In her book, Manage Your Financial Life, author Nancy Doyle demystifies the financial world. Her clear, simple presentation of economic and financial topics is easy enough for novices, but full of useful tips for experienced investors as well.
Doyle begins by discussing how to organize household financial information. She tells readers exactly what to keep and what to shred, instructions that are oriented toward reducing household clutter and making recordkeeping simpler and more effective. She also advises readers on how to assemble an “in case of emergency” information kit, which includes documents regarding mortgages, car loans, tax returns and wills, as well as marriage and birth certificates and medical and school information.
The second part of her book teaches readers how to evaluate their own financial states. Doyle takes readers through a series of steps for creating an income statement, a balance sheet (which shows net worth at a point in time) and a cash flow statement (which considers not only income but also fluctuations in savings and debt). Her systematic process leaves little to guesswork.
The final portion of the book teaches the ABCs of investing, from definitions of basic terms to making good investment decisions, to evaluating your portfolio.
The key to the book’s success is that Doyle understands that finances are only one of the aspects of life. She writes for the non-expert who is juggling family, volunteer work, managing the home and other obligations. Easy and brief enough for general readers to absorb and understand, the narrative neither babies nor baffles readers. Doyle carefully defines the terms she introduces and provides anecdotes and tips that humanize her material and transport it from the abstract realm to the concrete decisions that real families need to make every day.
While aimed at women, Doyle’s work would benefit anyone who wants to take her practical, systematic, step-by-step approach to organizing, evaluating, and investing in their financial future.