Michele Ashby shares her financial wisdom and experience in her self-help guide Secrets of a Closet Millionaire: A Step-by-Step Guide to Financial Freedom.
Ashby, who has worked as a stockbroker, mining analyst, business consultant, and holistic financial guide, spends the first quarter of the book outlining her life and prompting readers to consider their own goals. Ashby states that she has read many personal finance books and attended many courses, and she uses the best of what she’s learned here, such as the term “sustainable abundance,” which she has adapted to refer to her vision of doing well while also helping others.
Ashby’s advice on how to attain sustainable abundance is simple and direct: She advocates a strict budget, with money for bills allocated in advance, and cash deposited in envelopes for various purposes, such as “Magnet Money” (savings toward a larger goal) and “Mad Money” (a relatively small amount set aside for no-questions-asked whim purchasing). She advises readers to consider taking more than one job—uncommonly practical advice, but with little discussion of the downside of working so many hours per week.
Though Ashby’s style is breezy and personable, it lacks depth in the areas that one might typically expect from a former stockbroker or financial expert. For example, there’s great advice about freeing money in one’s budget by retiring debt, avoiding purchases until cash is available, and buying cars instead of leasing, but when discussing how to invest the money saved, Ashby only gives a brief word about what rate to assume one’s investments will return. She chooses an 8% figure, but there’s no real advice on how to achieve that, only a suggestion that the reader consult a financial advisor.
Readers should note that this makes for an incomplete financial guide overall, and some may be disappointed by the limited number of “secrets” that are revealed. That aside, there are important tips to be gleaned here.