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Generation Earn: The Young Professional's Guide to Spending, Investing, and Giving Back Paperback – October 12, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-1580082365 ISBN-10: 158008236X Edition: 0th

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press (October 12, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 158008236X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580082365
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #110,734 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Young people have a serious PR problem, argues U.S. News & World Report finance columnist Palmer. According to the media, the youngest slacker generation is wallowing in credit card debt, rolling in unnecessary luxury goods, and living in their parents' basements--or are they? The truth, it turns out, is quite a bit cheerier. Only one in three college students has a credit card, and the average amount owed is only . But these young whippersnappers coming of age in a recession could still use some solid advice, and Palmer is here to help. She gives a comprehensive overview of the basics of financial literacy, including defining financial goals, weighing a traditional job vs. entrepreneurship, saving for retirement, voluntary simplicity, the effect that marriage and children can have on your finances, and how to prioritize charitable giving even on a tight budget. Though her advice is solid and her message of embracing sustainability and thriftiness sound, the tone is dry and the content familiar--it's been done better, by others, and Millennials searching for inspired money advice would be better off looking elsewhere. (Nov.) (c)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


“Palmer expands lessons from her own experience into something truly helpful for a wider audience. Generation Earn reads like a light-hearted yet sincere letter from a slightly older and wiser friend. ...a thoughtful and incredibly useful graduation or birthday gift.”
Better Investing, 1/1/11

“it takes you on [a] journey toward financial freedom, and offers helpful tips that you can actually put into practice.”
—, Personal Finance Corner, 10/28/10

Generation Earn offers real, applicable career and money advice.”
—Mediabistro blog, FishbowlDC, 10/20/10

"Kimberly Palmer, author of the new "Generation Earn: The Young Professional's Guide to Spending, Investing and Giving Back" (Ten Speed Press, October 2010) speaks of and for the next generation. Palmer writes the popular "Alpha Consumer" column for U.S. News and World Report and she's mad! She's tired of today's young professionals being referred to as "Generation Debt." Palmer points out that Generations X and Y hold more advanced degrees than any prior generation, giving them serious earning potential. ...What stands out about "Generation Earn" is that Palmer goes beyond the desperate "me, me, me" of most personal finance books. Of course, she advises young professionals on how to get their financial houses in order. That's obligatory. And she covers those fundamentals with a crisp, conversational style that makes it sink in. But then she goes beyond that and advises her generation on how to fulfill their dreams of making a difference. It's a lot easier to change the world if you have something more in your arsenal than just sweat and tears. Palmer advises on green spending, wise giving and what she calls "Nonprofit Dreamin.' Generations X and Y are often maligned, but nobody can deny that these young people often think beyond themselves. "Generation Earn" can help them put some money and muscle behind their good intentions."
—Elisabeth Leamy, Good Morning America, Consumer Correspondent, 10/18/10

"Generation Earn is aimed at young professionals, who are increasingly interested in spending smarter, investing and giving back. But the book is also excellent in its scope and even mentions ways to reduce one’s carbon footprint, such as calculating one’s footprint and offsetting in support of innovative clean energy projects. As the dust of the recession is finally settling, you might be wondering where do we go from here? Generation Earn provides a compass and reveals paths for a better future."
— blog, 10/12/10

"This is a great book for a thoughtful college graduate. In fact, without knowing anything more than that about a graduate, this would be my first pick as a gift for graduation (perhaps coupled with Your Money or Your Life). As with many such books, the subtitle should make it clear whether this book will have any value for you personally. Are you a young professional? If the answer is yes, this book is probably worth a look."
—The Simple Dollar blog, 10/10/10

“If you’re looking for a book that talks to your life, your money, right now, this is it! It’s an essential guide for a rapidly changing world.”
—Carmen Wong Ulrich, personal finance expert for The Dr. Oz Show and author of The Real Cost of Living

“Kimberly Palmer has crafted a clear-eyed, engaging book that goes far beyond finances and careers, and gives us a roadmap for how best to conduct our lives. As my three daughters enter their twenties, this is one of the most valuable guidebooks I could give them.”
—Jeff Zaslow, coauthor of The Last Lecture and columnist, Wall Street Journal

Generation Earn shows us how to pursue our financial goals without compromising our values. The financial world—and our place in it—is changing, but Palmer’s advice will help us move ahead.”
—Farnoosh Torabi, money coach on Bank of Mom and Dad and author of Psych Yourself Rich

More About the Author

Kimberly Palmer is the senior money editor and Alpha Consumer blogger at U.S. News & World Report and author of "Generation Earn: The Young Professional's Guide to Spending, Investing, and Giving Back" (Ten Speed Press). She has appeared on NBC's Today Show, CNBC, CNN, and local television and radio shows across the country to talk about making smart money decisions. She has also written for the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and the Asahi Shimbun/International Herald Tribune in Tokyo as a Henry Luce Scholar. She holds a master's degree in public policy from the University of Chicago and a bachelor's degree in history from Amherst College. Kimberly lives in the Washington, D.C., area with her husband and their two children. You can connect with her online at

