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Book Review: The Real Cost of Living

The Real Cost of Living


Published in 2011, The Real Cost of Living was written from a financial coach's perspective, informed by the well-rounded background of a journalist. Author Carmen Wong Ulrich is accustomed to examining all the sides of a topic from her work in magazines, television, radio, and social media. Everything, and I mean everything, is considered in this book -- large and small spending decisions that a person might make in the areas of home, marriage and death, family, college, bad habits, self employment, credit cards, savings and investing.

With contemporary language such as frenemy and wonky, Ulrich shows readers financial and personal costs through a conversational tone. That means the cash outlay, emotional, and psychological costs of stay at home parenthood, buying a cappuccino, and determining which savings account is best are explained in lay terms.

I found The Real Cost of Living to be an empowering book. With the subtitle "Making the Best Choices for You, Your Life, and Your Money," I could use this book to prepare for a visit with a financial adviser. It's practical enough to inform the transactions that I make every day. I appreciate the author's lack of a financial career and feel that she earns readers' trust by not having a such a career.