Review: Finance for The People by Paco De Leon

I am not a big fan of Self-Help books, particularly those that ignore all the real societal and demographical constraints while promoting some impossible, to most, bullshit that ignores the massive amount of privilege the author and/or speaker inherently possesses. Because of that, I tend to have an openly dismissive take and stance on 99% of self-help style literature and individuals. However, as with basically all things, it is a matter of finding the legitimate gems amid the ever growing pile of insufferable, incomprehensible crap that exists. Finance for The People by Paco De Leon is one such book that manages to acknowledge the tipped scales while still attempting to provide practical advice against the wave of unfairness and inequality.

This is not to suggest or state that the book is flawless. De Leon readily admits the limitations of the work and system that it is discussing and encouraging participation in. Frankly, the current financial system kind of sucks. It is built on interesting concepts that had, at times, good intentions and purposes, but were also the machinations of powerful, rich people who wanted to grow or continue their wealth and influence. The book very much discusses this and how participation in the system has massive baggage and implications. However, that is the system that exists and must live with and through. Yes, we should try to the best of our abilities to change and improve the many inadequacies in the system, but financial stability and wealth is an unfortunate necessity to survival and ability to enact and enable change and improvement.

Of course, simply reading this book will not make one a financial wizard. Even following the prompts and activities is no guarantee of great wealth, opulence, or privilege in the financial world. As the book states, outside of already being born with such riches already or a random act of luck, true wealth is built up slowly through a series of purposeful choices and actions. And even then there is no real guarantee of success. And what success may be achieved is usually only after years and decades of making rational, intelligent decisions that build up toward a goal over time. Essentially, like any skill, financial literacy and success is a lifelong process that requires sustained effort. It is actually rather boring, but that is kind of the point.

Paco De Leon’s book basically provides the groundwork for understanding money, financial systems, and our inherent issues with both on a personal and societal level. Again, reading this book and performing the recommended and asked activities won’t make one an expert on money or wealth building, but it will give necessary insights and the beginnings of understanding money, financial systems, and wealth building. But this is all the author is attempting to do with this book, and in that respect it accomplishes its goal.

If you are looking to dip your toes into the world of financial literacy and money, this is a good starting point.

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