Customer Reviews

Her engaging and optimistic style makes for an easy read.
Rose Ericson
The book provides solid, hands-on, concrete advice on how to do things smarter, better, more efficiently - to help achieve financial (and mental!)
Judith Bowman
I would strongly encourage all recent college graduates to buy this book.
Steve L

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By California Dreaming on October 13, 2010
Format: Paperback
I've gotten to know Kimberly Palmer's work through her Alpha Consumer blog and have enjoyed her material throughout the years. I find this book a great read, where you'll find fresh tips as well as anecdotes that shed light on money matters that interest those just starting out in their careers. I wrote my own review on my blog (called But I'd like to say a few words here as well, about Generation Earn: It's a pretty easy, breezy read. The casual style makes it easy for you to whip through the pages. There's a lot about it I appreciate -- I find that it does a great job at addressing the questions and concerns of its target audience: young people who are starting out during a time when debt and unemployment seem to weigh more heavily on our nation.

My favorite section is the one on earning an income (from one or more channels). It's called "Job Juggling". Here, you can see how you may be able to earn income in new ways through approaches that may not have been possible even just a few years ago. I find it inspiring!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Rose Ericson on January 2, 2011
Format: Paperback
A must-read for today's young adults, "Generation Earn" offers practical and sobering -- but hopeful -- guidance on spending, debt, jobs, entrepreneurship, owning vs. renting, negotiating, marriage, investing and philanthropy. One novel suggestion includes tracking, for two weeks, the emotion experienced at the time of *every* purchase, large or small. Kimberly Palmer also alerts readers to beware the subtle seduction strategies of retailers, credit-card issuers and others.

Her engaging and optimistic style makes for an easy read. Yet Palmer succeeds in offering hard-hitting lessons; many who read "Generation Earn" will find themselves taking off their rose-colored glasses and viewing their lives, jobs, priorities, habits and attitudes in the harsh light of 21st-century reality.

Did I mention that older adults might learn a few things too?
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By MadelineRP on December 3, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The advice in Generation Earn is unique and timely, and can't be found in one place with more compelling and approachable narratives anywhere else. For having so much valuable information it's not tedious, and reads more like a series of short-stories than financial advice. This is one of a very small pool of post-recession literature that makes the reader feel less like this is Armageddon and more like this is a small part of history that has changed the way we look at money, and maybe for the better.

Especially engaging is the chapter on giving back. Palmer sheds new light on how philanthropy is being handled by young professionals and gives advice on the most effective ways to participate. I now feel confident that the small scholarship I have wanted to start at the dance studio in my hometown is the right way for me to give back.

I no longer feel like there is a conversation about money that I am not a part of. This empowerment has made the "real world" less daunting and the recession less hazardous to my financial future.

If you relate in any way to following, read this book:
I graduated into the recession. College graduation is bitter-sweet by nature, but mine was not marked by glee at having officially left "school world" and the excitement of entering the "real world." Rather, the collective global fear about The Economy made me take a job I may not have otherwise for fear that I would not find anything else. And I may not have. This job also found me making more money than I may have if I had continued to look for something in the anthropology/medicine/journalism field. With said money piling up in a checking account, I realized I needed answers. I couldn't go the usual route (parents) and didn't have anyone else (finance friend) nor did I know where to go (bank? financial adviser?). I Amazoned some key words, bought a few books, and only read this one. Have yet to find a better source.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Christine B. Whelan on January 24, 2011
Format: Paperback
Young people have been dubbed Generation Debt for their proclivities for spending on credit, but that's an unfair label that can turn into a dangerous self-fulfilling prophecy for the future. Twenty-somethings aren't group of slackers who are profligate with their money; rather, this is a generation desperate for some user-friendly information on modern, values-based ideas of spending, saving and giving back.

U.S. News & World Report financial columnist Kimberly Palmer realized this, and in response, she wrote this terrific book, Generation Earn: The Young Professional's Guide to Spending, Investing and Giving Back.

Generation Earn is focused on the life transitions of young-adulthood -- graduating from college with a pile of educational debt, the decision move back in with your parents or struggle through with six roommates and the how to start changing the world before you've earned your first million. It's an upbeat book that offers financial education without a lot of parental finger-wagging. And running throughout the book is the message that thrift is about your core values and choices, not just a string of numbers on a ledger sheet.

That's an important thing to mention: Most financial guidebooks talk about how to create wealth and pay off debt, with little discussion of why--the purpose behind the quest for financial security. Generation Earn does a great job letting these big-picture issues take a front-stage position, framing money issues in terms of real-life issues for a generation is desperate need of some practical advice.
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