Money at 30: “Stacked” Audiobook Review

When I come across a new personal finance book to review, it’s almost like Christmas to me. Funny enough, the book Stacked: Your Super-Serious Guide to Modern Money Management by authors Joe Saul-Sehy and Emily Guy Birken actually was released around Christmas of last year, yet somehow only hit my radar last week. So, in a bid to make up for lost time, I downloaded the book from Audible this past weekend and proceeded to devour it all in about two sittings. Having done so, do I think that Stacked stacks up to the many other money books I’ve read?

First, the format employed by Stacked is one I’m personally familiar with having consumed several personal finance books in the past. This is to say that the material starts with the basics and walks readers through a complete financial journey. In this case, each section is capped off with a checklist — and one that can actually be printed off, signed by your parents, and placed on your fridge (seriously, these forms can be found in the PDF that comes with the audiobook). Given this format, those who are coming to the book from a more advanced financial stage may feel tempted to skip ahead. Yet, I’d advise going through the whole thing as there are always areas in which to improve. Plus, the book is fun and funny enough to keep you engaged even if the lessons aren’t exactly new to you.

On that note, some of the sections that stood out to me were ones on the topic of timelining and another on the difference between tracking and actually budgeting. As a FinTech fan, I also appreciated the frequent shout-outs to some apps and tools that can assist with the some of tasks discussed in the book. Meanwhile, the authors wisely and deftly avoid specifics on some topics that would surely date their book near-instantly, opting instead to offer resources that will be kept up to date.

Unlike most of the titles I review, after listening to the audiobook for Stacked, I suspect that this may actually be the better medium for this book. That’s because, beyond the stellar delivery of the written material, you’ll also be treated to snippets from the Stacking Benjamins podcast at the end of each chapter. Looking at the preview on Amazon, it seems these excerpts do exist in the printed book as well, but as transcripts and not some sort of magical play buttons embedded in the paper. These factors plus the pop-up appearances of Guy Birken as well as Julie-Ray Harrison made for a very enjoyable listening experience that kept me entertained throughout.

If there are any nitpicks I have with the book, it’d be that a few of the jokes fall a bit flat and/or are repeated one too many times. Of course, considering how many jokes are made over the course of the runtime, it’s easy to forgive these few misses as the overall batting average is still way up there. In particular, my favorite literal LOL moments came from references to Veruca Salt and “butt cameras.” I’m guessing you can figure out how the first one might apply but I’ll leave you to wonder about the context for the latter.

As for my personal takeaways from the book, Stacked left me contemplating my own mortality — in a good way, that is. Specifically, it introduced me to a platform I plan on exploring more and potentially using as my hub for storing all of the info my wife would need lest I meet my demise. Similarly, while I’ve previously looked briefly at life insurance policies, the chapter on the subject really has me rethinking my lack of current coverage.

At this point, I’m sure you can tell that I thoroughly enjoyed Stacked: Your Super-Serious Guide to Modern Money Management. After listening to this book, I’m pretty sure I’d rank it among my favorites in this genre. To me, everything about this book just worked — from the humor to the asides to, of course, the lessons to be learned. Therefore, whether you’re looking to stack your first Benjamins or are working to build your stack for the future, I’d definitely recommend reading (or, even better, listening to) Stacked.

Also published on Medium.


Kyle Burbank

Kyle is a freelance writer and author whose first book, "The E-Ticket Life" is now available on Amazon. In addition to his weekly "Money at 30" column on Dyer News, he is also the editorial director and a writer for the Disney fan site and has recently starting publsihing his own personal finance blog at

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