Sunday, May 3, 2009

Book Review: I Will Teach You To Be Rich

Back before my birthday, I'd mentioned I was thinking about getting a Kindle. My wife then heard about a promotion that Ramit Sethi was doing for his book, I Will Teach You To Be Rich, in which he was raffling Kindles to people that purchased the book. Alisa bought it on impulse. No kindle win, but anyhow the book found its way into the house, and I decided to give it a quick look.

I'm not the target audience for this book. It's really aimed at (a) young'uns (the 20's to early 30's set), and (b) aimed at those that are doing little or nothing in the way of financial planning/management. (i.e. if you make 60k a year, drive a new beamer, but carry a balance on your credit card and don't contribute to your 401k, then you should buy the book, hit yourself in the head with it once or twice, and then read it).

Still, I found his light-hearted style entertaining so I decided to give it a read and see if I got anything out of it.

Most of it didn't apply to our situation, or was advice that we were already following, but I still managed to get a few things out of it.

First off, it was a nice forcing function to go re-examine a bunch of things (e.g. reminder to go get our credit report and credit score, scrutinize a number of our accounts, etc). Secondly, I did learn a couple things out of it (e.g. I had a general idea about how credit score was calculated, but this gave me a more solid understanding). 

It also saved me some money. One of the things Sethi encourages you to do is call up any service provider or institution you are paying fees to and see if you can get them lowered. I did this with one of our financial institutions and got our wrap fees lowered, and also moved some money from high-ish fee investments into less costly ones. This move alone probably saved me $500 a year.

Which means the book paid for itself in about a week. Not a bad return on investment. 

If you do a decent job managing your money (i.e. have no debt other than maybe your mortgage and have some savings), then the book's probably not for you but hey, maybe you'll get something out of it. If you currently don't manage your money well, or are just out of college and are starting to think about how, then this book is probably a great place to start.

(Note, it's ironic that we heard about this through a Kindle giveaway promotion. The Amazon reviews from the book have some notes about how broken the Kindle version of the book is, not displaying tables correctly, etc.)


Patrick said...

I don´t think people should invest in any funds charging any fees whatsoever. Sure it´s convenient to use an indexed ETF or one connected to FX or commodity prices, but why not just do it yourself? Let´s say you want to buy 100 shares of OIL, why not put the same amount of capital into oil futures without leverage and replicate the results without the fee or basis slip? The only funds I would use are ultrashorts since shorting equities is kind of a hassle. Mutual funds are a joke, hedge funds might be worth it but odds are you could just replicate the automated trading systems they use, money market accounts and CDs don´t make sense with double digit inflation around the corner. My best advise on how to be rich is to teach yourself technical analysis and develop your own mix of systems, from the prosaic averaging in of commodities to short-term leveraged trading of high speed markets such as FX. At least you´ll own your results, for better or worse.

Anonymous said...

I discovered Dave Ramsey from a carpool buddy (Olympia to Redmond) who was deeply in debt.

Even if you think you are doing well with money, there's a lot to be learned from his shows.

Disclaimer: I'd expect a lot of the "I'm so smart" crowd at Jones Farm to turn their noses up at it unless they've been thrown overboard a time or two.

His advice saved me from a 50k hit in my finances when the market tanked. As a v-, debt is dumb and cash is king, and the paid off home mortgage is the status symbol of choice.