The discussion of money at a personal level is taboo in American society (and many others I’m sure). We talk about government spending and economics and even billionaires’ personal finance all the time, but we don’t talk about our own personal finance. And I think this is a mistake.
Some people may feel that they don’t have any control over money. Others may feel they don’t have any problem with money. But based on the stories from the government shut down, many people don’t have a healthy relationship with money at all. And I’ll admit it, I’m among those ranks, though I’m working on it.
That’s part of the reason I picked up The Simple Path to Wealth by JL Collins. I’ve been thinking more and more about how to take control of my finances so that they aren’t something that I constantly worry about, and this is definitely a useful tool.
The best part about this book is that it isn’t complicated. Simple is right there in the title, after all. Mr. Collins’ tone reminds me of listening to family stories, very conversational and easy to read– even when he gets to the numbers, because yes, there are numbers. But the numbers illustrate the point brilliantly; no need to understand formulas in depth, just to be able to understand what’s going on, you just need to be able to compare some numbers. And everything will become very obvious once you compare those numbers.
The book doesn’t dive into investment strategy right away, though. First, he asks you to confront your beliefs about money and determine if you’re ready and willing to change it to reach your goals. And again, this is simple. Are you willing to decrease your spending, increase your income, and invest the difference? If not, then you aren’t ready for this book. And that’s not a bad thing. It just means that there’s more going on with your money that needs to be addressed first.
If you are ready for this book, then he provides a straightforward strategy for saving and investing, namely index funds. It’s an easy and proven strategy to invest in the entire economy, and he gives the numbers (and calculators!) to prove it. He also touches on other options, if you’re looking to personalize your investments more, but don’t discount the index.
The nice thing about finances is that they truly are individualized. You don’t have to do everything that he says exactly as he says to do it. Figure out what works for you and stick to that plan. Everything he lays out is malleable, ready to be molded to your goals– as long as you’re willing to follow through. There will be sacrifices. There will be some discomfort. But in the end, won’t it be great to say that you paid off all of your debt? That you have enough in the bank to actually retire– either at 65 or well before? That you have enough to send your kids to college?
Whatever the goal, using the tactics in this book (or at his blog) will help you on that journey. So if you’re ready to get started, pick up a copy and enjoy your stroll down The Simple Path to Wealth.