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Thursday, April 12, 2012

READ!!

Disclosure: I have been compensated for my participation in this BlogHer Book Club discussion, but the opinions expressed are 100% my own.  
 
This is one of those books I had to force myself to finish. I never looked forward to picking it up and resuming where I last read.

Geneen Roth seems to love one of her other books so much, she can't stop talking about it in this book, "Lost and Found; One Woman's Story of Losing Her Money and Finding Her Life." It seemed that every other paragraph referred me back to a book she wrote about overcoming eating disorders. I was like, hey, that's great, but if I wanted to know about that book, I'D READ IT.

"Lost and Found" is supposed to be about Roth's experience losing her life savings (about 1 million dollars) in the Madoff scandal. I understand that she was drawing parallels between her relationship with food and her relationship with money, but she continually came across as regurgitating information that is published in another book.

I got to a point where I put the book down for an entire week and resented it. There was so much self-promotion in it for her eating disorder seminars and I wasn't expecting her book to be about that. I was expecting a book about ONE WOMAN'S STORY OF LOSING HER MONEY AND FINDING HER LIFE. If she wanted to write a follow-up to her book about food issues, she should have.

I was relieved when halfway through the book I found something I could relate to that was actually about money. Roth discusses the ways we spend money and it doesn't "count" (p99).

"-When something is supposed to cost ten dollars and it costs five: 'Now I can buy two!'
-When we amortize the expense: 'These earrings cost fifty dollars, it's true, but if I wear them every day for the next year, they cost 13.7 cents a day. At less than fifteen cents a day, I can't afford not to buy them!'"

These rationalizations (as well as a few others she listed) sound really familiar to me. I've actually been working on the whole price-slashing misconception. Just because something is on sale, it doesn't mean I'm saving money by purchasing it. NOT purchasing it is what saves me money. Or when you get a tax return and think WEE FREE MONEY!! and spend it on something "fun" rather than a bill? Yeah, that's another way I spend money and say it doesn't "count."

So yes, overall I hated reading this book. But I did get a reminder about being more aware of my spending habits, and making sure all my expenses count.

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