The other day a friend of mine asked me for recommendation for a personal finance book. I recall plowing the “Personal Finance” shelves in the Barnes&Noble bookstore one day to find myself a good read. What I was looking for is a comprehensive guide that is concise and well-presented, sort of like a travel guide and unlike an actuarial exam study manual. Then I came across this book whose title says “Personal Finance in Your Twenties and Thirties.” Perfect! Their target audience includes me – that’s a good start. And that’s just the start. What else does the book have?
Chapter 1 of the book is a 10-page summary that not only gives you an overview of the later chapters but also consolidates the most important guidance for the young and yet-to-be-knowledgeable. If I just graduated from college, got my first job, started making serious money, and had no idea what to do with my income, this would be my perfect pocket guide.
From immediate action to take such as obtaining insurance and starting to pay student loans to long-term planning such as buying a house and investing in stocks and bonds, this chapter covers it all in a very clear and concise manner. And it even tells you where to look for more details in the book. This is the format I wish all guide books followed.
Chapters 2 through 9 each address one aspect of personal finance:
Chapter 2 teaches you how to set up your financial goals
Chapter 3 gives you instructions on dealing with debt
Chapter 4 is a guide to banking
Chapter 5 contains the basics of investment for the general population (it does not teach you how to invest in individual stocks)
Chapter 6 covers 401(k) retirement plans
Chapter 7 shows you step-by-step how to buy a home
Chapter 8 classifies insurance into two types: the needs and the don’t-needs
Chapter 9 explains how tax works and how you can play it to your advantage
And then, interestingly, the final, Chapter 10, is dedicated to military benefits. This alone makes the book quite a rarity. In honor of American soldiers and in the spirit of Memorial Day, thank you, the author Beth Kobliner, for including this in your book.
I’m not sure if I’d be allowed under copyright laws to provide more specifics. Maybe some reader who is well-versed in copyright laws can enlighten me? But if you have 20 bucks to spare and want a personal finance book that can guide you through the early adulthood financial confusion, I highly recommend this one. The first version of the book came out in 1996; the version I have is from 2009, but most, if not all, of the information and advice is still relevant and applicable. It’s my favorite personal finance book. Maybe it can be yours as well.
You can view other customer reviews and buy the book at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Get-Financial-Life-Personal-ebook/dp/B001UP63MS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1369757343&sr=8-1&keywords=get+a+financial+life
Richard (Hiep Tran)