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A great book out there for those who want to take a crash course in personal finance is, More Money Please: The Financial Secrets You Never Learned in School by Scott Gamm. Right from the beginning in the introduction Gamm highlights a sad reality in U.S. society in that only four states require students to take a personal finance class in high school. In part to remedy this reality Gamm writes a how to manual of personal finance for young adults. While I found the book to be mainly geared toward the 18-35 year old age bracket, anyone can benefit from the book’s content.
The book starts out with sound advice for creating our financial goals, budgets, and automating savings. Then it goes into discussing the finer points of banking. I was unaware that prepaid debit cards were a problem and that a bank’s overdraft protection is not worth getting before I read what Gamm had to say on the matters. I had also never heard of laddering a CD, but Gamm explains how to invest equal amounts of money in CDs of varying lengths and interest rates. The third chapter goes into how to save money by discussing couponing, the purchase of discounted gift cards, and the use of promotional codes. Gamm’s advice for getting emails from stores is to unsubscribe, as these advertisements entice us to buy things we don’t need. Also it is best not to use contactless pay as it forces us to buy more. Negotiation of prices is discussed in an entire chapter. Sometimes the only thing we need to do is ask nicely if we are able to get a discount on the selling price. As Gamm notes the only bad thing that could happen is that we are told no.
The book talks a lot about credit. One fact that I did not realize is that the only trusted website to use to check your credit score is AnnualCreditReport.com. The details of how our FICO score is assigned are also discussed in the book. Other topics that are addressed are paying for college, applying for a job, using credit cards, dealing with debt, and retirement.
Gamm has plenty of insights to share with the reader. Throughout the book he encourages us to pay our credit cards on time and in full. Another sound piece of advice is to open up a ROTH IRA account as soon as possible.
I highly recommend the book as it teaches key concepts of personal finance in plain English.