Book review: author Carl Richards

I read two books by him recently: The Behavior Gap and The One-Page Financial Plan. Both were good. The one page financial plan is about finding out why you want money and making sure that your spending and plan revolves around that. He advises writing your reason on a page and referring to it as you make financial decisions. The behavior gap is the gap between our pans and our actions in terms of money.

The two books meshed well together – they went over some of the same information, but it was worth the read. If I had to pick one I’d pick The One-Page Financial Plan to read. It was more pointedly about how to set up a plan for your money. It’s not an investing advice book or a how-to, it’s an intellectual look at why and how we manage our money.

 

I really liked the exercise of figuring out what money means to you. Most people say security or control, but he wants you to dig deeper and figure out what that looks like to you. What actually is your version of security? Is it enough money to retire on a beach in Florida or Costa Rica? Is it enough to send your kids through college without debt? Is it enough to take a year off work and follow a passion? Everyone’s ultimate answer is different. Everyone’s financial plan will be different as well. He doesn’t leave you high and dry though, he walks you through how to make it different. He doesn’t give you a risk assessment because he can’t in a book and have it be accurate, he tells you to look at your history and your feelings and go with what seems right based on a few guidelines.

 

Ultimately, the point of the book is that you are your best money manager. Work with a professional if you feel the need to, but you are the one who knows what you are comfortable with. Don’t sign over responsibility to someone else. It doesn’t have to be a 60 page plan, you can draw it on a napkin and have it guide your decisions. And don’t be afraid to change your focus as your life changes. Nothing is written in stone and there is no perfect. We adjust as time goes on – that’s what makes a successful plan.

 

I loved the writing – I read both books in a day – it was conversational without talking down to you. He made things that planners often make complicated, easy and sensible. Like I said, if you are only going to read one, I’d suggest The One-Page Financial Plan. I highly recommend it.

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