Thursday, April 28, 2011

Love and Money

Have you ever wondered what life is like when a thrill-seeking "High Roller" marries a risk-averse "Security Seeker" or when a sweat-pant-wearing "Dawdler" starts dating a research-crazy "Systematic Striver"? The five Vancouver women who make up the Smart Cookies financial self-help team have considered these and many other questions about love and money in their new personal finance book for couples. It's worth the cover price...especially if the idea of talking to the one you love about money makes you want to throw up or call off the wedding.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading the book. It was straightforward without being boring and had some good old fashioned you-can-do-it encouragement along with some solid money management advice that can help you get control over your finances even if you are currently flying solo or just dating.

My favourite parts are the two introductory chapters and the "Perfect Day" exercise on page 46. The first chapter was great because the Cookies spent some time talking about why money is so hard to talk about in the first place. There are some interesting statistics and insights to be found there. Chapter Two I liked as well because it got me thinking about how we learn about money from our parents, mostly by observation, and how what we see and hear about money growing up shapes the financial baggage we bring with us into relationships.

In the third chapter, which outlines some suggestions for personal and financial compatibility, there is an exercise called "Picturing Your Perfect Day Together." You and your partner are asked to imagine your life five years from now on a weekday and then use the Cookies' eleven questions to ignite a conversation about the financial reality that those fantasies entail. It's a fun exercise, well worth doing over a glass of wine or a cup of tea after you've both had a long hard day.

While these were my favourite parts of the book, the rest of the book does not disappoint. Whether you are planning to pay for your wedding or pay off debt, are buying your first home, starting a family, or learning to invest, you will find a lot of practical advice...and it's written for Canadians. Yay!

At $19.95 CDN, this book gets 5 out of 5 dollar signs for value and 5 out of 5 stars for readability. It's all about love and money, but you won't find any intimidating vocabulary on any of its 220 pages.

Moms and dads, if your son or daughter is old enough to fall in love but still has no idea what a RRSP or mortgage is, you may want to pick up this book and read it together as a family, which would be a great way for you (Mom and Dad) to talk to your grown up kids about how you handle love and money in your own intertwined lives.

Copyright 2011. Laura Thomas. All Rights Reserved.
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