Monday, February 25, 2013

Book Shelf : How to Manage Your Money When You Don't Have Any

When I first started reading Erik Wecks' self-published book I was disappointed..  I had heard about the book on a financial blog (sorry, can't remember which one) and was intrigued by the title.  Oh, boy, this was going to be right up my alley, probably just full of tips and tricks for stretching my money on a daily basis, but he quickly nixes that.  He calls such books the bowl of popcorn approach, in that there are little nuggets of ideas for everyone.  His book differs in that it is really a philosophy of personal finance for those of us down in the trenches in the 99%.

Once I got over my disappointment, I realized that I had a diamond in the rough in my hands.  Since this book was self-published, it could have used some editing, but he still got his ideas across and they really did resonate with me.  He says that unless we can change what we believe about money, we can't change our financial situation by doing something different with our money.  He also states that if you are not in the real world about your finances, you can do real harm for years to come.  I totally agree with that.

And speaking of the real world, the one thing that he talked about that really hit home with me is that almost all of us have not secured our basic needs of food, shelter, clothing, and transportation.  Example: We live payday to payday, if we are lucky, that is, but our home and car are not paid for.  Or, worse, yet, we do not have an emergency fund if we lose our job or are sick and can't work.  Most of us think that having cell phones and the Dish are more important than securing our children's home.  Strong words I know, but think about it.  Somehow, in the last couple of generations, securing our basic needs has taken a back seat to that new and shiny thing.

Another important point that Mr. Wecks makes is that instead of striving for financial wealth, we in the trenches should be concentrating on financial stability first and foremost.  How many of us have actually played that big roulette table on Wall Street but have not paid off our home, or funded our savings first??  Hard to hear I know, and not very exciting, either, but we have bought into the idea that big advertising has sent our way that we can all be rich.  That fantasy dream will be hard to give up.

Erik Wecks has written a thought provoking book based on his ideas and financial plan that he uses in his own financial life, which I have barely touched on.  This feels like fresh content but it really is based on our grandparent's thinking back in the 20s and 30s.  Most of them understood the lay of the land back then and actually saved up and paid cash for  their needs and wants.  Imagine paying cash for your next vehicle.  I actually have a friend who does this!!

Mr. Wecks has laid out his financial plan (he is a financial counselor, after all) on the last page of his book and I really appreciate his mission statement:

To secure your basic needs, now and in the future, and to do nothing that would harm your ability to secure them on an ongoing basis.

Erik Wecks is a financial counselor, writer, and blogger.  He lives in Vancouver, Washington with his wife and three daughters.  I really like this guy and his ideas even if I do not agree with everything he says.  I look forward to his next book.

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