I was lucky enough to get a signed copy of “More Money for Beer and Textbooks“ (no, they didn't pay me to write a book review though I'm happy to be paid in number of beers for number of praises!) so in the true youngandthrifty.ca fashion, I'd like to give my two cents (not sure if I can use that term anymore, two nickels?) on the book!
First off, I'm amazed and how quickly this book was written and how much work Justin and Kyle put into this book! It's very very well written and I think the quintessential book for EVERY freshman starting college or university (or even for high school kids just finishing high school in the summer). I truly think that if this book were accessible to each college freshman, there would be a lot more financially responsible kids around.
Much like these guys' blog writing, this book tells it like it is, but isn't too harsh to hurt the egos and the fresh thinking of the young 17 or 18 year olds reading this. It goes step-by-step what to expect, what to think about, what to do or not do in consideration of what will happen after they graduate (e.g. dealing with real life and $50,000 student loan debt). It gives a sorely needed sense of realism for the 17 to 18 year olds of Canada today.
I liked how they went through the basics and the nitty gritty of what each college freshman should know, and left the more complex stuff (such as investment decisions) out. Basically, Kyle and Justin are like the big, financially knowledgeable big brothers you wish you had who guide you through the financial nitty gritty of college and university, and help prepare you (or at least give you the information) on how to get out of university unscathed and ready for the real world.
Here are a few of my favourite chapters:
Finding Your Pot of Gold
I can't emphasize this enough that Kyle and Justin are right on the money (no pun intended). There is so much scholarship and bursary money out there it's unbelievable, and yet most people don't bother applying for scholarships. I'm not sure if its because people are afraid to get rejected, or are afraid that another student could use the money, or what. Point is, there's a lot of money out there. I myself have received almost $20,000 in scholarships and bursaries over my undergraduate and graduate degrees, so it is possible. That being said, I'm pretty smart (and obviously humble) so these scholarships just get handed to me I suppose (KIDDING! Really, all I did was apply and I got rejected for many scholarships but I don't let that bother me). So you can do it too!
Summer Jobs and Part-Time Work
I worked throughout college part-time (about 8 to 15 hours a week) and I believe that it gives you a good sense of work ethic and helps you get experience and gives you a taste of the real world. Mind you, it wasn't at McDonalds but it did help me with references later on when I got a real job. Dibbling into your student loan for movies or fun and relaxation just makes you feel guilty. That perpetual guilt you have about your ever-increasing student loan debt doesn't make you feel good and then makes you want to spend more to get rid of those negative feels. Vicious cycle ya know.
The Importance of Choosing an In-Demand Career
This is another great chapter because there are so many people going to college or university today to expand their minds. Although expanding your mind is a great idea, I just think that sometimes the belief that university is the means to an end isn't a bad idea. I mean, you're going to school to learn (which is great, don't get me wrong) but ultimately, you want to get a job after it don't you?
Kyle and Justin have great appendices in the back too including top ten resume tips and a dozen interview tips. In addition, they have additional recommendations for books (including my favourite Canadian books, The Wealthy Barber, The Wealthy Barber Returns, and Millionaire Teacher).
More Money for Beer and Textbooks should be an essential read for every freshman straight out of high school. And it's an easy read too, so no excuses!
Readers, have you bought your copy of More Money for Beer and Textbooks yet? Do you think financial literacy should be pumped into 18 years olds more often?