Monday, September 17, 2018

Book Review: Refinery29's Money Diaries | Finance 101

Refinery29 recently came out with a book all about millennial finances. Naturally I was curious and wanted to see if this book would be helpful to me and possibly some of you. I purchased the book via Audible to listen to on my commute. I took away a lot from the book so I wanted to share my review in case you're interested in reading it as well!

What is the goal of this book? This book aims to teach millennials, specifically women, about their finances. The author wants to motivate you yet promises that this isn't a great rich quick scheme. Ideally you'll save some money while reading this book and learn how to better manage your finances. 

How is the book structured? The book is a combination of general financial topics, assignments, and money diaries [who someone with a particular salary in a certain location spends his or her money over the course of a week]. With each assignment, the author encourages you to save a certain amount of money after completing the task; the goal is to save $528 by the time you've finished the book. 

What did I learn from the book? I learned a lot of best practices and general tips. Some of my big takeaways were how often to check various accounts (i.e. check your credit score four times each year and evaluate your expenses one to four times each year). I also got a better idea of how to break down my expenses - the author discussed the 50/30/20 plan. This is the breakdown of how you should allocate your taxed income. I also learned about some of the extra costs associated with buying a home. Before I'd solely focused on saving money for a down payment but I really need to account for extra expenses such as appraisal, attorney fees, and escrow fees. 

What did I like about the book? I loved the specific details in the book - it was a good point of reference for what to do in my financial life. I liked that the book was clear that this will look different for everyone, depending on job, salary, location, etc. I liked that there was variety in the book - it was a mixture of explaining financial topics, money diaries, and assignments. The Amazon reviews are pretty mixed - I noticed some people really didn't like the structure but I found it more digestible this way. 

What didn't I like about the book? My main issue was my own fault - I got the audiobook and listened to it on 1.5X speed. I wanted to listen to the book during my commute over one week. The book is really meant to be paced over a month or so. The goal is to save $528, which is a lofty goal for one week [depending on your financial situation of course]. The book was also harder to process as an audiobook. From the best of my knowledge, there were no worksheets or notes to accompany the book. I found myself popping into my notes too regularly to write down numbers. If I'd known, I would have purchased the hard copy. I also felt the majority of the money diaries were from women who live in major cities. I currently live by and work in New York City so this is relevant to me but I won't be living here forever and I would like to see more types of lifestyles.


Yes, I would absolutely recommend this book! This book is not only helpful for those just starting out but also those concerning bigger purchases in life. I strongly encourage women to read this book. As women still make 80 cents/dollar compared to men [64 cents for black women and 52 cents for Hispanic women] - it is crucial that we speak more freely about managing our finances. I'm sure everyone will take something meaningful away from this book.

Have you read this book? If not, are you considering reading it now?

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