I wish I was better at managing my finances better than I am. I have too many months living month-to-month. So I was excited to review Emily Stroud’s Faithful Finance: 10 Secrets to Move from Fearful Insecurity to Confident Control. The book delivers in giving “10 secrets” to living into greater financial security, though many of these are pretty common sense. Her 10 secrets are each based on biblical principles, and insight from role as a financial advisor:
1. The faithful seek out wise counsel (seek advice from those who manage money well).
2. Create a budget and build up a cash reserve.
3. The faithful give generously and prayerfully.
4. The faithful manage debt carefully.
5. The faithful make a savings plan.
6. The faithful insure themselves against disaster.
7. The faithful invest wisely in real-estate.
8. The faithful invest for retirement.
9. The faithful save for college.
10. The faithful create an estate plan.
There is a lot to commend on this, and as someone with more month than Monday, much of the year, I would be wise to budget better, live with in my means, build up a reserve and save for stuff that matters. I also appreciate that she puts a strong emphasis on giving generously and sacrificially (I don’t think enough Christian books about managing money emphasize this). Furthermore, she does believe that some debt is good (e.g. a mortgage which gives you equity and student loans which enables you to go to school and increase your earning potential). There are some very good things here.
However this book is a little self-help guru-ish for my tastes. Stroud’s face is across the front cover. When a living author (or publisher) feels the need to do this, you know that a big part of what they are doing is selling you themselves. They want you to know that they are the expert, and someone worth listening to. Think Dave Ramsey and Dr. Phil. Who else actually does this? Brian Tracy? Tony Robbins? People with there own cooking shows. I know, don’t judge a book by it’s cover, and all that. But it feels a little like we’re being asked to.
But as I said, the advice is not bad, more principles for living better with money, with a budget plan, financial advice and checklists of good ideas. Perhaps more helpful if you are starting from zero than if you are starting from a negative balance. On the whole , pretty good. I give it 3 stars. ★★★
Notice of material connection: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.