Balancing Act

balancing actSo yes, I'm still on that financial planning jag. And no, don't ask me how long it will continue. I imagine a bit longer yet (or a lot longer yet).

I *liked* this book. It was very Canadian. It was geared towards women. It actually mentioned student loan debt. It had me laughing out loud, it had me saying "yesssssssss", it had me say "I did/do that!" Yes, I liked this book.

I will preface this all by saying that as much as I totally liked this book, I think if I had not read other basic, introductory books before it, it would have intimidated the hell out of me. It really does go into detail about things, which is part of what I loved about it because I'm at the point where I need a lot of the detail that it provided. Had I not had a basic understanding of what financial paths I should be taking this book might have tempted me to grab some cheese, the cat, and hide under my bed for a week. Why the cheese? Because it's the only way I'd ever get Piper to *stay* under the bed with me. Anyway, yeah, so not a book for a someone who hadn't had an introduction to financial planning.

I started reading this book late Friday night. I had wanted to go to bed but um, subwoofer (damn neighbours). So then I started reading and ended up reading for a good hour after the neighbours shut off the subwoofer. And then even after I shut off the light my mind was racing. Starting this book before bed was bad. My brain got excited and didn't want to shut down.

For the entire first two chapters I just kept thinking, "Yes, she gets it!" Meaning of course, that she got me. Or that I got her. Or something. My debt is not the same as her debt and I certain didn't get into debt while having a six-figure salary. The only six-figures I was looking as were some date ranges in human evolution, ie. I was a starving student. Well, for most of my debt anyway. My credit card debt largely came from being an underemployed office worker without benefits. And not only did she talk about student loans but she talked about debt collectors who make you feel like s-h-i-t-e. Yes, this woman had me liking her early on.

I spend a huge part of the day on Sunday reading and taking notes on mutual funds. I think I now get mutual funds. I think I understand what a money market fund is. All these books kept telling me they could be quite useful things but I didn't really understand it. The chapter on mutual funds is long and almost overwhelming in the amount of information but it's really useful.

And while she did talk about the financial benefits of having a home and things you need to do/consider before buying one she did admit that it wasn't necessarily for everyone. And you know what, she resisted it for a number of years because it wasn't right for her. At a time when everyone seems to be screaming BUY! BUY! it was refreshing to have someone remind you that it's not necessarily the right thing for *you* to do. And that just because you don't buy doesn't mean you are going to be poor (that whole stupid "homeowners will get rich and renters will be poor" thing).

I found it interesting that she included a chapter on gender tax. You know, how women pay more for drycleaning, haircuts and cars. The salon that I go to bases the price of your hair cut on how long it takes to do your hair. I still am in the upper levels but I have long hair that needs to be layered and takes a freaking long time to blow dry. But even at their upper level it's less than it cost me in Montreal (attempts at cheaper haircuts in Montreal didn't go well...one involved a drag queen who burned me with a hair dryer...).

After reading this book I just felt more...prepared. I feel like I understand what things are and what I have to do more clearly. Of course, things in my life are rarely that easy. I'm putting off making any big financial decisions until after I find out what happens with my contract in July. But when the day comes, whenever that day is, that I'm able to make these decisions I'll be better prepared because of this book.