Money Rules Book Review: A Quick Guide to Finances

I recently checked out the new book Money Rules: The Simple Path to Lifelong Security by Jean Chatzky.

It’s modeled much like Michael Pollan’s Food Rules with many one-page “rules” that give short but useful tidbits of information.

This book can be read in one sitting (it took me just a couple of hours), but it offers a lot of value from just a little book.

The top rules

Here are some of my favorite rules in the book:

  • “The four most important words in negotiation are ‘Can you do better?’” This is the first time I’ve heard this one for negotiations, and I like it! I’m a fan of not saying too much, and letting the other person doing the talking as much as possible. He who speaks first loses.
  • “Your home is a piggy bank, not a cash cow.” This was a hard lesson for Americans after the housing bubble burst. I can only hope we’ve learned and won’t get burned again.
  • “Don’t borrow more for college than you expect to earn your first year out of school.” I really like nice little tricks that you can use instead of making all sorts of calculations. Paying back debt is a big pain, and it ends up being much more annoying than most people realize.
  • “In any transaction, ask ‘What’s in it for them’?” There’s often a catch. Most people or businesses aren’t in business to be nice. Try to figure out what they’re getting out of it and decide if it’s still worth it for you.
  • “Boring is better” (when it comes to investing). Chatzky points out that index funds and ETFs aren’t very sexy, but they often get the job done easily and without a lot of guesswork.

Is she right?

Of course, everyone would probably find a few points to disagree with on here. After all, it’s virtually impossible to cover everyone’s life with every rule.

I didn’t particularly unconditionally agree with the author’s point that “your job is your most valuable asset” and “education is your second most valuable asset.” I think there are better assets than can be built (like a business or others assets that offer more scalable cash flow), but she’s right if we’re just speaking to the masses here.

While there were a few other points that I took small issues with, I generally agreed with all Chatzky had to say and enjoyed her style for delivering the info.

Overall, I think this would be a great book for anyone that’s new or not that interested in personal finance (I’m obviously biased). In fact, I’d go as far to say that it’s my new go-to book for college grads.

It’s not for those that are looking for very specific guidance in any particular area. If you’re someone that’s already mastered your money, you might be a little bored. But it’s short and snappy, so it’s not like you’re wasting a lot of your time.

Check out the book on Amazon, where you can ready some of the rules for free, too!

$ $ $ $

A few links while I’m at it:

Fin. Carn. for Young Adults at 20s Finances
Carnival of MoneyPros at Financially Consumed
Yakezie Carnival at Passive Income to Retire
Carnival of Retirement at Tackling Our Debt
Totally Money Blog Carnival at Thirty Six Months
Carnival of Financial Camaraderie at Step Away From The Mall
Best of Money Carnival at Budgeting in the Fun Stuff

Carnival of Financial Planning at Married With Debt
Carnival of Financial Camaraderie at My University Money
Totally Money Blog Carnival at Motivating Mum
Carnival of Money Pros at Thousandaire
Yakezie Carnival at Money Reasons
Carnival of Retirement at Finance Product Reviews
Financial Carnival for Young Adults at 20′s Finances
Totally Money Blog Carnival at Stupid Cents
Carnival of Financial Camaraderie at My University Money
Festival of Frugality at One Smart Dollar
Carnival of Financial Planning at Prairie Eco Thrifter
Yakezie Carnival at Watson Inc
Carnival of MoneyPros at Beating Broke
Carnival of Retirement at Passive Income to Retire

Fin. Carn. for Young Adults at 20′s Finances
Carnival of Retirement at Investor’s WatchDog
Yakezie Carnival at Money Q&A
Carnival of MoneyPros at Novel Investor
Festival of Frugality at Budgeting With The Bushmans
Carnival of Financial Planning at Darwin’s Money

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Comments

  1. moneycone says:

    I really liked this bit:  “Don’t borrow more for college than you expect to earn your first year out of school.”
     
    I’d also add, don’t use higher education as an excuse to not work!  I see so many going back to school (and taking on more debt) because it is tough to find a job!  

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  3. I really liked this bit:  “Don’t borrow more for college than you expect to earn your first year out of school.”I’d also add, don’t use higher education as an excuse to not work!  I see so many going back to school (and taking on more debt) because it is tough to find a job!

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