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Book Review: Financial Fives

I love to talk. I love to write. But candidly, I don’t love to read. Why? I struggle to maintain the attention and discipline required to do so. Therefore, when I choose to read, I ensure that it is worth my time by only committing to books that genuinely spark my interest. Today’s book is no exception, as my friend Gary Grewal wrote it.

I paid for my copy of Gary’s book because I was interested in seeing how one of my fellow personal finance bloggers chose to undertake a massive project that I, too, someday hope to accomplish. 

Through my Book Review series of both Gary’s book and more to follow, I hope to assist you in evaluating whether or not a particular book is worth your time – a resource that is scarcer than all else. But, enough jabbering, let’s get into today’s book!

Financial Fives by Gary Grewal

Finance books can be tedious, complex, and overly instructive, causing you to snore or check your phone all too frequently. However, Financial Fives is different. 

In an ode to the book’s format of discussing topics in solutions to an issue in fives, here are my Five praises:

Straight to the point

Many books take an entire chapter and require 30+ minutes of reading to convey a point or a solution. While certain complex subjects may need linguistic meandering to explain a topic (such as Quantum theory), many of the minor incremental changes that self-help books preach require little editorial fluff. 

Resultantly, Gary hones directly in on this, and each of his sixty-seven topics (why not fifty-five?) are readable in less than five minutes. 

I favor this approach since it lets the reader quickly identify what interests them and what doesn’t. It also allows readers to research compelling subjects further by directing them to specific cases or outside resources. However, the hyperlinks don’t seem to work when I press them on my physical copy (weird, I know).

Contrarian perspectives on societal norms

Gary approaches many subjects that society has seemingly settled the debate on, such as wedding planning, and throws a wrench into the accepted norms.

During his wedding planning section, Gary highlights alternatives to physical mailers and traditional venues. These alternatives include fancy digital invites and Municipal Venues that tax-payers can get discounts booking. Heck, he even mentions soliciting businesses for free goods in exchange for letting them brand them or provide marketing materials at your table (such as a sign saying XYZ Local Bakery provided the cake).

Eco-conscientious approach to wealth building

Building on contrarian perspectives to societal norms, Gary leans heavily into a greener lifestyle that doesn’t have to stop you from reaching success. In fact, he is a big proponent of the green lifestyle, and we both co-authored a post discussing Could ESG Investing Fit Into Your Portfolio? previously.

With a green approach, there are many ways you can save money while also living a more eco-conscious lifestyle. One such method is to toss your paper towel habit into the trash bin and instead use cloth rags for most household cleanups. 

Playful writing style

Books can be bland when authors write in a monotonous tone. For myself, I haven’t finished various books as a result – thanks, Cliff Notes! I wouldn’t have made it through High School otherwise. 

During the course of Financial Fives, Gary engages the reader in a playful tone and provides various fun and engaging solutions to the topics he broaches. For example, when discussing how to save money when throwing a party, Gary states, “Okay, not to sound like a mooch, but what are friends for, right?” when discussing borrowing items that their owners rarely use for entertaining.

Gary has credentials and knowledge

Some in the personal finance community may not be fond of advisors and financial planners, which is okay. Still, I believe in our industry despite some bad apples because many of us genuinely want to help others by ethically providing clients with service that is in their best interest. Gary is a fellow advisor and notably is a Certified Financial Planner. Resultantly, he gives advice that puts clients’ interests first, and his book clearly illustrates that. 

When reading the section “Five Questions to Ask a Financial Planner,” he lays out that you should:

  • Always inquire how they get paid (laying out the various compensation types)
  • Ask why they work in this particular job over another
  • Determine how the advisor formulates their advice
  • Question how client interests remain the priority 
  • Inquire about what happens if that advisor leaves the firm

Candidly, the first and fourth points are common for clients to ask. However, many rarely ask the second, third, and fifth points. Further, he discusses How You Can Research A Broker or Advisor, a subject I have previously written about and find essential to promote.

Asking the above questions and doing research can help set apart one advisor from another, which is critical since hiring an advisor is no small financial undertaking, nor is it for everyone. 

Things I didn’t like

Some topics and solutions could have called for further writing and explanation, but that is a limitation of Gary’s editorial and formatting choices. 

He chose to make a quick reading book that is easy to follow and understand. Thus, some subjects that could use additional explanations will require further extracurricular research by readers to understand fully. One example of a brief synopsis needing more context is how to travel for less by visiting destinations offering discounts. I didn’t fully grasp what he meant by this because I wasn’t sure if he was referring to a local government or a specific resort.

Additionally, I found some topics less apt for a personal finance book than a lifestyle book. Nevertheless, I understand that personal finance and lifestyle topics overlap since they are both habits oriented. 

More than five ways to succeed

Financial Fives is a compelling book that feels less like a book and more like a guide on how to live more deliberately while saving money and enjoying life.

He provides humor and alternative viewpoints, both of which I enjoyed while also ensuring that the book is approachable to those of various ages and knowledge bases.

Overall, for those who are inquisitive and want to learn new and creative ways to live and save, Financial Fives could be the book for you. It is easily read in one sitting or broken up over a longer duration when short periods of spare time are abundant.

Gary is a friend of mine that I made while blogging, and he had asked me if I had an interest in reading his book. I agreed, and while he sent me a digital copy for free, I gladly purchased a physical copy to support his work and provide ease of reading to myself (sorry, but paper beats digital).

Thanks for reading my review, and as always, have a great day!

For those interested in buying Financial Fives, please use this link here (I do not receive any kickbacks for your purchase). It is available as an eBook for $5.99 or $14.99 as a hard copy.


Mile High Finance Guy

finance demystified, one mountain at a time






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