Saturday, February 27, 2010


A few days ago I mentioned a book called Maxed Out. I also mentioned a few others.

I haven't opened Raising Financially Fit Kids yet.

I started Credit Card Nation. The author of Maxed Out makes a comment about CCN, basically saying that it's a dry read. I agree.

It's overly-complicated. I hate it when I feel like an author is trying to impress me by using as many large words as possible in a sentence. I have a large vocabulary, so it's not that I don't know what the words mean... there's a flow and ease of reading that allows me to absorb the text much more quickly when it's not written in an overly-complicated manner. It's part of the reason I love reading blogs. I love the personal and conversational tone.

Maxed Out was written so that it was easy (and amusing) to read. Credit Card Nation is sitting on my bookcase. I haven't read past the first three pages and I probably won't.

I'm about a third of the way through Getting Credit After Bankruptcy. Hmm. Where to start on this one.

(Provided so you can see what book I'm talking about; this is one I don't recommend buying.)

First of all I'm not impressed. I've even outright laughed, scoffed, and harrumphed while reading. The sole qualifications of the authors seem to be that they went out and gained credit after filing bankruptcy. And while "been there, done that" anecdotal evidence is often important to me when getting advice from a friend, I'm not sure it qualifies me to trust someone to my financial future.

Some sections of the book seem downright thrown in as an after-thought. For example there are 32 suggestions on how to save money. These are clearly outdated and random. Sending letters rather than calling is no longer a good strategy. Giving up the beloved family pet is a rather callous suggestion. Whole books and blogs have been devoted to saving money... it's a topic with far more scope than a two-page chapter can cover.

The author offers biased opinions that are offensive at times. Not really offensive, and not enough to make me not want to finish the book, but I don't feel that the personal bias adds anything to the experience. (Example: Complaining about driving an American-made car, because that's all they could get approved for.)

Finally (and remember this is not a whole book review, just my first impressions), I think the advice goes against my personal goals for bankrutpcy. I DO want to reestablish credit, of course, but I'm not going to run out and lease a car. Leasing a car is one of the first action steps (after opening a checking and savings account, getting a credit card, etc.) the author recommends. After that is getting a home-equity loan.

Their list of qualifications (their approved credit) is long and impressive. Getting approved for and charging furniture and, later in a different establishment, a camera? They eschewed going cash-only though it was their initial goal, but it seems overboard. It just strikes me like all of these things would be horrible temptation for someone who can't control their spending. How many open lines of credit do we need? How many cards?

Again - I'm no expert. I've changed my opinions about a lot of things several times as I've learned more. I shake my head and laugh at my prior ignorance. So I might be judging this one too harshly.

Links to the other books I mentioned:

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