Time is Money

At last! I’ve spent the last couple of days racking my brain, trying to remember the name of personal finance book that forever changed the way I think about money. After a good while browsing on Amazon tonight, I finally found it. But first the backstory… It was the mid-90s, I was in graduate school, and we had just had our first child. I had always been interested in money (aren’t we all?), but had never really done anything significant to take charge of my financial future. And then I picked up a copy of Time is Money by Frances Leonard at the local library.

To be completely honest, many of the details have escaped me, and I really do need to pick this book up and read it again. But what I remember the most from having read it is the sense of clarity that I got about money and the future. The subject matter was really nothing revolutionary, just the basic principle that “Money makes money, and the money that money makes, makes more money.” Perhaps I was just ready for a change, and maybe any finance book would have done the trick, but this book really did change the way I think about money and the future.

After laying out the case for the power of compounding, the book lays out a general plan for making a million. It then gives you a general rundown of the ins and outs of stocks, bonds and mutual funds. After this, there are several chapters devoted to topics such as risk tolerance, retirement accounts, and inflation-proofing your investments. There are also chapters on getting out of debt, buying a house and schooling your kids. There’s even a chapter devoted to the special concerns of women – if you’re going to live longer than the rest of us, you had better be able to pay for it! Finally, the book closes with a chapter titled “The Six Seductive Sirens of Stupidity: Words of Warning for Future Millionaires.”

While sections of it will no doubt be outdated by now (e.g., it was published in the pre-Roth IRA era), I can wholeheartedly recommend Time is Money to anyone who is starting out and just trying to get a handle on their finances. It’s easy to read, interesting, and downright inspirational. (Or at least it was to me.)

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