I laughed when I first discovered Broke Millennial. The personal finance book is written to help you “stop scraping by and get your financial life together” – something I can definitely relate to! I used to be a broke millennial, but I’m proud to say I am not anymore. In pursuit of staying not-broke, I purchased this book with intrigue.
This book is written by fellow millennial Erin Lowry, who I discovered while watching my favourite finance Youtube channel, The Financial Diet.
I usually give my verdict at the end of reviews, but this time I’ll just say it: I loved this book! But full disclosure: I didn’t read all of it. After sharing an amusing anecdote to kick off, Lowry suggests reading chapters at random or out of sequence.
Here are the chapters I only skimmed as they were irrelevant to me:
Wait, I Shouldn’t Just Pay the Minimum Due on My Credit Card?
Student Loans: How to Handle Them Without Having a Full-On Panic Attack
Paying Rent to Your ‘Rents: Overcoming the Emotional & Financial Battles of Living at Home After College
And here are the chapters I thoroughly enjoyed..
Do You Have a Gold Star in Personal Finance?
Do you know your Emergency Fund Ratio, Debt to Income Ratio, and Net Worth? If not, this chapter will help you out. It’s not particularly exciting, but it is enlightening and important!
Is Money a Tinder Date or Marriage Material?
I found this chapter extremely helpful for the question & self-reflection section on financial roadblocks. The brilliant questions help you to work out your money mentality and to make short, medium & long term goals to get yourself into financial shape. Some of the questions weren’t so important, but the ones that were, significantly helped me. After working through this section, I decided to share some of my personal money goals with you today!
Credit Reports & Scores: The Report Card for Life
Credit report or credit score. These words meant nothing to me – not until I read this chapter, anyway. I’ve always passed background & credit checks for employment perfectly fine, so why should I care?
This gave me a bit more insight into exactly what they are and how they work. I was motivated to go online and check out my credit score (I personally used Credit Simple). After reading “About the scores”, I was pleased to discover that I have a very healthy credit score! It was also fascinating discovering where I am in relation to Females 18-25, my address, and even my star sign.
Knowing my credit score hasn’t affected much, I’ll be honest. But it’s given me more incentive to continue paying bills on time and being a responsible, accountable human being.
I’ve Got Debt, So Why Should I Care About Saving?
“Pay yourself first is the war cry of personal finance experts.” Yes it is – why?! I have read this almost everywhere – from my first finance book, Rich Dad Poor Dad to the minimalist Youtubers I routinely watch. This chapter dug deeper into how to make it happen.
I also love the story of the emergency fund titled Fuck-Off Fund. Not only is the article referenced extremely well written, it’s empowering. It’s about helping people have emergency savings to survive through hardship and adversity – even if it means cutting off toxic relationships.
Getting Financially Naked with Your Partner
This chapter is about, surprise surprise, money & relationships. Here’s some of what you and your partner should know about each other: income, all kinds of debt, credit reports & scores, plans to handle debt, and how to share finances. There’s also important questions to ask, like, how fancy are we? How much should we spend on gifts? How do we split finances upon moving in together?
After reading this, I felt confident and reassured. My partner and I are extremely transparent with each other. He knows exactly how much my mortgage and car loan is, how much I make and vice versa, and splitting finances has never been an issue. In relation to gifts, we easily established it long ago with wishlists. Personally, the most important thing to me is that we have the same goals in life and want the same things – because even though it’s not the first thing that comes to mind, it makes for big financial decisions. Marriage? Wedding? Travel? Kids? These are touched on, too, like if your money spent is true to your values, and what your visions are for the future.
Other things I found extremely helpful:
- The 50/30/20 Rule to budgeting
- Zero-Sum Budgeting – employing your dollars to zero out each month
- Using last month’s income to pay for this month’s expenses instead of borrowing from your next paycheck.
- Debt Avalanche vs. Debt Snowball
Lastly, I need to note that Lowry lives in New York City, and the financial advice is based on America. Therefore, I actually needed to Google a lot of things: What the hell is a 401(k)? What is a Roth IRA? (I essentially think of both as KiwiSaver in New Zealand) And what’s square feet in square metres?
Names of banks, insurances, and even the way credit scores are numbered, are different too. For example, US credit scores range from 300-850. New Zealand credit scores range from 0 to 1000. Just something to keep in mind.
As I said, Lowry’s questions on financial roadblocks gave me the chance to evaluate my financial priorities through a series of helpful questions. I thought I’d share with you my results today.
My money goals
Increase credit score to 800+
By this time next year, which, according to Credit Simple, makes me a credit unicorn.
Create emergency fund of 6-12 months salary
I recently dug into my emergency fund of several months’ salary while looking for a job, and also relied on my other passive income. This is one goal I definitely need to get together in case of emergency.
Always be a month ahead in bills.
I worked this out by ((fortnightly mortgage x 2) + $200 buffer). I’ve done this before but not consistently. When I did, having that amount ready gave me such peace of mind that I want to make it a habit! The positive emotional side effects is definitely what’s motivating me more than anything.
Use Monefy better & more often
This is my money tracking app. It was everything I was looking for; simple, colourful and so easy to use.
Maximise KiwiSaver contributions
I actually ticked this one off this week. Hooray!! I increased my contributions to the maximum of 8% as I’m more than happy for it to go directly to my retirement savings. I then took a moment to evaluate what fund I’m currently using. I was previously on the First Home Buyer Fund which I no longer need to be using, so I read up on the different types, like Cash, Conservative, Moderate, and Growth and chose the best one for how much risk I’m willing to take.
Overall, Broke Millennial was down to earth, helpful, and inspiring. I hope you’ve enjoyed this review, and would highly recommend Broke Millennial for any of you wanting to grow your knowledge in personal finance!
As always, not sponsored.