SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Despite having majored and worked in finance, Ashley Feisntein Gerstley is no stranger to finding personal finance “opaque and daunting.” Her new book will help you avoid similar anxieties about your own money, especially if you are a new earner. 

Feinstein Gerstley’s new book “Financial Adulting” is designed to be a comprehensive guide for helping new workers and recent graduates know everything they need to about their personal finance. “It’s the guide I wish I had when I started earning money in my own life,” says Feinstein Gerstley. The book also functions as a kind of “workbook” that allows the reader to complete various exercises in the text itself. 

Feinstein Gerstley understands that most readers probably feel like they should know more about money, and that their lack of financial skills can cause some shame and stress. She says it doesn’t have to be this way. Feinstein Gerstley’s book is an excellent resource to help people feel better about their relationship with their own money. 

When asked how to sum up her primary piece of advice to new workers and recent graduates, Feinstein Gerstley says that “the biggest thing is taking small, consistent steps.” She continues that the “New-Year’s Resolution” method of goal setting that involves changing all habits all at once is not sustainable, and often leads to discouragement.  

Instead, Feinstein Gerstly suggests taking small steps to create a personal financial plan. She understands that financial plans and budgets often get a bad rap and can cause a lot of stress and suggests reframing the way we think about them as “acts of self-love.” She also says that calling the time set aside for financial planning a “money party” and including rewards can make it easier for new earners.  

Next, Feinstein Gerstly advises that people start saving now. She says that if “you wait to save until you have money left over, you’ll never start saving.” Her book advises even setting aside as little as $5-$10 per paycheck and acknowledges that saving isn’t always a linear process. 

Finally, Feinstein Gerstly tells new earners to start investing for retirement now. She uses the term “investing” instead of “saving” intentionally; retirement accounts should be more than just a piggy bank. Her book advises making sure to max out any company-matched 401(k) each year and invest your retirement savings in long-term index funds. It goes into much greater detail in an entire chapter about investing and is especially helpful for those who might be afraid to start the process. In reference to younger workers frequently changing jobs, Feinstein Gerstly suggests opening a personal retirement account such as an IRA or Roth IRA. 

“Financial Adulting” does not shy away from discussing pay inequality; it tackles it head-on. Feinstein Gerstly says it is important to her that her book doesn’t “act like everyone is starting from the same place financially and has experienced money in the same way.” She describes her book as part “exposé” as it goes into depth on how marginalized groups in the U.S. are financially disadvantaged due to historic and continuing discrimination. 

Feinstein Gerstly interviewed 35 people with different identities about their relationship to money as it relates to discrimination and pay gaps. She gives specific advice to those who have experienced financial discrimination and emphasizes that it is not their fault that they have been discriminated against. For example, Feinstein Gerstly goes into depth about how salary negotiations often are perceived differently for men and women in the workplace. 

While money, retirement, and financial discrimination are heavy subjects, Feinstein Gerstly treats them with grace and everyday approachability.

To find out more info about the book, click here.