Tag Archives: Book Review

Book Giveaway – Your Money Ratios: 8 Simple Tools for Financial Security

Your Money Ratios: 8 Simple Tools for Financial Security

by Charles Farrell, J.D., LL.M., Avery

“Best Financial Formula Book of 2009” – The Wall Street Journal
“Best of 2009 Business Book” – Reuters

According to the 2009 Retirement Confidence Survey, only 13% of workers were “very confident” about saving enough money for a comfortable retirement—down from 27% in 2007. But they need not worry anymore.

Your Money Ratios: 8 Simple Tools for Financial Security (by Charles Farrell, J.D., LL.M., Avery, on sale now) is THE definitive guide to achieving financial independence and a secure retirement. As we all know, the economy is a fickle creature but by implementing Farrell’s ratios, people of every age and tax bracket will have an integrated, proven approach to successfully managing their personal finance.

Unlike needlessly complicated guides, Your Money Ratios demystifies personal finance, providing readers with incredibly practical ratios for creating a healthy financial present and future and helps answer the basic questions of personal finance:

  • How much should I be saving each year?
  • How much should I have saved at my age?
  • How much debt should I carry?
  • How do I invest my savings?
  • What insurance do I need?

Ultimately, Your Money Ratios is not about getting rich quick. Rather, it’s about developing a long-term plan for prudently managing your finances, steadily building your assets, and last but not least, setting yourself up for a secure retirement.

This is an essential book for anyone who does not want to worry about money when they retire.

P.S. There is also a free online retirement calculator that goes along with Your Money Ratios on www.yourmoneyratios.com.

More from Amazon: Your Money Ratios: 8 Simple Tools for Financial Security

To Enter:

Leave a Comment and answer me this: Do you fear saving enough for retirement? What steps do you feel you need to implement or have implemented to secure funding for your retirement?

Contest will close Saturday, May 8th at Midnight (same as this Presidential Coin giveaway). Winner will be contacted via email.

This giveaway is closed. The winner will be notified by email. Thank you for entering! 🙂 <--Congratulations to Jim!

Book Giveaway – Where the Jobs are Now

WHERE THE JOBS ARE NOW: The Fastest Growing Industries and How to Break into Them
by Joe Watson

Excerpt from McGraw-Hill Professional Group:

Despite the current job market, there are industries that are still extremely successful and open to new job seekers. Prominent career advisor Joe Watson shows you how to delve into the top 7 industries for stability, profitability, and job satisfaction.

Where the Jobs Are Now is a one-stop resource and reference guide that breaks down these growth industries (healthcare, biotechnology, energy, education, government, security and information technology) and their roles in a clear, down-to-earth way, and most importantly, shows how you can quickly gain the necessary skills for a long and profitable career in any of these fields. Regain your feelings of security and confidence and take control of your future.

  • Gives a detailed breakdown of career opportunities in the fastest-growing industries
  • Offers the most recent information on how to get the training you need to start in or transfer to one of these industries – with minimal disruption

This book helps you match your existing skills to the market and get the training you need—without overturning your life. Take control of your future with an exciting new career that is guaranteed to weather any economic climate.

My Thoughts: I agree that healthcare and biotechnology are some of the fastest growing careers. Especially in research. The salary for healthcare research is decent, but above that, the career has been extremely stable in the face of recession.

More from Amazon: Where the Jobs Are Now: The Fastest Growing Industries and How to Break into Them

To Enter:

Leave me a comment by Saturday night, May 1st. I will pick a winner on Sunday, May 2nd.

This book giveaway has ended and the winner will be notified by email. Thank you for entering. <--Congrats to Roshawn! :D

In The Trenches: Financial Survival During Times of Hardship

This is a book review In The Trenches: Financial Survival During Times of Hardship

Are you In The Trenches? Feeling like your financial future needs an overhaul or the choices of the past are now catching up with you?

Have you lost your job, home, or relationship and it’s time to start over? Or, do you just want some tips for how to record and budget your money more efficiently?

In The Trenches: Financial Survival During Times of Hardship is for the millions of Americans that are starting over or just looking for a new way of doing things. The book contains stories, budgeting charts, and ideas. It is a springboard for your future.

In the Trenches is the story of one family’s survival of economic challenges brought on by a terminal illness in the family and loss of income. Getting creative, learning to budget, and looking at the situation through the eyes of opportunity can turn around any bad situation.

My Thoughts

This book offers great down-to-earth advice and true experiences of how to survive difficult financial times.

The first section of the book offers forms and worksheets to access your current financial situation, where you need to go and how to get there. I really enjoyed the job profablity worksheet pairing examples between working at a fast food restaurant versus the office job. And the eye opening results. As Carol states, “not everything that glitters is gold”. This holds true.

