Friday, August 23, 2019

The Financial Diet by Chelsea Fagan - Book Review

Book: The Financial Diet

Author: Chelsea Fagan
Publication date: 26 September 2017
Publisher: Regan Arts
No. of pages: 208

The Financial Diet by Chelsea Fagan is an interesting and fun book about the basics of personal finance.

Fagan learnt the hard way what it means to have a credit card, why you can't just spend, spend, spend, and why you should have a credit score. In her book, which is divided into and introduction followed by seven chapters, she highlights financial basics for every aspect of a person's life. 

Fagan begins The Financial Diet with an important note and reminder about spending: "Saving money isn't about depriving yourself. It's about deciding you love Future You as much as you love Today You."

In the intro, she shares her nine tips on how to get good with money in a year.
One of the things I liked about The Financial Diet is Fagan's sense of humor, which appears in every chapter, like when she shares one of her experiences when she learnt about retirement plans.

"Did I have any other plans for retirement besides "die before my bad money choice catch up to me?" Of course not."

The Financial Diet, which shares the name and is inspired by a blog Fagan started a while back, is meant to deal with finance in a fun and educational way.

One of the things that surprised me was the occasional use of profanity and in chapter one, though needed and funny, Fagan has a section she called the "Don't You F***ing Dares" or DYFDs.

Again, it stresses an idea that these are BIG no-no's but I was surprised to find some "shit" and "damn" scattered around as well.

The DYFDs can be summarized into:
1.     NEVER surpass your ability to repay your debt within a month because the day you start spending more than you can repay is the day you fall into financial ruin
2.     NEVER allow yourself into the lifestyle of a CEO or the life you think you should be living.
3.     NEVER skip checking your account balance; in fact, you should do that at least twice a week. You have to confront your spending habits, no matter how bad they are. You have to look at the history of your transactions.
4.     NEVER expect your savings to create themselves. (If you keep postponing saving money till you suddenly get rich suddenly, you’ll never save.)

An important to point to remember, which Fagan and the experts she interviews in the book constantly reiterate is that Your current and future selves are the same person. Your future self will never be financially stable unless your current self starts saving money.

"Giving a shit about money doesn't seem fun, but ultimately it's the most liberating thing you can do with your otherwise chaotic young adult life."

Since Fagan is American, The Financial Diet is geared towards Americans more but as an Egyptian, I found several useful tips and ideas to consider in there. There are things I may disagree with and others, like pension funds, that are not applicable where I am but they do give food for thought.

A highlight for me while reading this book was chapter 2, which focuses on investing and making money on the side, whether by investing in a business or stock market or doing another job besides your own.

"Be patient. Investing will test you, wear you out, make you grow, and change you. Trust in the process, and make your big decisions based on the long term. You'll need to stay true to your vision in order to realize it." – Jane Hwangbo, a woman Fagan interviews in The Financial Diet.

Although some points seemed obvious to me, you can never know who has problems with what.

Basically, you should read The Financial Diet with an open mind and see what works for you. You can try different things until you reach a solution that helps you save money without being austere.

Financial issues are universal - we all have difficulty saving money - which makes The Financial Diet a useful guide and rescue boat to your finances.

"Unless you have an iron grip on your budget, know what you're spending and why, and have explored every possible avenue to diversify your revenue and money growth, you can't expect to have much professional freedom."

"Embodying your professional selves outside the office means forcing yourself to take your habits as seriously as you do your deadlines."

"We should all strive to find multiple streams of fulfillment, challenges, and income."

Overall rating: 4 of 5 stars via Goodreads

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