By: Ron Blue & Jeremy White
The irony of how I acquired this book isn’t lost in the year 2018. It has been 10 years since the events this book tries to prepare the reader for (or guide through if in the midst of a financial crisis). My wife and I were shopping at a Family Christian store around Christmas. This particular store had a basement where they kept seasonal items, church supplies, and their rather large clearance section. Hidden among hundreds of other clearance items was this book. I usually do pass up spur-of-the-moment purchases, but this book really stuck out to me. It wasn’t a very large book (just over 100 pages of content), but the title really struck me. Steph and I had just recently survived our own financial meltdown (read more about it here). I can’t remember exactly, but I don’t believe it was more than $2-3. I put it in our basket and purchased it. When we got home and unpacked everything and I put the book on our shelf promising I would read it soon.
A year has passed since then, and I’m just now reading it. I am glad however that I’m reading this book now rather than when I purchased it. At the time of my reading this book, we’re experiencing the climate that the United States was in during the years leading up to the mid-2007 crash. Home values and securities are on the rise, people are taking financial risks with debt and everyone is praising the booming economy. The question isn’t “IF” a recession/depression will happen again, but rather “WHEN”. While everything seems to be well in the land, this book sets in the Clearance section and people forget the pain that the last recession caused. That’s why this book is so relevant. This is the time of preparation. Yes, things look good now… but what’s to say they are going to stay like that. In the book of Genesis, Joseph advises the Pharaoh of Egypt to put away food during the “good years” to keep the people from starving in the “bad years”. We’re in the “good years” right now… it’s time to start preparing for the problems to come.
I’ll admit it right here before I get too much further into the review, I seriously enjoyed this book. There seems to be such an expectation that any book related to finances need to be complicated, brilliant and nearly mystical. That’s exactly what this book isn’t. My grandmother always said, “don’t gild the lily”. The common-sense, simple wisdom offered by Mr. Blue & Mr. White with biblical roots is a perfect example of not gilding the lily. The author’s give a no-nonsense perspective of managing finances. For example, in chapter 2 when asked in an interview what the most important economic indicator is, he simply replied “my checkbook balance”. The idea that what happens in the economy on a macro level serves only to scare people into making stupid choices. The day-to-day management of any one individual’s personal finances shouldn’t revolve around unemployment rates (unless they themselves are suddenly unemployed). This book is not meant to be an in-depth plan to completely overhaul your finances. It’s meant to serve as a reminder of what to do in tough times. In the emergency rations or survival kits given to members of the armed forces, there are usually instructions. These instructions are not extraordinarily detailed or elaborate. They are concise and meant for the situation at hand: surviving. That’s exactly what this book is. It’s a reminder to those facing a financial crisis that there is hope, but you need to prepare now and keep your head in the heat of it all.
To help better convey the scope of topics the author covers, take a look at the chapters in the book:
- Chapter 1: Riding Out the Economic Storm (How to Prepare for Economic Uncertainty)
- Chapter 2: The Economy is Unique, Just Like Every Other One Before It (Dealing with a Challenging Economy)
- Chapter 3: No Sense Being Pessimistic-It Wouldn’t Work Anyway! (Dealing with Your Financial Fears)
- Chapter 4: This Isn’t Going to Hurt a Bit… (Step 1: Take a Financial Physical)
- Chapter 5: Aim at Nothing and You’ll Hit it Every Time (Step 2: Think Long-Term – Set Goals)
- Chapter 6: I’m Stuck in a Traffic Jam on the Road to Riches (Step 3: Spend Less Than You Earn)
- Chapter 7: I’m Having an Out-of-Money Experience (Step 4: Build Emergency Savings)
- Chapter 8: I’m Being Eaten by the Borrow Constrictor (Step 5: Avoid Debt)
- Chapter 9: Honey, I’ve Shrunk Our Portfolio! (Step 6: Think Long Term with Investing)
This is not a long book, the 9 main chapters are covered in just over 100 pages. The authors give a good introduction addressing what is coming if you’re not in a bad financial way and how to deal with an economy where everything seems to be going wrong. Immediately, they shift to covering some of the most common financial fears they’ve counseled and assisted people with. Moving on, they give 6 steps to begin following to start “bailing out the boat” so your financial life does not sink. Again, this is not an exhaustive financial book. The author’s offer a succinct set of advice for anyone facing a financial meltdown: either caused by the economy around them or the circumstances they’re facing. If you suddenly find yourself in a difficult financial situation and you’re not sure where to start, try reading this book. It’ll begin to show you how to get a handle on a situation that is out of control. No matter the state of the economy or the circumstances in your life, you can always take steps to make the situation better. This short book may change your life when you are simply trying to survive a financial meltdown.
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