In Your Money and You: How to Increase Your Chances of Achieving Financial Security, Deborah Ellis, a longtime Certified Financial Planner (CFP), offers readers a plethora of information about stocks, bonds, saving, investing, allocating your investments, and even individual advice for people in different industries. While the book is full of information, it’s also written in a highly accessible manner. Ellis shares her personal stories of how she began saving money as a child and young woman, how her aunt taught her how to invest and buy stocks, and how things have changed in the decades since she began saving. Her personal experiences then branch into her professional experiences with clients and with years of investing in the market.
I know investing can be scary and confusing, but that’s usually due to a lack of information or the fear that we won’t understand the information. As Ellis shows us, investing is really not that difficult. In fact, anyone who passed middle school math classes can figure it out. What is harder is to learn to save and to break some negative beliefs we may have about money so that we can quit solely working for money and learn to make it work for us. The book opens with a quote from Napoleon Hill, author of the classic book Think and Grow Rich, that states, “If you let it, you will be surprised at how money attracts money.” Nothing could be truer, and Ellis shows us how it can be true for all of us. She states, “I believe that today the stock market is a gateway to opportunity in America. I believe it is a way for almost anyone from any walk of life to build wealth and partake in the American Dream.” Your Money and You shows you just how to pass through that gate.
The book’s opening chapters teach us how to take on a leadership role with our money. Ellis helps us learn how to plan for retirement and what to expect. She walks us through the elements of a financial plan. Then she has us take a financial inventory of where we currently are so we know what we have to work with and what is required to reach our goals. She teaches us how to develop a saving and a spending plan, and finally, how to assemble a team to help us, a team that may include an accountant, a financial advisor, maybe a lawyer, etc. We do not hand over our financial affairs to these people, but rather, we learn to lead them so they can help us achieve our goals. Ellis warns us “if one of your team members has different priorities, a bias, or wants you to go in a direction you don’t agree with, you need to find another team member!” That’s just one example of how Ellis tells it like it is. Another example I love and know is very true is that “If you want to charge something you cannot pay off in full, you cannot afford it.”
Next, Your Money and You gets into all the meat of investing. Ellis walks us through the power of compounded interest and how investing over time can benefit us. She explains to us the differences between stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. She clarifies just exactly what the stock exchange and market indices are, and she teaches us how to understand how different companies and their stocks are rated.
Once Ellis makes sure we understand the market, she gets into the more personal aspects of investing. She helps us understand our risk tolerance for investing, how to diversify our assets, and all the various scenarios we might encounter from inheriting money to winning the lottery and, ultimately, how to go about retiring.
The book closes with some chapters for people in special situations, including those in the military, those in industries like film and television where you may go from feast to famine at different times, and those who are self-employed. A bonus section includes several articles on how to achieve financial security.
Your Money and You is the perfect book to get you started with saving and investing your money. Don’t put off reading it; it’s time to invest in yourself. As Ellis warns us, “money is not static. If you nurture it, it will grow. If you neglect it, you will end up with very little. It is up to you.” Furthermore, Ellis tells us “Investing is not difficult. Developing an investing mindset might take a little more effort.” Your Money and You can help you develop that mindset, and once you do, your money will begin to work for you so that, ultimately, you will not have to work.