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Money Rules: The Simple Path to Lifelong Security Paperback – March 13, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jean Chatzky is the financial editor for NBC's Today and a columnist for Prevention. She is the author of five books, including the bestsellers Pay It Down and Make Money, Not Excuses. She lives in Westchester, NY.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Rodale Books (March 13, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1609618602
  • ISBN-13: 978-1609618605
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.4 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #384,488 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By E. Bukowsky HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 26, 2012
Format: Paperback
When it comes to money, do you play it by ear or plan ahead? Jean Chatzky, author of "Money Rules--The Simple Path to Lifelong Security," cites a startling statistic: "50 percent of people will run out of money in retirement." Chatzky, a financial editor and author, would like to insure that senior citizens who have worked all their lives will be comfortable during retirement. In this slender book, the author presents 94 succinct and straightforward rules about making and saving money, avoiding unnecessary debt, spending and investing wisely, and protecting your assets.

This is not a comprehensive manual about IRAs, estate planning, credit card regulations, stocks and bonds, and student loans. Many other works of non-fiction cover these topics. Chatzky's goal is to grab her readers by their lapels and startle them into making wise decisions in order to avoid unnecessary grief down the road. For instance, she urges us: Don't buy things you don't need; stay on top of bills; look for hidden expenses; save as much as possible for the future; shred documents that contain personal information; don't incur unnecessary debt.

"Money Rules" would be useful for individuals (especially the young and naïve) who know little about monetary matters, tend to make rash purchases, and are reluctant to put aside funds for the proverbial rainy day. Chatzky, in a jargon-free, conversational style, warns us to avoid common pitfalls. For example, do not buy life insurance as an investment; "free" can be expensive; rebalance your portfolio periodically; don't lend money to friends and relatives. This handbook would be a good gift for a recent college graduate who is trying to land a job and taste financial independence for the first time. On the other hand, those who have their fiscal houses in order will find Chatzky's advice too elementary to be useful.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By J. Chambers HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on April 2, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
I'm retired and living on a fixed pension, so at least one section ("Part 1 - Make Money") of this nifty little book doesn't apply to me unless I win the lottery, but I would dearly love to have read it forty years ago when I was out of school and beginning a career. The title is a bit of a double entendre, referring both to rules for making, saving, and keeping money; and how much influence the money we make and save will have on our lives, especially in retirement.

It's a short book, with 94 little nuggets of wisdom that will help most anyone make basic financial decisions. The book has seven sections:

Part 1 - Make Money
Part 2 - Save Money
Part 3 - Avoid (Most) Debt
Part 4 - Spend Wisely
Part 5 - Invest for Tomorrow
Part 6 - Cover Your Assets
Part 7 - Do's and Don'ts

A few of my favorite rules:

#11 - "If you can't see it and you can't touch it, you won't spend it." (On the importance of keeping most of your retirement savings where it's out of sight and not easy to withdraw, like a 401(k).)

#18 - "You will spend more with credit than with debit and more with debit than with cash."

#46 - "The salesperson is not your friend."

#84 - "Banking online makes you smarter and safer."

Most rules have a few words of explanation, although some rules are so self-explanatory that they need no clarification.
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Format: Paperback
The title of this book is a bit of a misnomer, for while the rules stated within it are true, simple and will go a long way towards financial security, they are not altogether simple for all readers because they operate on some very questionable assumptions. One example is rule number 13 on page 17:
"There is no such thing as chump change. $100 is not a lot of money. Save it every week, however, and invest it in a retirement account where you earn a conservative 6 percent, and keep doing it for 30 years and you'll have $433,557. In 40 years, you'll have more than twice that. And that is a lot of money."
While the conclusions are accurate, for most people the premises are false. To most people $100 a week is a lot of money, far more than they can hope to save each week. Secondly, I just received a bank statement and a CD is earning me 0.55% interest, my savings account is earning even less. To say that 6% is a conservative rate of interest is very unrealistic, even when you are talking about an IRA.
In the modern system of credit card programs, Chatzky's advice to always pay cash out of your emergency fund when an emergency arises is a debatable point. If your credit card pays you 1% or better cash back, it makes more sense to use that credit card and make sure you pay it off with emergency money when it comes due. Your emergency money then earns more interest and the 1% return on the purchase is free money. Chatzky refers to this tactic as a "panic" when it in fact is nothing of the kind.
The overall primary and questionable assumptions that Chatzky makes is that the reader has a steady job with a living wage. It does no good to tell a person skimping on food and occasionally going hungry to save 10% of their income or how to invest for the long haul.
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