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A Meaningful Gift for a Young Person

“Why Didn’t They Teach Me This In School? 99 Personal Money Management Principles to Live By” was written by Cary Siegel for his five children in an attempt to teach them sound financial planning and money management principles. The book is a quick read and would serve as an excellent introduction to basic financial planning and money management principles for any young person. Siegel breaks his 100 principles into the following seven lessons:

  1. Life Lesson
  2. Budgeting and Saving Lesson
  3. Spending Lesson
  4. Debt and Credit Card Lesson
  5. Investing Lesson
  6. Housing Lesson
  7. Insurance Lesson

Here is a sampling of some of the principles:

  • Marry the “Financially Right” person.
  • Always live below your means.
  • Develop a written budget and evaluate it every single month.
  • Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses; they’re going bankrupt.
  • If you are in debt, get out of it quickly.
  • Always buy no-load rather than load mutual funds.
  • Buying a house – buy less house than you can afford.
  • Term life insurance works best for young adults.

The only principle in Siegel’s book that I completely disagreed with is his advice to avoid financial advisors. He admitted a bias, and explains that the only financial advisor he ever worked with had stolen the money in his portfolio. What Siegel should have said was: find an objective, comprehensive, fee-only advisor to help plan your financial future.

The book has large print, is only 175 pages long and can be read in one sitting. If you have a young adult son, daughter, niece, or nephew, this book would make a great gift the next time the occasion calls for a gift to be given. It may just be the type of gift that could dramatically affect a young person’s future financial life.