The second section is a collection of stories and ideas from Carol’s family’s experience in scrambling to make ends meet. We’re talking bare bones survival and realizing toilet paper is the best investment. She learned to take 10% of what ever amount she had to spend on grocery and stock it away; thus, ‘Stocking Money’. With this money she learned to build a food storage, so that her family never went hungry. I commend Carol for pulling out of these situations she has experienced. And she discusses her experience with good humor (after all, they say laughter is the best medicine, right?).

In The Trenches, Financial Survival During Times of Hardship is a diamond in the rough. I loved this book. It is 168 pages of great reading and a valuable resource for anyone looking for ways to pull through their difficult financial times.

Full-size worksheets are available on the author’s blog, In the Trenches, for your personal use.

About the Author

The author, Carol Schultz-Weil, spent a number of years in banking where she was a manager and procedural analyst and reviewed departmental processes and procedures to determine and implement cost savings ideas. Upon leaving that career she worked in various administrative positions while rehabbing homes. She is also the author behind two blogs, America for Fair Banking and In the Trenches.

Book Review & Giveaway: Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel

Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel: 100 Dirty Little Money-Grabbing Secrets
by Phil Villarreal

The Scene

Two ladies sitting at bar, yapping girl stuff, drinking their Cosmopolitans.

A man comes up to the girl with the most cleavage and starts with the normal pick up line(s):

“Did I see you on the cover of Vogue?”

“Hey baby, you must be a light switch, cuz every time I see you, you turn me on!”

“I hope you know CPR, cuz you take my breath away!”

“I think I can die happy now, cause I’ve just seen a piece of heaven.”

All the while, he staring at her chest and not her face. The ladies roll their eyes, but giggle.

“Can I buy you a drink?” and so forth…

Then he asks, “Can I have you number so we can hook up sometime?” And he is getting all excited because the woman scribbles something on a napkin and hands it to him.

“Score!” he thinks to himself (or whatever Yippee phrase guys think).

Then later, he goes home to call her. Hoping for a late night hookup and dials “818-301-6845” only to find he’s been….


The recording on the other line says, “the person who gave the dialer this number did not want them to have their real number…” (see video below, funny)

(If you have trouble seeing the video, you can check it our here: Rejection Hotline)

What does this have to do with finances????

Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel: 100 Dirty Little Money-Grabbing Secrets written by Phil Villarreal belongs in this kind of category.

I couldn’t handle this books contents. Tidbits like:

  • Milking it for all its worth, “And with I finished my bowl of Marshmallow Mateys each morning, I’d funnel the milk back into the container. By doing this I could make a tiny portion of milk stretch far beyond its due date. ” Ewww!
  • Double your pleasure, double your fries, “Just gobble down half your fries, then gather your chilly, cubic friend (ice cube) in the palm of your hand and toss him into the container. Presto! Soggy fries. Dump the soil remainder onto your tray…”. Really???
  • Lose weight in your gut, gain it in your wallet, “Great secret…Take a can of tuna, add a few squirts of steak sauce and slap the results inbetween two slices of bread and you’ve got a culinary masterpiece that will satisfy your hunger and cause the flab to slip of your belly.” Anyway, it goes onto say how you’ll look gaunt and underfed when you go home to visit your parents and they’ll give you money. Grow up!
  • Getting married soon? Opt for a cubic zirconia engagement ring and tell her it’s an heirloom passed down fro our grandma to prevent her from having it appraised. <–is this what you did to your wife, Phil?

I think when Phil wrote this book he was still stuck in his college years. This book is clearly not how to save like a ‘con artist’, but just how to plainly act like a hilarious dork.

Sorry, Phil. I couldn’t fathom the book. I think its written for a man.

So, that brings me to my next thing…


I have two (2) Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel: 100 Dirty Little Money-Grubbing Secrets books to give away.

Between now and Wednesday, March 17th (12am PST) leave a comment with your personal Dirty Little Money-Grabbing Secret.

Like “I take extra condiments at fast food restaurants” or “I steal steak knives when I go to Sizzler’s”

One entry per person. Winner will be picked by random drawing.

About the Author
A reporter for the Arizona Daily Star and contributing editor at the Consumerist.com, PHIL VILLARREAL draws from a life of obscene frugality that dates back to his days subsisting on A1 and tuna sandwiches as a freshman a the University of Arizona, where he graduated with a business management degree in 2000. He was inspired to write the book in 2007 when his schoolteacher wife, Jessica, quit her teaching job to be a stay-at-home mom. Over the course of three months, Villarreal wrote a chapter a night to complete the manuscript, only to suffer rejections from dozens of literary agents and publishing houses. Villarreal’s luck changed when the economy went bad and his money-saving became timely. He has a (becauseitoldyouso.com), and is a contributor to OK! magazine.

This contest is closed. Winners will be notified shortly. Thank you all for entering.

