With the new year beginning, I decided it would be appropriate that my first 2014 book review would be on mastering your personal finances painlessly. Too many people quit their goal of getting control on their money and many times it’s because they haven’t found a system that works with them.
If you’re looking at becoming more confident with handling your hard earned money, then you may want to check Financially Fearless out. It’s a new release from Alexa von Tobel, founder and CEO of LearnVest. If you’re not familiar with LearnVest, quite it’s about making financial planning an affordable and practical option for most people.
- Full Title: Financially Fearless: The LearnVest Program for Taking Control of Your Money
- Author: Alexa von Tobel
- Price: $15
Just last week I chatted with Alexa and got her thoughts about the book and how its release coincides with LearnVest’s mission.
What’s Financially Fearless About
The book is packed with information, but it’s fairly easy to read and filled with constructive advice that most people need to know if they want to master their money. The book is divided into several sections:
- Where You Are Right Now-> The first part of the book covers getting the right money mindset and reflecting on how you’ve dealt with money in the past. Most of us have developed certain attitudes or habits through the years that have a huge effect on how we’re doing financially in the present. To help get a sense of how you’ll reach your goals while taking care of your bills, von Tobel has you run the numbers (and shows you just how easy it can be).
- Your 50/20/30 Plan -> Alexa gives a system on how to create a real budget that allows you to save for your future while still giving you room to have fun with your money right now.
- Protect Yourself -> Another point that Alexa stresses is making sure that your finances are on firm ground. I think most of us know how quickly emergencies can pop up so having your money in protected is a practical priority. The last major section is filled with how you can protect your money from life, others, and even yourself.
- Pay It Forward-> After covering how to jump-start your finances, von Tobel encourages readers to spread the word and help others by starting a LearnVest Club to keep one another accountable.
This book is not meant to be read, it’s designed to be used as von Tobel included worksheets, tips, and checkpoints throughout it. With each section, there are plenty of ideas and tactics to apply in your life.
Becoming Financially Fearless
Alexa was very clear that the book was a part of the LearnVest mission of empower people everywhere to take control of their personal finances. Financially Fearless does a great job with that. The ton of the book is very encouraging and at the same time, the advice is pragmatic and actionable. There are things you can do at the end of each chapter that give you more power and control with your money.
Build Real Budgets – 50/20/30 Rule
To show you how usable this book is, I’m going to give an overview of one chapter – budgets. One shortcoming Alexa addresses is the matter of budgets. She mentioned that people tend to fail with budgets because they don’t take into account how people truly spend their money.
Instead of focusing on budgets of what you can’t spend and do, Alexa uses the 50/20/30 method to handle both necessities and wants. How does it work?
- 50%: Covers your essential expenses like rent/mortgage, food, utilities, and transportation
- 20%: This money is allocated for your savings goals including retirement and kid’s college fund.
- 30%: Alexa refers to this as lifestyle choices.
For some this framework is the perfect way for them to see their finances. Having a big enough chunk of their money dedicated to the things that make them happy while still taking care of their current and future needs will curb their spending behavior.
Thoughts on Financially Fearless
I think this is a very handy book for those looking at getting their money squared away this year. For those looking at getting a professional to work with them on their financial goals, LearnVest is offering a $50 credit good towards a 5 year plan, just use use the promo code “couplemoney50”. I think that those serious and wanting to get a second set of eyes could get a huge benefit with this.