This is a special guest post by Angela aka FiscalWife. She’s a busy Mom of two, a devoted wife and FiscalGeek’s Financial cohort. Don’t let her fool you, she listens to more Dave Ramsey than most of you combined. We hope to hear more from her in the coming year.
It’s 1996 in beautiful Bellingham, Washington and I’ve just walked home from a day of classes at Western Washington University. I toss my backpack on the floor of the dilapidated house that my roommates and I loving call “The North Pole” (because it was ridiculously cold there most of the year). My hair is playfully short and I’m sporting cut off jeans, Teva sandals and a t-shirt from one of the youth camps I worked at the summer before.
My roommate tosses a book at me and says, “Hey, I just finished this, you should take a look at it.” She is a couple of weeks away from graduating and actually seems to have a plan for her life. I’m still a year away and just figure I’ll find a job somewhere and/or maybe run off to teach English in China (my boyfriend keeps bringing this up and I’m not exactly sure if I like the idea or not).
I pick up the book, Get Financially Naked: How to Talk Money with Your Honey. “Hmmm,” I think to myself”¦ “I don’t have much money right now. But, a financial plan could come in handy some day.” “Hey thanks, Roomie! I’ve got a roller hockey game to get ready for right now. Paul will be picking me up in a few minutes. I’ll definitely take a look at it later!”
“Paul?” She rolls her eyes at me. “Please, do not break your leg.”
I’m going to be honest and tell you the truth about me. I am not financially savvy and I am not a geek. However, I think I have a few good insights to share in this book review. After all, I am a woman, I have a “honey”, and I have a new-found interest in making sure Paul and I are doing well with our money. So here goes”¦ my review of Get Financially Naked ““ How to Talk Money with Your Honey, by Manisha Thakor and Sharon Kedar.
Oh to Be Young Again
It only took a few pages and I found myself wishing that I would have found this book about 15 years ago. Right around the time I was getting ready to finish college and a year or two before I began dating this tall, dark and handsome guy, some of you know as Fiscal Geek. Simply said, I entered the adult world with a strong work ethic and some marketable skills, but with no financial plan. Thankfully, Paul and I are fairly compatible and very committed to one another. We have been able to make it through some challenging financial situations, for sure. But, I think I could have been a better spouse to him if I would have known a little more about my beliefs about money, my financial history, and my financial goals.
This book is split into three parts ““
- Own Your Finances, Own Your Life
- Talking Money with Your Honey
- Time to Get Tactical
Own Your Finances, Own Your Life
I really think the gem of this book is that the authors challenge the readers to be the type of women that take their financial lives seriously. Even though Manisha and Sharon are well-educated financial experts, they don’t assume their readers are panting at the opportunity to read another personal finance book. They put a woman’s personal financial situation in an urgent, but practical light. Know how you feel about money in general. Know where you are financially. And know where you would like your finances to take you in the future. They even incorporate some very revealing worksheets to help you figure out this information. I especially appreciated the Financial Compatibility Quiz and the Financial History questionnaire.
Talking Money with Your Honey
The second part of the book is also very helpful. Basically, Manisha and Sharon spell out the fact that most marital problems are caused by money disagreements. They argue that emotional compatibility is not enough. Couples will be much more successful if their financial beliefs and goals are compatible from the start. They give some suggestions on how and when to bring up financial talk (the “getting financially naked” part).
They also include some very informative information on how to use the income you and your partner have together. I really appreciated chapters 5 and 6 where the authors bring couples through, what they call, “The 5 Power Steps to Financial Success”. They have very practical information on how to determine how much house you can afford, how much car you can afford and how to reach your retirement goal. They go from there into how to take family planning into consideration along with your financial goals, and how to decide if you are able contribute financially to the care of extended family. These are all very good topics, and I have to say, the topic of extended family does not come up very often in the financial materials that I have read. I think we can all admit that extended family obligations do come up in real life ““ it would be good to talk about it with your partner, if you haven’t already.
Time to Get Tactical
Finally, the third portion of the book gets into some technical detail. This is where my eyes generally start to glaze over. I really want to just pass all of this on to Paul. The authors bring up the need for an emergency fund, how to have a diverse retirement savings, and some very basic information on investing. Just when I was tempted to skip over this entire section, I remembered something that was written in the introduction of the book. The authors ask this question: “Do you know that 80 percent of men die married and 80 percent of women die single?” Yikes. Maybe there is a reason for me to take an interest in my future savings and investments. Not only would it be good for me to be an intellectual support to Paul as he happily prepares spreadsheets and pie charts all day long, it would be good for me to know what’s going on with our investments, just in case I need to take over.
So, I hereby pledge to take more interest in these very boring financial things that my husband so adores. I don’t have to get all mavericky with the charts and graphs”¦ but, I can invest some of my time into learning about this important information.
Who should read this Book?
All women. Especially women who are getting ready to make a life-long commitment to a spouse or partner. It would be great to read this before you are married. If you are already married, there are some good communication tools in here for you, as well.
My thanks go out to Manisha Thakor and Sharon Kedar for a really good book! You are obviously financial ninjas and great role models to women everywhere! I really appreciated the stories from your personal life.
I would just like to chime in and state for the record that I think this is a great book but not your best choice for Valentines Day. I’m just saying. Also thought a pie chart would go nicely here. And finally thanks to Angela for a fantastic debut. Got any questions for the FiscalWife?