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Generation Earn: The Young Professional's Guide to Spending, Investing, and Giving Back Paperback – October 12, 2010
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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.”
—Allbusiness.com, 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."
—Carbonfund.org 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
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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.
The middle part of the book focuses on becoming a home owner for the first time. It offers advice on buying a home that you need versus buying the huge mansion that you want. It also helps us focus on making decisions to save money without negatively impacting our day to day life.
The last part of the book focuses on volunteering, and how we can all make a difference. Whether it is with the environment or many other causes we can all make better choices that will have a positive impact on the world.
This is arguably the best financial book I have ever read. I would strongly encourage all recent college graduates to buy this book. As a young professional, this could be the most important book you ever read.
Palmer has her book broken into three sections: Building Your Life, Creating a Home, and Giving Back. All great sections. And my favorite part of the book is the "Quick Tips" throughout the book that give all kinds of helpful ideas that relate to the chapter (Reminds me of a Tim Ferris 4HWW style). There are several parts of the book that I really like, so I am just going to dig into a few.
There is an upside to debt. This is right on. Debt is not always a bad thing. It depends on your situation and the kind of debt you are using. For example... Student Loans: Great... 20% Credit Card holding balance: Bad.... Home Loan: Probably Good. Debt gets a really bad reputation because the people that end up trash talking debt are the ones that don't know how to use it effectively. Debt has lots of power and in the words of Uncle Ben (Spiderman reference) "With great power comes great responsibility." It is so easy to get out of hand with debt if you aren't smart about it. Some types of debt allow for easier mistakes. Credit Cards are culprits of being the easiest to abuse. Regulatory Laws on credit cards change every few years and recently lawmakers have tightened the reigns on CC companies. However, it's still really easy to get a higher limit and even easier to swipe that card on anything you want. Student Loans are relatively difficult to 'abuse' and Palmer even gives the suggestion of using income smoothing, which is using student loans to boost your standard of living while in school or underemployed because after you graduate and get a job you will be able to pay that loan off easily. However, she does make a point to say that doesn't mean you can go out to a concert every weekend or spend a few weekends in the tropics. Smoothing is about going out to a few nice dinners and avoiding ramen on a regular basis. Lastly, Home Loans... I love home loans, but if you aren't smart about doing your homework, you could get burned on purchase price or mortgage rate or points. Just do your due diligence and you'll be fine.
Something else I liked in the book was the idea of parents or grandparents being the source of a loan with interest to a kid or grandkid. If you do this, then you avoid anyone defaulting and it gives the parent or grandparent a good rate of return on their money. This is especially handy in such financially unsettling times. The only thing I would want to address is the emotions involved. Don't fork over your life savings if you will be ruined without it... When giving to family, it's best to only use money that you will be okay if you never see it again. The last thing you need it a rift between family members and money has a tendency to do that. Just make good decisions for your own situation.
The last thing I want to write about is philanthropy. Palmer throws out some shocking statistics. Well, I believe it, it just saddens me. "College graduates donate, on average 2.4 percent of their annual income." Now why the heck is this? I understand that people have childcare and cars to fix and debt to pay off, but 2.4%? If anything that number should be much closer to 5% although 10% is the goal. According to the author of The Happiness Project, people that donate money are actually happier because when you have money away you convince yourself that you are doing pretty well. So, switch to basic cable or go the bars less often and feed some hungry children or give it to one of God's churches instead. God is the best business partner you will ever have and all he wants is 10%. And now I am stepping off the soap box.
Generation Earn is an awesome book with some new world financial ideas. I highly encourage picking this one up! As always, if you have any questions on the book don't hesitate to ask. I would be more than happy to help anyone that wants it.