Well, well, well. Hello, my bookish nerds (and other types, all welcome here).
Not my usual material, is it? I’ll be honest, I pretty much picked up The Barefoot Investor because my mother had bought it aaaaaages ago and I felt bad that it had kinda just hung out on the shelf for months. Plus, I’m trying to do this thing where I actually learn to adult and I figured that learning about The Money Thing would probably be a decent place to start.
And, honestly, if you gotta read a book about finances, this is a good place to start. It’s not hideously dry, which is nice. It’s also written by an Australian, so I can actually understand the references made in the book! Looking at you, every book on finances ever published that assumes every reader is American.
This book offers a lot of decent, solid advice on sorting your damned life out, money-wise, no matter what your age is. It points out a few home truths (you need a retirement fund, fam. Seriously.), and really actually makes you sit back and go “shit. What a mess”. Or at least, I did. Now, I’ve been trying to get a handle on my personal finances for a bit, so my straights (right now) are not particularly dire. I’m young (mid-twenties), I have a superannuation fund that gets contributions from every paycheck, I work two jobs (help. me.) and I’m studying for my PhD, which I have hopes will set me up for a decent job later on. However, I also have a helluva student loan, because in all my teenage wisdom I decided to stay at university forever and accumulate degrees until I figured out what I actually wanted to do with them all. I am the somewhat skeptical owner of a few very expensive bits of paper. That I really, at this point, need to finally get framed. So I’m paying that off as fast as I can, but it’ll be the work of a few years.
If I had read a book like this ten years ago, as a teenager? Eeeeeeverything would have been different. The thing is, I’ve worked since it was legal for me to have a job. Started with a paper run at twelve, sort of thing. I have always earned money. Problem being, I always spent it as well. To be perfectly honest, if I had had any sense at all as a teenager or young adult, I could have paid off my loans while I was studying and been debt free now. But I didn’t, and I’m not. So I’m working on it.
Now, I’m not going to follow every instruction in Scott’s book, because I don’t like being told what to do (and because I already have a system that’s actually working pretty well for me, in all fairness). It did teach me some valuable lessons about investing, about budgeting, about cooking for the good deals and overall just not being a total nincompoop about my money and my future. Because money can’t make you happy, but the lack of it can sure as hell contribute to the overall negativity level.
This is worth a read, no matter how old you are, even if you are debt free or close to it. I would like to retire comfortably one day, preferably before I’m eighty years old (with the way this economy and the world is headed….). Books like The Barefoot Investor are a damn good start down that path.
Photo credits: I take them. This book is not actually mine, but the photo of it is.