I snagged a copy of Liz Weston’s new book, The 10 Commandments of Money, at a conference a few weeks ago. (She even autographed it … aww.)
I read the first few chapters on the plane ride home, bursting into laughter (and annoying the airline passengers around me) when I stumbled across the passage where she recommends a list of financial blogs. “Hey, I know those guys!,” I thought. What a small world.
I finished the book this week and can report that it’s jam-packed with research, information and advice that’s written in a friendly, conversational tone.
Some writers try to explain financial concepts in such a simple manner that they come as overly simplistic. Not Liz. She’s the rare writer who remains engaging and approachable, even when talking about insurance.
(By the way, her book convinced me to talk to my parents about their long-term care coverage. … Did you know a semi-private nursing home costs more than $72,000 a year? Yikes!)
My favorite segment is her comparison of the “Old-School” rules, “Bubble Economy” rules and “New Rules.” For example:
Old-School Rule: Pay off the mortgage as quickly as possible.
Bubble Economy Rule: Buy as much house as you can. Keep trading up!
New Rule: Buy less house than you can afford. Pay for remodels with cash. Don’t move too often.
Old-School Rule: College degrees aren’t necessary to get ahead.
Bubble Economy Rule: Borrow as much as you can. Your education is worth it.
New Rule: Get at least a 2-year or 4-year degree but pursue it at a reasonable price.
Old-School Rule: Save for a rainy day.
Bubble Economy Rule: Borrow to the max!
New Rule: Be prepared with both cash reserves and quick access to credit.
Old-School Rule: The husband is in charge of money.
Bubble Economy Rule: Don’t worry about money as long as it keeps coming in.
New Rule: Both spouses should agree on big-picture goals, though one spouse might oversee day-to-day management.
Liz writes an easy-to-grasp, written-for-the-average-person book that’s dense with information. Her book is rooted in statistics and facts, which form the basis for her well-reasoned advice.
Her book isn’t centered on either frugality or investing, although it touches on those topics. Her book is all-around, general personal money management, and it has equal appeal to both the penny-pincher and the investor trying to protect his assets.
Should I Read It?
This Book is For You If: You want a sensible, comprehensive primer on personal money management.
This Book is NOT For You If: You want to delve into one particular niche topic like stock investing, debt, college savings, etc., or if you want to read a narrative storyline.
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