Marty Martin’s The Inner World of Money is really a look at the inner world of people and their relationships with and beliefs about money. Rather than being a book about how to invest with explanations of stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, it explores the real role of money in our lives, the reasons for the roadblocks people create by being financially irresponsible, and whether money really can bring happiness. Ultimately, Martin shows readers that money has its place in our lives, a place we should not exaggerate, nor underestimate. We must not look to it for happiness, but we do need to be financially responsible, prepare for retirement, and understand the consequences when we do not.
The Inner World of Money is a great start for the person wanting a better understanding of money and its role in our lives and especially the person who has realized it is time to pay attention to finances, to quit struggling financially, and to begin saving for retirement. In addition, a helpful chapter is provided for parents about how to teach their children financial responsibility, including what lessons and information are appropriate to teach children at specific ages and stages of development.
With debt being a major concern among Americans today, Martin devotes a lot of space to consumerism, defining it as the buying of items that are not truly necessities, with the surprising statistic that 70 percent of what we spend our money on qualifies as consumerism. He offers practical advice for how to curb spending by discussing the difference between compulsive and impulsive buying and his 30-day and 24-hour rules for determining whether you really need or want something.
One of Martin’s insights about spending that I especially appreciated was the discussion of our digital lifestyle where credit cards have begun to take the place of cash. Martin advocates for paying cash whenever possible because credit cards make it easy to forget how much money we are spending or have, leaving us surprised when the credit card bills come in. But beyond this aspect of how technology has changed our relationship with money, he points out that while we own so many things we don’t need that many of us now have storage units, with the digital age, we can now house whole libraries and music collections on our digital devices, which means we don’t have to think about where we will find the space for everything we want to buy, a concern that in the past often helped to curb spending.