First Book of the Year: Broke Millennial Takes on Investing by Erin Lowry

I challenged myself to read 100 books this year. I just finished my first one: Broke Millennial Takes on Investing by Erin Lowry. When I mentioned that I was reading this book, I got a lot of questions from friends about whether it was good, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to write a book review.

I previously read Erin Lowry’s Broke Millennial: Stop Scraping by and Get Your Financial Life Together, which offers general financial advice. As a somewhat financially savvy millennial, that book confirmed a lot of things that I already knew to be true. Nonetheless, it was helpful to think about my overall budget a “grown up” way. Now that I have finished grad school, I felt like it was time to tackle the second Broke Millennial book.

As many of you know, my dissertation was on General Motors’ advertising and public relations in the 1990s and 2000s. A portion of it focused on auto loans, specifically 0% APR loans. You may be thinking, “You’re not really a novice. You know some financial terms already!” That’s true. I am somewhat familiar with how the market works generally and with financial terms. However, studying the marketing of financial products is a bit different from starting to invest. I might be able to sniff out bad products or marketing gimmicks, but it doesn’t mean that I’m my own certified financial planner.

In the introduction, Lowry advises readers to skip around, depending on their financial situation. For example, if you already know financial terms, you can skip the second chapter. However, like a good academic, I read the book cover to cover. While I was familiar with most of the terms in chapter 2, a refresher was nice before diving into the rest of the book.

Lowry’s book is not a step-by-step guide to investing. Instead, you get a general idea of what products and services are out there. For example, while many of us may not think of 401(k)s as investing, a 401(k) is investing. Lowry establishes the importance of putting money toward a 401(k) or retirement account before other types of investments. Lowry also addresses issues that are important to millennials, such as whether to invest when you have student loans (the answer: it depends on the loan). Lowry also offers a review of financial apps. Although some of the information in that chapter may be outdated, the general overview can still help you to assess whether to use an app for investing.

Ultimately, Lowry leaves the decision-making in the readers’ hands. Readers are left with a basic understanding of financial products and services, but without specific recommendations for what services to use. At the end of the book, Lowry offers suggestions for podcasts, books, and other resources to help readers continue to research their options.

Overall, I enjoyed the opportunity to familiarize myself with the options available and think more about what goals I have for my investments. However, I still feel like I need to research more before putting any money toward investments. I would recommend Broke Millennial Takes on Investing to complete novices. However, if you have an idea of the financial marketplace, then you might try just researching some other resources for more detailed investment advice.