This posting takes a look at Brian Jones’ book Getting Started: The Financial Guide For The Younger Generation. The author, Jones is a professional financial planner and partner at a small financial planning and wealth management firm in Fairfax, Virginia. His biography lists a background in public administration and he holds a graduate certificate in financial planning from Florida Tech*.
After having read the book and discussing it at length, we are recommending that our readers AVOID purchasing Getting Started. In fact, it the worst book on personal finance that we have read to date. While writing a full length book is always a difficult endeavor, and we applaud Mr. Jones’ efforts, the book falls short in several regards.
1) Poor Quality Advice: The first chapter of Getting Started is devoted to a discussion of cash flow. It focuses primarily on lifestyle modifications (e.g. cooking at home, using coupons) as a means of improving one’s cash flow. This ignores many other reliable methods of increasing one’s cash flow such as obtaining salary raises or purchasing income producing stocks. This lack of a frank discussion of other options suggests that Jones’ advice provides readers with a false sense of their financial choices.
2) Content and Tone: When reading Getting Started, the reader often comes away with a sense that one is being lectured at by a pedantic schoolmaster. Many of the examples of the book are drawn on the authors own personal experiences, this when compounded with tone of work means the reader must actively make an effort to grasp the content, a situation not unlike being trapped talking to someone you don’t like at a cocktail party.
The book additionally relies on the heavy use of bolded quotes and inserted pictures reminiscent of the 1970s. While the pictures and quotes are undoubtedly intended to increase the accessibility of the text, they leave the reader with the impression that they are filler for the book’s poor quality content.
3) Poor Quality Writing: Finally, the book suffers from poor quality writing. Many of Jones’ paragraphs lack a basic structure such as a topic, introductory and concluding sentences. In many part of the text the author tends to ramble, or move incoherently from topic to topic.
We again, we admire Jones’ enthusiasm for personal finance, but we DO NOT recommend reading Getting Started. The book’s poor quality advice, pedantic tone and bad writing make for an uninformative and unpleasant read. Instead, we recommend that you pick up a copy of Personal Finance For Dummies or Making the Most Of Your Money. Both of these latter books provide sound advice by seasoned professionals.
*The Florida Tech graduate certification in financial planning is now defunct.