Book Review & Giveaway: Debt Free For Life by David Bach

I’m excited to review David Bach’s new book entitled, Debt Free For Life!  I’ve been a fan of David’s books since his very first bestseller, The Automatic Millionaire.  David writes in a very easy to understand, logical sort of way which allows readers to follow his advice easily.

I remember the first time I picked up one of his books, I was at Barnes & Nobles.  I sat in a corner for an entire hour and read the book from cover to cover.  Sorry David!  I know I should have bought it instead, but I was practicing my frugal ways at that time in my life.  Actually, I still am.

For someone who is in debt, and who has never read any of David’s books, I highly encourage you to read his latest, Debt Free For Life.  Given I’ve read practically every single one of David’s books, it’s hard for me to learn anything new.  That’s somewhat of bummer since I was hoping there would be something as innovative as the “latte factor” was 10 years ago.  Still, if you’ve only read one or two of his books and are on a mission to pay down debt, this book is perfect for you.

One of the best things about book reviews is access to an author’s mind.  I ask David five burning questions to challenge him beyond the plain vanilla, and to my delight he answers most of them quite directly.  Hope you guys enjoy the insight!  There are three books to giveaway at the end of the interview!

FINANCIAL SAMURAI QUESTIONS FOR DAVID BACH

The White Cloud of Happiness

My mother is a white cloud.  Every time I see her, she smiles even bigger than I can ever smile.  She loves to talk stories about any of life’s teachings she’s discovered, and I generally just keep quiet and listen.  Sometimes I don’t understand everything she says, but that’s OK.  It makes me happy just knowing she’s happy imparting wisdom onto me.

One of the holiday presents I got my father was a signed copy of Andre Agassi’s autobiography, “OPEN.”  To me, the book was gold, because Andre is my idol.  It was my only copy, and I decided to give it to my father because I remember him loving to read and enjoying the game long ago.

When my father opened his present, he did thank me and showed his appreciation.  However, a week later, the book still lay on the coffee table unread.  Somewhat dismayed that Agassi was being ignored, I spoke to mom about perhaps taking the book back since I cherished it so much.  She mentioned her unused Barnes & Nobles gift card and had an idea.

Later that evening, my parents went to the Mall for date night without us.  Apparently, Carl’s Junior had a two-for-one special and my father was just dying to go!  When they returned, my mother brought me over to the kitchen and told me, “Shhhhhh, take a look at the book.  I bought another copy of “OPEN” and swapped it with your signed copy, so you can take it home!  Dad will never know!” We laughed so hard it hurt and gave each other high fives!  My mom was right, dad never found out.  Mom, who knows very little about tennis, was encouraged by my enthusiasm she even read “OPEN” before dad!

LESSON LEARNED

Book Review & Giveaway: The Other 8 Hours

Author: Robert Pagliarini, author of The Six-Day Financial Makeover and president of Pacifica Wealth Advisors.  You may have seen him on Dr. Phil or 20/20.

Publisher & Book Info: St. Martin’s Press, hard cover, 301 pages, $25.99.

Review: The main premise for Rob’s book is that everybody’s day is split into three eight hour parts: work, sleep, and everything else.  Rob’s hope is to get you motivated to do more during the everything else portion to maximize your own potential.  First of all, I don’t know anybody who only works 8 hours a day.  10 hours of work a day seems more realistic.  Second, who gets to sleep 8 hours a night?  Sounds like elusive bliss to me.   Let’s assume 6 hours of nightly sleep instead, which ironically leaves the same 8 hours of time for everything else!

The Other 8 Hours is an enjoyable read because each chapter contains not only practical advice, but real life inspirational stories to help motivate readers to action.  Too many times we just come home, plop on the sofa, and do nothing.  That’s no way to live.  Below are Rob’s top 10 things he recommends doing with your spare time to help increase wealth and purpose.

Top 10 Creator Channels:

“Capitalism: A Love Story” DVD Review & Giveaway

Michael Moore thinks he is pointing out injustices through his latest documentary, “Capitalism: A Love Story“.  Instead, Michael simply reminds us that life isn’t fair in a free market economy where those who work hard sometimes get the short end of the stick through no fault of their own.

I find it ironic that one of the wealthiest documentary filmmakers is bashing Capitalism.  Despite highlighting that 33% of “young Americans” now believe in Socialism (37% for Capitalism, 30% undecided), it’s hard to argue for a better system.  It’ll be interesting to see if these young Americans still believe in Socialism by the time they reach their thirties and make some money.  Socialism just creates a new set of problems for society.  Is it really that bad buying a foreclosed property from someone who can’t pay their debt on time?  Property vultures are necessary to provide a floor in many devastated markets or else things go to zero and more people suffer.

