by Jim Munchbach
Reviewed by Gary W. Silverman, CFP®
Make Your Money Count is targeted toward individuals, not professionals. With this in mind, I handed the book off to Michelle Kuehner, my office manager, for a quick read. At first she thought this was just another one of the dozens of books about spending less and saving more that get passed around the office. Her initial reaction: "From looking at the title I had hoped it was not another money book discussing whether or not I am contributing enough to my retirement account, or have enough life insurance."
Yet when she opened the cover, she found the author began with four categories of people. Specifically, they are either…
- Buried in debt,
- Barely above water,
- Bucks in the bank, but still worried, or
- Full of purpose and contentment
Let's listen to Michelle some more: "I really enjoyed reading this book. The author divides people into four categories and provides not only definitions of each of the categories, but gives real life examples of individuals within that category. It allows the reader to build a mental relationship with these individuals from the get-go."
The author begins this process by asking the reader to take a snapshot of their current financial situation. Munchbach explains that by placing this information on paper it makes it "real." The next step, he explains, is to prioritize goals. Whether it is paying off a house, buying a new car, or paying for a child's college education, make a schedule and set your goals. Lastly, the author delves a little deeper and explains financial terminology, the differences in insurance, and scratches the surface on tax planning.
Once the reader realizes which category his or her lives fall into, Munchbach begins to explain the reasons that could have placed them there. From our upbringing, an old memory, a physical illness, a mental illness, to myriad of other scenarios, each of these situations etches a notch on our financial belt. When we realize what life-changing experience is holding our hand and leading us down our financial road, we can take hold of our future. Exercises are included at the end of each chapter for the reader to complete. These allow the reader to immediately complete tasks in a step-by-step process.
The author uses a vast number of religious parables which helps the reader understand they are not alone. In fact, Munchbach, feels that one target for the book is churches through small group studies. Because of this, those who don't follow the New Testament might not feel the book is relevant to them, though the principals would fit most any religious persuasion.
Michelle called the book, "a very interesting read." It is geared more toward the individual reader, not the RIA. But since we are (or at least I) am constantly looking for good reading material for clients, this one makes the list. It does not give much investment advice, nor should it. This book is as much about a person finding their purpose as it is about their money. And after all, isn't that the way things are supposed to be?
Gary W. Silverman, CFP®, owns a fee-only financial planning firm in Wichita Falls, Texas. He is the host of the television show, Falls Informer, editor of the financial newsletter Personal Money Planning, and a frequent contributor to the print and broadcast media. Gary also teaches university courses in finance and management.