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When I graduated college, amidst of sea of students heading off for careers in finance, the extent of my fiscal savvy was the knowledge of the difference between stocks and bonds. From the six months between May and November, said savvy remained stagnant. Just a few weeks ago, though, when I got a new job and came to the realization that I was going to need to move out of my family’s apartment and begin paying rent, I realized that devising a personal budget was imperative. I made the entire thing, and proudly showed it to my dad, in awe of how much spending money I had for each month. He looked at it and laughed. I had forgotten to account for taxes, and had about half as much disposable income as I had initially imagined. So, yeah, it was about time I sought professional help. Enter Nicole Lapin. She is officially my financial guru. And she can be yours, too, for just $24.95.
You might not expect a book called Rich Bitch to dispense such solid financial advice, but, upon completion, I can say with confidence that I feel like I’ve got my finances figured out [but when it comes times to file taxes, we’ll see…]. Nicole outlines a 12-step program with advice on everything from how much money to allocate for drinks with your girlfriends to getting a raise, buying a house, all the way through to retirement. Lapin, a former financial neophyte herself, suggests beginning your financially responsible journey by making a list—one year goals, three year goals, seven year goals, five year goals, and ten year goals. Once you’ve figured out what you ultimately want from your future—are you planning on moving somewhere where you need a car? Do you eventually want enough to children to require moving into a house? These things seem far down the road, but if you don’t start saving for them now, they’ll never become reality. This sounds somewhat depressing, but Lapin breaks it down a manageable way—and, given how successful she has managed to become [before she became a full-time finance expert, she was the valedictorian of her class at Northwestern and the youngest female anchor on CNBC], she’s doling out the kind of advice you want to take. By no means does Lapin live a Spartan lifestyle, and you won’t have to either, as long as you save as much and work as hard as she has over the course of your career.
So, what exactly is the valuable advice Lapin dispenses over the course of the book? First, the goals journal, which sounds simple, but once you write it down, is actually quite motivating. Second, Lapin allocates budget percentages for you: Housing should be 35%, Transportation is 10% [check with your employer if you are eligible for tax-exempt transportation benefits], household bills and insurances at 15%, savings 15%, and fun at 15% as well. Lapin also provides a spending plan spreadsheet and a budget spreadsheet, available here, where you can account for everything you like to spend money on [from 401(k) contributions to fitness classes], and calculate it against your monthly income in order to ensure you are spending the right amount. I’m not going to reveal the rest of the book, because a. I plan on giving it to many of my friends for Christmas [hope they’re not offended!] and b. if you’re not on my gift recipient list, you should buy it for yourself. This book is an absolute must-have resource for any woman that desires success on her own terms [which should be all of them!].