Rejoice with me, my friends, for I have found the book I was looking for, and it is every bit as good as I hoped it would be! I was discussing the last money book I reviewed with a friend, and she had just read this one and recommended it. I recognized it immediately as the one I was looking for – hooray for literate friends!
All Your Worth: the Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan by Elizabeth Warren and Amelia Tyagi Finally, a money book that doesn’t assume that you really have enough money, but just want a little more or are using it badly. I was so tired of reading that if we just cut back on our mochas (necessary for Naked’s mental health) and stopped eating out (already doing that), that our finances would be fine. This book starts with the assumption that you are already trying as hard as you can and just aren’t quite making ends meet. They propose a step-by-step plan for getting your finances in order, and include financial CPR in case the bill collectors are already at your door, though it’s too bad that the section on bankruptcy is already out of date.
The heart of the money plan is their formula for spending: 50% on must haves, 30% on wants, 20% on savings. These percentages made me laugh when my friend told me about them, and you are probably laughing yourself, because you, like us, like just about everyone I know, are spending far more than 50% of your budget on needs. Don’t give up yet – the authors make a very convincing case for this. They don’t include some things that I am used to thinking of as needs in the needs category – food over a certain amount, clothing, and some other things. But the basic argument is this: unemployment usually pays you 50% of your regular earnings. If you’re living with their low level of needs spending, in case of a major emergency, you’d be able to keep your life going, and a little emergency won’t throw you into a tailspin. With Wants, their only suggestion is that you stick to cash so you can’t overspend. The Savings section outlines a plan for paying off outstanding consumer debt, building up an emergency fund, and saving for retirement, in that order.
I know that the folks on Marketplace Money really like Personal Finance for Dummies by Mike Tyson. We have it; it’s a good book and explains all the financial terms. But for actual help with day-to-day money management, this book is my favorite. Here’s some more reasons:
– It explains that it easier to get in over your head with house and car payments than it used to be.
– No guilt trips.
– It says that you deserve to have money to spend on whatever you want, no questions asked.
– It suggests places to cut that sound like they would actually work.
– It says you have better things to do with your time than make complicated budgets and keep logs of everything you spend.
– It has a chapter on money and relationships that starts by saying that the Big Money Talk probably will end in an argument, and ways around that.
– The ultimate goal is not to have to think about money.