Personal finance can be a difficult thing for anybody to understand, especially young people just starting out in a new career. Author Dave Straube addresses this issue in his new book, "Someday is Not a Plan," published in 2011 by IslandEye LLC.
He uses a running dialogue between a retired postal worker and his nephew to explore basic financial planning concepts such as savings accounts and compounding interest; insurance; stocks and bonds; mutual funds; taxes; real estate as an investment; and financial advisers.
While the subject matter is not all that interesting under the best of circumstances, this book is easy to read and explains these and many more important aspects of financial planning in ways that make all of them easy to understand. Straube speaks specifically to issues as they apply to single people just out of college making salaries of about $25,000, but the concepts can be adapted easily by people of any age and any income bracket.
And he does the whole thing by using conversations in coffee houses between uncle and nephew, making this book read more like a story than a how-to book, and therefore making it much easier to read.
One of the better sections is the one on what Straube calls "free money." This section deals with interest earned by placing fairly large sums of money in savings accounts, then leaving it there and allowing the compounded interest to become part of the principle upon which the interest is based over a period of a number of years. Because the person with the savings did nothing to earn the interest except place it in the bank and leave it there, Straube explains that makes the interest accrued over the years "free money."
Other issues discussed are high-, medium- and low-risk investments, diversification and the benefits of paying cash rather than buying over time on payments.
This book is not a page turner, but it is easy to read and explains complex concepts in an easy-to-read manner. And at only 133 pages, it can be read in a single afternoon. There is definitely a conservative bent to it, and the writer does express those conservative opinions frequently, so you may not agree with everything the way he explains it, but the writer acknowledges this at the end of the book and invites everyone to do the homework and prove him wrong if they can.
I enjoyed reading this book, which can be purchased online on several sites by searching the title. I give it 8 out of 10 and would absolutely recommend it for anyone who is confused by finance and financial markets and wants to understand financial planning better.