Books,  Facts of Life,  Reading

Money Book Reviews! $$

Since I can’t be the only one who wasn’t born great at handling money, I thought I’d talk a little bit about a few of the money books I read last year. πŸ™‚

Rating system out of five stars: βˆ—βˆ—βˆ—βˆ—βˆ—

Financially Fearless by Alexa Von Tobel

Who is this book for: People who aren’t broke and want some help in figuring out how to manage their funds. More specifically, I find this book to be geared towards people in the 25 to 40 age range who make at least 50,000 a year or more and probably work in a corporate office setting or some other type of job where you can advance up a career ladder.

My thoughts: I say this is for corporate-type people because, though she means well and actually has a lot of good things to say, Alexa seems out of touch with people who don’t make a lot of money and don’t have the kind of jobs that offer benefits like health insurance and 401ks. As in, people like me who work retail. If you’re not working with a lot of money, you’re probably not going to find this horribly helpful. Furthermore, if you’re in debt, you’re not going to find much in the way for getting out of it in this book. She basically just mentions it in passing and moves on.

Some other reviewers pointed out how it seems very much like a long advertisement for the financial planning services her company offers. I agree because she plugs the services about half a hundred times, but it is less expensive than a lot of the other financial planning services out there. That said, at $300, I don’t think they can help someone who makes as little money as I do, but you can always just browse the free articles and quizzes on the site.

Rating:Β βˆ—βˆ—βˆ—

Debt-Free Forever by Gail Vaz-Oxlade

Who is this book for: Adults of any age who are deep in debt, out of control with their money, and highly frustrated.

My thoughts: My favorite thing about this book is how devoid it is of fancy, high-affluent finance language. She has a no-nonsense and humorous type of style that makes it very easy and even a little fun to read her book. I was actually out of debt and had been for a while when I picked this up, but I was drawn to it because I NEVER want it to happen again. Like a thousand times never. I feel like this book is great for dealing with some of the reasons why you got so deep in the first place: emotional reasons, mismanagement of your money, overspending, not paying attention, things that aren’t entirely your fault like divorce. She really seems to understand what it’s like to struggle with moneyΒ and offers practical solutions for digging yourself out of a giant hole if you happen to find yourself in one and taking control of your finances.

What you’re not going to get in this book is advice on things like retirement and investing. When you’re broke, those words only stress you the hell out, though I’m sure she probably touches on the subject in one of her other books.

Rating:Β βˆ—βˆ—βˆ—βˆ—

Young, Fabulous, and Broke by Suze Orman

Who is this book for: Young, broke people, namely single and childless and 18 to 30ish, though she does throw in a few married people things, a few kid things, and a few 40+ things.

My thoughts: What I love about this book is that there is none of that wordy jargon that’s in another book of hers I tried to read:Β “The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom” — a book so wordy it makes my brain spin and pass out. She gets straight to the point in this and tells it how it is because she knows young people have a short attention span. What I don’t like is that she tells young people it’s okay to use their credit cards to make ends meet so they can afford to go after their dreams. As someone did this, I don’t recommend it. If you don’t actually get that higher paying job, you’re in for a world of hurt. And even if you do, you then have to spend the next several years digging yourself out of the hole you dug. I watch her show and I’ve heard her tell people on several occasions to go get a higher paying job that they won’t like nearly as well so that they can dig themselves out of debt.

But everything else in this book is fabulous and practical, for the most part. I can tell she has a strong background in finance, so she’s perfect if you’re looking for someone to guide you through a more normal way of looking at money, unlike this next guy.

Rating:Β βˆ—βˆ—βˆ—βˆ—

Complete Guide to Money by Dave Ramsey

Who is this book for: Anyone with an income who wants to learn how to manage their money.

My thoughts: This book literally covers everything from how to work with your partner when it comes to money, college planning, getting out of debt, saving for retirement, buying a home, how to negotiate deals on large purchases, budgeting, how to teach your kids about money, and he explains why you should give money to causes you care about better than anyone.Β It’s completely comprehensive. For people who don’t know him, however, he’s radical. He’s anti-debt of any kind but will tolerate people getting a mortgage because it’s such a large purchase. I’m in Tennessee. Dave Ramsey lives within 30 miles of where I live, so I grew up hearing this guy yell at people, which is quite entertaining.

I used to think he was almost too radical, but now that I’ve been listening to his radio show on a regular basis and have read a few of his books and compared what he has to say to what other people have to say, I totally get what he’s saying. He makes a good point. If all of your money is tied up in car payments and credit cards and mortgages that are bigger than what you can afford, you can’t make any traction at all. All of your money goes to the bank! So, his books are great for people who are looking for something different. Plus, I can’t argue with someone who has managed to instill some money sense into the most stubborn person I know: myself.

Rating:Β βˆ—βˆ—βˆ—βˆ—βˆ—



  • Tonja Drecker

    And where’s the one on how to become a billionaire? Just kidding πŸ˜‰ The last one sounds dry, but sound. Banks are leaches, but once you’re in that pond of life, they’re almost impossible to avoid. I’m a minimum kind of girl, but a lot of that has to do with my background. Growing up in a household with lots of kids and little income made us learn to work and treasure every penny.

    • krystal jane

      Oh, the last one is actually really good. The guy is hilarious. We were kind of all over the place growing up from keeping up with the Jones’ broke to being pretty comfortable. There were lots of junk cars in our driveway back in the day. Fond memories. ^_^

  • Michelle A (@SunflowerRei)

    Strangely, I’m not worried about my finances since I’m, as my dad says,”tight as a clam” when it comes to cash. But I do seriously lack math skills. Like, seriously. It’s terrible. I can’t do percentages! I can’t remember the formulas! Halp!

    • krystal jane

      I love running percentages! It’s so much fun. ^_^ I do it on a weekly basis. For fun.

      I’m good with money when I pay attention to it, but my logic makes no sense. I bought a movie yesterday (with money I had budgeted for said movie) and I almost felt sick spending the money, but earlier this month I spent twice that much on sushi and didn’t blink an eye. >.<

  • Shan

    These reviews are great! I love the comparisons. Now I really want to buy Ramsey’s book. I will probably at least download the free sample. Tobel’s book just sounds intimidating!
    ~Shannon (Jodi’s sis)

    • krystal jane

      Hi, Jodi’s sister! ^_^
      I ended up doing a lot of math while reading Alexa’s book. >.< Dave's book is definitely my favorite! Download away! πŸ™‚ He has a really light and humorous style.

  • Crystal Collier

    My hubby was an accountant in a former life. We started out on the right foot–not saying we made all the best decisions, but we had a solid basis. My in laws have marveled at how we made it on so little sometimes. (We totally buy into the Dave Ramsey way to thinking.)

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