- Paperback: 311 pages
- Publisher: DPL Press (Oct. 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0976079119
- ISBN-13: 978-0976079118
- Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 1.8 x 23 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,842,966 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Debt-Proof Living: The Complete Guide to Living Financially Free Paperback – Oct 2005
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About the Author
Mary Hunt is an award-winning and bestselling author, a syndicated columnist, and a sought-after motivational speaker who helps men and women battle the epidemic of consumer debt. She is founder and publisher of the interactive website Debt-Proof Living, --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
My only problem is the religious angle she places on her ideas, which to me, seem somewhat off the point. Surely anyone - including an Atheist like myself - should be able to become "debt-proof" without having to find God in the process?
If you can read around (or accept, if you wish) the more spiritual connotations of the book, then this really does have an awful lot to offer.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Hunt's book has a lot of great information that for the most part is clearly written. She covers everything from credit reports, to mortgages, to insurance and how to save money in these categories. The plan she leaves us with in order to get out of debt is a strong and solid one, that still allows you to have a life and actually create a savings plan wbile paying off debt. Using an RDRP calculator I designed for myself, I was pleased to see that I can pay off my $32,000 of debt in six and a half years, not taking into account and tax refunds, or raises beyond the cost of living increases I may take in.
As with any book that tries to get you to change your life, you need to pick and choose the ideas that best suit you and fit your lifestyle. Hunt tells us we should give 10% of our money away, in a sense back to God. Among other reasons, this is to feel more connected with the world. She states a few times how people write in saying that they'd rather give their time and how Hunt feels this runs counter to the principles of giving away money. I for one, feel much more connected to the world when I am volunteering - writing checks and putting them in the mail is what you do to those evil credit card people you're trying to get rid of.
Another GLARING frustration I had with the book was all the shameless plugs to her website. Not because I am against shameless plugs, but because in order to ACCESS the features she mentions, you have to buy a subscription! Key to the whole book is her Rapid Debt Repayment Plan (RDRP) which, as she puts it on her website, can be a very complicated thing to figure out on your own. If you have rudimentary knowledge of a spreadsheet program, such as excel (and no, you don't HAVE to be a financial whiz to figure it out), know how to use formulas and even hide columns, you can crete a RDRP for yourself and save yourself the $20 yearly subscription.
I found this caveat frustrating because it was not stated in the book that this was a subscription source (perhaps it wasn't when the book was published). So if you buy this book and can't figure out excel for yourself, you could easily spend almost $40 in no time that isn't going towards your credit payments. This issue made me question the line Hunt walks between her capitalistic enterprise (which she admits she loves) and her desire to truly help those of us out there with debt. What about giving 10% back to her readers?
I didn't learn any sensible budgeting techniques in high school, college, or graduate school. I decided I needed to learn to handle my money better and needed to get out of debt. I found this book at the Christian bookstore and purchased it. It revolutionized my financial thinking. It took about 18 months for me to get out of debt, and I have stayed out of debt since.
1. KEY THOUGHT: The Freedom Account. To this day, I still use a Freedom Account. I am married now, but my husband and I have a freedom account fully stocked for a new car in our future, health care, flood insurance, home insurance, car deductibles, etc. It is so freeing to realize you have that money set aside for things that may well/are going to happen. A great technique.
2. KEY THOUGHT: The RDRP (rapid debt repayment plan). So many people tell you you should pay off your highest-interest debts first. To me, it was motivational to start with my smallest debts. It was like a steamroller taking the money that I once was paying for debt A and sending double,triple, or quadruple payments to debt b. I really liked this technique! Currently, my only debt is a house mortgage. I use techniques I learned from the RDRP to pay down my mortgage early as well. I usually make more than twice the monthly payment so I can end my 30 year mortgage within 8 years.
3. KEY THOUGHT: Save 10%, Give 10%, Live off 80%. I really liked that Mary had her 80/10/10 rule . I think it's so important to realize that you have to save and give while still paying off debts. It was a very unique view, and refreshing!
I really think people will enjoy this book. I also subscribed to Mary's Cheapskate Monthly newsletter for several years as I got my finances in order. One nice thing there is as a subscriber you can have access to all the previous issues! I learned about many things there not covered in this book: Price Books, Once-a-month Cooking, Maximizing Food Dollar Value, etc. Fascinating reading :)
I hope I've helped someone... At the very least, you could check tihs book out from a library to read... but, you will likely find that it is well worth the price to buy it!
Cons: For me, it was disheartening that I could not put the spending plan into immediate action. For someone who is in serious trouble, the advice she suggests may seem too daunting and too difficult to follow. I do not think this is a flaw on Hunt's behalf, but is more an indicator that people with high debt who are spending beyond their means truly need to make more serious and drastic changes to their way of living.
I have posted my personal experience with Hunt's Debt-Proof Living for you if you'd like to read about the positive possibilities that following Hunt's plan offers.
I read Debt-Proof Living two years ago. At that time, we had about $30,000 in credit card debt, we were paying nearly $3000/month on our mortgage, and my husband and I were both driving around in gas-guzzling shiny vehicles. The financial strain was beginning to take it's toll, putting strain on our relationship, our health, and on every aspect of our life. We were living beyond our means, sinking fast, and I reached for this book in desperation.
We were unable to start the spending plan right away because we did not have money to start it with. Every paycheck that came in went right out to keep bills paid just barely on time. As Mary suggested, this was a warning sign that we were living beyond our means and would need to make more drastic changes in order to get to a financially secure place.
First, we traded in my gas-guzzler for about $9000 and I bought a more economical $4000 used car. I still have it, and other than routine maintenance, we have incurred no other cost with it. It also cut our gas expenses significantly. We used the money to make some home improvements so we could put our house on the market. Unfortunately, it took almost a year for our house to sell. All the while we were now falling behind on our mortgage payments and incurring even more credit card debt maxing them all out at $50,000 before it was all said and done.
We finally sold our 3 acre, 4 bedroom, 4 bathroom home last August, we sold a lot our stuff, or just got rid of it, and we moved to a much more modest 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom home, with a small back yard. (I LOVE it!) That cut our mortgage payment by more than half, not to mention cutting my cleaning time by half, too. I took on a part-time job and my husband picked up some extra hours.
This year, we finally got to the place where we could use our tax return to fuel the spending plan suggested by Hunt. It is working like a dream! No more credit cards. We pay cash. If we can't pay cash for something, then we don't get it. We have a savings cushion for unexpected and expected emergencies. This is how it should be. Everyone in my family is happier!
While we are not out of the woods yet with the debt we have accumulated, we can see the light! Even better, if we stick with the spending plan, we will have our home and all of our debt paid off in just 9 years, saving over $100,000 in interest. It will take discipline, but it will leave us with about $40,000 a YEAR just burning a hole in our savings account!
While a total of eleven years, including the two years it took us to get this far, might seem like a long time to get out of debt, had we taken no action, we would have lost our home, and eventually would die of old age and still have the debt! It makes eleven years seem easy!
By following the plan, I have learned just how materialistic and foolish I had been with money. I learned that my family is just as happy, if not happier, with much less "stuff" and space than we had. I have learned to view society in a whole new light, realizing that we are over indulgent and need so much less than we think we need.
What is most important to remember when reading this book is that it is simple, common sense advice for a long term plan. The results that may or may not be seen instantly depending on your individual situation. But ANYONE can improve their financial outlook by following the suggestions in this book.
Ultimately, this book does not give you a band-aid to fix the boo-boos. It gives you a cure!