Book Review: The Financial Diet


The Financial Diet: A Total Beginner’s Guide to Getting Good with Money  
by Chelsea Fagan and designed by Lauren Ver Hage (September, 2017) is a book based on the blog by the same name that has evolved into a great resource for personal finance.  You can visit the site here.  It has a wealth of knowledge about personal finance, careers, paying for school, and even cooking!

Summary: he Financial Diet: A Total Beginner’s Guide to Getting Good with Money

This book starts with Chelsea’s story about how she learned to care about money.  It starts personally as she describes her relationship with money during the last few years of her teens and early twenties, and how a lack of understanding about credit and basic money management affected this period of her life.  What I like about Chelsea’s candor is that she is establishing up front that money is a personal topic and one with which she actually struggled.  I think it’s often easier to listen to someone give you advice when you know they’ve been in your shoes! She also spends some time explaining how the mistakes she made didn’t ruin her financial future.  For me this is HUGE! It can be hard to take that first financial step if you feel like you’ve already taken too many steps down the wrong path. But this is not true, financial capability is about starting where you are and building to where you want to go.

After establishing that she truly has walked the walk with personal finance, Chelsea jumps in and explains to the reader how to turn their finances around in several steps 1)Budgeting, 2) Saving, 3) Checking Credit, 4)Automating, 5) Assessing Career Goals (and retirement) 6) Building a side hustle, and 7) Rewarding yourself.  These steps are further defined in the subsequent chapters.

I think the personal finance side of this book is on point and easy to understand.  The topics covered are a great introduction to complex personal finance conecpts. I also love that each chapter ends with a question/answer session with different individuals who are connected to the world of personal finance.  These interviews help to reinforce Fagan’s points but also offer different views and opinions.

One thing that really stood out to me about this book was the addition of career advice.  I appreciated the chapter on building your career because it covered everything from salary and salary negotiation to developing a personal work style. These elements are not often covered in personal finance, but they do have an impact on an individual’s finances reaching well beyond their working years and into retirement, so their inclusion was welcomed.

Overall, The Financial Diet is an all inclusive personal finance book that does a great job of explaining information in a fun format.  I think that it has all of the typical topics of a personal finance go-to book, with added elements like cooking on a budget and career advice that set it apart.  I would recommend this book to those with little financial understanding who are just starting their adult life with the confidence that it would give them a great launch point.

Pros:

  • The author’s honest is relatable and gives the advice more weight
  • Little covered topics that matter like careers and cooking or decorating on a budget are great additions
  • The interviews at the end of the chapters expose the reader to other opinions, ideas and concepts that tie each chapter together nicely

Cons:

  • There is some light swearing which might offend some readers
  • The voice is very casual, which I enjoyed, but it may not resonate with everyone

This Book is Ideal for:

I think this book is a must for anyone leaving college and just entering the workforce.  It covers all the necessary topics with the addition of some great advice on developing a career or setting up your first apartment that is not often seen in a personal finance book.

Overall Rating: 4 stars out of 5

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