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56 of 57 people found the following review helpful
on June 14, 2000
This book is one of the first finance books I bought and pretty darn near one of the last. It does a great job of making you differentiate what you need vs. what you want. For example, do I really NEED to buy another financial book or could I just borrow one from a friend or a library. I have even spent a couple hours in bookstores skimming certain chapters of finance books. It has provided me sound financial advice that is the core of my investment philosophy. I feel very confident in what I'm doing and why. That is one the positives. He will explain to you the principles behind his approach and let you carry it out on your own. He does not tell you to do A, B, and C. He simply provides you a nice foundation for investing based on a mix of his investment advice and historical performances. Every review I've read on this book has been positive so I would like to bring up some negatives. His book does not do a good job of explaining terminology. If you want to know what x-bond is exactly...good luck. Many terms don't receive the explanations a novice would need. Instead, you look in the index for a term, find it, then have to read a paragraph in which the term is used and you still don't know exactly what is means. Another negative is his ability to back track. He WILL present material as if it is black and white. Then 30 chapters later he will say something that contradicts it. There are obviously specifics that need to be discussed but aren't. Also, he is great at self promotion. This is a typical statement "If you don't understand what I just said, you need to by my book called so and so, if you still don't understand, by the book I wrote before that, etc." I have this book, 88 Rules, and Millionaire Next Door. 88 Rules is a hyped up condensed version of this book. Actually, I think some sections are literally copied word for word. In other words, IF YOU ARE GOING TO BY ONE OF HIS BOOKS, BUY THIS ONE AND DON'T WASTE MONEY ON THE OTHER ONES. All and all, I'm very glad I have this book BUT it could've been better. I have't read many financial books secondary my satisfaction with this one so I can't recommend a better book per se but this book does have negatives. Good Luck.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on January 15, 2004
I just picked up a copy of The Truth About Money 3rd edition. Edelman has outdone himslef. This book is superb. So much information.
Whether you want information on how to invest or what kind of insurance to by, it's in here.
Edelman may not be as well know as Suze Orman, but he is the best. He know his stuff. Speaks from experience and has the client base, successful clients that is that can back him up.
If you really want to make the most of your money then you must read this book. It is outstanding!
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on March 11, 2004
The Truth About Money is the most complete and up to date financial book on the bookstands right now. And Edelman is an authority on money.
First of all, The Truth About Money is 645 pages packed with powerful financial information. It is split into 13 sections and 89 chapters. This is very complete.
Everything you need to know about money is in here. From sending your kids to college, to investing, to insurance, to buying a home to retirement.
Edelman spends a considerable amount of time discussing the greatest discovery of the 20th century--compound interest. Simple but I am continually surprised at the number of people who do not understand or even have heard of the rule of 72. After reading Edelman, you will understand it and pursue your investing with new vigor.
Ric also has a full chapter on how to prepare for economic collapse and another chapter on social security. Edelman recommends that regarding social security, that "you take and money and run" meaning that you are better off to retire and take benefits at age 62 than wait untill later. Considering the current sad state of the social security system, I couldn't agree more. Another way to put it is take the money now because it may not be there later.
At 645 pages, The Truth About Money may appear challenging but in reality is a eay and fun read. This not Jane Bryant Quinn. Ric Edelman is both a financial expert and a interesting writer. I got through the book in a few days. It was hard to put it down.
Since the book was written in November 2003, The Truth About Money is also the most up to date financial book out there. Forget those books that were written by magazine writers in 1997 and were out of date even before they were released.
Also, this book is obviously updated from Ric's first 2 editions. If you have either of those books, this one is bigger and better. Ric Edelman is not one of those authors who puts 2 pages of new information in a older book and calls it "new". This edition has been completely revised. It is like a new book.
Highly recommended book.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on August 23, 1998
Ric Eddelman is a delight to read. He mixes humor with powerful material. This is the best of the newer crop of financial books (post 1995) available. I recommend this to anyone and everyone who is interested in improving their financial situation. I also recommend More Wealth Without Risk by the late great Charles Givens and The Millionaire Next Door by Dr's Stanley and Danko, a excellent work. Most of the other books, I feel are too generalized and leave the reader puzzled as to what to do next. These books are powerful and pragmatic.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on February 21, 1998
Ric's writing is fun to read, making a subject such as finance and money management an enjoyable experience. Ric is also spot on. His ideas challenge conventional "wisdom" on handling investing and financing. A reviewer was critical of Ric's suggestion to forego the tax exempt investments. However, a check with many associates and my own personal methods confirm Ric's assertion. You're better off in the higher returning taxable fund. By nature, you just won't invest the "savings" back into the tax exempt fund when April 15 rolls around. And you will pay your taxes from regular sources rather than liquidate a fund to pay them. Wham! Wake up call. This is one of the four best financial books of our time and a must read before making another major financial decision. The other three are: "The Millionaire Next Door" by Ph.D.'s Stanley and Danko, "Buffettology" by Mary Buffett, and "More Wealth Without Risk" by Charles Givens. Edelman gives Givens a run for the money. While the two books have many similar ideas, there are enough differences between them to offer the reader a choice on which method of handling an event may be more applicable to their particular situation.
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38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
Edelman's criticisms of index mutual funds are nonsense. Most blatantly, he sets up a false straw dummy, by saying that index funds are claimed to have ZERO trading costs. Rubbish! NO proponent of these has ever said that. Starting with the largest, Vanguard. All providers of index funds (and Exchange Traded Funds) assert that they have trading costs. Edelman surely knows this, yet he goes on to misrepresent index funds. In order to "refute" the "claim" by saying that they do indeed incur these costs. Neophyte readers without any background in financial matters might be taken in. It shows clearly the type of audience that he is aiming at.

