Love Your Life, Not Theirs: 7 Money Habits for Living the Life You Want
by Rachel Cruze
Brentwood, TN: Ramsey Press, The Lampo Group, 2016
Available at Cokesbury
Rachel Cruze has extensive experience teaching youth and adults about personal finances. She co-wrote the best-selling book Smart Money Smart Kids with her father, Dave Ramsey. Cruze discusses the effects of her parents having to declare bankruptcy when she was young. She understands how it feels to struggle with money and also be grateful. Her realistic, faith-based perspectives are applicable to anyone’s life. It’s exciting to see the ongoing legacy of her father’s work reflected in ways that resonate with younger generations.
Cruze urges us to stop comparing our situation to others in this era of social media (16-26). By focusing on our own goals and the good things we already have, we can embrace gratitude. Cruze hopes that we will find the contentment the apostle Paul described in Philippians (24). Somewhat counterintuitively Cruze advises, “Giving should be at the top of your budget. It’s the first thing you do with your money” (95). She explains, “When you give to others, you become less focused on yourself and more focused on the people and needs around you” (95). She discovered “generous people tend to have a better quality of life than those who believe life is all about the endless pursuit of more” (95). This is a timely message for people of faith!
Reading this book is like talking to a friend who recognizes that consumerism hinders spiritual health. Cruze shares strategies that she and her husband Winston use to deal with temptations in contemporary culture. She believes that healthy money habits develop over time, but we can start today to improve the present and make our future more stable (115). She warns that debt is a deceptive trap, “a dead end” (39). Cruze proposes actions to take to avoid student loan debt and car loans. She discusses when it may be smart to rent rather than own a home. She advises unmarried couples not to combine accounts and encourages spouses to talk openly about money.
Cruze demystifies budgets, characterizing them as monthly plans that reflect priorities without adding the stress of debt (91-93). She recommends resources to make every dollar count so that you don’t lose your financial standing $25 at a time. Cruze describes why parents should prioritize their retirement before saving for a child’s college education. She also coaches parents to teach children that they can work for “a commission” and are capable of earning money (128-130). Saving for a vacation helps you savor it without returning home to bills.
Love Your Life, Not Theirs concludes on a high note with a section on giving, even while saving money: “Give a Little… Until You Can Give a Lot.” Cruze describes components of “a lifestyle of giving” based on scriptural principles and ways to make choices to continue to grow in generosity. This dynamic book is easy to read and full of helpful, current information. Young adults and church leaders alike will appreciate these life-changing insights.