No matter how much I think I know about personal finance, I’m always willing to learn more. So when I heard about Beth Kobliner‘s updated edition of Get A Financial Life: Personal finance in your twenties and thirties, I knew I had a book to add to my reading list.
My overall impression of this book: READ THIS BOOK! I think it’s a great book, both for the recent grads as well as people still trying to take control of their finances. Plus, the updated version reflects the current economic situation as well as newer tax codes, so you won’t hear the old general advice that has since been debunked. The book is divided into sections that guide you how to get your financial life in order by examining your budget, managing/paying off your debt, finding the right banks for your checking AND saving needs, and other steps and decisions like investing, setting up and contributing to retirement funds, buying vs. renting, selecting insurance (health, disability, life, car, homeowners/renters, etc.), and filing your taxes.
The thing I really liked about these different sections was that they had actual information and resources included. It wasn’t merely things like “make a budget”, “open a 401(k)”, and “check out mutual funds”. There were actual explanations about the benefits and drawbacks of a lot of financial choices, as well as in-depth information and examples of the consequences if these decisions. I definitely learned some things I didn’t know before! I learned a lot about the different income limits for different retirement funds, and the amount of coverage I should be buying for my car insurance. I got a better idea about all the different investment options, and the difference between mutual funds, bond funds, and the tax implications of investing in these different funds. She includes lots of information that, had it been my personal copy (and not a library copy) I would have gotten out highlighters and post-its to remind myself of the important information. Throughout, she provides links to websites and calculators (which would be even more handy in an ebook format where you could click-through to the sites), as well as recommended books for further reading on each subject.
So, I’ll reiterate: Read this book. I took a lot of notes for myself while reading this book. It got me thinking about my current financial setup and how I can improve it. And maybe I might even buy myself a copy so I can highlight the important points that I will want to come back to (there was a lot of useful information for homebuyers that I don’t need right now, but will need in the future). Plus there’s a great list of resources at the end of the book (more books, magazines, blogs, websites, etc.) that will help me add to my to-read list.
Have you read the book? What do you think? I’d recommend it to pretty much anyone! Buy it for recent grads! They’ll grumble at being told what to do, but they’ll appreciate it 🙂