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Book Review: What They Don’t Teach You About Money

Isobel Lawrance 15th May 2023 No Comments

Reading Time: 3 minutes


Finances. A deep, dark cave many of us try to avoid at all costs. Especially in the current economic climate – the cost-of-living crisis impacting our everyday lives, bringing money and all the related stresses to the forefront of our minds.  

But what if I told you there’s a book that can alleviate some of the stress that comes along with money? A holy grail for the basics of money, making everything from debt to investing just that bit simpler and less daunting? 

I may be a financial journalist, but don’t be fooled. I’m no expert. I am learning every single day, and there are a few concepts that I will happily avoid writing about, as they are complicated and just too difficult and stressful to understand. 

That was until I read ‘What They Don’t Teach You About Money: Seven Habits to Unlock Financial Independence’, by Clear Barrett. I knew I had to review this book and make everyone aware of it.  

“With each chapter I felt more powerful, ready to reclaim authority over my finances” 

The book aims to make money understandable and quite frankly, less boring. It’s so easy to see the words ‘book about money’ and turn your back on it. But as broadcaster Eddie Mair said about Barrett’s work, this is “The money book for people who hate money books”. 

As I turned the pages of the publication, I felt at ease. There was no judgement, no telling off, no finger-wagging. Instead, with each chapter I felt more powerful, ready to reclaim authority over my finances. 

What I enjoyed is the use of relatable and simple examples throughout. Clear uses examples of situations you are likely to face often when it comes to your money. I was able to imagine myself in these scenarios and cast my mind back to similar times. The relatability made it even more interesting, as it made it personal, real and engaging. 

There was also no complicated jargon. Sometimes long, ‘fancy’ words make me switch off – but this was written in a straight-forward, no nonsense way. Some finance-based books rattle on with enough lingo to make people stop reading after page one. Not this book! 

As mentioned in the book title, the text contains seven habits to help you unlock financial independence. What I found great, is that these habits are useful and easy to implement in everyday life. Plus, there’s not promise of ‘if you follow these steps, you’ll be super rich!’. It’s realistic and achievable, alleviating some of the pressure money can bring. 

“I became engrossed in some parts of the book”  

I must say, that Claer’s book absolutely sets out what it aims to do. I was engaged and honestly, I became engrossed in some parts of the book, particularly those that debunked myths surrounding crypto, credit cards and ‘get rich quick’ schemes. 

There are useful tips scattered throughout, both from Clear herself and other finance experts. Boxes separated from the text make key points clear and concise, meaning they don’t get lost in the rest of the writing. ‘Did you know?’ style boxes, including ‘Four things that can reduce your credit score’ and ‘How salary sacrifice works’ give that extra info you need. 

“I almost felt like I was sitting and chatting to Clear, listening to her give her two cents as if we were friends out for coffee” 

Claer Barrett is an award-winning journalist and is currently the consumer editor and columnist at the Financial Times. She is an absolute expert when it comes to money, so you are in safe hands with this book. She’s also established herself as a TV Money-Agony-Aunt, and her popular podcast ‘Money Clinic’ responds to real-life questions from readers and listeners. 

The writing style of this book was friendly, informal and chatty. I almost felt like I was sitting and chatting to Clear, listening to her give her two cents as if we were friends out for coffee. I felt comfortable and safe whilst reading like I finally found someone who understands the realities of money in everyday life. She is truly able to take something complex and make it digestible.  

The book is also very topical. It talks about the cost-of-living crisis and the need for a fairer financial system. However, the witty and supportive tone makes it less doom and gloom, bringing you from a spiral of financial distress into the present. 

“This book truly is for everyone” 

I can’t recommend this book enough. The reviews speak for themselves, and I must agree with TV personality and journalist Lorraine Kelly, who called it “utterly indispensable”. This book truly is for everyone. Whether you have just graduated from university and have an overdraft to clear, you’re looking to ask for a pay rise, or simply just make your money work harder, give this book a go. 

It can be so easy to bury your head in the sand when it comes to money, but after reading this, I’m more determined to work through any worries I may have and face them head-on. I’ll be keeping this book and referring to it frequently. Whatever life throws at me, I know I have ‘What They Don’t Teach You About Money’ to guide me through. 

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Jasmine Birtles

Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.

Jasmine Birtles

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