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Financial Books

Lately I have taken an interest in finances and I have started to read some financial books. Now that I have turned 30 it is time to start thinking about retirement! :) I bought a couple of books used off of Amazon - I thought it would be a good start to buy the books for less than a dollar each (plus shipping of course.)

So far, I have learned two main things: My finances are a lot better than some people's! I really didn't know how many people are in debt and live way beyond their means. I mean, I know that people have loans for cars and houses and big stuff like that, but I didn't know that "The average American household with at least one credit card has nearly $9,200 in credit card debt." (This is according to CardWeb.com.) Half of all Americans have credit card debt. That is a lot! So that made me feel better.

The second thing I have learned is that I have a lot to learn... I do want my money to grow, but there are so many options out there. But reading the books is a start, at least. I have to say that I prefer the books with a more practical approach as opposed to the ones who talk a lot about the emotional reasons for spending and poor financial habits (for instance, someone might be a big spender because of their family's spending habits.) I think these things are important, don't get me wrong, it is just that while I have lots of issues :) I don't think I have any major financial issues. So I am really enjoying reading the books that tell me what to do: Open a money market account. Get your credit score.

Because it is still somewhat expensive, I haven't bought Suze Orman's Women and Money, but I think I will. I read a little bit of it in the bookstore and I like her month-by-month approach. I have also found The Millionaire Next Door interesting. The authors do a good job of showing the difference between income and net worth. Some people we think of as very rich, may just have a very expensive life style, because they don't save much of their money. It is encouraging to read that being thrifty and establishing good habits make a good foundation. (It is less encouraging, however, to read that the typical millionaire is a 57-year old man, married to a very thrifty wife, working either as a self-employed entrepreneur or in a profession such as doctor, lawyer, or accountant. I don't really fit any of those!)

As far as my spending habits go, I am not too bad, but I could definitely stand to cut back on lunch spending. I am pretty good but I still like to eat lunch out once or twice a week. I have also been known to spend a bit every time I go to Target - so I will try not to go very often, and go on a mission when I do go. (For instance, I think they have good and cheap work out wear, so I will keep buying that there.) And then there is travel... I love traveling and I don't think I will cut back too much there. But the good thing is that I love to travel to Central America, which is a lot cheaper than for instance Europe.

(Speaking of lunch spending, last Friday some co-workers introduced me to "Credit Card Roulette." This basically means that everybody puts their credit card on the table and the waitress picks one... I was lucky as my card was not picked, but I am a little worried about today's lunch!)

credit_cards.jpg

Comments (7)

Sandra:

I don't know if you read the business section of newspapers (online or the print edition) but most now include a section one or twice a week on personal finance, and those can be interesting and helpful as well. (And less expensive than buying new books!)

It sounds like you are in good financial shape -- and just being aware of the issues (like the money wasted on credit card debt) is hugely important.

Well done!

Chiocciola:

Thanks Sandra! That is good advice, I actually have not read the business section very often but I think I will start now.

One of the sad realities of low interest rates is that people are living well beyond their means. Many have houses, possessions, in fact lives, that they can not afford. You just know that it can't keep going and going . . .

Credit card roulette?!? I've never heard of that!

Kim:

Another magazine I used to read was Kiplingers - they had some good articles in there about personal finance.

Jerry, that is exactly what some of these books are talking about - people getting into debt for pure consumption. Not good!

Annie, yes credit card roulette was a new concept to me too! I was the unlucky winner yesterday, which meant that I had to pay for lunch...

Oh no! How many people did you have to buy lunch for? I hope that you weren't someplace incredibly expensive. :(

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