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

Ally Bank Review – Checking, Savings, and CD Accounts

open-Ally-Bank-account Sign up for an Ally Bank Account (once you open a Savings Account, you can add Checking for free!) After hearing about so many great reviews from other bloggers and friends, I decided I had to open an Ally Bank account and check it out.

Ally Bank Review – Ally Savings


It’s totally free of monthly fees – This is one thing that’s aggravating about bank accounts these days. You open an account for free, only to find out that it doesn’t stay that way if you don’t maintain certain balances or if you don’t add direct deposit. Usually, you don’t find these things out until after you’ve been hit with a fee. Thankfully, Ally doesn’t have any fees like this. 24/7 Customer Support with Real Human Beings! Amazing Customer Support: As I’m writing this email, I can see directly on the Ally Bank website that the customer wait time only 1 minute! Here’s the Ally Bank contact information:

  • 1-877-247-ALLY (2559) to speak with a Customer Care Associate 24/7
  • Ally Bank Customer Care P.O. Box 951 Horsham, PA 19044
  • Ally Bank P.O. Box 13625 Philadelphia, PA 19101
E-statements – This is a pretty standard offering these days, but it’s nice to see that Ally focuses on this and prominently offers it. Personally, I find that e-statements are much easier to use. I like that Ally offers this bceause:
  1. I get less stuff in the mail. Usually I’ll just open anything I get in the mail and toss it into a pile (or immediately in the recycling bin). With e-statements, I can just glance at them on my computer screen to see what charges have been made to my account.
  2. It’s easier to record-keeping. I love having digital records of everything versus paper records. I don’t have to physically file stuff, and I can just store it on my hard drive. When tax season rolls around, I just pick it out from there.


If you’re new to online banking, it might be a bit of a change from you’re experience with a brick-and-mortar bank. But it’s likely not as hard as you think. These are some of the changes you’ll expect:

  • No bank branches. With just about all online banks, there are no physical stores where you can walk in and talk to a bank employee. If you like conducting bank business in person, this might be a hard one for you to get over. Virtually the only time I ever went in to talk to someone at my Bank of America branch was when I wanted to close my account 🙂
  • Mail-in Deposits.  Online banks like Ally require you to mail in any deposits you want to make directly. This can take a few days for them to process, so you won’t be able to have your money right away. However, if you set up direct deposit, this will behave exactly like your current bank accepts it. If you don’t find yourself depositing a lot of checks, this won’t have much affect on you at all.
  • No smartphone app. Ally hasn’t develop an app for smartphones yet. However, you can still access balances and transaction history through the Mint app for iPhone or Android. This might all sound difficult, but I’ve found it’s not a problem at all from my experience.

How to Open an Ally Bank account

I found the whole process of opening a new Ally Bank account very easy. It takes less than five minutes, and you can do it all by just typing on your computer. The steps are really as simple as:

  1. Go to the Ally website.
  2. FIll in the information to open up a savings account first. You’ll later have the option to add a checking account, too.
  3. Fund your account with whatever dollar amount you want! This is pretty cool as there’s no minimum investment like a lot of other banks.

ally-bank-savings-account Ally Band CDs

Ally Bank offers many CD rate options as well. Click the banners to see those rates and open a CD.