Book Review

How to be Good with Money

Eoin McGee

Gill €16.99

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that those of us who most need to mind our pennies are often the most clueless about how to do it. And with this book, a spinoff from the TV series, being published immediately before lockdown, I initially approached it as if it were something of slight irrelevance – we’re all financially doomed anyway, so what’s the point?  Turns out there is a point, lots of point, actually, as we face possibly the worst economic depression in history. Most of us have less money than we did in March. Learning to be more careful in our spending is far from an irrelevance; it has become an absolute, urgent imperative.

But who wants to wade through budgets and forecasts and all that Satanic stuff? Virtually nobody is who, but Eoin McGee is well aware of that. So he doesn’t bore us the ugly, niggly minutiae. On the contrary, he has written an extremely readable money guide for the ornery human bean and offers us something which has become almost extinct; common sense. Yes, I admit that towards the end of the book there’s some stuff about pensions, investments, stock markets and all, but the bulk of the book is aimed at people who are not wealthy.  

It’s written in easy, conversational and informal style, very much like McGee himself presents on TV, with a minimum of accountant-spiel. And he has crunched some really gruesome numbers on things like the annual cost of a daily latte, or – god help us – the daily pack of cigarettes. Sobering stuff but the more I got into this book the more sense it made. As we brace ourselves for some very tough times to come, we could all do with McGee’s sound advice. Step by step, he takes the mystery out of being fiscally sensible and makes it understandable, even for the likes of me.

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