Yellow's Green

The Adventures of Money Blog.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Review - PIRGIM's "Master Your Money"

Randi said we should check out PIRGIM's "Master Your Money" report. So, I did and I may as well review it.

It's fine if you're struggling, and know nothing about money, I'd say. A few things seem either unrealistic or irrelevant:

First, the talk about not being able to afford a bank account. All my life I've had a free account, usually through a credit union. Washington Mutual also offers free checking accounts. It's pretty easy to get an account that has a minimum balance of $0 or $5, with no fees except for overdraft. So I found that part a little over-blown.
Also, it does the usual "group your spendings into categories" in a much more detailed than needed way. I much prefer the "All Your Worth" method of just three categories: Must-Haves, Wants, and Savings. Admittedly, we do have several categories in our own budget, but they're a bit broader than movies, eating out and clothes. (i.e. Fun Money, Car stuff, Loans, Out-Of-Pocket medical expenses, etc.)
The problem with setting a very specific goal for a specific thing is two-fold: What do you do when you reach it (continue to do well, or fall back into a not-so-good pattern) or how bad do you feel about yourself when you just can't seem to reach it. If your goal is to spend no more than 50% of your income on must-haves, and save at least 20%, than you have an ongoing goal that you can reach easily.
Having a spending plan that is "part of your daily routine" seems like it takes more time than should be necessary. Better to set it up in a way where you *don't* have to think about it. (Ok, so I'm totally sold on the "All Your Worth" method, and it looks like I ain't budging.)

The biggest things that were unrealistic were this:
*Using 5% or more interest as an example of how much money you earn through savings. If you know where I can earn 5% having a little extra set aside, PLEASE give me a link to it.
*The ways to save money. Who takes the family to the movies WEEKLY? Who takes that many family fast food trips? Who eats lunch out EVERY DAY?

Ok, enough complaining. Here's what was good:
Most of it was the same common sense budgeting advice you hear everywhere, and it's good advice. Fortunately, most of it doesn't apply to our situation at all. (High CC interest rates, payday loans, etc. etc.)
Get your free annual credit report here.
Go here for debt advice.
For help buying a house in Michigan, go here.
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To stop telemarketers go here or call 888-382-1222.

Don't get me wrong. Overall, I love PIRG and with work they do (worked with them for a year and a half), but I found most of the report useless; at least for us.


  • At 4/25/2006 7:35 PM, Blogger kristin said…

    I don't know about 5% anywhere but ING Direct (online bank that seems reputable) has 4% on their basic savings account right now.

  • At 4/25/2006 8:11 PM, Blogger Amber said…

    As of today, ING is listing at 4%. We're about to start an account with GMAC at 4.7% or so...
    Still no solid 5%


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