Book of the Month: The Financial Diet

I included this book because it’s the only book I’ve read in December, so far. And that’s okay. People like to compete slash show off: I read fifty books this week. Lol, ok boo. As I have often said, I diversify my hobbies and what not. And reading is just one of them, in addition to you know, actually working some 60+ hours (or more) every week. So yeah. I say this to say, people often feel bad about not reading enough and the thing is, reading should be fun and/or educational, not punitive. When you can, by all means, please read. When you can't, don't feel bad. More importantly, this is the book of the month because it’s a money book. In my next post,  I will share how being better with money has improved the quality of my life, so this seemed like a good precursor.

The Financial Diet was written by Chelsea Fagan and Lauren Ver Hage, the co-founders of a hugely popular website with the same title. They were my first teachers in this whole millennial-becoming-good-with money business, and it seemed like it was worth it to invest in and support them. So I’m glad I did. Well technically the book was a gift from my friend but I requested it sooo same difference. Even before the book, the goal of The Financial Diet website has always been to inspire women to take control of their finances, become more comfortable talking about money, and just be a general bad ass in life in the most realistic, yet optimistic way. The book models this approach. It gives step-by-step guides on how to save, spend, cook, decorate your apartment, thrive at work, and dress your way to your best financial life.

The first thing I want to say is this book was a very easy read. Truth is, I tend to select books of the month that are easy to read because no one has time for authors who write to deliberately confuse their audience and complicate things just to sound smart. My favorite writers have always been the ones that write plain and clear. So yes this book is easy and it takes you through the aforementioned life necessities through practical applications, suggestions, and interviews with experts.  While I enjoyed it, I also was left wanting for more. But I think this was largely due to the fact that I have watched many of their videos and read several posts on the websites, so nothing the book said was particularly new [to me]. Again, perhaps because they are millennials, their approach to finance is very relatable and they are sure to emphasize that managing money is not a one-size-fits-all thing. How you handle money depends on your lifestyle, financial goals, personal hobbies and favorites, and of course your reality. They also remind you not to forget to live or  enjoy life because of insurmountable and unrealistic expectations you have set on yourself.

Chelsea is the perfect person to talk about finance. She has gone from maxing out several credit cards, to quitting college, to drunkenly quitting her job over the phone at 4am (?) because she didn't feel like waking up early the next morning or so, to co-founding a successful lifestyle and finance website, and now leading a team of about 5 at the the same website in New York City. Yeah, what a rollercoaster, huh? Chelsea is humorous, and she has a lot of personal advice to dispense without coming off as condescending. Even if you don't read her book, watch their videos on YouTube. You will enjoy them.

Another finance book I read earlier this year was of course Broke Millennial, which frankly, I slightly prefer to this. I found that one much more resourceful, as far as learning technical terms, investing, saving, paying back debts, the different kinds of financial institutions that exist etc. Broke Millennial was incredibly helpful. Not to say The Financial Diet wasn't at all helpful; it was. But it was also very lifestyle-bloggish, if that makes any sense at all. Again, I think the reason I feel this way might be because it is geared towards total beginners, and as my next post will show you, I'm no longer a beginner with money *flips hair* so some advice in the book seemed rudimentary to me. However, one way The Financial Diet stands out for me is the real, practical advice on making career choices. They are careful to warn readers to beware of the "dream job" trope; even going as far as coining a term "career lattice" in place of the traditional career ladder. You know, life is real and not an Instagram hashtag or yet another trite motivational quote. Don't seek all your happiness in your day job. Sometimes, your job is not the answer to all your fulfillment and happiness challenges. Sometimes, you job is just that, your job; your source of income; another outlet to prove yourself smart and resourceful. Diversify; meaning spread out the source of your fulfillment and happiness. Another interesting part of the book includes all the cute graphics at different points of the book; they made it even much more engaging. I mean, even the paperback is definitely one of a kind and makes for a good coffee table book/decor.

In the end, you should know (and this book reminds us often throughout its pages) that there should be a goal to money. It's not just about acquiring and acquiring; as one of the experts in the book say, "Money is nice, but there has to be a point to it or you'll ever have enough."

That's it. I have actually started another book, and maybe to compensate for my sporadic postings this year, I will do another book of the month. Maybe not.



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