The power of reading is something you shouldn't underestimate. Even if you don't enjoy reading. That's because there's no other resource in the world where you can spend $20 and get a potential return of thousands of dollars, increased happiness, greater success, and a whole lot more. I've been thinking about this a lot lately because I'm discovering that the older I get the more I appreciate books. On this episode, I'm going to let you listen in on a conversation I had with Jeff Brown, the guy behind the Read to Lead podcast. He's got some great insights into the power of reading, what it can do for you, and even gives us some tips on how to get more out of our reading. I hope you take the time to listen.
42% of college graduates will never read a book after graduation.
Can you believe that? It's really a shocking statistic but apparently, it's how the world is going these days. I think it's a tragic sign of the passive way people are going about life in the modern era. People appear to be losing their motivation to make something of their lives – and it may seem strange that I'm making that conclusion based on stats about the decline of reading, but it's really common sense. Reading is one of the primary ways anyone can increase their knowledge and improve their life without having to depend on anyone else. But it requires initiative, doesn't it? I hope to challenge you to pick up a book and get busy learning, growing, and making more of yourself. It doesn't matter if you're retired or not, you can always learn something and make your life happier by reading a book.
You've heard it said that leaders are readers, right? It turns out it's true.
Every successful person you can think of is a purposeful reader. Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Mark Cuban, and many other highly successful people have openly shared that they read significant amounts every day. In fact, when Elon Musk was asked how he learned to build rockets his answer was, "I read books." On this episode my guest, Jeff Brown is going to share what he's discovered about the importance of reading on his path to entrepreneurship after years in the corporate work world. He says it's imperative that you be a reader if you are going to develop the new mindsets you need in order to make a change for the better in your life. And we all want to see "better" happen in our lives, right?
Would you like to know how you can better tap into the power of reading?
My goal is to challenge you to increase your happiness and quality of life both before and after your retirement by becoming a more effective reader. Toward that end, I've invited Jeff Brown on the show to share some insights from his experience in reading great books and interviewing the people who have written them. You're going to find yourself not only challenged but also inspired by what Jeff has to share. He's got some great tips for how you can get even more out of your reading. I hope you'll take up his challenge to be more intentional about the way you read.
My listener recommended book list is ready for you! Here's how you can get it.
For the past few months, I've been compiling a list of book recommendations that listeners to my podcast have submitted. The books on the list cover all sorts of topics, from financial planning to personal development and growth. If you'd like to see the top books that my very intelligent and world-changing listeners recommend, you can get them free of charge. All you need to do is sign up for my "6 Shot Saturday" emails – and you can find out how to do that by listening to this episode.
RELATED: 9 answers to burning personal finance questions
9 answers to burning personal finance questions
9 answers to burning personal finance questions
One for every reason you're saving.
Since savings accounts are free — and sometimes even incentivized by the bank where you open them — the only reason not to have multiple is if you find that you're unable to keep track of them. Otherwise, keeping an account per savings goal accomplishes two purposes:
1. It gives you an exact count of how much money you have allotted for a specific goal.
2. It keeps you from dipping into savings you've mentally, but not technically, attributed to one goal for another (like "accidentally" using your emergency savings for a mid-winter trip to Barbados).
Let's go ahead and assume you're already on board with the need-a-credit-card-to-build-credit-and-make-major-purchases rationale and that we're all clear on the fact that a credit card does more harm than good if you don't pay your bill in full each month. Having only one means if your card gets lost or stolen — which is more common than you might think — you'll be in a tight spot for a while.
After two, it's up to you to decide how many cards you can handle responsibly.
By putting down 20% of the price, you avoid the monthly cost called private mortgage insurance (PMI), which the bank requires in the case that you aren't able to meet your payment obligations. This means you will pay more over the life of your loan than if you didn't have it.
However, if putting 20% will wipe out your savings, it's less risky to accept paying PMI until you can refinance when you have more cash. "I would much rather see people put 5% down, wipe out all their other debt with cash, and still have three months of emergency savings versus putting 20% down on a house," writes CFP Sophia Bera.
Three months of living expenses, at the very least.
Emergency savings aren't usually measured in terms of dollars — rather, it's months of living expenses that money could cover. For that reason, everyone will have a different dollar amount, and everyone will have a different need. The most basic emergency fund, for a healthy person without dependents who lives well within their means, is three months of living expenses. Some experts even recommend that every person blow straight past three months, and sock away at least six months' worth of savings no matter their situation.
If you're living within your means, a month of net pay should comfortably cover your monthly bills. If you're sitting on months' worth of cash, move it somewhere that earns interest, like a high-interest checking or savings account through an online bank like Ally, or into investments.
Financial planner Carl Richards points out that the right amount of money to save is different for everyone, depending on your goals. If you want to retire a millionaire, for instance, you'll probably need to be saving more than someone whose primary savings goal is a new car. Start by establishing a goal, price that goal out, and work back.
Yes, if you have any kind of dependent counting on your income to live.
And your kid almost definitely does not. The only concrete exception is if your child works, like a child actor, and the family depends on their earnings. If your child isn't at risk for illness, you're looking for costs to eliminate, and you're financially stable enough to cover the bills should a medical emergency arise, life insurance policies for your smallest family members probably aren't necessary.
"If you had $1,000 in cash and just hid it in a drawer, it would still be $1,000 — and thanks to inflation, over time that $1,000 would be worth less. But if you invested it and earned an average return of 7% , in one year you'd be sitting on $1,070. In the next year, you'd earn 7% not just on the original $1,000, but on that $70 in interest, too — which means at the end of year two you'd have $1,145."
That's the mathematical explanation. The non-math explanation, and why you should care, is: Compound interest is the reason it's so important to open retirement savings accounts as early as possible. Because of it, a little money contributed today will ultimately earn more than a lot of money contributed tomorrow.
If you glossed right over that explanation of compound interest, scroll back up real fast. There's no such thing as "too early" to start saving for retirement. Even if you can only contribute 1% of your income right now to an IRA or 401(k), it's in your best interest to do it. You can always bump up that number in the future.