When I began my current job in October 2013, I started to get my financial life together. My grad school loans has just come out of their grace period in August and my car was once again on the brink of death. It was time to finally be an adult. I am very lucky that my parents instilled a good knowledge of money at an early age; however, a lot of what my father lectured me about would go in one ear and out the other. I began googling budgeting and money for idiots and came across a bunch of awesome personal finance blogs and websites.
One of my favorite sites that I referred back to again and again is Gen Y Planning. Sophia Bera is the woman behind Gen Y Planning. She is a certified financial planner (CFP) that specializes in 20- and 30-year old somethings. Not only does she work with clients to help them reach their financial goals in life, but she writes and manages her own site, and writes for several big name financial news outlets (i.e., Forbes, The Huffington Post, and Money Magazine). I subscribe to her newsletter and was pleasantly surprised to find out that she wrote and is releasing her first ebook. I reached out to her to ask if I could get an advanced copy and write a book review here. So here you go folks!
Short Version: I wish I had this book about 18 months ago because I would have saved so much time! Buy it!
Sophia’s book is less than 60 pages that can easily be read in a couple of hours on a lazy Sunday afternoon while drinking hot cocoa. The ebook is divided into 10 short chapters, including topics on debt and student loans, saving money, and investing money. Sophia hits all the major highlights that any 20-something needs to know to get by in this world.
Each chapter goes into greater details about each main topic. For example, she goes into great detail about various student loan repayment plans in her “Debt and Student Loans” chapter. Each chapter also contains a section entitled “Resources” that contains a whole slew of links to various websites and products that can help make your money life easier.
One thing that I really like about Sophia is that she is real. This is her generation and she has lived through much of what she writes about. She talks the talk AND walks the walk. There are many personal finance gurus that will tell you to only work towards one goal at a time. Yes, that might work for some people, but most people can work towards multiple goals at the same time. That’s what Sophia will tell you. You can work towards paying off your student loans while saving for emergencies. And you totally should. Duh!
My favorite chapter and the one that makes it worth the $4.99 for the book, is the “Creating Financial Independence for Millennials” chapter. I get very stressed out about my retirement accounts. Yah yah, I know I have like 40+ years until I retire, but I get very stressed out that I’m not saving enough now at 27 years old! Last March I rolled over my old 401(k) to a Roth IRA. I spent hours, I mean literally HOURS, researching if I should roll my 401(k) to my new 403(b), a Traditional IRA, or a Roth IRA. After emailing a financial planner friend, I decided to roll my account over to a Roth IRA. I could have saved so much time with Sophia’s chapter on “Creating Financial Independence for Millennials” because all that information I gathered with hours of research was in this chapter. Oy vey!
The ebook also contains chapters on “Protect Yourself with the Appropriate Insurance” and “Estate Planning Tips for Millennials.” The insurance chapter is an excellent resource for millennials. We are fresh out of college and entering our first real world corporate jobs. When we get hired we are handed a packet of papers to sign from HR. Does anyone of us really know what we are signing our lives away for? Probably not. Sophia defines term life insurance, umbrella insurance, and other types of insurance that you may need. One really interesting fact that I learned was that if you have private student loans then you should also have enough life insurance to cover them if you die. Private student loans are not forgiven if you die and your spouse or parents could be responsible for them. Yikes! The “Estate Planning Tips for Millennials” is an interesting chapter. Even Sophia herself states that most millennials don’t even think about it. It’s for old people. Sophia calls in an expert to help explain why millennials, especially those with children, should be thinking about estate planning.
Overall I think this is a must buy book if you know little to none about money. For $4.99 most of your questions will be answered. Personally, I think this would make an excellent gift for any high school or college graduate. It might not be a fun book, but it is a useful one that they will someday thank you for in the future. I wish I had this book 18 months ago when I was working on my budget, figuring out my student loan payment plans, and setting up my retirement accounts. I suggest you buy it today!
The Kindle version of the book can be purchased for $4.99 on Amazon.
Disclaimer: I was provided this book courtesy of Sophia Bera and Gen Y Planning. All my opinions are my own. Trust me, if I hated something you would know.