David Bach is a well-known author of 9 bestselling books on personal finance. His latest, The Latte Factor, is a smash hit. (The Latte Factor is co-authored with John David Mann.) I’ve also recently read an updated version of one of Bach’s early works, Smart Women Finish Rich.
This post may contain affiliate links, but all opinions expressed are my own. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Please read my disclaimers for more information.
My Review of The Latte Factor
The Latte Factor is written as a fictional story. We follow Zoey, a young adult living in NYC, for a couple of weeks as she debates whether to leave a job she loves for one that pays more money in order to make ends meet. She is living paycheck to paycheck, with credit card debt and student loans weighing her down. Zoey has recurring conversations with a couple of different influential people in her life, who give her great advice about how to pay yourself first.
In the final chapter we see Zoey three years later, after identifying and focusing on her priorities and learning crucial financial lessons. She has accomplished several goals because she has mastered her finances and she lives a more satisfying lifestyle, one that matches her values.
The book is not very long, and you can devour it in a couple of hours. For those who like to see the numbers – like me – there are several pages at the back with tables that look at investments in different ways – how long you invest, how much you invest, how your rate of return affects your investments, and more.
This is the perfect book for anyone who needs a shove to get started. The main take-away is not the details of investing, but rather just start saving for yourself first and spend out of what’s left over. It’s not specifically about giving up coffee – Zoey does not. Instead, find the small leaks in your spending that add up to big money when compounded over decades. It rarely works to spend first, and save whatever is left.
After I finished The Latte Factor, both my daughter Amber and Mr. Tea picked it up to read – on the same day!
Related post: Plug the leaky holes in your grocery spending!
My Review of Smart Women Finish Rich
In contrast, Smart Women Finish Rich is a comprehensive look at financial issues particularly relevant to women, but of course applicable to all.
Women are more likely to:
- take time off work to care for young children and/or aging parents,
- earn less than men,
- end up with the “short end of the stick” after divorce,
- outlive their husbands,
- have less saved for retirement than men (even though they live longer),
- be hurt by corporate downsizing, and
- take longer to find a new job.
Moreover, wives are far less likely to know where the family assets are located. All this is to say that it is vitally important for women to understand and manage their financial lives.
David has a very interesting approach in this book, starting off with exploring your values around money. Once you’ve identified your values, then examine your spending. Does your spending support your values? Everyone’s values are different and there are no wrong answers. He elaborates on how values are different than goals.
David explains a crystal clear system of organising all your financial papers from the shoebox or stack of unopened envelopes you may have now, into an organised file folder system. This book is worth buying for this chapter alone! Every financial paper will have a home with this system, from income slips to taxes, from investments to bank accounts, from insurance to wills.
Who is this Book for?
The Latte Factor
- New grads: This book would make a thoughtful gift for any college/university graduate, with its fabulous entry-level advice on the importance of paying yourself first.
- Ages 20-35: This narrative-style book with a late-20s aged protagonist would be very approachable for young millennials and older generation Z.
- Anyone living paycheck to paycheck: The book emphasizes starting early and what you can accomplish when you free up small bits of money.
Smart Women Finish Rich
- Single or divorced women: As a single woman, you need to understand you finances and make the right decisions for yourself.
- Married women: Women are far more likely to outlive their husbands. Moreover, in the event of divorce, women are typically left worse off. You need to understand your joint finances.
- Financially disorganised: If your bills and other financial papers are in a shoebox or have never been opened, this book will help you set up an organised system.
How Can I get My Copy?
Everyone should have at least one of Bach’s personal finance books on their bookshelf, because they’ll want to refer to it again and again. They are available at:
- The Latte Factor on Amazon.com (hardcover, Audible audiobook, Kindle, audio CD)
- The Latte Factor on Amazon.ca (hardcover, Audible audiobook, Kindle, audio CD)
- The Latte Factor on Indigo (hardcover, audiobook CD, Kobo ebook)
- Smart Women Finish Rich on Amazon.com (hardcover, paperback, Kindle)
- Smart Women Finish Rich on Amazon.ca (hardcover, paperback, Kindle)
- Smart Women Finish Rich on Indigo (paperback)
Note that there is a Smart Women Finish Rich Canadian Edition, but it was published in 2003. The updated and expanded version of Smart Women Finish Rich was completed in 2018. I would recommend buying this one, and generalizing any references to 401(k) to mean any type of retirement account.
Try Audible FREE for 30 days and get 2 free audiobooks to keep even if you cancel your membership! Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks
Get your first month FREE on a Kindle Unlimited plan! Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans
Technical Details About The Latte Factor and Smart Women Finish Rich
The Latte Factor is written in story format. It was published in 2019, so it’s completely up-to-date, although the advice is timeless. This is an American book, but the only thing Canadian readers would have to change is that 401(k) is roughly equivalent to RRSP. It is 121 pages of easy reading, plus several pages with tables elaborating on the examples in the book in more detail.
Smart Women Finish Rich is very conversational in tone, with many examples from David’s experience as a personal finance advisor and from his popular seminars. The copy I read was published in 2018, expanded and updated from its original publication 20 years earlier. Bach updated it to include many references to things that didn’t really exist in the world of personal finance when it was first released, such as ETFs. This is an American book, so Canadian readers should consider references to 401(k) plans as advice about RRSPs. It’s 365 pages of text, not including appendices, the index, acknowledgments, etc.
About the Author
David Bach is a well-known and well-trusted personal financial advisor, with 9 New York Times bestsellers. He has made thousands of media appearances on shows such as NBC’s Today Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, The View, and many more. He is also the co-founder of AE Wealth Management.
Read more about David Bach on his website.
If you found this review helpful, please share it and comment below.
The books have different targets, however, and I think this one is clearly the most appropriate for single women and also women in relationships where the partner dominates the finances. If you find yourself in either case, this book is well worth reading, particularly if you re just getting started with a financial turnaround.