It’s Just Money book review

Book Review: It’s Just Money, So Why Does It Cause So Many Problems?

Author Karen J. Lee CFP®, CLU, ChFC, MSFS, AEP

Forward by Olivia Mellan

Book Reviewed by Robin Applegarth CRPC®

Lessons about life have often been passed on through story-telling. Even in today’s busy world, most of us love a good human-interest story. Now, mix heart-felt story-telling with the topic of money and you have Karen J. Lee’s dynamic new book It’s Just Money, so Why Does It Cause So Many Problems?

The author has worked almost 25 years in the financial services industry, giving her a first-hand view of the wide spectrum of people’s money behavior. She also holds an impressive string of financial certifications and titles, including CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™. Yet, it’s the emotional honesty and integrity that shine throughout this book.

With wisdom and compassion, Karen Lee relates tales of the lottery winner who blew through $800,000, and the woman reporter who saved her family from financial ruin by purchasing the right kind of insurance.

The author tells stories of people who struggled with debt, yet formed a plan to turn it around, and couples who realized their money values were driving them apart. She explores the destabilizing effect that death, divorce or disability can have on a family, and how to financially prepare. Each chapter ends with a “Lessons learned” section.

I found this collection of human-interest stories to be a fascinating way to check my own relationship with money. Was I missing out on any key parts to the financial puzzle, like recent estate planning? What were my beliefs around money?

Karen Lee talks about the money-and-happiness connection, even the morality of money. She relates stories of spenders and hoarders, how opposite types attract, and what couples have done to work out their financial differences.

She is candid about her own financial situation, living with fluctuating earnings and discussing buying a vacation cabin with her husband Ken. She offers wise guidance on raising kids to have healthy money attitudes—with examples of how she dealt with her own kids when they wanted expensive brand clothing.

She illustrates “live beneath your means” in a compelling way. She tells strategies for a shopping trip where she took $100, then used her bargain hunting skills to bring home armfuls of clothing originally priced at over $500. This included 2 blazers, a cocktail dress, slacks, silk tops and more. No wonder her friends beg her to teach them her frugal habits!

This book feels like having a chat with a financially-savvy friend. You’ll gain insights into your own relationship with money, and better understand how to achieve financial stability and success. It’s Just Money covers that uniquely human place where our emotions meet our wallets.

Karen J. Lee CFP®, has been a contributor to The Silver Purse


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