It’s not very often I devote a whole blog post to a single product, but in this case, I felt it was necessary.
First, some quick backstory.
Let’s backtrack to November 2009. I’d just recently left my job, I’d just found out I was moving to Thailand, and I was now working full time to try and grow Location 180.
I’d written a few guest posts for smaller travel or lifestyle blogs, but nothing major.
That is until JD Roth of Get Rich Slowly agreed to publish a post called “Budgeting for a Lifestyle Change”.
For over year it was the highest traffic day I’d ever had on my blog. It was also a huge wakeup call for how some people outside of our small online community thought about people making big entrepreneurial changes (read the comments).
Over the last 5 years JD has become a good friend, and he’s someone I’ve turned to on many occasions in order to get financial and budgeting advice.
Introducing: Be Your Own CFO
When JD told me nearly a year ago he’d be releasing his first information product in tandem with Chris Guillebeau, I knew I’d want to do whatever I could to support him.
Not only to show thanks for the now 3 articles he’s published for me on Get Rich Slowly, or even for being a good friend, no I wanted to support him because his message is so incredibly important.
Finances are often the thing people want to deal with the least in their life and business – so they turn a blind eye, make decisions without weighing the consequences and ultimately end up in a very stressful situation;
Be Your Own CFO sets out to stop that once and for all.
One of the things I’ve always liked about JD is he’s an open book and always tells it like it is.
In the first few pages we see both of these lines:
“Today I’m debt free and have a million dollars in the bank, but ten years ago, my financial life was a disaster.”
“One night in October 2004, after I’d bounced yet another check and missed yet another payment, I reached rock bottom.”
He’s willing to tell you about his success, and just as willing to tell you about his massive failures – and that’s what I want to see from someone writing about personal finance. Someone who has seen both sides of the coin, and worked for years to overcome their issues.
Why is This Guide Worth Buying
In the words of my accountant Kyle: “This isn’t nice to know stuff, it’s must know stuff.”
If you’re preparing to build a business, leave a job, or do anything that results in a little bit of financial uncertainty – you have to have a plan. And often the most difficult part of this is the fact we have no idea what we don’t know.
I received a finance degree in school, and one of the things I was most disappointed by was the lack of basic personal finance education they provided. One of the primary things I’d hoped to get out of my $50k education, you can get out of this book less than $100 – pretty good deal.
I particularly like the concept of “being your own CFO”. JD looks at your life as a business, and then helps you manage all of the financial aspects of them as part of a system – just as the CFO of a major corporation would.
So what exactly are you getting?
123 Page Field Guide
This is the meat and potatoes of the whole thing. It sets you up for success from chapter 1, helping you to look at the big picture of your life, and then slowly zero in on things you need to do in order to get organized and improve your financial situation.
I specifically love the examples JD uses from his personal life. Seeing the transition from living in severe debt and paycheck to paycheck – to now thriving financially actually builds trust, and helps me know he knows his stuff.
In this guide he covers:
- How to correctly setup and manage all of your accounts
- How to create and utilize financial reports
- How to build a useful budget
- Ways to bring in more revenue you may not have thought of
- Essentials of investing
Obviously there’s a lot more, but these were some of the things that really stood out to me.
Templates, Worksheets, and Interviews
This is often where the true value lies in information products. When someone gives me templates and all I have to do is fill in the numbers, and update things a couple times a month, I’m much more likely to actually utilize them than if I had to go in and build a whole excel spreadsheet from scratch. Specifically his worksheet on “The Balanced Money Formula” is extremely useful.
Often we also relate to different people better. Because of this he’s interviewed 18(!) well known entrepreneurs, authors, and bloggers to get insight into their financial world and what they’ve done to make themselves successful (includes transcripts).
It’s really easy to buy something, have the best intentions in the world, and then completely forget about it 3 days later.
One of the coolest parts of this package is the Money Monday emails. It’s 52 emails sent out each Monday, that are designed to help you stay on track financially and accomplish the goals you set for yourself over the course of a year.
If you make a commitment to make these changes, this is a huge accountability factor that could make a big difference in your success.
Should You Buy It?
Aside from supporting JD, one of the biggest reasons I’m writing this post today is because there’s a good chance you’d never think to buy a financial product for yourself – I certainly wouldn’t have a few years ago, but I desperately needed it.
Having a framework for managing your financial house while you go through other major changes in your life is huge. It’s because of advice from people like JD, that I’m actually saving more for retirement now than I ever was working in a traditional job. It’s the reason I have a detailed budget in Mint.com, it’s a big part of the reason I am able to travel and have so many adventures.
The more organized you are, the more you can do, and the less stress you’ll have in the process.
So is it for you?
My best answer is: probably.
If you’re one of the small percentage of people that has all of your finances organized and dialed in – awesome, you don’t need this. But if you’ve lived paycheck to paycheck, struggled to save, and especially if you’re wanting to start your own business, I think this is one of the best investments you can make for yourself and your business (and I’m not just saying that).