I have not read any other books in this series, but the subject matter of this book appealed to me. I often run into people who (for various reasons) don't have much liquid wealth going into their 40s. Yet I haven't seen much written to suggest what these folks should do. I was hoping to get some ideas to share. Unfortunately, I didn't really find any that I didn't know about already.
If you are over 50, this book won't provide you with the advice you need. The intellectual process that Mr. Bach went through was to take the familiar arguments about the power of compound interest and saving with pre-tax dollars . . . and think of a few ways to shorten up the number of years required for compound interest to do its thing on your behalf. His best suggestions outside the standard financial planning advice are to be more valuable at work so you can earn more raises and promotions . . . and paying down your mortgage a little faster than is required.
I applaud his advice that people spend less on things that don't provide much benefit . . . but most people are going to be demoralized if that's the main source of increased liquid wealth. After all, most people want wealth not for retirement . . . but to enjoy life before and after they retire.
I found his arguments about starting your own business to earn more money to be naive at best . . . and overoptimistic at worst. Buying and running . . . or starting and running a business requires a lot of hard work and skill. Most successful entrepreneurs are off doing this by around age 35. Most people at 49 will find it a tough hill to climb. I applaud Mr. Bach's suggestion that people look into buying, operating, expanding and then selling franchised operations that meet his criteria. The other ideas won't work for most people based on historical averages.
I was also puzzled by his emphasis on having one-third of your liquid financial wealth in bonds. That's been one of the lowest returning classes of investment over the last 150, 100, 50, and 25 years. Why deliberately earn less when you have a long time horizon?
Much of the appeal of this book is that Mr. Bach is optimistic by nature, has a kindly interest in people and aspires for people to accomplish more. Bravo for that attitude!
I also found that Mr. Bach uses quantitative examples to explain compound interest and pre-tax versus after-tax investments much better than most financial planners do.
If you are under 45 and have never read a book about financial planning before, you will find this to be a valuable resource. If you are familiar with financial planning, you can skip this book. If you are not inclined to plan, don't know anything about financial planning and find math to be challenging, this book will provide useful new perspectives for you.
This is a book about compound interest and its affect on your future wealth. It is also about making a few sacrifices now so that you aren't short of money in your old age when it is too late to do anything about it. It is also throwing a lifeline for those who want to do a bit of living before they die, for the wrinkly stage before the crumbly stage. Some may argue that the book is largely irrelevant because it is written for an American market and it is true that you will have to turn over a number of pages which relate only to American citizens. However, the underlying message is well stated and relevant and the future will arrive whether you think about it or not.
on 15 July 2007
OK, true, I have not yet implemented any of Mr. Bach's advice but that is only because I have not yet come to the end of the book. "And yet you feel confident about giving it 4 stars?" you might ask, and my response would be a resounding "YES!" because here is the thing: Mr. Bach is at least giving me HOPE. I have a birthday coming up which will put me officially in my 40's. For most people-financial advisors and "laymen" alike-I'm doomed to living in a cardboard box in my old age because I have no children to mooch off of!
I agree with the above reviewer that bonds are perhaps a bit TOO "conservative" for someone starting late, but, really, better "conservative" than "suicidal", ESPECIALLY for people starting late, no? I also agree that starting abusiness is tough work. I know this because I have almost always worked for myself, but the aim of the excercise, I think, is what the "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" series also seems to be saying which is that ultimately you have others working for you. Working for yourself, whether it is a one man operation or the owner of a small business with employees-is not for everyone. It is certainly not for the faint of heart, to my mind! :):):) There is, indeed, a certain personality that not only thrives working this way but wouldn't have it any other way. What the above reviewer seems to forget is that not all of us work for corporate America directly. When you are out of the "mainstream' and/or only deal with it indirectly, it's not that it is harder to save money necessarally, but you may need to be a bit more "proactive"-especially if you are "starting late"-and you can certainly be heartily discouraged because you simply do not have the "language" or "knowledge" that the MBA's do.
Mr. Bach knows this. He writes in a very "conversational" style which is non-threatening enough to be almost soothing...He makes no bones about the fact that, yes, if you started late there is a bit more work involved than if you had started straight out of college, say, but he does not harangue you for it either (like some authors I have read, sad to say). He tries to make, not only his explanations, but the processes he outlines as simple as possible, WITHOUT "dumbing it down" and patronizing the reader, which is refreshing, and he gives real live contact information which is invaluable because most of the frustration for us non business types is not that we do not know what to do (save and invest) but we do not know where to GO to do it! And, believe me, as soon as you express interest in investing, everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, seems to feel qualified to tell you where to put your money!
My only qualm is that, though I am an American citizen (and an EU citizen as well...thanks, Dad!), I do not live in the States at present and so might have to work even a bit harder than others my age following Mr. Bach's advice. No matter...I have my five year plan forming in my head as I write...:):):)
Bottom line: If you feel like it is "too late" for you, do not despair! Make your first "investment" Mr. Bach's excellent book!
on 8 August 2008
The shelves are full of books on personal finance and retirement. Many cover a familiar list of sound principles: Save, get out of debt, pay down your mortgage, add to your retirement investments and live fully. However, getAbstract finds that David Bach's books are effective in their own distinctive way because of his emphasis on quality of life and simplicity (like using automatic deductions to meet your fiscal goals). Bach's bestsellers have developed a wide following. If he is your preferred financial guru, you will enjoy this guide to a better fiscal future.