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Taking Control of Your Financial Decisions and Behavior

by Marty Martin

Pub Date: April 25th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0313398247

A financial psychologist encourages consumers to take an introspective approach to achieving financial independence.

While Martin’s book is largely a thoughtful exploration of how people—Westerners in particular—relate to money, it also serves as a useful guide for managing one’s personal finances. In almost equal measures it introduces academic concepts regarding income and expenses as well as practical approaches toward spending and saving, so the book may be particularly useful for young adults who are newly or soon-to-be on their own, especially if they weren’t paying attention or didn’t get the best financial advice from their parents. With a doctorate in clinical psychology and a master’s degree in personal financial planning, Martin challenges readers to recognize and address their cognitive distortions regarding money and to use the power of positive self-talk to correct negative financial thoughts and behaviors. Such an approach puts this book in a different category than the stereotypical “how to make more money faster” primers. In fact, in contrast, Martin explores the seemingly foreign concept that there’s such a thing as “enough” money. Although the book doesn’t cover basic checkbook-balancing principals, the author offers several practical exercises designed to help readers understand the sometimes-unnoticed motives that explain their financial behaviors. In short chapters, Martin addresses the basic rationality required to ensure that daily shopping habits—i.e., If I wait a day, will I still want to buy it?—as well as more complex behaviors, like how to talk to kids about money, will be confined by realistic financial needs and desires. In addition to offering sound advice for discussing money matters with spouses, Martin explains how (or whether) certain personality types should invest in the stock market. Also valuable are his step-by-step suggestions for overcoming “inertia” regarding important financial decisions such as asking for a raise or saving for retirement.

While it’s not a road map to riches, this comprehensive guide can help lead you to greater financial understanding and maybe even achievement, no matter your income level.