and ATM cards. The book also describes several 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 to help you find the financial institution best suited to your 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 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 cardholder to shop, pay bills or get cash without the hassle of writing a check, though there are disadvantages.

Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) are everywhere; they are the bank’s way of making it easy 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 budgeting 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 on 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. Chapter Six 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 and 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 significant role in determining what kinds of loans and credit cards are best for you.

For a 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.

The Banking and Financial Management Course is available from Prisoner Assistant ( or online booksellers like Amazon.