After Roth spent his way into debt, he began to learn a better way to manage his money with the help of friends and library books in 2004. Looking to share that knowledge with others, he posted book reviews, helpful Web links and his own advice at www.getrichslowly.org
, a site that now reaches an enormous audience. Your Money: The Missing Manual
is Roth’s print compilation of the best of what he’s learned over the past five years. It’s a fantastic read for not just the true beginner but also anyone struggling with financial worries.
Roth’s focus is definitely on action, as he encourages us to get going immediately instead of waiting for the perfect moment. “Don’t worry about getting things exactly right,” he says, “just choose a good option and do something to get started.” Your Money
is divided into three parts: setting goals and paying off debt; finding ways to decrease spending and increase income; and building wealth. Each section is stuffed with resources to tap into for even more guidance.
Roth recommends plenty of other books to read. If you already live much of your financial life online, you’ll especially appreciate how many Web resources he mentions.
Buy the book and you’ll even get free access to the online version (complete with updates and bonus features) for 45 days. Although Roth’s advice on the standard financial topics — retirement, mortgages, taxes, banks, etc. — is quite good, it truly shines in the sections of Your Money
devoted to lifestyle choices.
His tips on reducing spending quickly slide into a heartfelt discussion of what he calls Stuff. “The costs aren’t just financial,” he cautions. “There’s a real mental toll to having too much Stuff: You think about it and worry about it; it becomes a burden.” A better philosophy, he says, is to streamline and prioritize not just what you owe and spend, but also what you own.
Avoid advertisements, stores and even window shopping and your spending on Stuff will naturally decrease. When you do need to spend, make your choices deliberately and always with a focus on your goals. “It’s all about balance,” Roth reminds us. “When you cut spending on things you don’t need, you can indulge in things that really matter to you.”
Ultimately, it’s greater happiness — not greater wealth — Roth believes we should pursue. Money might give you more options, he says, but “happiness is what makes life worth living.”Websites of Interest Author J.D. Roth’s site Free resources from the book publisher