Thursday, February 26, 2015

review: rich bitch by nicole lapin

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In my quest to most efficiently pay off my students loans (my only debt) while keeping the rest of my life on track, I've read a lot of financial advice books, blogs, etc. Nicole Lapin's Rich Bitch is among the best. She is not one to tell you to give up your latte! Lapin knows a person still needs to have some fun. In keeping with that, Lapin's approach is fun (lots of good anecdotes) and uses layman's terms, but I really appreciated that she doesn't just regurgitate the conventional wisdom; in fact, Lapin ends each chapter with the conventional wisdom followed by her own thoughts. She also admits to the many mistakes she made as she navigated the financial world on her own (her parents believed in cash only).

My favorite section was on home ownership. I'm pretty committed to renting, but people are constantly trying to convince me I'm "throwing away money on rent." I generally shrug and point out that every career advancement I make requires moving (like Lapin, I work in television) which makes owning less practical. Rich Bitch gives me even more of a reason not to buy a place. Lapin points out that buying a house for $50,000 in 1970 and selling it for $300,000 today does not actually mean you made a profit. There's inflation to account for as well as all the repairs you likely made. So now when someone tells me about their $900 mortgage to my $1150 rent, I can point out that my rent covers all repairs and groundskeeping (plus extras like pest control, a fitness center, and two pools)!

Another great section in Lapin's book addresses whether one should first pay off debt like students loans before saving for retirement. I was a bit surprised that Lapin said yes here, but it makes sense as she explains it. Everyone's situation is unique (including the issue of owning a home; as Lapin states, it makes sense if you're going to stay for decades), so I think I'll continue to go against her advice my contributing a small amount to my 401(k) given the low interest rates on my student loans. (Note: Lapin got in touch to let me know she meant paying off credit cards rather than student loans.) On every other point, I agree wholeheartedly with Lapin, especially when she says it's alright to include some fun expenditures because I really like buying shoes!
Review copy from Amazon Vine.

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