10 Secrets to Move from Fearful Insecurity to Confident ControlBy Emily Stroud
As the subtitle of suggests, in Faithful Finance Emily Stroud gives her ten secrets to gaining personal financial freedom. She can substantiate her secrets with her work and her credentials, which are impressive. She holds an MBA (Texas Christian University in 1998) and a CFA Charter which she earned in 2002. Interesting side note –June 2016 statistics state there are approximately 132,000 charter holders. According to the stats, only 43 percent passed the Level 1 tests in 2017, with only 47 percent of those passing Level 2, and then only 54 percent of those remaining passing Level 3! It takes approximately four years to complete all three levels. According to the CFA Institute, the CFA is the highest distinction in the investment management profession.
You might think, as I did, that this book might be way over your head. That it would be dry, dull, boring, and would have no practical advice, at least not advice that was understandable. You would be very wrong. In fact, I am recommending this book to my college age friends, as well as to my two sons who are in their early twenties. If this book is read and applied while you are young, it will start you on a firm foundation for years of financial security. Obviously this doesn’t mean you are going to be rich (as in wealthy). Ms. Stroud provides solid principles to follow, laid out in an engaging format. So much so that I should have finished her book much sooner, but kept stopping and thinking how I could apply the principles to my own life (I am in my late forties, and although I practice many of her principles, I can learn to practice them all).
Everyone wants their money to grow. One of the first things Ms. Stroud talks about is a budget. Most of us think of that as a very bad word, or even a restrictive way to manage your money, but what about if you use it as a TOOL? I’ve started working on MY budget. If you don’t know what you have and where you are spending it, your money definitely will not grow. In fact, it’s likely it will do the opposite.
Speaking of growing your money, in Faithful Finance Ms. Stroud talks about ways to invest your money, breaking down the various types of investments and how each could benefit you. She talks about the many types of insurance and what type you should have for the different stages of your life; and explains the differences. If you have kids and want to save for college, she provides resources and describes what each can do for you. If you are nearing retirement or already in retirement, she shows you how to carefully manage and even invest your money so you will always have an income stream. Talking about kids’ college and retirement reminds me of Ms. Stroud’s point that education is very good to have and is eventually financially beneficial, but she also stresses that paying for college should never be at the expense of retirement! She explains there are many ways to fund college, but if you fail at saving for retirement, you may become dependent upon your children. That would defeat the purpose of your kids becoming financially independent.
Do you own a house? If you don’t own a home, home ownership is considered a good investment. That is, if you make sure your overall housing expenses fit in your monthly budget. And if you pay your house off before retirement, it gets even better. I love the verse Ms. Stroud quoted on purchasing a home -- Jesus said in Luke 14:28, “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?” Ms. Stroud’s point – make sure you plan and prepare for this investment.
Speaking of using Scripture in Faithful Finance (hey, the title might be a clue), Ms. Stroud liberally sprinkles Scripture throughout her book. And in several places she mentions that the most important place to “lay up your treasure” is in Heaven. She also presents the simple plan of salvation where appropriate. But even if you are not a Christian and not even remotely interested in Christianity, you will still benefit from the wisdom this book provides on how to handle your finances.
I can’t wait to make my recommendation of Faithful Finance to my friends. I have already begun implementing some of Ms. Stroud’s strategies in my personal life, and am excited to begin to do more. And if you thought you might borrow my copy of the book, think again -- you will have to buy your own!
In order to comply with new Federal Trade Commission regulations, please note that this book was provided compliments of Handlebar Publishing. I am under no obligation to post a positive review.