Book Review: My Money Journey

Jonathan Clements' book offers 30 brief, compelling money stories from a range of different perspectives

The Wall Street Journal's longtime personal finance columnist, Jonathan Clements, has a new book out, My Money Journey: How 30 people found financial freedom and you can too. It's an excellent series of short accounts by a wide range of people who have committed themselves to financial freedom.

Those who are regular readers of the website The Humble Dollar will find these 30 voices--including Clements' own--very familiar. That's because Clements is The Humble Dollar's founder and editor. To compile this book, Clements went to the regular writers at his website and invited them to write for the book. These are the offerings of the 29 contributors who took him up on the idea.

My Money Journey is not specifically about real estate syndications. Actually, real estate doesn't factor into the story much at all. But anyone who is interested in the process of achieving financial stability, or financial freedom, or financial independence will find much to enjoy in these pages. Each chapter is a short personal account of how the individual has reached one degree of financial freedom or another. The stories also feature the mistakes people made as well as the trade-offs that might have delayed their path to financial freedom--but which still were worth it. Each chapter ends with a few take-aways (three each time, I think) for the reader to bear in mind. It's very well-written and well-edited overall.

Diversity is at once a strength and a weakness in this book. As a strength: the diversity of the stories are quite different, one to the next; they cover people of a broad range of ages (from the 30s to fully at retirement age); and they cover people who have done it a lot of different ways. Clements does admit up front in the book that diversity of background is not a hallmark of this particular book: for instance, there are relatively few women authors (those he includes are excellent writers) and most are older White men. It is not so clear the race, ethnicity, or sexuality of the authors but Clements does make a point up front to note the relative homogeneity of the group.

If you are interested in the themes of the book to test out before you read it, consider tuning in to Morningstar's excellent podcast, The Long View, for a discussion with Clements and hosts Christine Benz and Jeff Ptak about the book. The release date is April 25, 2023 and the title is "Jonathan Clements: 'Humility Is a Hallmark of People Who are Financially Successful." True enough.