Reviewed: November, 2020
Released: 2020, Independent
I’m a sucker for any books that tie in with Heavy Metal even if I’m not that interested in the core subject. However in our quest to review every Metal book every I was very pleased to read and enjoy MONEY HACKS.
The author, an American librarian and long-time band member doesn’t like being broke (who does?) and has put together a personal finance guide. The sub-title is ‘Conquering Personal Finance, One Riff At A Time’. This is important and I’ll explain why in a moment.
The book itself is an independent publication that is about 150 pages long. There is not much in the way of frills but there is a number of additional resources so readers can do more research on-line and in print. The whole thing is straight up text, but it is a fun easy read and it is well laid out like a good reference guide. There are lots of neat little Metal references scattered through the book.
I mentioned the sub-title, that is clever, because Mrs. May walks us through step-by-step, chapter-by-chapter how, from the very beginning to mage your finances. She goes through and gives us the basics, (have an emergency fund) to how to spend less, then how to save more, then getting out of debut then pay yourself first …none of this is new information but it is all good information.
What I liked is how she related to every day life and gave real examples of her own methods of saving and spending. It is easy to say, spend less and earn more, but how? She goes into that with real-life, attainable concrete examples without getting preachy or sounding like she is lecturing the reader.
One part that was super fun and useful for Metal fans was the last two chapters on band finances. She creates an imaginary band called ‘Green Smoke Wizard’ (I wonder what that is in reference too?) and she takes us through many of the important issues on how to make a band work financially. Let’s face it, it is unpleasant to consider but the truth is your band is a business. Unless you are just meeting up once a week with buddies to jam in a garbage (which is fine too!) but if you have any aspirations to play a gig or tour or make albums, don’t fool yourself, your band is a small business. If you don’t treat it as such, you will fail. Fortunately Mrs. May has tons of great tips, tricks, advice to make that work. Merchandise, fundraising, patreon campaigns; all that stuff is touched upon. I’m going to recommend this book to some of the people I know in bands!
Chapter 10 (Backstage Pass) is a series of three interviews where the author asks working musicians (not already rich guys like Iron Maiden) all the same series of financial questions. Their advice is consistent and you can learn a lot from their frontline experience.
On a personal note, I found this whole theme of the book very ‘contemporary’ and quite American in terms of language and presentation. It’s not bad, just different. For example, Mrs. May talks about the impact of Covid on bands and provides lots of ideas about social media as a tool as well. The prose is very casual, lots of vulgarity and slang and so on but it works! MONEY HACKS is definitely directed at a younger American audience. The author also interjected a mild undercurrent of political commentary into the book but that is a very ‘millennial’ thing to do, to drag politics into every single topic of conversation, even if it is not relevant. However, it is her book and she makes her feelings clear and tells us about white privilege, systemic racism and so on. Thankfully that doesn’t detract from the quality of her financial advice.
Let me clarify, this is NOT a dig at the author, but it is in fact one of the reasons why this book is so good for exactly that reason, it appeals to a younger audience. She takes a topic that is relatively dry (personal finance) and makes it fun and interesting. That is why so many books on finance are so dull and accordingly, younger people may not want to read them. The title MONEY HACKS FOR METALHEADS & OLD MILLENNIALS is brilliant because it will attract an audience that is under-served, as they say in the industry.
As an older guy I’ve met many young people who have no clue about money. It is not because they are dumb, but it is not really taught in school, money is often not talked about at home and as we mentioned before most money books are bloody boring. No wonder a young Metalhead can’t be bothered!
Personal finance is no joke. Divorce rates are high and one of the main causes is fighting about money. Bankruptcies are high, and consumer debt is crushing the ability of people to get ahead. Why wouldn’t you want to educate yourself on something that is so important? That is why I highly recommend MONEY HACKS. This should be in the library of every Metalhead.