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Good Money: Understand Your Choices, Boost Your Financial Wellbeing – Nathalie Spencer

4th May 2023
good money book cover


Good Money is all about personal finance. This is a book that my wife was reading and I finished it before her.


Nathalie Spencer is a behavioural scientist. She leads an in-house team, is a published author, sits on advisory boards, contributes to industry events and publications.


Good Money has an introduction, a How to Use This Book section, 5 chapters, and an epilogue. The chapters are:

1. Money and Us

2. Money in the Day to Day

3. Resilience

4. Long-term Planning

5. Better with Money

Each chapter contains 4 topics and comes with a toolkit and further learning.


Good Money defines financial wellbeing as making ends meet day to day, planning for the long term and being prepared for inevitable hiccups along the way.

How we spend our money reflects who we are, our expectations and our values. While having more and more money does not make us happier, having insufficient money can make us unhappy. Our point of reference changes when we get used to new circumstances. The new becomes normal.

Humans think of the value of products not in absolute terms but in relation to other products, which might be exploited to lead us to spend more. Besides that, humans generally value immediate reward higher than a future one. Nonetheless, pricing everything can lead us to miss out on more pleasant, efficient or fairer ways of being.

She acknowledged that sometimes life is down to luck. In order to make use of good fortune that comes your way, you have to equip yourself with the right tools through hard work, up-skilling yourself and being in the right place at the right time.

Overall, this book is about basic personal finance. I have known most of its contents. However, there is a new term that I learned from this book: Co-holding. It means holding both savings and debt at the same time when it is better to pay off the debt. There is some rationale behind it which include psychological comfort. But it is perhaps more beneficial to eliminate co-holding.

Good money practices are making and sticking to plans to the extent that they serve us well, with enough slack in the system to be able to cope with, or even enjoy, unexpected turns in the road. To boost happiness, the key is how you spend the money, not how much you spend.

Good Money is an introductory personal finance book suitable for readers who have no or vague idea of managing their money. What I like about this book is that it is very straightforward. The author did not bombard the readers with a lot of research data. If you are good at managing your money, this book would not help you much.

One-sentence summary for Good Money: Financial wellbeing is about the balance between income, saving, investing and expenditure.


  1. Context shapes our decision landscape.
  2. While wealth begets wealth, financial insecurity can beget insecurity.
  3. Life is full of both risk and uncertainty.
  4. Financial wellbeing is not just about scrimping, saving and sacrificing.
  5. The hedonic treadmill has many of us running just to stand still.


3 out of 3 stars

Interested in Good Money?

You may get the book from through the link below*.

Print from Kinokuniya Malaysia

*Disclosure: The above link is an affiliate link. Thus, I may earn a small commission when you purchase the book through the link.

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