Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Well-heeled by Lesley-Anne Scorgie

Ok, so every now and then, I post some random, non-Japan related book review on this blog. Why? Because I think it'll be useful, especially to people living on their own.

Well-heeled is a book targeted at girls to help them be more financially savvy. Although it's for girls, I think the basics of financial knowledge apply to boys too, so if you take out the gender-specific advice, it's a pretty good foundation book for guys and gals. 

The basics of the book go something like this: figure out where you stand financially. If your financial situation sucks, then the book does offer tips on how to cut back on spending and how to prioritise your debts (i.e. pay off the debts with the highest interest first). After that, the book talks about saving and increasing your cashflow. And that's about it, pretty simple, because good financial habits are simple. It's basically spending less than you earn (and making sure you have enough for the future). 

However, there are two points on which I disagree with the book. The first is about the use of credit cards. Unless you're using the credit card to get points, the book advocates moving to an all-cash system. Which, fair enough, is my life most days. But, there are advantages to using credit cards, such as the grace period (it's a good way to manage your cashflow) and its universal acceptance. I found this blogpost to be pretty useful. 

The second would be her list of ways to make more money. Some of it are doable (sell your old stuff, work extra hours), some of it is quite smart (for example, research which government benefits you're eligible for and sign up for them) while others are being oversold (or so I feel). For example, starting a business is not a guaranteed way to make money. Do it if you have a passion, but don't expect to get extra cash straight away. Another example would be to "sell a crazy story". She makes selling a story to a "book publisher, magazine editor, or television network" sound easy - all you need is a compelling proposal. However, reality is that it takes a lot of time and effort to sell a story, and even then, you may not be able to make much. 

And there is one suggestion that just make me do a double take: "become a surrogate mother or "donate" your eggs". She does say that this is a decision that shouldn't be made lightly, but I have no idea what this is doing on a list on how to make some extra cash. It's technically illegal to sell your eggs too (she talks about receiving compensation, but the quotation marks around the word 'donate' make it clear she's not thinking of donating). 

To be honest, apart from the 'how to make more money list', this book is actually pretty good. The credit card vs cash is a rather personal debate (it depends on your spending habits, really) and which side you choose is up to you. If you need a book that doesn't promise fancy methods, but uses common sense to get you out of debt and into a financially healthy position, you should consider getting this book. 

Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review. 

AFFLIATE LINK: If you want to buy Well-Heeled: The Smart Girl's Guide to Getting Rich on Amazon, please click on this link. The price doesn't change for you, but I get a small cut of the money. Or if you just want to buy from Amazon, you can use this link