There is a sense of self-righteousness when Michael tells the viewer that he can’t fight the system alone and encourages all to rise up.  Michael you aren’t alone.  Thousands upon thousands of us fight for what we believe in every single day.  I wish Michael would put his money where his mouth is and donate all his proceeds to helping victims he continues to highlight.

A STRANGE PLACE

Charles Farrell From “Your Money Ratios” Speaks! Part II

Social Security Act FDR

The following is the second and last part of my interview with Charles Farrell, the author of “Your Money Ratios“.  We discuss the much maligned 401k, whether Social Security will survive, and crowd favorite, how raising personal income tax levels further will ruin America!

The 401K AND ALL ITS GLORY

Question: Why do you think there are so many detractors of the 401k plan? Furthermore, do you think it is fair that the pre-tax limit contribution is only $16,500 for some 22 as well as someone who is 45? Presumably, the average 45 year old is making much more than the average 22 year old, so how come the government doesn’t propose an increased pre-tax contribution scale the older one gets?

Answer: Many people don’t like 401(k) plans because they believe the burden of funding retirements should fall on employers and not employees; thus they would like to see us go back to defined benefit plans that are funded by employers. Well, that is just not going to happen. Employers have no appetite for guaranteeing to pay their workers for 30 or 40 years after they stop working for them. And DB plans are not flexible enough to accommodate a globally competitive marketplace, plus they discriminate against individuals who change jobs or careers. Moreover, many DB plans (particularly government plans) are significantly underfunded and many who thought they had guaranteed retirements may be unpleasantly surprised at some point. So I think the “romance” with DB plans is misguided, but many people would like to see those types of plans again. I just don’t think it’s going to happen.

Then there is another set of individuals who don’t like 401(k) plans because of the limited investment choices and sometimes high expense structure of the plans. I agree with people on this front, and there are problems with some 401(k) providers, particularly those smaller plans that can’t drive better deals on their investment platforms.

But, most plans do offer competitive options and are low cost. It’s important for readers not to lose sight of the primary reason to use a 401(k) plan, which is the huge tax benefit provided to those who contribute; and if you get a match, that is just makes it more attractive. The tax deduction, the match and the tax deferral on growth are incredibly valuable tools to help build your capital. So even with some restrictions, the plans are basically the best place to build your retirement assets.

Regulators Are The Problem! (401K Con’t)

Charles Farrell of “Your Money Ratios” Speaks! Part I

Charles Farrell

As I wrote in my review of “Your Money Ratios”, Charles’ book sings to me. Charles has the ability to simplify complicated financial topics for the average reader to understand. His book is seriously one of the best books I’ve read on personal finance in a long while.

One of the keys to progress is learning from experts in their various fields.  Charles is gracious enough to answer some follow up questions I’ve been burning to ask after reading his book.  This will be a two part post due to the 2,800 word length of the interview.  In part I, we discover Charles’ motivation for writing his book, strategies for early retirement, and his conservative and debatable 50%/50% investment split between stocks and bonds.  In part II, we discuss the much maligned 401K, personal income taxes, why Social Security will survive, and why the flat tax is the right way to go!  Please enjoy!

WRITING “YOUR MONEY RATIOS”

Question: Was there a particular lightning bolt reason why you decided to write this book? For aspiring authors, what suggestions do you have to get your worked published in this ultra competitive field of business?

Answer: I wanted to write a book that would help average readers understand the most fundamental and critical relationships among one’s income, capital and debt, and how those things must be managed throughout your working career to build financial independence. So I took what are often quite complicated topics and figured out a way to present them in a very simple format that anyone can follow. I would like more people to enjoy the benefits of financial independence, and I hope this book does that.

As far as writing, all I can say is write about what you believe in. Hopefully, if you believe in it strongly enough, you’ll develop some expertise and then seek out ways to spread your ideas. Try to develop some niche that is reflective of your expertise. So I developed the ratios and they came out of my background in tax, finance and also working with individuals.

Think about what you do that is a little different and try to focus on that unique nature of what you do. It is a tough slog because the field is very crowded and often the least valuable information gets the most press. But you have to accept that reality and still push ahead. And then you need a little luck. Your message has to somehow get into the hands of people who appreciate and understand it. And that is hard to predict, which means you need a little luck to get it out there. So if you are going to pursue that path, I think you need to accept those realities of the marketplace.

EARLY RETIREMENT