Let’s Get Real About Money: Profit from the Habits of the Best Personal Finance Managers
(c) 2008 Eric Tyson
FT Press, New Jersey
My expectations were low. The subtitle “Profit from the Habits of the Best Personal Finance Managers” made me think of celebrity-focused “secrets”-type books with more fluff than content. But hey, it was on the library bookshelf, so I picked it up anyway. I’ve found all sorts of gems in unlikely books, and I’ve skimmed my way through seemingly-solid books that proved to be disappointments. It’s easy to take risks on books when they’re free. ;)
I was pleasantly surprised by what I found. The book has a lot of practical advice on money and relationships, family, raising savvy kids, spending plans, frugality, investment, insurance, and learning more. Well worth a read, and possibly one of my new recommendations in this area.
I’ve been thinking about whether I’ve got the right balance of saving for near-term expenses, investing for the future, and enjoying the present. The book has an entire chapter on this (pp.103 to 112). I particularly like the section on reflecting on whether you’re postponing achievable dreams, and the quote:
It is very well to be thrifty, but don’t amass a hoard of regrets.
I’m reminded of Ramit Sethi’s story about how some people set aside money for meeting interesting people. Might be a fun experiment, although perhaps not to that scale. Ditto for learning and experimentation, which I do explicitly save for, and which has paid off quite a bit in terms of interesting life experiences. So I’m not doing too badly in this area, and I’m continuing to learn.
There are useful tips on p131 on keeping saving in proper perspective. Here’s the summary:
- Understand the standard of living that can be provided by the assets you’ve already accumulated.
- Get smart about investing your money.
- Go on a news diet.
- Regularly buy something that you historically have viewed as frivolous but which you can truly afford.
- Buy more gifts for the people you love.
- Go easier on yourself and family when it comes to everyday expenses.
This year’s probably going to be pretty easy to plan for, actually, because we’ve got the two big trips planned (Netherlands and the Philippines), and we might look into improving the insulation of the house. We’re also saving up for other adventures over the next year or two. Big rocks. It’s easy to plan other things around those: perhaps piano lessons, sewing lessons, gardening experiments, and woodworking projects.
Anyway… “Let’s Get Real About Money” is a good read. Try the self-test in front, and check out the chapters on insurance and managing risks. Have fun!