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on August 15, 2009
I don't usually read books about money, since I find the subject boring and the advice usually doesn't work or fit my philosophy of life. I was attracted to this book by its exceptionally good reviews (and because the author sent me a free copy). I can honestly say it is the best information and advice I have ever seen in a book about money. It was written exactly for people like me, who don't make money the purpose of living but who don't want to die poor either.

Miller clearly had young people in mind when he wrote this book but, even though I am in my 60s, I still found it helpful. I also found that I had been practicing many of the principles he advocates... like living below your means, never paying full price, shopping for bargains, and not spending money on things you can do without. When your income goes up, you don't have to ramp up your expenses to match it. You can keep on living on a smaller budget and save the extra income. Some critics will say that's no fun and it takes away what for many is the incentive to increase their income. But when you see how your savings can add up, and the additional benefit of not having credit card bills to pay, you will also see that this plan DOES let you eventually get many of the things that really matter to you (while not wasting money on things that don't matter). Miller is saying that you should arrange your life and finances so you can actually afford those things when you buy them. That's good advice!

The book covers a wide range of topics, from buying clothes, cars and houses to investing the savings you will have if you follow these guidelines. The book teaches these principles through conversations of a group of young people, meeting with a teacher, for discussions over breakfast. This method means each lesson is told through the stories of the participants as they talk about themselves and their situation. This is not a bunch of well-heeled high earners, but rather ordinary young folks with tiny incomes wondering how they'll ever get ahead in life. It is rare that anyone writes a book for people such as them. Just like it's rare to be told to stop spending so much money on fast food lunches and buy a used car.

Interstingly, I have followed this advice myself. On my last job, for lunch I usually brought a salad I made the night before, but, if I went out (and I always ordered off the value menu), I filled my own bottle of water instead of paying for a soda pop (just expensive sugar water). I retired this summer, with a tdiy sum in my IRA from living below my means and putting away the maximum. My all-time favorite car was a '87 Pontiac staion wagon that my husband and I bought when it was 10 years old for $2000. We drove it for almost another 10 years and took numerous trips in it and our daughter learned to drive in it. It was a wonderful car and I felt sad when it developed a bad fuel leak and we finally had to consign it to the junk heap.

Investing is a topic that scares a lot of people, including me. I once tried to make some short-term investments in hopes of increasing my savings, but mainly this did not work out well and I gave it up. I just keep my money in conservative funds now and hope to leave it there and live off current income. Miller really likes Warren Buffett and uses his principles about investing, which concentrate on long-term thinking. Once you have a nest egg, there is an almost irresistible impulse to take some of the money (or, if you're really reckless, all of the money) and put it on some "sure thing" or turn it over to an investment advisor who claims he can get you a big return (Bernie Madoff, anyone?). Miller tells you not to do this, and I agree. Research shows trying to make it big with buy-and-sell investments rarely works out.

There is only one area where I disagree with Miller. In the United States, if you have a serious illness, you are probably screwed financially. No one can save enough money to pay for medical treatment for anything serious, and health insurance companies can discriminate against those who need care the most. Anyone with a condition dating from childhood will not be able to get insurance as an adult, or it will cost so much as to provide little left to live on. Miller glosses over this, probably because there is no advice (other than advocating for real health care reform in this country) that can help. If you doubt this, consider that Donna Smith (who now works with the California Nurses Association) had both good health insurance and AFLAC supplemental insurance when she and her husband developed serious health problems. They ended up in bankruptcy and lost their home. Americans have no health security and all you can really do is live a healthy lifestyle and hope you never need expensive care. Any one of us is just one injury away from financial ruin.

This is a great book with sensible advice, which you can read and pass on to other family members. Young people come out of high school knowing almost nothing about money and how to manage it. This book can be a real help.
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This is an informative and entertaining book about personal finance. While some of the detailed information is specific to the USA, all of the principles are universal.

This book follows the adventures of four diverse students (the Counterculture Club) led by an interesting financially savvy teacher. The teacher, Mrs Kramer, agrees to mentor the students as they learn about earning money and controlling expenses. The strength of this book, in my view, is that it focuses on each of the students as individuals and recognises that each has different strengths, desires and aspirations.

This book is primarily directed to those aged between 16 and 32, but there is information there useful to those of us outside that age range. Consider these four issues: getting out of debt and accumulating wealth; finding your strengths and passions and how to make a living from them; how to get ahead when the work you love does not produce a lot of money; and living a more fulfilled life. Consideration of these issues is framed in a way which should particularly appeal to Generation Y - but it isn't too late for the rest of us.

The book is divided into four parts:
Investing Money
Saving Money
Making Money
Enjoying Money

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and especially enjoyed the way in which all of the participants learned from each other. This book would be a great asset to any household.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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on June 22, 2012
I'm coming from the opposite direction from a lot of folks on this book in that the style it's written in has never been good for me--and yet I'm still giving it four stars.

I'm one of those people who just by personal preference hasn't ever been into this type of screenplay teaching method, and thus I only ever picked up this book in the first place during a temporary $0 sale on the Kindle version. No risk, potential return, right?

And I definitely got a return. Although I'm not a convert to the format, and most of the information wasn't new to me either, there were still nuggets sprinkled throughout the book of really important points distilled into very concise phrases that pack a punch and stick with you or make you internalize a concept more than you'd done before. The simplicity and directness of the "finding a new way to keep score" conversation (income level vs. total wealth) would have been worth paying the price of admission. It's one of those things I've known for a while intellectually, but hadn't encountered the right phrasing to make it an easy part of my daily vocabulary. And I will freely say that I had not sat down and calculated my net worth in years, and this book prompted me to do just that.

