Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Have you ever figured The Real Cost of Living?

What do you think you'd find if you sat down and figured out the REAL cost of your choices would be? Would you be OVERPAYING for college? Is it REALLY cheaper to own than to rent? I can't even FATHOM how much it cost me to have kids (sorry Ben, but you're an expensive proposition). Not that you should make ALL of your choices based on money, but think about it.

In The Real Cost of Living: Making the Best Choices for You, Your Life, and Your Money by Carmen Wong Ulrich, she tackles how to make better decisions (both large as well as small) that involve $$$. Not only that, but she weights the real cost of money vs. the real PERSONAL cost of making certain decisions (unusual for a personal finance book).

Included in her "real costs" are:

  • Home
  • Marriage and Divorce
  • Family
  • College
  • Bad Habits
  • Being Your Own Boss
  • Credit Cards
  • Saving 
  • Investing

The only problem that I have is that when it comes to saving and investing, things (and figures) change constantly... so, take her advice, and do a little research to make sure that the numbers add up.

On a personal level, I found the chapter on college to be fascinating (considering "B" is a recent graduate). The cost of an education is extremely high these days, and when weighed against the declining job market, it's a pretty interesting equation. For example what is the value of $40,000 in college debt when the pay for college grads has DECREASED by 10% yet tuition has risen 20%? She doesn't suggest that you don't go to school, but rather to look at the options to lower your costs (both during and after the college years).

Overall, The Real Cost of Living is a good guidebook to keep your finances in check. It's uncomplicated methods and straight talk is refreshing.

The Real Cost of Living: Making the Best Choices for You, Your Life, and Your Money is available at bookstores everywhere.

We received a copy of this title for our book review. All opinions are strictly our own.


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Michelle said...

Thanks for this review. There are so many financial "gurus" that its sometimes difficult to know whose word to trust.

Some of it really is trial and error (ie investing).

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