book reviews contests and giveaways

Book review (and giveaway!): The Money Code

The Money CodeOne of the things I hate, as a PF fanatic, is how money is such a mysterious, frustrating, and almost taboo topic for so many people.

I believe one of the reasons is because we’re never really taught how to approach our finances smartly. We’re never given, growing up, a class on how to have a healthy relationship with money and how to talk about money issues with other people. So it’s no wonder so many people get in trouble when they enter the grownup world.

Well, consider this book that class you never had.

Your money master class

The Money Code by Joe John Duran is a super-easy to understand, engaging read that helps you come to understand your relationship with money through the story of a main character mentored by a wise “Alchemist” who takes him through a series of lessons and questionnaires that help him understand his “Money Mind.”

We all have a Money Mind, the book explains. It’s either based in Fear, Happiness, or Commitment, and that Money Mind is what influences all of our financial decisions. By following the main character’s journey of discovery and asking yourself the same questions, you realize why it is that you make the money decisions you make—and how to make better ones in the future. The book provides you with everything you need, from a decision checklist to lessons on how to communicate with people who have different Money Minds. Plus, at the end, you’re given access to online tools to help you continue your journey towards financial control.

It’s “Relationships With Money 101,” and I really wish more people had a chance to experience it.

I was lucky enough to have a chance to interview the author, and below are his responses. If you’re curious to learn about your Money Mind, stick around after the Q&A for instructions on how you can win a free copy of The Money Code (and more)!

Q&A with author Joe John Duran

Joe DuranJoe is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and earned MBA degrees from Columbia University and UC Berkeley. The Money Code is his third book. His two previous titles are Start It, Sell It, and Make A Mint and The First Time Investor’s Workbook.

Q:  You could have written The Money Code as a straight financial advice book, but instead you chose to write it as a story with a main character and a mysterious “Alchemist.” Why did you decide to go that route?

A:  It was first written as a how-to guide, like my first two books, but then I felt it was not really consistent with the idea about making financial books friendly, interactive, and engaging. The books I have personally loved, like The Alchemist, were in story format.

Q:  How have you learned to work with your Money Mind?

A:  I have come to realize that I am a Fear based Money Mind, and so I sacrifice more than I need to in order to find security which I never really feel. It has helped me to be aware and adjust the way I live by taking more vacation time and making sure I enjoy time with my family more. It has also helped me to argue less with my wife when it comes to money discussions.

Q:  So many people struggle with large amounts of debt. Is it possible for them to “right the ship” once they’ve identified their Money Minds?

A:  Yes. They will probably learn that they are a Happiness or Commitment Money Mind and therefore need to start making different choices than the ones they have in the past—and right away. This book has a checklist and easy process to help them make decisions that help to get them out of debt immediately.

Q:  It seems ridiculous that so many of us get to adult age without ever really realizing how to have a smart relationship with money. I feel lessons like those in your book should be taught to us in school, just like math, science, etc. How early do you think someone can start grasping these lessons? Can we teach our kids how to start having a healthy relationship with money at an early age?

A:  Yes. People should start by setting a great example since that is how most kids learn. I believe as early as 8 years old, children should be part of budgeting decisions. You can use things like their birthday party or a vacation as an example to teach them about choices, because we can’t have it all. The more open you are with them, the less taboo it will be to talk about money, so that it’s not scary— it becomes part of life.

Q:  You mention that the profits of this book are going towards causes you believe in. May I ask which ones?

A:  Primarily children in underprivileged situations and to promote financial literacy.

Win your own copy of The Money Code (and a $25 Visa gift card!)

I happen to have a fresh copy (not my very earmarked copy!) of The Money Code and a $25 Visa gift card for one lucky B&B reader. All you have to do is answer the question below in the comments by midnight on Wednesday, February 13th.  I’ll announce one random winner on February 14th.

So, my question for you is…

What do you wish you’d known about managing your money when you were first starting out?




+ posts


  • I wish I had better understood the insane interest rates tied to my student loans! To even be able to chip in $25-50 a month DURING COLLEGE would have saved me hundreds after!

  • Not to open up a credit card for every store in the mall when I was 18. I would think wow I could save 30%?! And then the bill would come and I thought it was great I only had to pay a $5 minimum. In the end with interest I didn’t save 30% and ended up paying more than the product cost retail. It’s really important to use cash and stay away from credit cards regardless of the deals and coupons you may have. If you don’t have enough cash you shouldn’t purchase. Credit cards should be for emergencies only (car and home repairs!)

  • I wish I’d know that all you have to do is save 75% of what you earn. Do that, and you’ll have enough to quit working in about 7 or 8 years. You could be done before you hit 30. I also would have liked to know that saving 75% of what you earn IS possible (as we do it now) even though 99% of people think it’s impossible.

    If I’d known those two things when I first started out (say around 18 or so) then I could probably be retired by now. At least it’s never too late to start 🙂

  • I really wish I would have learned more about how to budget for occasional expenses. I’ve been okay with a budget for my regular expenses and having some emergency funds, but I seemed to always get off track with those once in a while expenses like being in a wedding, christmas gifts, car inspections and other things that I’d forget about because they didn’t happen often enough or I convinced myself I had plenty of time to save (but really didn’t!)

  • One of the things that I’ve realized in my late 20’s is that experiences last longer than things. So my advice to everyone: Spend on experiences and not things. The memories will last longer.

  • I wish that I had allowed myself more of a “fun money” budget so that I wouldn’t break down and buy something big to treat myself, inevitably costing me more money in the long run. I also wish that I had learned to say “no” to my husband earlier on in our relationship. I love the man to death, but that love clouded my financial judgement a bit and we made some not-so-smart financial decisions that I wish we could take back. Luckily, I am able to learn from these mistakes and am better prepared going forward in life.

  • I wish I had known (and this is something I am still working on) how to have better balance with my money management. I have a tendency to go from one extreme to another – either saving everything or spending freely, or putting all of my money toward one goal instead of spreading it around toward different goals.

  • Oh boy there are SO MANY THINGS that I wish I had known. I wish I had known that credit cards can really get you into trouble, so to just avoid them rather than opening one up in each store in the mall. (At one point I had at least ten.) I wish I had known that once you pay your bills, the money leftover is not just spending money, that you really must set money aside for emergencies and investing. I wish I had known that the earlier you invest for your retirement, the more money you will have. I wish I had known that a budget can help you spend your money where your heart is, and is not just restrictive. I wish I had known not to buy a house before you have a huge chunk of change set aside for repairs. I wish I had known that you can buy a car with cash instead of taking out a loan. The list goes on and on!!!

  • The cheapest option isn’t always the best option. I still struggle with this sometimes, especially with major home repairs where I could save a lot upfront but that cheaper option might cost me more in the long run.

    • Ooh, yeah! I learned this the hard way, many times over, by buying inexpensive shoes at one of my favorite stores. They would always be cute but not very comfortable and would fall apart very quickly. Eventually, I got fed up when I realized I could have bought one quality pair that would last instead of spending the same amount on 3 pairs that didn’t!

  • I wish I had understood how limiting and stressful debt, even a manageable amount, is and how good it feels to have savings. I cringe to think how much money I wasted in college.

  • I did not have issues with saving or managing money, I just wish I had extra money to put aside for those surprise expenses.
    jslbrown_03 at yahoo dot com

Leave a Comment