Any book that inspires even a small positive real-world action is four stars in my book, and my action wasn't even that small. I'm glad I read it. And for those out there who are more comfortable with the format than I happen to be, it's probably a must-read. Certainly good for high school students and college students regardless of their opinions on format, since it applies directly to their particular financial concerns and is simple and clear enough to spare them a lot of pain later in life.
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on March 14, 2009
This book provided me with an amazing insight into many different areas of personal finance. The author covers every topic from saving and investing money to making and enjoying money; and better yet, the book is written in an exciting and fun to read format that won't bore you or become a chore to read. I've read...eh tried to read...many other personal finance books, and I'm sure a lot of them had very good information in them; however, they were not engaging enough to get through, and so I wasn't able to gleam most of that good information. This book was different though. With each page I found myself more and more engaged, and before I knew it I had read the whole book, taking a wealth of financial knowledge with me. I would highly recommend this book to anyone, regardless of how much you may or may not know about personal finance. Everyone could take something away from this book. I especially recommend this book to anyone in high school or college, because when it comes to learning about finances, the sooner the better. I personally read the book as a college student, and while other personal finance books for me can sometimes make the concepts of personal finance complicated to understand, the author of this book made the world of personal finance very easy to understand on my level. This is why I think this book would be especially great for any teen or young adult out there trying to get a head start on their financial future.
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on December 18, 2013
The book is simple yet effective in conveying strong message of simple act of saving and investing at opportune time to reap the best benefits and enjoy the wealth creation. The author has giver many simple to use methods of saving money and he has provided us a good guide in investing money for multiplying its worth.
Simple saving don't work in long run unless and until we learn to invest the hard earned money in the profitable ventures and government equity funds which are low risk and high return options.
You will learn many more simple and easy tips. I congratulate the author on keeping this book simple for readers to enjoy reading a and using the knowledge gained from the book.
A good book to read for entrepreneurs and family heads.
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on June 27, 2011
I'm approaching my mid-40's now and began investing in my late 20's. I stumbled upon this book last week. I must say that I found this book to one of the best books I've read of the subject of basic investing.

It is presented in a very entertaining way. I would actually use the term "page-turner".

It's presented in a format where an older gentleman (about my age) tells this group of kids about all the mistakes he made investing.

To tell you the truth, it's almost creepy. It reads like an autobiography of my investment life.

I too:
Began investing without adequate savings.
I made a lot in my early twenties. I turned 5,000 into 16,000 in about three month investing in a patch for Ritalin so kids would not have to go to the office at school 4 times a day for a dose. Needless to say, I thought I was a genius. I then took the 16,000 and invested in a DVD company. Ever heard of Netflix streaming? I didn't even know what streaming was at the time. I lost it all. If only I had invested in an index fund. You never know what can happen with an individual stock. The stock you buy may even puncture a hole in the bottom of the ocean and have oil spill out for a month or so. You just never know. Don't invest in individual stocks. The author of this book makes this point clear.

When I started to make a decent income, I blew a lot of it on a BMW. I was not willing at the time to live below my means. What I like about this author is that he emphasizes the point by saying several times to live "way, way" below your means. That's key to building wealth.

I have a lot more failure stories. But the up side is that I was young enough to recover from these mistakes. Something this book can prevent altogether.

I'm now approaching my mid forties. I've been through 9-11, the .com bubble and the housing bubble. The stock market is lower than it was 10 years ago. The miracle is that I used one of the concepts in this book called "dollar cost averaging" and I managed to make money in this environment using index funds. Another concept covered in this book.

So now we are in the most sever recession in my lifetime. Lets see, I worked really hard to be in this situation:

I have 0 debt.
I have a 5-year emergency fund.
My house is paid off.
I've invested enough in my 401k that it has a decent chance of being $1,000,000 dollars in 23 years even if I never put another dime in.

This book will teach you how to get to this point. Buy it.
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on February 11, 2014
Hi all. I'm now 29 and all I can say is that I thank God for this book. I happen to be born into a pretty well off family. I was sheltered and never allowed to work while i was a kid. Anything I wanted I got but I've always felt something was missing. Often wondering how I'd carry on the family legacy. I see my parents work hard and watch how their money works for them. I just needed a tweak in my approach to thinking about wealth creation and maintenance. That's when I stumbled onto this book. Its content is so rich and written in a style that one can't help but feel connected to the characters. They're like family even. The principles in the book are great and I've started to apply them as well. Its not so much the principles themselves; its the essence of why one should think that way. Really like everything in life there are principles to them, and if one should apply these principles to ones financial life, with God on ones side, the outcome could really be marvelous. By far the most helpful financial guide I've ever read. Thank you Mr Steve Miller. God bless you.
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on January 30, 2013
Read this book... at the library! The author would want you to save the money, I swear. Then buy a copy to mark up and share with others, its not a necessity-- but you will save more than enough money to purchase copies for your friends....

It has helped me save money and invest, helped me prioritize maintenance and emergency funds, helped me buy in bulk and mark seasonal sales, etc. I've saved $400-600 in the last 2 months and its either advice that I took from this book or advice confirmed by this book and my advisors.
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on May 21, 2012
Excellent book! Good format, the stories keep the information in your mind for easy access later. It motivates you to find and pursue early life savings and explains how it will grow. I loved the part about looking at your spending and how one soda bought differently then at the fast food place can save you hundreds per year. It makes you think!
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on May 31, 2011
I thoroughly enjoyed the book and am practicing the lessons that I learned from it. Generally, the advice given are sensible and fairly easy to carry out . The author relies heavily on the teachings of billionaire Warren Buffet- a man who is known as one of the wisest financial/investment advisers in the history of the world.
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