Living Together, Getting Married & Starting A Family (Financial Literacy: Planning For The Future), by WeissRatings
I have to admit that this book was a bit disappointing for me, but there are certainly some people who will appreciate this book. This book is written by people whose interests are in money and not in morality. There are certainly many places where thinking about one’s financial interests need not be anything lacking in morality, but in this book in particular one’s sense of morality will greatly determine one’s thinking about the book’s contents. And while this book is not completely worthless, the author of the book does assume that the reader has conventional, even progressive, standards of morality, rather than the moral sense that the reader may bring to this material, and the result is somewhat disappointing. This is a book clearly written for people who have no particular fondness for biblical and godly standards of morality, and so cannot be fully recommended to those who do. The author of this book mentions that older books tended to make certain assumptions about the reader, and the absence of those assumptions can be just as frustrating. When the worldview of a reader and writer do not match up, there are obvious limitations in sympathy that exist between the two.
This book is a short one at a bit more than 50 pages including appendices, and is roughly divided into three parts among its unnumbered sections. The author begins with a discussion of big life events and big financial decisions. This is followed by a look at marriage statistics and the delay of getting married. After that the author talks about entering into a financial relationship, dealing with budgeting, and talking about finances. There are discussions about merging one’s finances and splitting expenses, dealing with priorities and life goals. At this point the author switches his attention to dealing with wedding costs as well as budgeting for a wedding, keeping track of expenses, cutting costs, having a budget plan, looking at the legal and financial benefits of marrying, discussing prenuptual agreements. After this the author talks about domestic partners and single parents, the financial impact of parenting, understanding costs and budgeting, looking at a sample monthly budget for a household with children, as well as making a budget for what a baby will need in his or her first year. After discussions on parental leave, the FMLA, health insurance, life insurance, as well as education discussions, the book ends with discussions on how to teach finances to one’s children in a rather ambitious way as well as some expanded information on wedding budgets and expenditures in the appendices, as well as suggestions for further reading.
It is telling that the author notes there are numerous benefits to marriage, after having spent a lot of time talking about how people live together. Although marriage is frequently undertaken for romantic motives, the author’s focus here on matters of pewter, demonstrating a view of marriage and raising a family that strikes one of the behavior of the gentry in earlier ages as opposed to our own usual approach in this age. Indeed it may be said that this book combines the financial concerns of would-be elites who are deeply interested in matters of money and the moral concerns of contemporary Westerners, and this is not something that will be pleasing to everyone. Even so, there are some insights that are worthwhile. For one, the fact that the author notes the advantages of marrying might encourage readers who are a bit gunshy in such matters that there are many different ways that marriage is worthwhile. Of course, the assumption of the writer is that the reader has someone in their lives already, which is not really always a valid assumption.