Updated: Jan 2, 2020
Happy rainy Tuesday from Boston. I am sharing with you some of the biggest advisers I consult with on my journey to financial fitness: books! We can learn so much from books, and it's the perfect time of year to cozy up with one! Though I try to distill the messages I learn from these books to you all in this blog, sometimes it is better to just go to the source. I've been really stretching myself to move out of my comfort zone this year and read some non-fiction books that will grow my financial knowledge - below are the books I've explored so far:
Total Money Makeover: Dave Ramsey--There isn't much more I can say about this book that I haven't already said in previous posts, but if you are looking for a way to kickstart your financial fitness journey, this is the book for you. It is inspiring (with testimonials from real people), clear and actionable. Ramsey explains why we should think differently about money than we have in the past and than how our society would have us think. He provides clear (notice I didn't say easy) steps you can take to begin to gain control over your finances and your future. I highly recommend this book.
You are a Badass at Making Money: Jen Sincero--While Ramsey covers the tangible and actionable steps, Sincero covers the mindset. This book is witty and, like Ramsey, Sincero draws from her own life experiences to demonstrate how you can get where she is. This book is extremely inspirational; to the point where it helped me decide what I want to do with my life and am now taking steps to accomplish that. While it does seem a bit scatterbrained, and I don't completely agree with some of her exercises (I am grateful for money, not to it), I do think this will help you face some of the potential hang-ups you have about money and your ability to earn it. Money is nothing more (or less) than a tool; it is us who imbue it with negative or positive power. This book can help you reset your thinking so you're in a more positive headspace, and will certainly make you laugh along the way.
Investing 101: Kathy Kristof--Kristof makes investing seem attainable and not like some mythical beast you have to slay. A nationally-syndicated Los Angeles Times personal finance columnist, Kristof knows what she's talking about and does a great job explaining the basics and fundamentals of investing in her book. The book itself is a little dated (published in 2000), which actually adds some humor as she talks about the "internet boom" and Amazon as an up and coming company; but the fundamentals she provides are timeless. Kristof starts off the book by highlighting that investing should be done with goals in mind. Like anything else you want to do well, you shouldn't just rush in; however, if you do your homework upfront, investing doesn't have to be onerous or impossible. At times a little jargony, Kristof provides multiple worksheets to help you determine your goals for investing, how much risk you can assume, how to assess a mutual fund and more. She walks through various stocks, bonds, and mutual funds and what it means to truly diversify your portfolio. I definitely recommend this book as a starting point to learning how to invest.
Your Money or Your Life: Vicki Robin -- This book is a reboot from the original that was written by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez (who passed away). The reboot adapts some of the execution of the plan offered in this book to reflect modern times, while maintaining the same strategy. Robin and Dominguez were the original thought leaders of the FIRE movement. FIRE is Financially Independent, Retire Early. Your Money or Your Life offers a 9-step plan to help you (a) completely change your relationship to money, (b) be financially independent and (c) make sure that your money, and your life, is supporting the value system you've determined for yourself. The basic premise is that you only have one finite resource: your life energy. If you convert life energy spent into how much money you earn or spend, you would be a lot more careful about how you expend that energy. Robin and Dominguez present a practical way of actualizing a financially fit life that adheres to your values and takes into account other forms of wealth: community and relationships. I would recommend this book if you are a big picture thinker concerned with how your choices affect you, your community and the world, while also wanted to be more financially savvy.