Cash Is Queen by Davinia Tomlinson

The Blurb On The Back:

Cash Is Queen is the definitive guide to money for girl, breaking down the basics of how young women can learn to understand and manage their money – an essential skill that will last them forever.

With clear explanations and empowering text by experienced financial expert Davinia Tomlinson, this book is vital reading for young girls everywhere as they enter adulthood and set out to make their mark in the world.

CASH IS QUEEN was released in the United Kingdom on 5th January 2023.  Thanks to the Amazon Vine Programme for the review copy of this book.

You can order CASH IS QUEEN by Davinia Tomlinson from Amazon UK, Waterstone’s or UK.  I earn commission on any purchases made through these links.

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):

Davinia Tomlinson has 15 years experience in investment management and professional services.  This is a comprehensive guide to money management for readers aged 9+ (illustrated by Andrea Oerter) that is specifically aimed at girls but while there is some solid advice here, I felt that the cryptocurrency section undersold the risks, there is an assumption that readers are starting with some money and the layout was at times difficult to read.

I had a lot of sympathy for the rationale of this book being aimed at girls because women on average earn less than men during their working life and are financially disadvantaged when it comes to retirement.  Tomlinson writes in a way that is very much geared towards encouraging girls to take control of their money, how they spend it and how to manage their financial future and she does write very clearly about aspects of finance that can be difficult for grown ups to understand.  However although I liked the diversity in Oerter’s illustrations, I don’t think that the layout of the book does it a huge favour, particularly the use of colour which can make the text difficult to follow at times and the text itself is quite small.

Tomlinson covers a breadth of money and money related topics from deferred gratification and having money goals, to savings tips, budgeting, loans, investments, pensions and financial scams.  I liked the constant focus on getting educated and working out what your goals and spending habits are so that you can achieve what you want to achieve.  I also liked the emphasis on pensions saving, which is something you are genuinely never too young to think about, and on investments and savings, which I think she covers in a way that draws out the importance of long term thinking without being preachy.  The inclusion of a section on financial abuse is also, sadly, very relevant and I applaud Tomlinson for including it so that readers are alert to what to look for.

There were things that disappointed me in the book, starting with the fact that it used the heavily criticised Stanford marshmallow experiment to explain deferred gratification, which particularly bothered me because Tomlinson acknowledges that there were issues with it.  There is an irony here in that, like the experiment, the book seems to assume that the people reading it have money.  Certainly there’s no recognition here of financial insecurity or how that drives certain behaviours and how/what girls from such backgrounds can do to improve their situation (including looking at benefits, which get no coverage).

I was also disappointed by the way the book tackles cryptocurrency.  Tomlinson talks about it as an investment and although she acknowledges that it’s risky, she tells readers that they need to do their research before proceeding.  For me, given everything that’s happened in the crypto currency markets since 2021, I thought this was dangerous as the area is rife with fraud, group think and pyramid schemes and I did think that as a starting point, the book should be looking to steer readers to be extremely cautious not least because as they’re more likely to be on social media where crypto currency gets hyped.  It’s a particular shame because I think it’s something that could have been mentioned in the financial scam sections as it would have been a good fit.

Finally within the financial scam section, although I credit Tomlinson for mentioning money mule scams and how you can be liable for money laundering, she missed an opportunity to mention that it can also see you being banned from having a bank account.  This is something that is proving to be particularly relevant to young people given that it can stop them from finding work and makes life incredibly difficult.

All this sounds like I’ve got a downer on the book but I think it is a comprehensive introduction to finance that many female readers will benefit from checking out – I just think that it misses a couple of opportunities that would have made this essential reading and those blindspots stopped me from enjoying it.

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