Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Book Review – “Get a Financial Life” by Beth Kobliner

Pathways Advisory Group, Inc.
Michelle Carter, CFP®

In case you missed it from the September 2010 Newsletter…

Several months ago, I met with the son of one of our clients.  A recent college graduate, he was looking to learn more about investing.  Specifically, he wondered what his next steps should be in planning his financial future.

He was very bright and quite responsible for his young age.  He also seemed fairly knowledgeable regarding many financial issues.  He has made good decisions thus far, and seems on the right track.  When asked what sparked his interest in learning more about planning for his future, he cited a few reasons, one of which was the book, “Get a Financial Life – Personal Finance in your Twenties and Thirties” by Beth Kobliner.

I made a note of this and decided to read the book for myself.  I figured with a pair of thirty-year-old eyes and a financial planner’s brain, it might make for an interesting read.  I expected to find a few things I agreed with, but prepared myself to disagree with a majority of the book.

I was pleasantly surprised.

The first chapter, entitled Crib Notes, is a basic overview of the topics addressed throughout the rest of the book.  The remaining chapters delve deeper into many areas of financial planning, including building a cash reserve, investing, retirement savings, insurance and even some tax planning.

It was nice reading through the book and seeing familiar concepts on the pages… the importance of managing debt wisely, why it is better to invest in mutual funds than individual stocks, how silly it is to turn down a 401(k) employer match by not participating in the plan.

The writing approach is simple.  It is clearly written for someone who has little or no experience with life insurance, buying a home, or investing in a 401(k).  If you are looking for a book that will teach your recent grad to trade in commodities or start their own business, this is not the book for you.  But for the average person in their mid-20s, it is a positive beginning towards making responsible decisions with money.

At less than $11 on Amazon, I would consider this book a great buy for those ‘young kids’ in your life.  Be sure to grab the newest version released in 2009.  It has some simplified explanations for the recent mortgage crisis, among other updates.

As the holiday season approaches, consider a gift that could have more of an impact than the latest techno gadget or designer jeans.  This book was part of the reason that young man was in our office several months ago, learning about finance and asking for advice.  It is my hope all of our favorite “young kids” will grab onto these concepts with the same determination and enthusiasm.

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