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St. Paul, MN
4 Stars Out Of 5
well-written financial guide for young marrieds
May 28, 2011
St. Paul, MN
Money and Marriage: these two words go together for better or worse. Now as ever, more marriages fall apart over money than for almost any other reason. Even for those Christian couples who are determined to not even think about divorce, money adds an incredible amount of stress and pressure onto their new life together.
My experience is similar. We started out our marriage with a debt problem that got worse, and many of our trials have been related to financial pressures. By God's grace, we have grown through the years and have not allowed money to drive us apart. Today we are financially stable, but looking back, I believe we would have been better off had we read a resource like this new book by Matt Bell, "Money and Marriage: A Complete Guide for Engaged and Newly Married Couples" published by NavPress.
Bell's book is packed full of wise advice and practical tips, but it is so much more than just a self-help book. Systematically, step by step, Matt Bell explains how to think about finances and your new life together as a married couple. He gives a crash course on budgeting, frugality, credit, debt, housing, insurance and more. His book is flexible enough to be useful in a variety of ways as he advocates an approach to money more than any one strategy. Sprinkled throughout the book are Scripture verses, teaching applicable for Christians, and personal anecdotes. It is clear that this is a Christian money book, especially when the book concludes with the importance of finding a life purpose that fits in with God's purposes for your life.
This book was easy to read and chuck full of useful pointers and resources for more study (chief among them being Matt's personal blog, MattaboutMoney.com). I found the Scripture quotations and other quotations interesting and appropriate. Occasionally they were downright funny, providing comedic relief from the serious topic of conversation. For instance, Matt shares Mark Twains' important insight about investing: "October: This is one of the peculiarly dangerous months to speculate in stocks. The others are July, January, September, April, November, May, March, June, December, August, and February." Humor aside, the book offers sound (not trendy) advice and covers a wide variety of situations, such as when a prenuptial agreement may or may not make sense, even for a Christian.
Newly weds, engaged couples, and those who are still young marrieds will benefit most from the book, but everyone will find some sound financial advice. The "take action" steps, numerous charts, and the personal stories help the reader apply the principles to their own situation. If you know of any young couples, consider giving them a copy of this book. And those of you who haven't hit middle age yet, you really need to get this book. I highly recommend it.
Disclaimer: This book was provided by NavPress for review as part of the Lit-Fuse Publicity Blog Tour. I was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.
Money & Marriage (subtitled A Complete Guide for Engaged and Newly Married Couples) by Matt Bell is a great tool not just for those planning to become married but also for those already married and finagling their way through all things financial (which is all of us marrieds!) It is never too late to begin a "Cash Flow Plan vs. Budget". The author reminded us that we must look toward financial freedom in a different way than we may have previously viewed money management. He presented this topic from a biblical aspect.
Starting in Chapter One, statistics were given and pages upon pages of questions asked the reader to take an inventory of their financial situation. The questions could be overwhelming but for the later chapters, which allowed the reader to easily discover solutions. Easy-to-understand plans with resources to help financial stewardship were presented.
Pages 39&40 Mr. Bell shared his personal account of inheriting $60K and how though he squandered the money, he learned a valuable lesson from the experience. The definition of "consume" was sobering. I won't look at money quite the same way after reading about wasteful spending and how we can all do much better with our money.
Chapter Four was fascinating as it gave four distinct categories in which people land in regard to spending. I easily discovered I was a 'phleg" but could not quite place my husband in a category. This chapter was interesting as I never realized personality played a part in money management .
There were so many helpful downloadable monthly cash flow plans and numerous website helps. I would be confident in contacting the author for future consulting or help if I did not have someone to aid me in that area currently. The "Know Your Stuff" website was amazing!
However, the best advice in the entire book was found on page 144. DINKhood has changed my life. Also, the discussion of prenups quite interesting. I thoroughly enjoyed the use of Scripture throughout as well as the case studies and personal accounts of the author and his wife.
Money & Marriage would be an excellent engagement gift or even a wedding gift. The subject of money is often overlooked and it does not have to be. This is an excellent tool which includes God. It is never too late to get serious about financial stewardship. Certainly implementing the concepts in this book will help married couples get on the same financial page!
Buy it today!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NavPress Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
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This book is filled with sound financial advice and budgeting practices as well as scriptural references. It starts with a section called 'Decoding Each Other's Financial DNA' which would help any couple understand each other's perspectives and where each are coming from. Part two goes into action plans that covers such topics as budgeting, how to avoid debt, and giving. All which are built around what God's word says. The last section shares on how as a couple you can foster financial oneness with one another covering topics like prenups and deciding whether you should have shared or separate bank accounts. There are also recommended monthly spending guidelines based on salary, recommended housing guidelines and budgeting examples. This book will definitely help couples begin the discussion of finances, start with a strong financial plan/foundation for their marriage and helps also to share many of the items that get overlooked and therefore not planned for. It's a good flowing read too, I read through it with interest and ease. I'm not typically interested in financial topics so it was a great read for me to go through as it engaged me on a personal level while I was learning about the finance and budgeting aspect. I appreciated the blend of finances, scripture but also the personal aspects that go into two people coming together to create a family likeminded in the area of money. I would say while this book would make a great engagement gift, wedding or 1st anniversary gift, I would also recommend this book for any couple that struggles over finances and budgeting in their marriage no matter how long they have been married.
I received a copy for review from NavPress Publishers Blogger Review Program.
If you are just married or preparing to get married then let me encourage you to get this book! This will be one of the best investments you will ever make for your financial future as a couple.
If I had something like this before my first marriage, teaching me how to discuss finances or the lack of them, then there wouldn't have been another marriage after it!
Right off the bat, Matt is open with the differences between he and his wife before they got married. He also gives some very interesting statistics about the financial differences between how men and women spend.
He then breaks the book into two sections: Decoding Each Other's Financial DNA and A Ten-Step Action Plan For Financial Success.
Matt included links to his website to download free resources such as a Cash Flow Plan. (I like that, Cash Flow Plan, instead of budget. It makes it sound more palatable.)
In the first part of the book where he shows how to determine your financial makeup, he includes some great worksheets to go through. It certainly proved helpful in determining my financial temperament. I happen to be melancholy and phlegmatic which means I'm suppose to like budgeting and living within my means. Well, I don't do too bad living within my means.... but I'm not too sure about the budget!
At the end of each chapter in the second part of the book, Matt includes a "Take Action" section. There are very practical steps to take to improve your financial situation as a couple.
Money is the leading cause for divorce. Money & Marriage is a real help for engaged, newlyweds, and even couples who have been married for a long time. It opens communication for couples on a subject that has been taboo for most people, money.
I recommend buying it, reading it, following it then sharing it with others.
This book was provided free by Litfuse Publicity Group for the purpose of review. I am under no obligation to provide a positive review.
My husband I talk about money frequently. This book was not for us. If you do not discuss money with your spouse frequently, pick it up! It is so important. From debt to retirement accounts, Matt Bells shows you how to wisely save and spend.
The money we have is the money God has entrusted to us. Big houses, fancy cars, the latest technology...these are not things that create eternal progress. Tithing is. Why is it often the last budget category on our minds?
Through this book Matt Bells offers many helpful hints to how to save your money. My husband and I found the section on retirement accounts the most useful. I hope you enjoy this book...and learn that suffering by living simply is so rewarding.
Thank you LitFuse for the chance to read this book (and review it) for free!