Financial Freedom: A Quick, Helpful Guide to Growing your Money
At nearly 26 years of age, I am admittedly not a financial expert. Recently I was at a friend’s bachelor party (as a groomsman, for those who care) and two in the party spent a decent amount of time discussing strategies, techniques, and effective tools to build their wealth in their mid-to-late twenties. While I was familiar with some basic information (i.e. the differences between a Roth IRA and a 401k plan), it helped me gain some important insight on my finances and how best to manage my modest yet livable income as a graduate student.
That stated, I came back from the bachelor party inquisitive about financial help and, low-and-behold, found Chase Lawson’s Financial Freedom: Breaking the Chains to Independence and Creating Massive Wealth was the next in my line of reviews. Chuckling at the very serendipity of it all, I started to read.
Financial Freedom is, to be frank, an incredibly accessible work. Lawson does a great job of breaking down concepts that would confuse or frustrate my younger self (i.e. building a sturdy budget, acknowledging the value of life insurance policies at early ages) as well as others who may not necessarily have a background in financial wellness. Further, the majority of the work was succinct, allowing me time to follow the author’s instructions to read then re-read each chapter to let the insight sink in. Acknowledging that you need help can be humbling and, in that process, finding books that confuse and bog down the reader only aids in pushing the reader away. In addition, Lawson covers a wide array of topics, a few of which I had not even considered to be valuable in the course of discussing financial wellness such as life insurance.
I found it immensely helpful that Lawson provided clear spreadsheets of his work throughout the piece. While an admitted stats nerd (hey, what quantitative Sociologist or Sociologist-in-training isn’t?), I feel confident that a reader could utilize this information for their benefit. Further, Lawson offers some of the spreadsheet templates to his readers, as well as a free consultation for those who purchase the book(!), which further affirms the accessibility of this book.
This is not to say that the book did not leave me free of concerns. There were multiple instances where the author cites research, news, and online journal articles, yet uses them sparingly in cases where facts are presented. In particular, I would have liked to see more citations speaking to facts presented on the S&P and changes in interest rates by the Fed in Chapter 1, where the number on typical leases comes from in Chapter 3, and points on the use of credit cards in Chapter 7. While I acknowledge that this is not a research article, having clear citations allows readers such as myself to further assess the author’s claims through fact-checking.
Furthermore, I found that I agreed with the majority of the author’s points on the matter of spending, yet I can count too the number of similarities between myself and the author: Single income, young, male, no kids, working in a salaried position (or the graduate school equivalent). As such, I ponder to the extent of the generalizability of each and every point made by the author. While the author does provide helpful information that is specifically useful across the board (i.e. emergency funds, life insurance, budgeting, car payments), there is a lack of information provided on the basis of life experiences that can affect financial wellness. One example that sticks out is children and childcare, which can make up a significant portion of anyone’s budget. A further example would be the fact that not everyone has access to a specific employee-run 401k or IRA plan. I would possibly recommend a follow-up from the author on these and other topics that may not be applicable to his experiences thus far in life, but those faced by many folks in need of financial wellness, the select individuals who would be more inclined to purchase Lawson’s book.
There’s an expression within comedy (in particular, improvisational comedy) known as “yes, and” and “yes, but”. To build a solid sketch or scene, the goal of the performers/writers is to utilize dialogue to add onto the current scene, continuing the dialogue without directly undercutting or dismissing the work that has already been presented (i.e. “yes, but”).
To conclude, my intention with this review is not to “yes, but” and take away from the author’s solid work. My intent is to utilize “yes, and” and recommend future work by Lawson to include discussions on other aspects of financial wellness that others may face. I give this recommendation to Lawson because of his strong writing skills and ability to condense information into bite-size chunks. Financial Freedom is a good reference for financial wellness on a wide variety of subjects and I would highly recommend picking up a copy.
Writing: 9.5/10. Strong writing style
Consistency: 8/10. Consistent writing style, could use a few more citations
Clarity: 7.5/10. Work is clear, but generalizability is a bit of a concern.
Organization: 9/10. Very well organized.
Overall: 8.5/10. Congrats on your four-star review!
You can find Financial Freedom here on Amazon