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The One-Page Financial Plan: A Simple Way to Be Smart About Your Money

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  1,159 ratings  ·  144 reviews
Whenever I tell people about my job as a financial advisor, the conversation inevitably turns to how hopeless they feel when it comes to dealing with money. More than once, they’ve begged, “Just tell me what to do.”It’s no surprise that even my most successful friends feel confused or paralyzed. Even if they have a shelfful of personal finance books, they don’t have time t ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published March 31st 2015 by Portfolio (first published March 10th 2015)
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 ·  1,159 ratings  ·  144 reviews

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Jul 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
As a fellow financial advisor, I think that Carl hits on some really great points. I'm glad that he took the time to simplify the financial planning process for the masses. For those of you who have put off making a financial plan because it's too overwhelming, this is the right book for you.

Key takeaways:
p. 17 - Although putting together your financial plan takes time, you will end up actually saving time every single year because of it.
p. 18 - A great plan isn't about getting everything exactl
DeAnna Knippling
Jul 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
A book about a level of financial planning that has to happen, but the other books assume you've already done: finding out what you want in life.

It always seems like a lot of financial books want you to be in a state of panic, even desperation, about how bad things are for you now, and how much better they could be, if only you gave up Starbucks and avocado toast, and followed their advice.

This book is like, "Maybe build some of that avocado toast into your budget. That's what a budget is there
Steve Peifer
Aug 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is the best financial planning book I've read in a long time. It's smart, honest, simple and helps you decide what's important. I have a theory that trust funders make the worst financial planners, and the best are people who have gone broke. It's why Dave Ramsey is so effective; he lost everything once and he has empathy that people who have never broken a financial sweat will never have. This author had to short sale his house, and it gives his advice a seasoned quality. Highly recommend.
Jun 25, 2015 rated it it was ok
The premise of this book definitely caught my eye, but the content didn't turn out to be very useful. I'm in a good place financially but have NO idea what my retirement needs are, how my current savings stack up against those needs, and I've pretty much given up on understanding what actually goes on with my IRA. I thought this book might help break down some of those issues for me.

Instead, the book is more of a guide about how to think about money than it is a guide that tells you what to do w
Scott Cole
Apr 10, 2016 rated it liked it
I love Carl Richards and his sketches are top notch. If you have never read a personal finance book then I highly recommend this to you. That said, as the title probably suggest, this is an entry level book for personal finance novices. It is very readable and a nice reminder that there are some good advisors out there and their work makes a valuable contribution to their client's lives. Nothing revelatory here, but a wonderful contrast to the noise and confusion manufactured by Wall Street to s ...more
Sep 16, 2015 rated it liked it
Short, readable and non-technical focusing on the human aspects of getting your finances, and life, in order. Some good advice.
Jan 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
As the first financial planning book I’ve read (I know, I know. I’m sorry), this was a good choice. The tone is logical and encouraging, and it doesn’t present a one-size-fits-all approach. The author is, in fact, adamantly against such approaches. He encourages the reader to ask himself/herself a couple of thought-provoking questions to get started. I took this to heart and noted my answers, which will be good to have going forward.
Time will tell if this is one of those rare life-changing book
Kathryn Gainey
Jun 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
It’s hard to get me excited about finances or financial planning but I can honestly say I really liked this book. Carl explains things in a direct and simple way. I have some clear takeaways from reading this and I’ve now created a physical one-page financial plan!
Jun 01, 2017 rated it liked it
I like a book that's easy on the eyes, especially if said-book is gonna focus on numbers. "The One-Page Financial Plan" is more about what's behind the numbers that make up one's life (related specifically to money, of course.)

Not exactly a primer, this book is a quick, easy, confident read that will take you through how Mr. Richards approaches working with his clients to help them create simple but meaningful financial plans. Though I've never met him, I can see the author leaning forward with
Patrick Tucker
Aug 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: finance
This book stands tall among many personal finance books. Where most give a prescription without diagnosis this asks the reader to figure out what is important and move forward from that point. I applaud the author's frankness in espousing advice. He says (rightfully so) that he is an authority, but cannot know the position of each reader so to take his advice with some flexibility.

I found myself rereading passages in this and comparing my finances with the goals and benchmarks I now have thanks
May 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Carl appears to have genuinely walked the talk, which is something that a lot of financial planners have not been able to demonstrate!

The investment advice is not likely to be ground breaking for most however this is what makes the book worth the read. He talks about mastering the psychology behind investing as well as looking at goals rather tha purely investments..

worth a read to evaluate your financial life
Jan 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book is more about a common sense philosophy about money than it is an actual plan. Richards' sketches are a creative way to illustrate his perspective, but you won't come away from this book knowing a path forward. I think that's one of the reasons people like Dave Ramsey and Suze Orman are so popular - they actually tell you specific things to do, and in the end I think that's what most people want. Or is it just me?
Jul 17, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This has decent advice. Now you just have to decide the reasons you want money and what your driving values are. I like this better than Dave Ramsey. Many of the ideas for money are the same, but Carl doesn't cram it down your throat like Dave has a tendency to do.
Nov 05, 2015 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars. I would recommend this book for someone who is just beginning to budget or plan for retirement. I didn't find a lot of "meat", however, and would probably offer a Dave Ramsey book first.
Michael Jones
May 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: practical-how-to
Definitely a good quick read for someone who wants to understand the basics. This could save a person in their 20s from a whole lot of pitfalls.
Jun 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is more a money mindset book, how to reframe your relationship with money, than a book that actually teaches you about financial strategies and jargon.

