Hot (broke) Messes by Nancy Trejos - Book review

Hot (broke) Messes

How to Have Your Latte and Drink It Too

By: Nancy Trejos

Published: May 20, 2010
Format: Trade Paperback, 320 pages
ISBN: 9780446555425
Publisher: Business Plus/Hachette

"We all have relationships with money, good or bad. And those relationships start when we are young, living in our parents' homes", writes Washington Post personal finance columnist Nancy Trejos, in her honest and self revealing book about personal finances Hot (broke) Messes: How to Have Your Latte and Drink It Too. The author describes candidly her descent into debt, and how she created and executed a plan to become debt free, without living a life lacking completely in pleasures and treats.

Nancy Trejos, as an adviser on personal finance, seems an unusual person to lose track of her money and plunge deeply into debt. On the other hand, the scenario of a young person living in a major city, losing control of her finances gives the author a powerful perspective as an advice columnist. As Nancy Trejos describes in the book, anyone can find themselves in debt over their heads at any time. She fell into the debt trap herself, and as a result is able to share her own story, giving her advice more immediacy. After all, she understands how easy it is to get into debt, and how difficult it is to relieve oneself of that financial burden. Because of her empathy with others, the author is able to delve more deeply into her own monetary dilemma, and offer her experience to others.

Mancy Trejos (photo left) starts with the concept that people have a relationship with their money that can be very dysfunctional in nature. For the author, how people interact with money is learned at home, with many lessons not being learned, or the wrong ones absorbed. For Nancy Trejos, keeping up with others was part of her money problem. Her family background didn't provide the information for buying what is essential and ignoring the rest. As a result, during her college years and her early employment years, found her spending money in the same way as her more financially secure friends and colleagues. Nancy found herself deeply in debt and facing painful spending decisions, often forced by bill collectors. In the end, Nancy developed a solid debt reduction and wealth building plan that she shares with her readers.

For me, the power of the book is the complete honesty with which Nancy Trejos describes her accumulation of debt, its effect on her life, and her plan to become debt free while saving for major purchases and her retirement. Instead of preaching complete austerity and a spartan bread and water existence, Nancy presents a spending budget that reduces debt, creates savings, and allows for certain luxury spending too. The book is a great financial primer for twenty something people, as the author not only writes authentically from experience, but understands that her readership will want the opportunity to splurge on something special from time to time. The author's spending advice, which includes important chapters on buying great clothing on the cheap and buying a car the right way, creates ways to eat out with friends and for buying a special pair of shoes. At the same time, Nancy Trejos demystifies IRA's, 401k's and other retirement savings vehicles in a way that will appeal to her target readers.

I highly recommend the very readable and often very funny book Hot (broke) Messes: How to Have Your Latte and Drink It Too by Nancy Trejos, to anyone seeking real world spending and debt reduction advice from someone who has been there, done that, and even put the t-shirt on her credit card. While the book is geared toward members of the Millennial generation, the advice is equally good for anyone of any age. Learning how to have a healthy and happy relationship with your money is important for everyone.

Read the inspirational and informative book Hot (broke) Messes: How to Have Your Latte and Drink It Too by Nancy Trejos, and discover how to get out of debt, save for retirement, and make wiser purchases without living a life of deprivation. The book is a fine primer on building a healthy and lasting relationship with your money, and for avoiding the financial pitfalls that await the unwary.

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