Book Review: The Joy of Financial Security

A few months ago, I received a free copy of Donna Skeels Cygan’s book, The Joy of Financial Security.  I don’t review many books and when I do, I make it a point not to let the fact that I received it at no cost influence my opinion.  I don’t make it through more than a few chapters in some of the free books I receive.  I finished this one (that’s an accomplishment for me lately) and am glad I did.

This is the 5 Star review I posted on Amazon:

“Cygan delivered a great financial and psychological book. As a fee-only advisor also, I found her first two parts (out of four) the most interesting and very well researched. Part 3 was great for a financial newbie and didn’t seem to fit the rest of the “joy” part to me, but I’m sure someone new to investing would find it very beneficial and helpful to creating joy in their pursuit of financial security. Part 4 was a good wrap up to all of it. I think this book will help me as an advisor. I’ve already implemented some of her suggestions into our family’s daily routine and for that alone, the book is worth the read.”

I’ll add to that review here.  I think you have to be somewhat of a financial nerd to enjoy this book.  If you are willing to open it and read the first page after getting past the title, it probably includes you.  That stereotype certainly includes me and I assume would include most of you who visit my blog on a regular basis and/or subscribe to my RSS feed.  Parts of it almost feel like it’s catered to financial/investment advisors, but maybe that’s just because the author is an advisor and I related to her in a lot of ways.  Anyone who finds financial topics interesting will enjoy most of this book and should come away with a better appreciation of how the human mind works relative to money and material objects.

Soon into the book, you can tell that Cygan did a thorough amount of research to fill the pages without being redundant or boring.  I thought “Part One: Happiness Doesn’t Grow on Trees” and “Part Two: Happiness Strategies”, were enough to make the book worth purchasing.  “Part Three: Financial Strategies” didn’t seem to tie into the title’s theme as much, but she was able to bring it together somewhat in “Part Four: Moving Forward”.  I would think that most regular My Trader’s Journal readers could skip or at least skim Part Three and Part Four after getting the most bang for the buck in the first two sections.

I’ve incorporated some of Cygan’s material into conversations I have with clients and I think those of you who manage your own money would find value in her research.  Even if some of the material covered seems obvious, it’s good to have an occasional review to help keep you focused on what’s important in your own lives and how money ties into that (or doesn’t tie into your happiness).

One of the things I liked most about the book was that she included multiple checklists so the reader can come back to these pages (or download the docs/forms from her Website) and come back to them after finishing the book.  For example, she lists items that should be included in your estate planning binder.  For most people, the idea of having a binder filled with their financial information is new, but I think it’s a great step to make things easier for family if you are the financial bookkeeper in your family and you die before explaining everything to those who survive you.  It might sound like a simple idea, but I can see how this would be a great step towards creating joy in financial security for loved ones.  If nothing else, having all of your finances organized can remove stress from your life and that in itself can make you happier.

Let me know if you’ve read this book and have any more input to provide other readers.

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1 Comment

  1. Comment by Donna Skeels Cygan

    Alex – Thanks so much for reviewing my book, The Joy of Financial Security! I am impressed with your thoroughness and candor, and I am honored by your comments! Donna Skeels Cygan

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