I enjoy learning and discussing personal finance. The day-to-day things like budgeting, credit decisions, debt repayment. Where I start to get a bit intimidated is matters of investing. So, I admit, when I learned that The One-Page Financial Plan was written by financial planner, Carl Richards, I was a bit apprehensive about reading it.
Once people start talking stocks, bonds, derivatives (blah blah blah), I totally shut down, and I had no clue how to avoid the ‘shut down’ when I have to review the book!
I think I spent a few days just poking it with a stick. Once I finally got over my fear of touching it, upon a quick glance, the first thing that stood out to me was that One-Page Financial Plan was around 200 pages long. That alone made me feel a little less intimidated.
Also, as I flipped through the pages, I noticed there were a lot of very simple sketches and some on napkins (Yes – even less reading) and I felt even a little more comfortable taking it on.
What was really helpful was actually reading the books tagline: A Simple Way to Be Smart About Your Money. As I read through the pages, the one thing I felt very confident about, is that the author delivered on the tagline.
The author says:
My goal in writing this book is to pull the curtain back a bit: to show you how real financial planning works, to give you an experience of what it’s like to work with a real financial advisor. Whether you’re working with an advisor or on your own, this book will help you understand the basic steps for creating a personalized plan that takes into your account your unique values and goals.
One-Page Financial Plan Review
Boy was I pleasantly surprised and never more happy to be wrong! It is evident from my fear that I had no idea how real financial planning works … I mean, they don’t just start talking about stock options? Firstly, I really like the author’s writing style. It is very simple, making the subject matter approachable.
Secondly, he does a great job of walking the reader through the steps of making an individualized financial plan without making it seem like a rudimentary to-do list. Each step is wrapped in relevant stories and makes sure to delve into the reasoning behind making choices.
In One-Page Financial Plan, the author talks about his own financial missteps, and I really appreciated the humility and openness. And I have to tell you, he does eventually get to the bad ‘i’ word – investments, and it wasn’t painful! I didn’t scratch my eyes out and I didn’t just close the book and figure I’d ignore writing about it in this review.
Just like the rest of the book, what he does share is done in such a way that anyone can understand. It wasn’t bogged down with jargon and really helped me to feel more confident with investments going forward. Also, he doesn’t tell you what to do, but he does give the reader really good guidelines to do what’s best for their unique situation.
One-Page Financial Plan – Takeaways
A couple of things I learned:
1. It is important to know why money is important to me. (And not in a generic way, but to really get to the root of it)
2. I want to make sure my values and my goals align. It’s clear to me know how those bump up against each other in my life.
3. As with everything else … as we’ve always known … discipline is key.
If You Need Some Guidance
A lot of times, in areas like finances, the problem is that we know we need to get to point B but we just need some guidance to get there. For anyone, in any financial state, One-Page Financial Plan will help you to do that. After reading it, I felt like some of the jumbles in my mind got sorted out. I guess that’s what a financial advisor is supposed to be able to do for a client. Mission accomplished.
Carl Richards is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and the director of investor education for the BAM ALLIANCE, a community of over 130 independent wealth management firms throughout the United States. He is the creator of the weekly Sketch Guy column in the The NY Times, and a columnist for Morningstar Advisor. Carl has also been featured on Marketplace Money, The Leonard Lopate Show, Oprah.com and Forbes.com.