Whether you are self-employed, traditionally employed, or still working your way through school, getting your finances in order is universally understood to be crucial to #adulting. Not to mention, and I think most of us might add, potentially overwhelming and confusing.
Whether you are already a few years into contributing to an RRSP, have already stashed away a few months worth of living expenses, or are currently counting the change in the bottom of your purse to determine if you can afford another iced latte, Broke Millennial: Stop Scraping By and Get Your Financial Life Together is for you.
In her easily digestible and hilariously penned book, personal finance expert Erin Lowry takes readers through the various stages toward financial security. She covers it all, from the very basics of determining what kind of mindset you have towards money, all the way to paying off student loans and getting “financially naked” with your partner or spouse. Erin provides financial benchmarks that serve as a good rough sense of where you are at with your money. For example, by age 25 you should ideally have 0.2 times your salary saved for retirement, and by age 30 you should ideally have 0.6 times to 0.8 times your salary saved. Don’t worry…if those rough calculations leave you panicked, Erin provides a clear and feasible plan for getting yourself on track for long-term financial stability.
Each of the book’s chapters covers a different step toward financial freedom, and Erin invites readers to skip ahead to the information that is applicable to your personal financial needs. She provides helpful tips like how to negotiate fewer (or zero) account fees with your bank (hint: online banks offer services that are often fee-free), how best to manage credit cards and that dreaded credit card debt (hint: use your credit card a few times a month and pay it off in full each month), and how to deal with sticky social situations like splitting the dinner bill among friends (hint: be polite, but don’t shy away from being upfront about your financial limits).
Her writing style is very accessible and conversational, a testament to her years of financial blogging (you can check out her website here), and often left me laughing out loud, which helped to soften the blow of the realization that perhaps leaving long-term financial planning “for later” isn’t the best idea.
Erin is American, and the book is U.S.-focused, so there are some things that won’t apply north of the border (such as details about paying back your student loans, some of the banking suggestions, and a few other tips specific to U.S.-based lenders and financial and governmental institutions). Despite that, however, the general financial advice that she provides is invaluable, particularly if you are the kind of person who finds these kinds of conversations overwhelming or confusing. Erin lays things out in a clear and straightforward way.
She also provides tips and advice on things beyond just paying down debt and saving for retirement, such as negotiating a higher salary at work, or rates as a freelancer (keep track of praise and always assume you are undervaluing yourself), how to invest (yes, even if you have only a few hundred dollars to spend, investing is a good idea and doesn’t have to be complicated), and how to navigate your finances after school if you aren’t able to find a job right away (hello Mom and Dad, I’m back).
The book’s accompanying website provides background information on Erin (you can even hire her as a financial advisor if you’d like), a link to her YouTube series where she answers your burning financial questions each week in three-minute videos, links to purchase the book itself, and a free financial worksheet for newsletter subscribers.
So what are you waiting for? A life free of financial stress is waiting for you. Pick up a copy of her book at your local retailer or online and get your financial life together!