I’ve been on a kick of reading nonfiction books, mostly along the lines of self-help and learning about yourselves. Think books like The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin and You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero. This review focuses on The Financial Diet, written by Chelsea Fagan. It’s by far the most recently published book that I’ve reviewed so far.
Fagan is the creator of the popular blog The Financial Diet, which the book is based on. It aims to help millennials (especially women) with their finances. A coworker recommended the book to me before it was even released, and I got really excited. And, although there are some nuggets of wisdom sprinkled throughout the book, I was fairly underwhelmed by the book as a whole.
Fagan got on my annoyed side before I even finished the introduction. She tanked her credit score as an irresponsible teenager. Yet, she tries to appeal to her millennial readers by talking about the many thousands of dollars of debt in student loans that many, if not most, millennials have. One is a personal choice to ignore debt and the other is an unfortunate side effect of trying to better educate yourself. I don’t want to get into the debate of whether or not everyone should go to college, and whether or not it’s a waste of money, but as one of those millennials that has quite a bit of student loan debt, I don’t appreciate being preached to from someone that doesn’t have it. I have yet to read one of these financial based books aimed at millennials that isn’t written by someone that was privileged in some way.
In this book I think I got more out of the guest interviews than from the bits written by Fagan. I didn’t really learn anything new–make a budget, don’t spend beyond your means, buy cheap foods that go further and can be frozen. How about you actually say how to make a budget? I wish one of the books would go deeper into the specifics of how to do the things necessary to get out of debt. And that one of these books would be written by someone that overcame their debt by doing something realistic, that isn’t a once in a million chance.
One guest interview in the book that I enjoyed specifically mentioned not even thinking that studying abroad was an option because she had to work while in college. That was a breath of fresh air to read in a book, and see that that person has worked hard all her life and gotten into relative financial success. That is motivational.
I hope that eventually I find a book that doesn’t preach and goes deeper into financial education.