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Hey everyone! Today ends our month-long discussion of everything budget! I know, I know, we love talking budgets (and saving!) around here, but fun has to come to an end sometime. Don’t worry, you know I’ll still remind you about sticking to your budget and planning for all those awesome goals you have!
Speaking of setting awesome future financial goals (say that 5 times fast), I have a surprise for you today! Today I’ll be reviewing and giving away a copy of Carl Richards’ The One-Page Financial Plan. Stick around to read my review, and at the end of the post, I’ll be giving away a copy of the book for you to enjoy!
Review of The One-Page Financial Plan
If the name Carl Richards sounds familiar to you, you may know him from his successful book, The Behavior Gap, or from his financial articles for The New York Times. Carl is known for his sketches depicting common personal finance issues, and for his strong yet personable financial writing.
Personally, I’m a huge fan of most of the writers in the New York Times, primarily because their writing is so accessible. Carl is no different – his writing is engaging and casual, without that typical dry, boring financial writing-trap that some personal finance writers fall into.
This makes reading The One-Page Financial Plan a breeze. Not only is the book slim (208 pages hardcover), but it’s an easy read that makes you want to get off your butt and start planning for the future. Add in Carl’s sketches, and you’ve got an easy-to-understand, actionable personal finance book.
My absolute favorite part of The One-Page Financial Plan? Carl and I love the same stuff: asking you what is your priority? Carl’s question is “why is money important to you?” The very first part delves into why money is important in your life, and what you want to get out of your investments and savings.
Can I just repeat how much I love this? Rather than telling you why you should save, rather than telling you exactly how you should plan your life, with no deviations for personal development or family changes, Carl puts your money in your control. Is money important to you because you want to live your life as a nomad, traveling around the world? Then why would Carl tell you to save 20% for a down payment on a house? You probably don’t want a house!
This is where The One-Page Financial Plan title starts to make sense. If you think about it, how in the world can you summarize your entire financial life onto one-page? According to Carl: by being honest about why money is important to you. That’s the whole foundation for your savings and investment goals.
Parts Two and Three cover spending and saving (like tracking your expenses and automating your savings) and investing. Again, contrary to personal finance books that tell you to invest in this particular fund because it’s “the best”, Carl encourages you to think about what’s important and make appropriate investment choices.
One thing I did find a little difficult to digest was part four, where Carl encourages us to chat with a financial advisor about our goals and motivations. I absolutely love this idea, and I think financial advisors are terrific, but I still had a ton of questions. How many questions is too many for a financial advisor? The answer is “there aren’t too many”, because they’re your financial advisor and they’re supposed to help guide you, but for some reason, I still feel overwhelmed about meeting with a financial planner. Perhaps once this wedding is over, and I get a real understanding of where our finances are, that will be a good time to engage a financial advisor!
Finally, another thing that stood out to me in The One-Page Financial Planner was Carl’s last part, Part 4 – “Behave, For a Really Long Time”. This is hands down the best advice anyone can give about personal finances. It’s that simple. It’s boring (Carl even admits that!), it’s not sexy, but it’s the right advice. If you’re planning for long-term financial success, you have to be willing to put in for the long haul and not get excited by some fancy new thing, or get bored and take out all your money to buy a resort in Costa Rica (unless, of course, that’s one of your goals!)
Now that you know a little about The One-Page Financial Plan, want to get your hands on your own copy? I’ll be giving away one copy of Carl Richards’ book The One-Page Financial Plan – check out the instructions below to enter to win your own copy! The contest ends in one week, so check back next Thursday!