I’ve been casually following the news on Britain’s EU Referendum. I’m an American, of course, so it’s not like I had a say, but anything that affects one of our major allies is bound to affect the US in some way. Both sides, the Remainers and the Leavers, had some pretty convincing arguments. I have seen Brit friends (and friends of friends) who were passionately against it and friends just the opposite. If I were a Brit, I think I’d have been pretty torn on the issue.
However, the United Kingdom voted, and they will be leaving the European Union, for better or worse.
One thing that caught my eye in the news today, though, was an article from NPR about how Google searches in the UK for “what is the EU?” spiked after the vote.
Yes, you read that correctly. After. The. Vote.
The takeaway from this is to do your research before you cast your vote for anything this massively important.
Speaking of which. My dear, fellow Americans. This coming November, if you don’t know anything about the candidate you vote for except whether they are Republican or Democrat or what-have-you if you’re going third party, please–PLEASE–do not vote.
There is plenty of time left, y’all. Do your research. Ask yourself: why am I voting for this person? Do I truly believe this candidate is the best for the future of our country? If you can’t think of three-five good reasons off the top of your head that you are considering a certain candidate, maybe you should reconsider.
Your vote is your vote, of course, but please, for the love of all that is holy, make it an informed vote.
Moving on to, in my opinion, more exciting things, I’d like to share with y’all about a book I finished reading recently.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I absolutely love to read—anything I can get my hands on. Some things are harder for me to read than others, though.
I briefly mentioned that I had enjoyed Dave Ramsey’s Complete Guide to Money in my previous post, but I wanted to give you all a little more insight into why I read the book and into what it is about.
Here’s the thing: I’m in my late twenties, and I’ve never really learned a lot about money or cared to, really. They just don’t teach these things in school, and until the last couple of years, I never had to worry about it too much, I’m ashamed to admit, because of the generosity of my parents. But as I got older and less comfortable letting my parents take care of me, I began to worry about it more. I made attempts to read things on it here and there, but frankly, I found the subject intimidating and rather boring.
I was in Sam’s Club not too long ago, and I came across this Complete Guide to Money. Just from reading the back cover, I got the sense that this man was someone I could in some small way relate to. I had set a goal for myself to start taking this money thing seriously, so I picked the book up, bought it, took it home, and let it sit for a week or two.
Finally, though, I started reading, and I found to my surprise that I could understand what Mr. Ramsey was writing. Unlike books I’d read (or attempted to read) in the past, he gave simple, easy to follow steps to follow to achieve what he calls financial peace.
The steps involve putting $1000 in a beginner emergency fund, paying off all debt using the snowball method, putting 3-6 months of expenses aside for a full emergency fund, investing, creating a college fund for kids, paying off the mortgage, building wealth, and giving. Essentially, though, these steps fall into four categories.
- Debt is dumb, so get rid of it.
All of it. Mr. Ramsey does not believe in or support credit cards, loans, or borrowing of any kind. He advocates paying off debts as quickly as possible and saving/paying cash for anything you want to buy in the future.
Let’s me be honest and clear here: I don’t 100% support/agree with/fully understand EVERYTHING Mr. Ramsey says about debt, but it is a novel concept in today’s society to eschew all debt, and it is a practice worth considering.
- Life happens, so prepare for it.
Mr. Ramsey cites a pre-2008 Gallup poll that revealed that a little over 30% of Americans could not cover an emergency of more than $5000 without financial help of some sort, i.e., a loan (9). I didn’t know that before, but it doesn’t surprise me. This book also came out in 2011, so I imagine it has only gotten worse. What does he suggest we do about this? Build our emergency funds and pay off our existing debts. After that, don’t accrue any others!
- Investing is smart, so do it.
Once you’ve paid off your debts and gotten those emergency funds, well, funded, Mr. Ramsey advises that you should invest. He does not generally recommend CDs, single stocks, bonds, or rental real estate (unless you can pay cash for it). His advice is to invest 15% of household income into Roth IRAs and pretax retirement plans (8).
I don’t necessarily agree with everything Mr. Ramsey has to say about investing, and you might not either, but I think we can all agree that it’s a very wise idea to invest something in some way or another to help prepare yourself for retirement.
- We all have had need of a little charity, so give it.
One of the things I like a lot about what Mr. Ramsey has written is that he strongly urges his readers to give back. We all get in tight spots where we could use a little help, so when we’re successful, it makes a lot of sense to give to causes and charities we support that help others in tight spots. If you are a church-going person, he also advocates for tithing as part of your giving. No matter how you choose to spread your money around, though, it’s always a good idea to do so in the first place, so, as Mr. Ramsey says, don’t neglect this important step in attaining financial peace.
There is a ton of other helpful information in Complete Guide to Money, including an explanation of different types of insurance and which ones you should have and also a chapter on the importance of bargaining and how to go about it.
There’s a detailed table of contents, so you can go right to the sections you are most interested in, but it’s also worth it to read this book cover to cover. There’s a short notes section in the back, and there is also an appendix with all of his suggested financial management forms.
Two other valuable resources the book led me to are Dave Ramsey’s website and his EveryDollar website/app that helps you create and manage a budget. This was a huge help for me, as I’d never created an actual budget before I downloaded his app.
Financial literacy is a must in today’s economy. Choosing your financial plan, though, is a personal issue. There are some things you may agree with in Mr. Ramsey’s book and some you may not. Complete Guide to Money is not the be-all-end-all of financial knowledge, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction–the right direction being to come up with a plan of action for managing your money.
Mr. Ramsey writes, “Personal finance is only 20 percent head knowledge. The other 80 percent—the bulk of the issue—is behavior” (6). This is so true! Thankfully, I’ve got a better handle on the knowledge part after reading Complete Guide to Money, and you can too. Now, I just have to keep working on that behavior part!
I plan for book reviews to become a regular thing on here, so if you liked it, please let me know in the comments below. If there’s anything I can change, mention that as well! As always, if you want to see more, follow my blog, like my Facebook page, and share these posts on your social media platforms!
I appreciate every bit of support you all give me!
Until next time,