It's a new year and once again we hear it's time to make resolutions. If prompted many people would say they would like to get in better shape, lose weight or organize their lives, but what about finances? Is it time to put yourself on a debt diet? If you think it's about time you take control of your money, stop wasting it away, find a way to decrease your debt and figure out where to invest to save for your retirement? Alison Griffiths can help you on your money mission with some sage advice in her new book Count On Yourself: Take Charge Of Your Money. Alison is the host of MAXED OUT on W Network, a finance columnist for the Toronto Star, and a bestselling author of several books including Wild Horse Annie and the Last of the Mustangs. The Count On Yourself introduction explains Alison's belief that you are the best person to manage your money and grow your investments. Read along and be inspired to make 2012 the start of monetary pro$perity!
The financial books that fly off the shelves tend to have zingy titles that include seductive words like rich, independence, wealth, retire early, millionaire—things we all yearn for. I struggled unsuccessfully to find my own title for this book until one day I sat down for lunch with my publishers, Kevin Hanson and Alison Clarke. We began talking about how helpless—even stupid—so many of us feel when it comes to money and investing. We are bombarded by financial products and expert opinions and by an army of advisers and fund managers cajoling us to hand over our money—and leave it to those who know what they are doing. To make matters worse, every day seems to bring an economic event in a far-flung country, or even just across the border, threatening to break the nest eggs we have worked so hard to accumulate.
We’ve also become convinced that we can’t take care of (in other words, invest) our hard-earned savings. It is too complex, we’re told. There are minefields everywhere. If we take on the task, we risk losing everything. Even financial paragons who file their taxes early, live completely within their means, save regularly, and never miss a bill payment are reluctant to take control of the money they are setting aside for retirement. That’s a job for those with lots of initials behind their names, or so the reasoning goes.
But I believe—no, I know—that when it comes to your money, there’s no one better to count on than yourself. If people could develop this confidence, I said to my publishers at lunch that day, they would be stronger financially and, eventually, richer. Kevin and Alison looked at each other, then said in unison, “That’s the book title—Count On Yourself!”
My goal in Count On Yourself is to give you the confidence and tools to set up and monitor a simple, safe, and low-fee investment portfolio. Or if you prefer to use an adviser, the tools and knowledge in this book will allow you to ask the right questions, which in turn will help you keep your fees low and enable you to evaluate the person who is making money from your money.
Most people shy away from investing because they are intimidated by the numbers. Since this is a book about investing, it’s impossible to write it without using any numbers at all. But I’ve kept them to a minimum because, in the end, my style of investing is far less about numbers and far more about who you are as a person. It’s about developing a plan you can understand and follow. I’ve also tried to de-jargonize the world of money. All the bafflegab, acronyms, and complex terms only benefit an industry that profits from our confusion.
The first part of Count On Yourself explores our attitudes toward money and the obstacles that stop us from being our own financial boss. Once you kick aside those obstacles—most of which have been set in our path to keep us from managing our own money—you will find that my simple investing program is not only doable but also refreshingly comprehensible.
The second part of Count On Yourself takes you through a financial closet cleaning. But don’t worry—I won’t hector you about debt, chide you for over-consumption, or harangue you about cost-cutting. There are plenty of personal finance books that do just that. Instead, I’ll give you some straightforward steps to help you become organized and to get you comfortable with the idea of taking control of your investments. This stage is about simplification and learning how to pay attention financially. Like warm-up exercises before a workout, these organizational steps will prepare your financial muscles to face what scares us most—investing our precious dough.
The third part of Count On Yourself shows you how to evaluate your situation and needs, which is a critical element in creating an investment portfolio that works for you. Here you will discover the true essence of smart investing and learn the money-making secrets that the financial services industry doesn’t want you to know.
The final part of Count On Yourself walks you through a straightforward process (called passive investing) and introduces you to a group of low-fee, low-stress, and understandable sample portfolios. These will outperform most mutual fund portfolios and even provide better returns than many of the complex stock and bond portfolios developed by wealth managers for high-net-worth clients.
When you are finished Count On Yourself,you will be able to take control of your investing life with a plan that strips away the confusion and unnecessary complexity so endemic in the financial industry today. Best of all, your low-fee, comprehensible investment portfolio will only require a maximum of thirty minutes a month to maintain. Yes, it will be that simple.
Count on yourself for thirty minutes a month. Everyone else is making money from your money, so maybe it is time you turned the tables and made some money for yourself. I know you can do it, and I’m here to help.
YUMMMY MUMMY BOOK CLUB
In January the #YMBC will be reading COUNT ON YOURSELF by Alison Griffiths. On February 1st we will be having our Twitter chat to share our thoughts with Alison! You can follow the author on Twitter: @AlisonOnMoney and find Alison on Facebook. To find out more about Alison's work check out her website: alisongriffiths.ca
AUTHOR APPEARANCES AND VIDEOS
Alison Griffiths will be in Toronto, Ontario on the dates below:
January 24 - 12:30pm at INDIGO 1 First Place Canadian Place Unit SM18
January 25 - 6:30pm at Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge Street
BOOKALICIOUS BOOK GRAB GIVEAWAY
I'm giving away 2 copies of COUNT ON YOURSELF courtesy of Simon & Schuster Canada. To enter the draw leave a comment sharing how you would like to be more financially organized or benefit from the book. For more Simon & Schuster Canada books and author information visit their website simonandschuster.ca, follow @SimonSchusterCA on Twitter and find Simon & Schuster Canada on Facebook.
YUMMY MUMMY CLUB RULES AND REGULATIONS
You must be a Yummy Mummy Club member to win. Click to sign up! It's free and filled with perks. One comment per member. Entries accepted until January 16, 2012. Contest open to Canadian residents. Winners will be picked using www.random.org. Please mark the email [email protected] as a "safe sender" when you enter a Bookalicious giveaway and respond within 1 week to claim your prize!