Book Review: "I Will Teach You To Be Rich"
The name is a lot to get past. For me, it conjures images of people in Hawaiian t-shirts, converging on Vegas en masse, to attend a "how to get rich" seminar which actually is nothing more than a giant pyramid scheme. Surprisingly though, I couldn't recommend this book more to recent grads (after I got past the tone).
First off, the name is a bit of a misnomer. The author, Ramit Sethi, isn't teaching you how to earn a lot of money in this book. It's not an overnight solution. Other than the lotto, I'm not sure that there is. Instead, the goal he sets out to accomplish is to teach you how to effectively manage your money and how to maximize it over the years to come. These, in our opinion, the most important finance concepts for recent grads.
The book is split into a six week plan to help twentysomethings get their finances on track. It begins with a very helpful discussion on credit, how to build it, and how to maintain it. It next focuses on picking the right credit card(s) and bank account(s), and then moves towards paying off debt and effectively managing money for the short term (i.e., making sure there's enough to pay rent but also enjoy life) and long term (i.e., making sure that when it's time to retire, there won't be a lifestyle hit). Through this, he discusses financial options like secured credit cards, online savings accounts, lifecycle funds, how to setup an automatic financial management system, and more. And it ends with a chapter about some of the decisions and opportunities (sometimes directly related to finance, or just surrounding it) that you'll encounter such as purchasing a car, asking your boss for a raise, living with a girlfriend/boyfriend/spouse, and more.
The book is limited only in it's timeliness. It seems that it was written prior to the heart of the recession and was able to make some, but not all, recession-focused edits just prior to publication. For example, as a result of the credit crisis, some of the facts regarding banking savings accounts (i.e., interest rates) aren't as accurate anymore and thus some arguments aren't as strong. That being said, finance will always be a moving target and no book will ever reflect the exact environment that you read it in, but the principles in this book are today and certainly will still be applicable tomorrow, next month, and in the years to come.
I could also see another small gripe being that a lot of this information is also available for free on the web, whether that's on Gradspot (we cover most of these topics in our Money section) or even Sethi's own blog. However, sometimes it's just easier to not have to dig around for everything and instead find it all in one digestible book.
Now, if you know your credit score and are continually building it, have money stashed away in an online savings account, setup a 401(k) through your employer and an Roth IRA through your investment account (and are depositing money in each regularly), understand dollar cost averaging, and know the difference between a stock, bond, mutual fund, index fund, and lifecycle fund, then this book will probably be too rudimentary for you. But if you don't, it may be one of the more important books you'll read for some time to come.
Consider purchasing I Will Teach You To Be Rich >