- Bargaineering - http://www.bargaineering.com/articles -

Review: Money Strategies for Tough Times by Matt Bell

Matt Bell is a personal finance writer in Chicago who ran into financial difficulties early on in his adult life and, in turning it around, used his experiences and knowledge to try to help others who may have gotten themselves in a similar situation. His professional career began as a radio journalist, having been featured on NPR, and Money Strategies for Tough Times [3] is his second book, his first being Money, Purpose, Joy [4].

One of the unique angles about this book is that it incorporates religion, specifically the Bible, very heavily throughout its sections. While I’m not a very religious person, I can’t argue with Bell’s assertion that “Tough times call for timeless principles, and the principles taught in God’s Word have stood for thousands of years.” Religion, whether it’s Christianity, Buddhism, atheism or any other faith; is an integral part of our lives and it’s not surprising to see a book drawing on faith to overcome secular financial challenges. We often turn to religion in the darkest of times.

From an advice standpoint, it does a pretty good job. It lives up to its title of offering good strategies during a difficult financial time, with large sections of the book devoted to overcoming debt and how to handle job loss. With hundreds of thousands of workers losing their jobs each month, it’s not surprising that the book focuses so much on debt, loss of income, and how to intelligently tap into your reserves. As you would expect, there are even sections devoted to bankruptcy, rebuilding your credit, and the creditors you should never stiff (friends & family). Finally, as if offering a light at the end of the tunnel, there’s a smaller section devoted to sound financial strategies that are smart anytime.

Overall, I think the book has good, albeit somewhat pedestrian, information. The true value is in how Bell ties in the Bible and if you are someone who responds favorably to that, then this may be the right book for you. If you’re turned off by linking finances and religion, this book will be less valuable to you. I can guarantee you one thing, if you flip through it in the library or bookstore, you’ll know within minutes whether its right for you.