As someone who ascribes to a minimalist philosophy in mind and spirit, in addition to physical wealth, I really dig this book. It's not a one-size fits all solution to getting rich; it's about identifying what you value in life and for your future and making sure that the way you spend your money aligns with what you value. Values and alignme
Hanie Noorhelmee
Apr 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
A professor told me that if I am confused about a topic/something, it is best to go back to the root and check your understanding of the framework inclusive the literal meaning. —I guess it perfectly describes the book.

I believe all of us have our own struggle especially regarding financial planning because naturally, we have limited resources and our wants exceeds our available resources. Before some of you gets overly excited about the title, remember that it still depends on what you’re looki
Sep 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The author's straightforward, conversational tone made me feel like I was sitting down with him over a cup of coffee. There were only a few suggestions that I hadn't already encountered in other books about personal finance, but I'm so glad I read this one. Carl (I feel like I know him on a first name basis) asserts that money is a tool to accomplish our goals and live out our values, and because those are different for every person our financial plan should be as well. There are very few rules ...more
Yassir Islam
Jun 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
If financial planning scares you, this is a good book to start with. Richards starts with the fundamental question of what is important in your life and how to figure that out. Then, in that context, he has you develop overall goals, and reinforces that these will shift as circumstances in your life change. This flexibility allows you to breathe, and re-orient yourself when life throws stuff at you. Only later does he get into the mechanics of what you should do to save- you can get this part fr ...more
Sep 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Solid advice from Carl Richards. This book is a quick read, but it can save you a lot of money if you heed the advice. Carl is solid on all the big topics: cash-flow and debt; investing; insurance; goals-based planning; and more.

His sketches are priceless. Especially if we take heed of them ourselves, rather than thinking, "Oh my sister-in-law needs to see this." As Richards quotes from Daniel Kahneman, we can see others' mistakes easier than we can see our own.

While the investment section was m
Jan 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, finance, 2020
I liked this book enough that I may pick up a copy for my home library. Richards raises a lot of useful points that I saved along the way, like not needing everything to be perfect, making best guesses and adjusting as time goes, etc. It was helpful for me in some philosophical ways as I've tried to figure out how best to manage my financial situation. He doesn't get too nitty gritty into details, but does try to keep you focused on why you're doing what you're doing, which makes a lot of sense. ...more
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
Simple to understand, good advice, quick read on why your money is important to you. I am retired and have been happily letting my husband do our financial juggling. Recognizing that some day I might have to step up to the financial management plate, my husband got this book for me and I'm glad he did. I gleaned several other important takeaways from Richards book besides the importance of sticking with our stock/bond ratio plans.

1. There is value in writing down your rationale on how much cash
Nov 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Quick easy read with basics of starting a financial plan and how to meet your financial goals. Everyone's goals and situations are different, so there is no cookie-cutter solution. Know why you want more money and have the discussion with your family. Pay off loans (highest interest rates) first since that's a known/certain as opposed to investing in the unknown/uncertain. Know the difference between need and want and spend your money where it's worth it or you gain from it; don't just spend on ...more
Jan 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. It is a very quick read, and something that has already made me think about how I will change the way I manage my personal finances.

I really like how the author focuses on mindsets rather than specific advice. He is very encouraging and very positive. I like his honesty and perspective as someone who has made financial mistakes in the past and knows how hard it can be to have perspective on your own personal finances due to the emotions tied to money.

It is compelling
Aug 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is very helpful with getting you to ask the right questions about how your finances relate to your goals. It’s written in plain simple language and is very digestible, clocking in at a little over two-hundred pages.

The author effectively uses behavioral science to identify why our financial habits often don’t align with our goals and values. Then he provides a way to construct your own personal guidelines to help keep you in check during those times where it can be tempting to act irr
Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I have long admired the author’s clearheaded back-of-the-napkin diagrams in the NYT: quick illustrations that highlight a deep point. This easy reading, non judgemental book serves a similar role. Key takeaways: a plan is always relative to your personal values and goals, so get clear on them at the start. Don’t beat yourself up: life changes. Don’t be afraid: tackle the financial monster and you’ll find taking action itself a relief. And it’s slow and steady that wins the day: any start is bett ...more
Feb 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: daily-living
This is more of a philosophical introduction to the way in which one should approach long-term personal finance. This makes it useful for those who hadn’t already considered their approach to finances. Unfortunately, we were looking for something that went into more detail about various aspects of finance—in particular loans, various types of long-term accounts, and investing. This did not satisfy that need, but it is good for what it is.
Jul 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
This has been the easiest to understand book on financial planning I have read. This book is not about budgeting. It's about your financial goals, the reason behind your goals, being aware of your net worth and how you spend your money, how much insurance you need, and investing. This book makes financial planning simpler and easier to understand. It's a great starting point for anyone wanting somewhere to start on their finances. Doing something is better than doing nothing.
Apr 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: reading-log-2019
Useful as a first book to start thinking about financial plans.

Key takeaways:
1. Do you need life insurance or not? Only if you have dependents. Minus the emotion, think of it as income replacement.
2. Budgeting = Awareness. Try out "no spend days"
3. What are your goals, and are your finances sometimes taking you away from those goals instead of closer? Eg if family is a goal, is spending x hours on stocks taking away from family time?
Michael Uehlein
Aug 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Carl Richards is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and the director of investor education for the BAM ALLIANCE, a community of over 130 independent wealth management firms throughout the United States. He is the creator of the weekly Sketch Guy column in the The New York Times, and is a columnist for Morningstar Advisor. Carl has also been featured on Marketplace Money, The Leonard Lopate Show, Oprah ...more

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