This trending personal finance book will completely flip the way you think about money

Jennifer Barrett’s manifesto for working women transcends its goal by being more than a finance book, but a testament that anyone, anywhere, can achieve their goals with the right advice.

Few markets are more challenging to stand out in than personal finance. With enough books on the subject to fill a library, so much of what comes through bookstores nowadays is recycled, repackaged, and rebranded.

Thinking differently 

In Think Like A Breadwinner, Barrett does something different.

Barret pulls from a range of experience, from being an award-winning financial writer with publications like Forbes, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal to her work as a business professional.

Featured in talk shows, radio, and even Ted Talks, she’s found a worthy cause to champion.

Not only does Barret take the reader on a journey through her own experiences, but she tackles real-life financial problems for an often neglected demographic―female breadwinners―with fresh insights.

Focusing on the women out there who struggle to balance their careers and family across the world, the book speaks to readers of all economic positions. Throughout the book, I appreciated how Barrett remains mindful that her audience might have differing financial success goals.

Unlike other financial guides that focus on those pursuing goals of a high salary or position in corporate, or preach leaving steady employment for their own venture, Think Like A Breadwinner invites everyone to the table and provides clear direction on how to succeed. In this way, its advice becomes helpful to women across different points in their lives and careers.

Perhaps Barrett’s greatest strength is her ability to powerfully weave in anecdotes from her personal life rather than just that of her professional. Beginning with her own less-than-ideal financial position to her epiphany as a new mother who pondered if she could afford a second child, Barrett doesn’t hold back tough details of her journey.

She delves deep into her own insecurities and challenges with an honesty that is refreshing compared to many other financial gurus working today. These anecdotes endeared me as a reader during the first half of the manifesto, such that I was ready for the valuable insights she had to give me.

Amidst a time when economic outlooks are bleak at best, Barrett offers actionable steps to achieve success in the short term and yield positive outcomes in the long term. The advice is not limited to the age-old adages of investing more and passive income like many other financial guidebooks.

Thinking outside the box

The author also includes out-of-the-box solutions I’d never considered, such as renting out an unused parking space or ditching the cash for cash-back credit cards. For this reason, the book isn’t just for the female breadwinners but will be especially helpful for that group.

Yet Barrett doesn’t just stop making this book a guide for female breadwinners to thrive but empowers readers with a message of hope. I was encouraged to see a book rooted in making good financial decisions, also addressing the systemic barriers that have held those readers back and may continue to do so if not addressed.

Her chapter on Letting Go, in which she helps female readers give up the sense of responsibility for household tasks in favor of a fair division of labor, is compelling for reclaiming time and restoring equity.

Barrett may find a disconnect with a portion of her intended audience, and my only critique lies in those same personal anecdotes that endeared me to this book. While I connected to the plight of a family struggling to keep up with childcare and city life expenses, the references to ‘downtown cocktails’ or dinner at a ‘French Bistro in midtown Manhattan’ could very well alienate readers.

After all, many who need financial advice never had the option of a lavish lifestyle to begin.

Along those lines, the book opens by discussing black single mothers. Barrett is clearly seeking to help with her findings but hardly delivers on the promise.

In fact, most of the advice seems to target the working-class corporate types rather than those women struggling with debt, bad credit, or an education gap. Leaving out the most at-risk members of the demographic, Barrett unintentionally paints the book with an air of privilege, though it should not take away from the overall message.

The bottom line

Ultimately, Think Like A Breadwinner champions women and provides an insightful read for not just those female breadwinners but their male counterparts as well.

The book is full of wisdom while not being too bogged down in the details. In fact, it proved a quick read for a book of its length and one that I will be excited to revisit in the years to come.

In short, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, and anyone who styles themselves as a student of financial independence will too.