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on June 10, 2009
Debt is a touchy subject. People have it, but they don't necessarily want to talk about it and if they do talk about it, very few are honest with the amount they carry. Ken Clark on the other hand urges readers to take a look at their situation in full, assess the damage on paper, and set goals for the short and long term; "Denial, Acceptance, Action." Once a foundation is laid, he takes you on a journey to eliminate and reduce every possible debt. It is true that much of the information could be found in the library, on the Internet, and within magazine and newspaper articles. But, what would be missing are the clear and concise instructions, the timeline and approach, the contact numbers, the sample letters, and the humor. Not far into the book I realized that Ken Clark writes as both a CFP and as a man who has endured the very struggles of debt management. He knows the strategies involved in tackling, overcoming, and eliminating debt. He does not talk down but to the reader and creates a sense of ease and practicality. What a relief! This a practical guide and must read for anyone looking to get out and stay out of debt.
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on June 9, 2009
I felt like the author really understands the struggle with debt and finances. He doesn't come across as a snob or know-it-all. Most importantly, it has helped my my husband and I finally get on the same page financially. He read this book with enthusiasm, cover to cover. We can now talk openly, with ease, about our financial goals.
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on February 8, 2009
I am amazed that before you even get out of the first part of the book, Mr. Clark makes sure you have a picture of the enormity of your debt, but that it is balanced with hope that you don't have to stay in debt. The practicality of this book is awesome. Throughout are also little tidbits of the psychology of debt that make you believe that you aren't just following some program to get yourself out of debt, you are creating a lifestyle that is free from debt. Even if you aren't in debt, or if you are just starting out in your financial freedom, this book will help educate you on the american system of debt and how to stay free from being enslaved by it.
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on June 8, 2009
This book will help you beyond belief. You would think that reading a book about debt would put you right to sleep but this book is filled with nothing of the sort. I laughed the whole time! Ken Clark mixes his life experience, good humor and incredible knowledge about financing to create an easy read. His book aids you in managing your money instead of throwing it away so you can finally relax! If you feel like your bad habits are destined for life, you've thought wrong. Read it!
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on July 13, 2012
I have to admit that I'm loathe to read any book that calls me an idiot, but I found this at my library and gave it a shot. To my surprise I found it really helpful, well written, and filled with practical advice. It's written for someone that is in pretty bad financial straits, but even those who are stressed by debt but not drowning in it can learn some things. He does a great job of making you think hard about your debt without him being condescending about it. In fact, he just seems like an all around decent guy. He makes sure to point out some of his own mistakes (in particular I like his comments about how he treats his cars) so I didn't feel that I was being lectured to by someone who's never been there.

Mr. Clark recommends creating a budget (3, actually), but instead of trying to live off of the super strict budget, he outlines how to create a spending plan to go along with the budget that gives one some leeway. He's not a "you must give up all fun until your debt is gone" kind of guy, which I really appreciate. I had already implemented a spending plan on my own (although I called it "allowance" - I much prefer his term) and it's been the biggest thing to help me control my spending. He recommends a version for single people and a slightly different one for couples.

The book covers everything from how one gets into debt to paying it off to credit scores and lots in between. He breaks debt to the different types (mortgages, credit cards, student loans) and talks about how best to deal with each of them. There's a chapter on how credit scores are calculated, one on identity theft, one on saving for retirement, and there's even a chapter on how to pass on money skills to your kids. That could probably be a whole book by itself, but his ideas were insightful (an example: don't freak out about it in front of them, they may think the debt is their fault).

I found some of his tips really helpful, in particular one on how to give myself a visual representation of my debt paydown to stay motivated. I also liked his saving-for-retirment advice, although I wish I'd read it 10 years ago.

All in all, I found this easy to read and helpful and I'd definitely recommend it.

Sidenote: I haven't read many debt books, but I read Debt Free For Life: The Finish Rich Plan for Financial Freedom directly after reading the Idiot's Guide and I found the Idiot's Guide to be much more helpful. Some of the information is the same (how to call creditors to lower interest rates), but the Idiot's Guide went more in depth and wasn't trying to sell me on any additional services. I can't compare it to any of Ramsey's or Orman's books since I haven't read either author.
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on June 8, 2009
Mr. Clark's book is a great tool for anyone during these tough economic times. It's full of simple, logical ideas and written in a staightforward, no-nonsense way. His ideas are full of common sense, are readable and compelling.
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on February 3, 2010
Ken Clark's book is well written, and is an exceptional resource to help you get out of debt. It is easy to use, and reference on the fly, unlike some of the guru's out there that claim to have been through it all, and have the answers for you. I would highly recommend this book as a resource that you will refer to time and again. I give this book a definite thumbs up!
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on February 22, 2010
This is a good book that gives you the basics about getting out of debt. Anybody who has incurred too much debt and needs some help in paying it off should read this book. Explains all kinds of debt and how it impacts your credit score and life. Very good and interesting reading.
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on January 5, 2012
I have not finished this book yet, but the part of the book I have read gives me excellent information. I find that this book is simple to understand and plan to use it as a reference book once I have completed reading it.
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on October 5, 2009
Like many of you, I am in debt up to my eyeballs. But hopefully, I may not be in debt for long. In " . . . Getting Out of Debt," Ken Clark brings his experience as a certified financial planner and a person formally in the red to the table, to help readers take the first step towards financial freedom. The book provides tips on how to tackle credit cards, mortgages, and loans; tell the difference between 'good' and 'bad' debt, curb the temptation to rack up more debt; and stay motivated enough to see the process through to the end. Though his advice is pretty useful, Clark seems to underestimate the effects of the current economic downturn on average Americans and overlooks that all-important first step to getting out of debt: getting a job.

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