February 2018 – Books I’ve read

Okay, so February turned out to be a lackluster month for my personal Goodreads ticker.

This is mostly due to a busy month at work, some travel and time off (which was far from a vacation.) Traveling with kids does not lend itself to leisurely page-turning by the pool.

What I read this month…

I continued to plow through a few more personal finance books. I mostly spent the month trying to implement what I’ve learned.

Here the three books I was able to check off (somehow.)

The Money Challenge: 30 Days of Discovering God’s Design For You and Your Money by Art Rainer

(Goodreads | Amazon)

This was a solid pick. I borrowed the audio version on one of the library’s mobile apps because it was recommended after reading so many personal finance books. I’m Catholic, so the slant of God’s Design piqued my interest.

The 30 Day Challenge is framed within a narrative. The content felt derivative of Dave Ramsey’s stuff, with some loose ties to biblical and Christian themes. That’s not a bad thing.

Challenges shift between spiritual and tangible, like “reflect on God’s generosity,” and “set up your retirement account.”

Takeaways:

  • Gratitude, giving generously, and putting other first should be a part of your financial plan and personality.
  • Like Dave Ramsey’s plans, there are some strategic steps that are recommended in a certain order.
  • Living generously is not just about money.

Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone– Christian, Catholic, or otherwise. I think it does a good job of exploring personal finance beyond just the dollars and cents.

What Your Financial Advisor Isn’t Telling You: The 10 Essential Truths You Need to Know About Your Money by Liz Davidson

(Goodreads | Amazon)

After diving into almost a dozen personal finance books, a lot of this content was repetitive, but to a financial newbie, I’d definitely recommend this and The Index Card as a solid starting point. Everything in this book was super easy to understand and digest (which is part of the its angle.)

I haven’t accumulated enough wealth to really need a financial advisor (something this book reminded me of.) 😛 But if I do need one, this book does a great job explaining how they operate, the good and the bad, and how to find one. There are a lot of things to look for, such as their accreditation, the services they off, and how the bill, which can indicate a solid choice.

Takeaways:

  • One of the biggest takeaways in this book was to take as much advantage of customer matches and benefits as possible. I’ve taken some time to look into some benefits that I haven’t fully invested in.
  • There are a lot of tips to beware of bogus advisors. If you’re in the market, look for financial advisors that have a decade or more of experience and necessary designations.
  • Every book I’ve read has different recommendations for managing finances with your significant others. In this book, they recommend yours, mine, and ours. (I don’t know if I’m bought into that yet.)

I don’t need a financial planner. I haven’t accrued that much wealth yet, but this book set me on the path to making the right choices that will hopefully lead to needing one. When I do, I’ll probably revisit some of the tips within to avoid working with a crummy advisor.

The Little Book of Common Sense Investing: The Only Way to Guarantee Your Fair Share of Stock Market Returns by John C. Bogle

(Goodreads | Amazon)

When I started my personal finance journey this year, I discovered a funny little term called Boglehead. This term described a person who adheres to, or at least follows closely the financial philosophies of John C. Bogle, the found of The Vanguard Group. Eventually I want to read the Boglehead’s Guide to Investing, but until I get my hands on it, I dipped into The Little Book of Common Sense Investing.

Takeaways:

  • I typically take copious notes when reading books, but for some reason I only wrote down one thing with this one: “Investing in low-cost index funds the best way to make the stock market a winners game.” 🤔
  • ^^ I guess that was it, in a nutshell.

This was a quick read, and I guess I can’t fully recommend it given that I summed it up in one sentence (obviously there’s more to it, but that was general gist.)

What’s on deck

In March, I plan to take a break from personal finance books and knock off a few lingering backlog items.

Here’s what I’m planning to read, and happy to add others if you have any recommendations (just drop them in the comments.)

  • Dollars and Sense: How We Misthink Money and How to Spend Smarter by Dan Ariely and Jeff Kreisler
  • 1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2-12 by Thomas W. Phelan
  • Your Best Year Ever: A 5-Step Plan for Achieving Your Most Important Goals by Michael Hyatt
  •  Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator by Ryan Holiday

The other stuff I consumed this month

I completed Doom on Nintendo Switch, and made a valiant (but fruitless) effort to begin Final Fantasy XV. Watched a bit of the olympics, and continued my quest to re-watch MadMen.


Tom Tate

I'm a suburban polymath living just outside Philadelphia with my wonderful wife and three kids. Digital marketing nerd for a SaaS company by day. Rabid movie, music, game, and book consumer by morning, noon, and night. I share life hacks and learnings via email at Weekly Coffee. I also host Power Time Podcast, a Nintendo retrospective. Sometimes I write stuff. Most of the time, it's on the internet.