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Publisher's Summary

Does it feel like you’re never going to finish paying back your student loans?
Do you spend more on coffee per month than you put into your 401(k)?
Do you avoid looking at your bank balance because it’s easier to live in denial?
The first step to getting your financial life in order is tracking what you spend

Money Diaries, the breakout series from Refinery29, offers listeners a revealing and often surprising look at the personal finances of others: what they spend, how they save, and even the purchases they hide from their partners and friends. Featuring all-new Money Diaries, valuable advice on how to get rich (and afford life in the meantime) from a handpicked team of female financial advisers, and money challenges that will save you up to $500, Refinery29 Money Diaries will empower you to take immediate control of your own money, including:

  • Why budgets are bulls**t and what to do instead
  • How to make repaying your loans as painless as possible
  • How to start an emergency fund even if you’re living paycheck to paycheck
  • How to effectively ask for a raise and make sure you’re being paid fairly
  • How to have fun without going broke
  • The joy of saving for future you

With a vision of what your dream bank account balance looks like, some expert advice to help you achieve it, and the support of a powerful community with the same goal, you’ll be a step closer to taking control of not just your wallet, but your life. 

©2018 Lindsey Stanberry (P)2018 Simon & Schuster

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Entertaining Diaries, questionable advice

The money diaries themselves are interesting but the financial advice given is highly questionable. Of course finance is personal and everyone handles it differently, but I don't feel that this book really acknowledged this. Rather it presented the advice as fact, which is troublesome as I'm sure they have younger readers who will take their advice to heart and not do their own independent research.

A couple points that bothered me:
-The authors never even address the possibility of aggressively paying down student loans. They refer to student debt as good debt since it is an investment in your future self, but in today's student loan bubble, this just isn't true. They mention the amount of money one would earn if they started investing early, but fail to discuss the amount of money one would save in interest if they paid more than just the minimum payments. As a book geared towards millennial women where the average student loan debt hovers around $30k, it seemed like such a let down to not spend more time discussing this topic. They also do not discourage readers from taking on more debt (in the form of cars/mortgages) while carrying student loan debt. They also state that one doesn't need to stop living an enjoyable life while paying off debt, so there's no reason to make getting rid of student loan debt a priority. I'm not trying to judge their method of setting financial priorities, if it works for them great! The fact that they're touting this ideology as truth though is worrying. Maybe I've drank Dave Ramsey's Kool-Aid of "in order to be like no one else, you need to live on no one else", but I think it's at least worth mentioning to readers that getting rid of debt early to have more flexibility in terms of career choices can be a smart move.

-The author advises people should pick a target retirement age to invest their 401ks since it's easy... without once mentioning the high fees they charge that eat away into the earnings. Again, terrible advice because they did not talk about the downsides of picking that investment. It wouldn't have been so hard to throw in a line about the high fees they charge...

-The author doesn't discuss fixed vs. variable mortgages or 30 vs 15 year mortgages, and the amount one could save if they picked a 15 year fixed rate mortgage (which could be in the hundreds of thousands). Again, if there is going to be a whole chapter devoted to buying a home, it seems silly to not touch upon those points.

-The author's tone on investing in the last chapter was quite odd. She made investing seem like a necessary chore that just "had to be done". She talks about this stereotype of women being afraid to invest, but then goes on to act like she's scared of it, and it's best to hire a financial advisor or a use a robo-investor, and leaves it at that. Although this type of investing is arguably better then nothing, it's quite frightening that risk is never discussed. There is risk in all types of investments, and encouraging people to invest without touching upon them is unethical.

I did enjoy the chapters on navigating personal relationships with finances, negotiating higher raises, and the importance of saving for retirement. There is value I gained from the book and overall would like to recommend it, but because of the points above, just can't with a clear conscience.

*Side note, I listened the audible version of this book. The narration was terrible! Lindsey sounded like a girl reading a middle school graduation speech off index cards. The other woman who read the money diaries gave this flat monotonous depressing tone to each diary. It's hard to explain, but I think I may just be spoiled by the high quality narrations of past audible books I've listened to.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Good for recent grads

This is a great little book for recent grads, or people new to personal finance. It’s entertaining, sometimes funny, and full of some great advice. The performance wasn’t great though - this book is mostly read by the author and really should have been read by a professional. Her inflections and tone are difficult to listen to... I think I would have enjoyed this a lot more in print. Also, the chapters are in a weird order. She gives advice about financial planning to have a baby before the chapter about renting your first apartment! I think this would have been better organized if it had a more intuitive order.

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Insightful

Great insight and review of so much more than just our paycheck! I finished listening in less than a week!