Book Review & Giveaway: Get Financially Naked: How to Talk Money With Your Honey

“Happily Ever After IS NOT A FINANCIAL PLAN” Love it!

When I recieved a copy of, Get Financially Naked: How to Talk Money with Your Honey, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it. My honey and I talk alot about our finances and where we are going with them. So, I didn’t think I was going to stumble on pertinent information that would pertain to us. But was I wrong!

We all hear money is one of those subjects in a relationship that can cause marital/relationship conflicts; potentially leading to divorce or seperation. But after reading this book, you realize that it doesn’t need to be that way.

Break the silence! Thakor and Kedar help women avoid the kind of financial stress that destroys relationships and to get them to own their financial future. Get Financially Naked: How to Talk Money With Your Honey is a guide for stripping the layers to find the naked truth in a committed, long-term relationship.

Here are points I really enjoyed from the book

-“Five Power Steps to Financial Success” – If you get these five steps right, you’ll be well on your way to financial nirvana.

-“When you learn the basics of personal finance and have your financial house in order, you can make major life decisions from a position of strength.

-One woman expresses what “Financial Empowerment Means to Me” – “Financial Empowerment means choices, freedom, independence. Choices in how I provide for myself and those I love and give to my community. Freedom to be in charge of my life. Independence to pursue my dreams.”

Home Buying Rules of the Thumb – “Build up a 20 percent down payment…”If the price of your home goes down and it comes time to sell, “you’ll really want that 20 percent cushion so you don’t end up owing the bank more than you get for the sale of your home”. <==Great point! -The magic $100 bill and the power of compounding <== need to implement with my kids! -Strive to save 15 percent of your before-tax income – 5 percent towards your emergency fund and big-ticket items combines. Ten percent will go toward your retirement savings. Nice breakdown.

Eliminating Credit Carditis (love the term) and the Rules of Thumbs for paying off credit card debt.

How to Invest your money: Keep-It-Simple <==love this portion of the book. -And the Q & A for particular situations.


I learned a lot from this book. The books speaks to women in many different financial situations. It helps that Thakor and Kedar mix there own examples and how they apply to this book; especially because I share similar situations with Thakor’s life.

When we are swept up in the arms of a true love we are more likely to share out intimate desires than our credit rating. Get Financially Naked: How to Talk Money with Your Honey, by Manisha Thakor and Sharon Kedar, offers the answer on how to speak to your husband/finace/boyfriend about money. They show readers how to address this critically important subject, take financial responsibility and keep the love alive.

To Win a Copy of this Book

One copy of this book is up for a giveaway. Leave a comment, by Sunday, February 21st 8pm PST, telling me: What does Financial Empowerment Mean to You?

The winner will be chosen by random picking.

If you enjoyed this post, please re-tweet. 🙂

Crystal is the Winner. Please contact me so that I may have the publisher send you your copy! Congratulations!

The 4-Hour Workweek Book Review

BOOK: The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9 – 5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich (Expanded and Updated)

AUTHOR: Timothy Ferriss (@tferriss)

RATING: 4 out of 5 stars

When I bought my copy of “The 4-Hour Workweek”, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from author Timothy Ferriss. But what I got was completely different than what I thought.

Tim’s no-nonsense approach to crafting a 4-hour workweek made me feel like he is nonapproachable and egotistical S-O-B. And so everyone that follows will be the same.

What made me come to this conclusion about Tim? It’s about automating your emails, being direct and to the point with the associates around you whether on the phone or in your emails, and hiring virtual assistants do everything for you. Tim, do you hire someone to ______ and _______ (fill in the blanks)?

Being a DEALmaker

The book talks about reformating your lifestyle to those of the New Rich by using the acronym D-E-A-L. He states, “the steps and strategies can be used with incredible results”.

They are:
D for Definition: Define the rules and objectives for living like the New Rich.
E is for Elimination: Eliminating the destractions that kill your ability to be effective. Using Pareto’s Law or the 80/20 Rule.
A is for Automation:: Automate, outsource, and arbitrage. Hiring those to do everything for you.
L is for Liberate: Testing the waters by taking mini-retirements.

Of course, Tim backs up his method by showing off his accomplishments as the First American in history to hold a Guinness World Record in tango, being an MTV breakdancer in Taiwan, to being a National Chinese kickboxing champion. He throws in how he speaks like 6 languages (somewhere along that number). Yes Tim, we know you are the know-it-all guru.

Despite the egotistical notions

You are a love-hate relationship. I comment on your blog knowing I will never receive a response back. I would never send you an email or call you because it would either be answered by a VA or you would offer a military, direct response as to what I want.

Yet, I find myself becoming a #4HWW groupie. I went to work putting myself on a low-information diet and acheived more work in one day then I have for previous weeks. I’ve learned to delegate my lower priority tasks to my coworkers, thus freeing up my time to work on higher items on the agenda. This also in turns, have made my coworkers feel more important and responsive to the needs of our team.

