Control Your Cash: Making Money Make Sense by Greg McFarlane and Betty Kincaid was an interesting read. (That’s an Amazon link by the way). Basically it is a personal finance book that covers all of the basic topics: cars, credit cards, houses, investing, budgeting, taxes, etc.
I’ll get right to it, I liked about 90% of it and there were lots of good points. Much of it was review for me, but there are lots of things that could help people who are new to learning personal finance. Unfortunately, there are 2 things that really stood out to me that I did not agree with. The first was talking about which credit card you should get. While the information presented was fine, I think the best credit card is the one that is cut into tiny pieces and cancelled. While some people are disciplined enough to make good use out of credit cards, far too many people aren’t.
The second part that I disagreed with had to do with cars. While it suggests that you shouldn’t over spend on cars, i.e. get the Honda instead of the Acura, or Toyota instead of the Lexus, it turns around and suggests buying a new car for the peace of mind. Buying a new car is one of the biggest mistakes you can make in my mind. They lose such a huge amount of value that it is more than worth the risk of breaking down to buy used. New cars lose 70% of their value in the first 4 years. Go ahead and get a 2-4 year old car and let somebody else take that hit.
Now for the good, and there was plenty of it. The main idea focused throughout the book was getting rid of liabilities and gaining assets. That is a good principle to follow, and it something everyone needs to work on. Also, there are quite a few chapters that do a good job explaining some of the basics of personal finance. There is a very in depth chapter giving the basics of investing. It was probably my favorite chapter. For someone who has no idea how investing works, this would be a good primer.
There is another good chapter on budgeting, as well as an interesting chapter covering taxes. Taxes are a huge part of personal finance, and understanding how they work is key to success. It is very interesting how taxes work on similar things depending on if it is a person or a business doing it. Different types of businesses also change the tax situation considerably.
The last chapter takes a good look at entrepreneurship. I found this chapter particularly interesting as I would like to start my own business someday. I’m not sure what it will be, but right now I think helping people get to financial independence is something I want to try. I’m not sure what the exact vehicle to do that will be, but I think I’m going to keep growing the readership of this blog. Hopefully the things I write can help some people.
Overall, if you can overlook the new cars and credit cards, Control Your Cash was really a pretty good personal finance book. It was an easy read, and the main point it emphasized of selling liabilities and buying assets is a good one.
If you’ve read Control Your Cash, let me know what you thought of it in the comments below.