Worth It: Your Life, Your Money, Your Terms by Amanda Steinberg
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I have read quite a few books in the genre of (what I call) ‘celebrity financial experts.’ I’d say that Worth It stacks up pretty well. There isn’t anything groundbreaking in here but the advice is solid and the information is all factually accurate (something I questioned with Real Money Answers.)
Main points from Worth It
1. Saving is a habit. You won’t save money unless you build good saving habits. Having more money will not help you so stop waiting until you get that raise/bonus/winning scratch ticket. Start saving now. Start very small and build.
2. Everyone needs financial roots, a foundation that will give you security and peace of mind, and financial wings, short-term reserves to use for living your life.
3. “Remember: Money is freedom. Being in control of how we manage money allows us to design and live the lives we want.”
4. “Emergency fund first. Debt second. Retirement third. Investments fourth.”
My biggest takeaway from Worth It was Steinberg’s metaphor of financial roots and wings. I really liked the metaphor. She said that she heard it when she young and then she applied it to personal finance. I feel like the metaphor could have been done a bit better, but it was a great way to explain how people should approach their finances.
The idea is that everyone should have financial roots and wings. Roots are your safe, long-term investments. These are things that provide you with money and security (including mental security) even if something happens (e.g. you you lose your job). Steinberg explained four main types of roots: retirement savings, investments, real estate, and starting your own business.
Steinberg explains all four kinds of roots and explains how not everyone should have all four. Everyone is in a different place and everyone has a different way of approaching their money. She describes this as your ‘money type.’ According to Steinberg, there are five money types. She has a quiz (and an online quiz) to help people find their money type. This is just a way to help people understand about the ways they think about money and the ways they make financial decisions.
Meanwhile, Steinberg says everyone should also have financial wings. Wings represent your confidence to take calculated, financial risks and to help you grow. This is the fun stuff like spending money and short-term savings. She talks about budgeting (everyone’s favorite!) but stresses that it isn’t really about pinching pennies. I liked her ideas for shaking up your routines and saving money while also having some fun.
I also liked Steinberg’s idea of having four nonnegotiables. These are things that you love and that you ‘have’ to spend money on. For example, I personally value my health and so spending money on a gym membership and fitness classes is nonnegotiable. I ‘have’ to have it. (She used a more fun example like spending on clothes or shoes.) She advises people to pick four nonnegotiable things and then view everything else as something you don’t need to have.
If you’re looking for financial help, I would recommend Worth It. Amanda Steinberg explains things clearly and gives the basic information you need. Her roots and wings metaphor provides a great way to think about your finances. There are some good sections with statistics and actionable advice to help women overcome some of the financial challenges they face in the U.S. The book is targeted at women, like all of Amanda Steinberg’s work, but ultimately, I’d say the basic financial advice is useful whether you’re a man or a woman.
If you’re interested in learning more about Amanda Steinberg and her projects to help women take control of their finances, check out this profile on Amanda Steinberg that I also wrote.
Read the rest of my book reviews on Goodreads!