Money at 30: “Broke Millennial” Book Review
A few weeks ago, I was scrolling through Twitter when I saw a tweet from @BrokeMillennial (AKA Erin Lowry) about her upcoming book Broke Millennial Takes On Investing. Considering the recent interest I’ve taken in learning more about investing and building a portfolio, I immediately pre-ordered the book — which is being released today. However, before diving into that title when it arrives on my doorstep, I figured I should take a look back to Lowry’s previous book, Broke Millennial: Stop Scraping By and Get Your Financial Life Together to see what the series was all about. To my delight, I was pleasantly impressed by what I found.
Broke Millennial is a bit of a rarity in that it’s a book that encourages you to skip chapters and read ahead — almost like a “Choose Your Own Adventure” for financial advice. In fact, chapters two and three are more or less dedicated to identifying what category of financial knowledge and situation you fall into, with Lowry then suggesting which chapters of the book you should likely focus on. You may be surprised to find that, even if you do ascend to the top of the class in terms of savviness and savings, the book still has something to offer that’s new and interesting or at least entertaining.
To this point, one of my favorite chapters in the book wasn’t about any massive money topic such as retirement or debt but, instead, offered a few tips for navigating awkward social situations where your frugality or inability to afford something can cause tension. This is the type of advice that other authors might have worked into a larger chapter but the fact that Lowry chose to elevate its billing shows that she definitely knows her audience and was intent on crafting a different kind of personal finance book for them.
Another aspect of Broke Millennial I really enjoy is the way the book is organized and laid out. Each chapter is frequently punctuated with subsections, bullet points, checklists, the occasional chart, additional quotes, and more. All of these elements add to Lowry’s “read what applies” approach and also made the book one of the fastest reads I’ve encountered in some time.
As for criticisms, there really isn’t much to say. While there were elements I disagreed with, each instance of this was merely one example presented alongside other options and insights. Therefore objection to some of these proposals is practically the point. In fact, the exploration of different ideas and their judgment-free presentation is actually what I liked most about the book. One thing I will say though is that, while I’m familiar with Lowry’s “Broke Millennial” brand and just see this book’s title as nothing more than a name, I have heard from some who took it more as a label they would need to identify with if they were going to get value from its pages. That’s pretty understandable and could do Lowry a disservice considering the lengths she went to widen her work’s appeal. Of course I have no solution to this problem but thought it was interesting nonetheless.
Honestly, when I first picked up Broke Millennial: Stop Scraping By and Get Your Financial Life Together, I assumed that most of it wouldn’t apply to me and was more or less previewing it in anticipation for the follow-up. That’s why I was so taken aback to find an acknowledgment of said dilemma upfront, accompanied by a humbling reminder that I certainly don’t know everything when it comes to personal finance. More than anything, however, I really enjoyed Lowry’s writing style, ability to make tough topics digestible, and sense of humor that all made her book a quick and enjoyable read. So even though I easily could have skipped a number of chapters, I found I didn’t really want to.
In all, reading this entry only made me more excited for the just-released sequel Broke Millennial Takes On Investing: A Beginner’s Guide to Leveling Up Your Money — which I’ll be reviewing next week.
Also published on Medium.