Monday, June 16, 2008

Life or Debt

I just finished reading Life or Debt and I really enjoyed it. It was a quick read, unlike some other financial advice books. There wasn't a lot of new information. However, I find that a lot of my "a ha!" moments come from old information that's presented in a slightly different way. I had several "A HA!"s:

  • The way the author not only addressed the cost of buying things on credit, as most do, he also dealt with the opportunity costs of buying anything. It doesn't matter if it's cash or credit. He gave a formula to figure out exactly how much of your life you're trading by spending a certain amount of money. Wow.
  • I really enjoyed the way that the author used example people. Even though they were fake, had fake lives, and so forth, it was a lot easier to read about "someone else" figuring out their budget, finances, etc. than trying to picture myself in the book. I was able to relax and take in the information, process it, and then apply it. Usually I'm too busy trying to mentally interact with the book and that makes it harder to get it the first time around.
  • The author gave standard tips for saving money. This was an added feature and I'm sure that some of those tips will hit readers as new. It was an expected part of the book that didn't impress me all that much. What did impress me, however, was how he used those tips with his example people. He needed to find "debt destroyer" funds in the budget. He went through a category-by-category budget search to find the amount and showed how it can be easier than one thinks to free up 10% of the income. He really stresses making saving money painless so that it's not about deprivation.
  • The thing I like the most was the way that he continually stressed that you can either make the same minimum payments for dozens of years, pay thousands more in interest, and end up with very little or nothing OR you can do 10% of your income now towards debt, get out in a matter of years, and end up a millionaire. That really hit home with me. Normally I don't like repetitive things, but this was one I needed to hear.

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