Yes, index funds have trading costs. But so do actively managed funds. And the latter almost always do much higher trading. Reflected in the overheads. Index funds have expense ratios (overheads) of around 0.1-0.4%. Active funds are from 0.9-2% or more.

Another claim he makes is that index funds do mechanical buying and selling, without having a human actively consider these decisions. Yet this is a strength of index funds, not a weakness. When an active fund buys or sells, it could be right or wrong. It is not a given that the active fund will even be correct on average. And the current price of a stock reflects this give and take, across all active trading.

Edelman also says that when you buy an index fund, you could get hit with capital gains, if the fund sells stocks with large gains. But the low trading (=long holding periods) of an index fund, mitigates against this. Active funds are more likely to hit you with capital gains, because they trade much more frequently.

The strongest point he makes about index funds is that in a market downturn, they should underperform active funds. Because index funds must stay fully invested, whereas an active fund can have a cash position that cushions the fall in its stocks. Intellectually, this is the most plausible scenario for an active fund to outperform an index.

But hey, you know what? In the last US bear market, 2000-2, the main index funds still outperformed most of the large active funds. (Where both types invested across the market.) It turns out there is no guarantee that an active fund's cash position is sufficient to overcome a bad choice of stocks, whose prices fall more than the market averages. This 3rd edition was written in 2003, yet there is no reference to these events. Edelman did not update his remarks from the earlier editions. Sloppy.

He also quotes Forbes as deprecating on index funds. Wrong. Over the last 20 years, Forbes has consistently written favourably on these. Because the Forbes fund surveys and associated advice look approvingly on low overhead (expense ratio). As they have put it several times, the overhead is the most consistent thing you know about any fund, in bull or bear markets. Their surveys have shown that index funds outperform most active funds.
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47 of 53 people found the following review helpful
Whoever says money can't buy you happiness doesn't know where to shop. ~Gittel Hudnick

Ric Edelman is a top financial advisor who focuses on issues facing us all. This book began as a course he was teaching at Georgetown University. His work was first published in 1996. Since then, his firm, Edelman Financial Services Inc., has created and implemented financial plans for over 6,500 clients. This review is for the 3rd Edition.

Are you buying your first home, just starting to invest, sending the kids to college, considering retirement or making decisions about long-term care? There is a section for every major issue and tons of great tips and advice. I also love the comic strips throughout the book. Who knew you could laugh your way through a finance book?

The Truth about Money is divided into 14 main sections:

The Rules of Money Have Changed. Again.
Introduction to Financial Planning
Understanding the Capital Markets
Fixed Income Investments
Packaged Products
The Best Investment Strategies
The Best Financial Strategies
The Best Strategies for Buying, Selling and Owning Homes
Taxes, Taxes, Taxes
Retirement Planning
Estate Planning
How to Choose a Financial Adviser

Ric often gets frank about life choices and I enjoyed reading his comments about how we make choices that lead us to our present lifestyle. The information on "Where American's Spend their Money" is enlightening. Housing is at 32%. In the past few years I was able to decrease our housing costs in order to increase funds in other areas and page 307 makes perfect sense to me. I've also watched friends struggle with this issue because they want to keep their lifestyle at such a high level, their income won't cover the luxury of living by themselves. Issues like Liquidating your assets, closing bank accounts, paying off high interest credit cards and borrowing money at a lower interest rate than your credit card interest makes complete sense. Cutting up all but one credit card also works wonders.

While reading the information about credit cards on page 309 I was laughing out loud. Ric is a real comedian. Hey, wait, but he is actually getting my attention in the perfect way. There are also quotes from famous people all through the book and here is a good example:

"If you can see yourself in possession of your goal, it's half yours." ~Tom Hopkins

I loved the: "How to Use This Book" section. There is a list of "If You Are" situations and "Then Read" these page numbers. You can choose from: In Debt, Single, Married, Retired, Female, Young, Old, