Everything You Need to Know About Personal Finance on One Page

By Greg Go on 6 May 2009 (Updated 24 November 2009) 1 comment

Trent Hamm of The Simple Dollar has published a short ebook he's giving away for free.  It's audaciously titled "Everything You Ever Really Needed to Know About Personal Finance On Just One Page" -- and it actually succeeds!  Fortunately for us, the ebook doesn't end on page 1.  Trent spends another 48 pages explaining the principles presented on the first page.

Trent has never been gimmicky. He's built his reputation by providing high quality money advice in an easy to understand (and non-judgemental) format on The Simple Dollar.  That means he'll always mean what he says, and deliver what he promises.  Read this, and you'll have the solid money management fundamentals you need to succeed in life.  This ebook is helpful for both financial novices and PF blogging veterans. It's never too late (or too early) to learn the fundamentals.

Besides, there's nothing to lose!  It's free to download!

Here's that one page (click the image to see a full-size version) that explains it all:

The ebook is already super-short, but if you guys are lazy like me, here's an even shorter summary of Trent's 5 fundamental ideas of personal finance:

1. Spend less than you earn. That pretty much sums up good personal finance.  The rest of the book offers practical advice for accomplishing this overall goal.

2. Earn more.  Tips in this section include how to get ahead in your career and establishing a side income.

3. Reduce your spending by living frugally.  This is the meatest part of the book.  There are over 100 useful tips for living frugally without sacrificing your fun.

I'll share two of my favorites.

29. Donʼt spend money just to de-stress. Quite often, I used to spend money just to wind down from a stressful day at work. Instead, Iʼve found that I quite often feel much better by going home and taking some quiet time just to stretch and then meditate. I end up feeling much more together, happy, and ready to face an evening with the kids in the right mindset than I ever would by just blowing some cash after work. Instead of spending to de-stress, try some basic meditation techniques, stretching, or yoga and see how you feel.

I'm guilty of using retail therapy to unwind after a particularly stressful week.  I'll buy books that I think I want to read, and end up not reading them.  The real purpose of the exercise wasn't to get the book, the real reason I make those purchases is to feel that surge of endorphins that come from clicking the "pay now" button.

55. Ask for help and encouragement from your inner circle. Sit down and talk to the people you love and care about the most and ask them for help. Tell them that youʼre trying to trim your spending and youʼd love it if they offered any suggestions and support they might have - and pay attention to what they tell you. They might have some personal insights for your situation that will really help.

I'm a big fan of having a support group / inner circle for all the important facets of my life.  I have an inner circle for managing my finances (Wise Bread and PF blogosphere), running a business (successful businesspeople I've met), eating well (my sister and friends who are great cooks), and on and on.  My inner circle for each facet is different, but I always know I have people I can turn to for advice when I want to grow or when I'm down and need a pick me up. 

My attitude towards my inner circles is basically:  I'm not perfect, and need your objective perspective to help me be better. If you love me, you'll be completely honest and won't hold anything back.  Thanks for helping me become a better person!

4. Manage your finances.  If you apply the first 3 ideas, then you'll have a surplus of money flowing into your bank accounts.  Great!  This is "the gap" that Trent is teaching you to widen. In this section, there's advice for managing (and reducing) debt, establishing an emergency fund, planning/saving for college or retirement, and investing smartly to grow your money.

5. Control your destiny.  The message in this section is that your goal is not to be "rich".  Being rich just implies that you have the freedom to do what you want.  This section helps you figure out what you "really" want (and it's probably not a big pile of cash you swim in).

The book ends with a list of awesome personal finance and frugal living blogs to follow if you want to delve deeper into these 5 ideas.  The ebook is worth downloading just to check out the list of sites that's "Simple Dollar approved".

So download the book, read it, email it to friends, and post it on your blog.  You're not only allowed to do share it with as many people as you want, it's your duty as a good human to help get as many people as possible up to speed on the fundamentals of good personal finance!  Maybe we can make a difference and avoid (or minimize) the next recession.

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John E

What an excellent resource. I printed one for my Fiance ;)