Money Rules: Rule Your Money or Your Money Will Rule You by Gail Vaz-Oxlade
Trade Paperback, 502 pages
Trade Paperback, 502 pages
SynopsisIn 261 'money rules,' Vaz-Oxlade guides the reader through some key financial topics: credit, saving, family, shelter, finding balance, cash management, investing, reality bites, taxes, goals, insurance, and estates. The rules are designed to help people achieve financial goals (as well as narrow in on what the actual goals should be) and to protect themselves, their families - and the money they worked hard to get. The book is targeted at Canadians and our financial rules and regulations, but the principles of many of the rules still apply to almost anyone.
Reason for ReadingI love watching Vaz-Oxlade's shows (Princess; Til Debt Do Us Part), and some of her previous books have helped me smarten up with my budget, so I thought I'd check out Money Rules for additional pointers.
Why you should read this bookWhether you're starting your financial knowledge from scratch or you just want a quick brush-up to make sure you're on track, Money Rules is a fantastic tool. The format keeps most things short but still very informative, making it easy to work on small goals in the short term and larger goals over the long term. While some regulations may change over time, this book is about giving you a foundation and the knowledge to figure out what needs to be done in pursuing changes and details that apply to you, making it a book to permanently sit nearby on your bookcase for reference and ideas. Even if you feel like your finances are in a good place, there may still be little things that surprise you (for example, store credit cards are not held to the same regulations as bank credit cards, which may leave you out of luck with any fraudulent charges on your account), and as our life situations change, different rules will apply and so it's good to have a handy guide that will help you re-equip yourself for a new future. The rules are not grouped in any particular way in order to help make it clear that you have to pay attention to every area of your money to stay on track, but there are tabs on each page as well as a list of the rules to help make things easier when you need to refer back to something. A great guide to finance - I appreciate Vaz-Oxlade's insistence that making good decisions in everyday life is what creates a 'sure thing' to get you the things you need and want.
Why you should avoid this bookIn case you're not familiar with Vaz-Oxlade's shows, she's not afraid to call 'em as she sees 'em - which often includes pointing out that wasting or mismanaging your money is flat-out stupid. It may be a bit surprising for people to be hit over the head with it - but if nothing else has worked, and it comes from a place of truly wanting people to change, why not? Also, personal finance doesn't work very well if you're going into debt, so if you want a concrete way to make a budget and have some money so that more of the rules relevant, check out Debt-Free Forever before Money Rules.
Opening ParagraphRule #1: Renting is Not a Waste of Money: You don't have to own to have a home. While the common mantra is 'Buy and build equity,' that's true only if you can afford to buy. So Rule #1 replaces the old rule 'People should all own their own homes.'
Credit card minimum payments are meant to keep you in debt for as long as possible so that credit card companies can make loads and loads of profit from interest charges. The credit scoring system even awards more points for making only the minimum payment, so lenders can grind every last cent out of you.
Sometimes spending a lot of money on something you will only use once or twice makes no sense at all. Instead, use the 'how much per use' calculation to determine whether you'll be cheap or drop a bundle.
If you're buying a pair of shoes that you'll wear all the time - you'll get 365 or 730 uses out of a pair - you should be prepared to pay a little more so a) the shoes last and b) they're comfortable. But if you're dropping $800 on a pair of uncomfortable high heels that you'll end up wearing four or five times, you're looking at $160 to $200 a wear cost. Dumb!