I come home to do the same and find more time to play with my children, talk with my husband, crochet a baby blanket and read a book. My TV has been off for two days straight. I love it!

Now I am considering outsourcing the housework, lawn maintenance and perhaps batch cooking family meals for the week. Crazy I know. But I will explain why in a future post.


Even if I didn’t want to travel the world nomadically or completely put my life an automatic… Even if I want to stay an employee or become an entrepreneur…

Tim’s tactics/reasoning for achieving more freedom, WORK.

I love focusing just only the important jobs at work, I love spending time with my family, having more time for myself and my hobbies. It’s great! And it is creating a synergistic postive effect with my family and coworkers.

It’s refocusing your life around your drive, love and passion. It’s making time to spend with those you love – your friends and family.

He even has chapters for facing your fears and making the 4-hour workweek possible for anyone. I definitely need chapters like this, because my fear is what freezes me in taking the next step(s).

Since I am an employee, I am working on the acronym D-E-L-A. Liberating before automating. Going to see if I can virtualize my job 2 times a week by working from home. If that does not work, than I am looking into creating a small business that will work within Tim’s guidelines.

The book is a worthwhile read. I read it straight thru, once. Now I added flags to the front page of my book, because as I start reading it a 2nd time… it is time to mark all the pages I will needed to refer and re-refer to as I move along the steps.

Remember, Tim accomplished those pompous ass achievements because he is focused on the important aspects for living life to the fullest.

Take a reading to it – in my book its a win-win situation.

To read more about The 4-Hour Workweek or Tim Ferriss:


Tales of a Travelling Mum

I’ve had the wonderful pleasure of following Alice Griffin on her travels through her blog. Now she has written a book that is a great addition to her blog and am happy to read & review such a fun book.

Alice Griffin (http://www.alicegriffin.co.uk/index.html) is a delightful writer! I’ve had the pleasure of following Alice & her family in their travels through her blog Fanciful Alice (http://fancifulalice.blogspot.com/). This book is a great addition to her blog!


I love how Alice found love with a man who shares her independent spirit for travel and that they both took forth to travel as a family; they didn’t let the hodge podge of daily life keep them down.

When she notes that children do let you see the world with fresh eyes – it’s so true – I can relate as a mother. But, I can also relate to the qualms of being a mother – changing a diaper in an inconvenient spot, the high pitched screams in the face of company, and the need to keep little ones busy. It was a great laugh to revisit these issues in Alice’s book. So no matter whether you are in your home country or out and about traveling you will face the same situations as a mother of a young child. It’s just a matter of choice where you will be doing them. And all these issues lead to some great tips about travelling with baby through out the book.

What I love most about this book – Alice has a beautiful way with words – very descriptive: landscapes, wine, olives, purest blue skies, bliss, front of her apron cradling eggs. It is so descriptive that you almost feel like you are living within its pages. Especially when the family visits Almendra – oh how I want to visit this magical place. Well, without giving too much away…

This is a wonderful book! Especially if you want to be wisked away to beautiful places. A definite must read!

Memorial Day Weekend – Farm to Table

Mint Iced TeaIt’s Memorial Day Weekend here in the States. And you know what that mean…Beach & BBQ on the Grill with friends & Family!!!! *Woo Hoo* (And a 3-day weekend)

So, I am reading this great book called Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life (P.S.). It’s about a family that takes the challenge of moving to the farm for a year to eat local farm food and grow their own; the sustainable movement. They are brave people. But, what I really like about this book is when they started discussing how to throw a 100+ guest list party with only local foods. It was neat to read how farming families pull their resources together to make a wonderful party. One person may have free range eggs, the other free range chickens and someone else had lettuce beds to make wonderful vinaigrette salad. Or rhubarb & strawberries in the garden to make the crisp for dessert (the one I will be trying in a couple of days).

So, what does this book have to do with Memorial Day Weekend? Since it is my challenge to break the bounds of consumerism I have decided to try and cook most of my meal using locally harvested food from the Farmer’s Market. And I wanted to share my menu:

Lemonade and/or Moroccan Mint Iced Tea
Cherry tomato & mozzarella skewers with Basil
Corn on the Cob
BBQ free range chicken
Potato Salad with Bacon-Vinegar Dressing
Baked Beans
Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp

I can pick up the lemons, cherry tomatoes, corn, strawberries and rhubarb at the farmer’s market. The mint and basil is from my own garden. From our local natural grocery store I will get the free range chicken and mozzarella cheese. Everything else I already have in my pantry or fridge.

I can’t wait until the BBQ. I am salivating already! I’ll let you know next week if this menu proves to be frugal, too.

What’s on your menu? Have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend!