Our Money Stories by Eugenié George: A Book Review
I’ve been waiting for Eugenié George’s Our Money Stories to come out since she talked about writing it on Nerd’s Eye View (a financial planning industry blog written by Michael Kitces). What drew me to Eugenié, and got me excited about her book, was her insistence that history – and in particular the historical and present day experience of structural racism – are as relevant to financial wellness as spending patterns are.
What she writes is true:
“Most money books are still how a man sees the money game. And the strategies ignore all historical context with how women view money or create value systems… of course we will use actionable steps that use math to help us look at our money, but we must start thinking about our cash flow as an individualized process.”
This book is designed as a holistic financial wellness resource, specifically for women of colour who have been methodically excluded from pathways to mainstream financial success. In 40 interviews with women from the African-American, Asian-American, Latinx-American, and Native American communities, Eugenié dives deep into how personal experience, family history, and racism entwine to create each woman’s unique money story, and how recognition of this story is the necessary first step towards financial wellness specific to that woman.
Part two is about explaining what it means to be financially well, and emphatically refuses to isolate financial wellness as a singular aim. Successive chapters examine how any money story is affected by physical, nutritional, emotional, social, spiritual, intellectual, financial, and environmental wellness.
In part three, Eugenié outlines the six No B.S. Week Financial Wellness Plan, a series of weekly projects that include Money Date 101 (my favourite), Your Money Story, Financial Wellness Plan, The Money Plan, Your Net Worth, and Money Brain Dumps and Money Goals.
The last section of the book is a guide to finding your financial BFFS: the people and resources who can help you implement the financial wellness plan you’ve spent six weeks crafting. Although some of the roles are specific to the U.S., the insistence on finding community, support, and mentors is universally good advice.
Who should read Our Money Stories?
This is worth reading for anyone – either because it speaks to your own desire for financial wellness in a way that traditional books have not. Or because traditional books are designed for you and you can grow from learning exactly how much you’ve benefited from this at the expense of everyone else.
If you only have time to read one chapter:
Definitely read Chapter 26: Week 1: Money Dates. This is a master class on intentionally examining and building on your relationship with money, and is the antidote to the kind of perfectionism too many budgeting systems instill (I’m looking at you, Ramsey).
The best thing about this chapter is that Eugenié describes four different kinds of Money Dates:
- Planning Dates, for looking at your numbers
- Guidance Dates, for examining your blind spots
- Inspiration Dates, for dreaming about what you want
- Education Dates, for – you guessed it – educating yourself
If you only have time to read one paragraph:
“It is essential that you organize your money environment. I have to put on my momma bear hat and tell you that you have to put in some work. You have to learn about all aspects of your money because if you don’t, someone will be in ownership of it without you even knowing.”
(Chapter 29: Week 4: The Money Plan, no page numbers because I read it on my Kindle!)
If you only have time to read one sentence:
“By looking at our past, establishing awareness with our ancestry, and building a new money story, we will be able to break barriers in our lives.”
(Chapter 1: Introduction)
To read more Spring book reviews, click here.