Given this is the fifth book review I've written, it's safe to say I love reading! Reading brings me joy, offers me escape, and provides me with knowledge. We'll focus on the last piece in this blog post. So get cozy and settle in for your latest financial reads!
Finance for the People by Paco De Leon: This was my first financial read this year, and it didn't disappoint. Written from the lens of a brown woman with a background in finance, this book takes financial systems into account, while emphasizing the action items we have in our control. De Leon includes fun and witty illustrations, like the Pyramid of Financial Awesomeness, to illuminate hard-to-grasp concepts. She provides history lessons on major financial systems and industries and has an interesting take on budgets vs. spending plans. What I like most about this book are the mindfulness activities and the acknowledgment of systemic impact on our daily lives. De Leon is quick to point out that systemic impact is not an excuse to ignore what is in our locus of control. If you're interested in taking steps toward financial health but have been bogged down by our financial systems, this book is for you. It will definitely have a place on my bookshelf.
Get the Hell out of Debt by Erin Skye Kelly: This book was so refreshing to read. Erin Skye Kelly does not hold back. She's direct and tells you exactly what is needed to achieve financial freedom. Erin Skye Kelly does not believe in "shoulding" people; instead, she outlines the steps that have proven to lead to financial security over time. The steps she outlines aren't necessarily revolutionary (many finance books highlight the same ones), but she approaches your journey with optimism, encouragement, and a firm belief in the reader's ability to turn their life around. You can feel her belief in you right even through the pages. I love that she introduces a new (to me) debt repayment method, which she calls The Emotional Mastery Method, or the Spicy Method for fun, where you focus on paying down the debt that pisses you off the most first. If you're looking for a book that will tell you like it is while firmly believing in you, Get the Hell out of Debt is for you.
So...This is Why I'm Broke by Melissa Jean-Baptiste: There is nothing more satisfying than seeing a first-generation Black woman make it! And Melissa not only made it, she wants you to make it, too! She walks through similar steps to financial independence and wealth building that many other authors do. Where she shines, though, is in her wit and relatability (Melissa, owner of Millennial in Debt, spoke my language because she is a Millennial like me.), and in her chapters on buying homes and estate planning. I've never read a more comprehensive overview on how to prepare to buy a home, including a list of costs you can expect and how to figure out what those costs might be for your situation (down payment, financial ability, geographical area, etc.). In every chapter, she brings home the American wealth disparity through race and gender, making it even clearer why we need to get a hold of our finances. I would definitely recommend this book, and will continue to reference it as I complete my estate-planning steps!
First-Time Home Buyer by Scott Trench and Mindy Jensen: In under 200 pages, Trench and Jensen enlightens the reader on how to strategize, financially and mentally prepare for, and what to expect when buying their first home. The authors, CEO and co-host of the BiggerPockets Money podcast, provide detail and specificity for each part of the home-buying process, including strategizing beforehand so that your biggest financial decision isn't also your biggest financial mistake. Bringing years of experience in home buying (and a ton of funny puns!), this is a must-read for any first-time homebuyer. I felt really ignorant of the home-buying process and unsure of what steps to take to adequately prepare. After reading this book, I feel much better having some insight into the process, and a plan of action to set myself up well. The book isn't magic; it doesn't reduce the plethora of things one needs to do to prepare for buying a home. But it certainly helps one put their best foot forward when trying to do so.