This week, I had the opportunity to sit down with Derek C. Olsen, author of The Four Week Financial Turnaround, an interactive, hands-on budgeting workbook that’s being celebrated throughout the nation. I sat down with Derek to learn about why he has written The Four Week Financial Turnaround, what the book is all about and the inside scoop about his exclusive holiday book release party on December 14th. Check out the Q&A below:
TBP: Let’s start off by talking about why you decided to write The Four Week Financial Turnaround. Where did the idea for this book come from?
DEREK: The idea came from the experience my wife Carrie and I had going through three different things: 1) marriage and merging our financial accounts, 2) a house foreclosure and 3) learning how to do a monthly budget together. Budgeting together solved all of our problems—it was incredible. By simply going through a monthly budget and paying closer attention to our money, what we were able to accomplish was kind of mind-blowing. So from that, I started coaching other people how to get ahold of their money and manage it correctly. This book provides the worksheets I was using to coach other people. All of a sudden, I thought to myself, “Hey, if I were to package all these worksheets and write some content around it, I could package it into a really good book and be able to help more people.”
TBP: As you just mentioned, The Four Week Financial Turnaround is a workbook. Why did you decide to make it interactive?
DEREK: There’s really no other way. I never thought “Hmm...should I make this interactive?” It just was that way from the very beginning. I knew it was going to be hands-on. That’s the only way to create change. If you need to change your financial situation, the only way to do it is through action. The worksheets help you facilitate that process of action and move forward. It’s really heavy on the interactivity.
TBP: According to this book, you can turn your finances around in less than four weeks. So give me a brief break down or overview of what this looks like week-to-week.
DEREK: The first week defines where you are right now. It’s about gathering all the necessary information, organizing it and making sense of it. It’s your starting point. You have to get all your bank account and financial information. It’s quite a hefty chore just to gather all of that stuff together. It’s also incredibly rewarding and motivating, knowing that you are taking charge.
Week two is all about deconstruction—removing the parts that aren’t working. Don’t continue to drag around the parts of your plan that aren’t working well. Leave the parts that aren’t working behind in order to make room for improvement.
Week two makes room for Week Three, which is adding parts that work better in your financial situation. Replace those parts that aren’t working will parts that will work much better.
Week Four is putting it all together in the form of one worksheet—the monthly budget.
TBP: So the book is divided into weeks but it’s also divided into chapters. What do you think is the most important chapter in the book?
DEREK: The most important section is in the intro. It helps you discover the reasons why you spend money the way you do. That’s the most important part because that theme comes back after every worksheet. Many people do not understand why they spend their money the way they do. By exploring your spending habits, you can find a monthly budget that fits your lifestyle. People tell me that is the aspect they like the most, uncovering the reasons why.
TBP: Who needs to buy this book?
DEREK: Anyone who needs to be more organized and move forward. Those are the two key words—organization and movement. I dig pretty deep in this book, but I try to keep it really simple. I believe if budgeting is too complicated, people won’t pick up the book more than once. So I believe a really simple monthly budget that you will use is much more valuable than a complex budget that you use only once. The monthly budget is three pages and incredibly simple, but incredibly powerful.
TBP: So you’re launching this book with a fun holiday book release party. Tell us more.
DEREK: Yes, The Four Week Financial Turnaround holiday book release party will be on December 14, 2012 at 5:30pm. I’m inviting everyone in the community for drinks, snacks and awesome giveaways. All attendees will receive a free copy of the book as well as be entered to win an iPad Mini among other prizes. It’s going to be a blast. I am also encouraging everyone to download the book FOR FREE on Kindle on December 14th.
TBP: When it comes to the upcoming event, what are you most excited about?
DEREK: I’m really excited to see all of my family, friends and co-workers—people who helped me along the way as a solopreneuer. It takes a village to help any business. I’ve had tons and tons of help from a lot of people and this is really just my way to say thank you.
TBP: Why should someone download the free Kindle edition on December 14th?
DEREK: We are trying to get the book to #1 on Amazon.com so that more people will see it, buy it, and benefit from its content. So, we might as well have some fun doing so.
TBP: Why should someone buy the book?
DEREK: I believe that money and the way that you handle your money affects every aspect of your life. Money can be a good tool, one that is used in good ways and in not so good ways. It just has such an impact on everything including your quality of life. They say money can’t make you happy, but yet it can cause so much unnecessary pain, anxiety, and worry. If it can’t make you happy, it can at least help you avoid some unnecessary grief. It’s pretty easy to avoid that. All you need to do is pay attention and have a plan and it can save you a lot of trouble.
TBP: There are a lot of other budgeting and self-help books out in the market. What makes The Four Week Financial Turnaround different?
DEREK: The hands-on worksheets. Also, the way the workbook blends the big picture vision with the hands-on details is very unique. The book always goes back to your big vision. Think of it as there are two aspects—the details and the big vision. The one thing that connects the two together is the reason why that is mentioned in the introduction to the book. That’s what makes the workbook unique.
TBP: Now is a really great time to buy the book, right before New Years and New Year’s Resolutions... but how can someone keep their finance in check after completing the program? What’s the secret to maintain what they’ve learned?
DEREK: First of all, you have to do a budget every single month. There are also a few things in the book that’ll help you carry your budget out throughout the year. One is to download the monthly budget, which is a free bonus giveaway included with a purchase of the book. Two is to sign up for my newsletter, that comes out every month or two and serves as great reminder and accountability buddy. And lastly, though this will not last throughout the year, there is a free four week e-course you can sign up for and that will help you along the way.
TBP: How can people find out more?
DEREK: Be sure to check out my book at www.fourweekfinancialturnaround.com. From there, you can purchase the book, download it on Kindle (for free on Dec 14th!), check out reviews, sign up for my newsletter and register for my e-course. In addition, you can register for the upcoming holiday book release party at http://fwftparty.eventbrite.com/. Lastly, follow me on Twitter for updates and specials @DerekCOlsen.