Book Review - Get a Financial Life by Beth Kobliner
I’ve just finished a great getting started book on personal finance called “Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance in Your Twenties and Thirties” by Beth Kobliner.
In today’s post, I’ll provide a brief overview and three key takeaways that I find essential to getting started managing your finances.
First, don’t let the title fool you. While the author focused on helping people in their 20’s and 30’s it’s an excellent book for most people regardless of age.
The book starts strong with “Crib Notes” followed by “Financial Cramming” sections at the end of each chapter. If you’re short on time or the sound of reading a Personal Finance book puts you to sleep then these sections will give you a maximum return on your time investment.
These sections alone will give you 80% of the gold this book has to offer in short, easy to scan lists. From there you can treat it as a reference book only going back to specific points as you need them.
I read the book cover to cover and found it to have a very fresh and lively read to it. It’s not your school textbook.
3 Key takeaways
Three financial rules of thumb
- The Debt Rule: Your debt payments (excluding your mortgage) should be less than 20% of your monthly take-home pay.
- The Housing Rule: Spend no more than 30% of your monthly take-home pay on rent or mortgage payments.
- The Savings Rule: Save at least 15% of your take-home pay each month.
- Know and understand the types of loans you currently have.
- There are many types of repayment plans available. Find one that works and automate payments.
- Whatever you do, do not default on your loans. Doing this will only bring a world of pain with extra fees, interest, and legal proceedings.
- Pay off any credit cards that carry a balance first.
- Max your retirement accounts stating with your 401k if your company offers one or your IRA if they don’t.
- Don’t try to pick winning stocks. Instead, stick with Index funds or ETF’s.
The book has a great list of external tools and references. Many of which are also my favorites such as:
If you found value in this article please consider signing up for my newsletter and RSS feed. This will ensure you don’t miss any updates. Also, drop me an email or reach out in the comments below or via Twitter at @gaijinmoney if you have any questions, comments, or topic requests.