On My Own Two Feet: A Modern Girl’s Guide to Personal Finance

Four Sobering Facts About Women and Money:

  1. 70% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck — including those earning six-figure incomes.
  2. 90% of women will find themselves the sole keeper of their personal finances at some point in their lives.
  3. Thirty million of America’s 40 million-plus boomer women will not be able to afford to retire, will fall below the poverty line, and will experience poorer health in their later years with limited aid from traditional safety nets.
  4. The average age of widowhood in America is 55. Four out of five widows living below the poverty line had not been poor before their husbands died.

On my feet finance

Photo: 39114738@N00, Creative Commons, Flickr

Four Empowering Insights About Money:

  1. Most people don’t have a clue about money.
  2. Things aren’t always what they seem.
  3. Literally millions of people are intimidated by money matters.
  4. After reading this book, you’ll know more than the vast majority of Americans.

On My Own Two Feet: A Modern Girl's Guide To Personal Finance Manisha Thakor and Sharon Kedar’s excellent financial guide, On My Own Two Feet: A Modern Girl’s Guide to Personal FinanceOn My Own Two Feet: A Modern Girl's Guide to Personal Finance, is essential reading for women in their 20’s and 30’s. This quick read demystifies financial planning and gives you the tools to manage your money, and in doing so, your life. If you’ve ever felt stressed out about money issues, Thakor and Kedar’s straightforward information and advice will give you the confidence to make wise choices and avoid becoming a statistic like those above. The delivery is fun and the material is lifechanging.

In under 200 pages, you’ll learn what you need to do, why you need to do it, and how to do it. You get both the big picture and specific advice for budgeting, saving and investing wisely, maximizing your credit score, handling taxes, avoiding credit card debt, and making wise decisions on insurance plans, homes and cars. Another powerful section addresses the issues that can arise with money and relationships. Learning how to talk openly and get naked financially with your partner, create a shared game plan and protect yourself in case things don’t work out, is worth the purchase price alone. You’ll also learn why it’s important to start now and take advantage of compound interest, so you can enjoy the freedom and autonomy to do whatever you want in the future.

For example, regarding longer-term investing (money that you can afford to leave in for at least five years — the longer the better), the authors present the pros and cons of the mos popular options and prescribe a simple and effective plan. They advise people under 50 that "stocks are where the action is." Since index funds have historically done better than 80% percent of active, professionally managed funds and cost much less, they recommend investing in an S&P 500 index fund. For people who find that too simple and want more options, they present alternatives, links and resources in the appendices.

sharon kedar and manisha thakorBoth Manisha and Sharon are eminently qualified to offer financial advice: they’ve earned MBA degrees from Harvard and are Chartered Financial Analyst ("CFA") charterholders. They have extensive experience in investment management firms with billions of dollars in assets. They’ve managed to communicate their knowledge through writing that’s simple, clear and well organized with charts and graphs, so it’s easy for anyone to understand and translate into an action plan.

Whether you’re a fresh college grad, a working woman or stay-at-home-mom, you’ll find something helpful here. The advice works for men too (if you don’t mind the occasional references to prince charming and Manolo Blahniks). This book makes an excellent gift for young women just starting out and those rapidly approaching their 40’s or beyond without a firm financial footing. Though targeted towards women in their 20’s and 30’s, it would also make an ideal gift for teens graduating from high school. College is when most women begin to use — or abuse — credit cards, and learning credit score, budgeting and saving skills early on will make a world of difference in college and beyond.

Knowledge is power, and money is power. On My Own Two Feet is a power tool you can’t afford to miss.


Disclaimer: I met one of the authors, Manisha Thakor, at a Woodhull event and was impressed by her command of the material, compassioniate teaching style, constructive advice, passion for empowering women to make choices that improve their lives and conviction that anyone can do it. At first glance, I thought this book might be too basic, but I found it compelling and plan to share it widely.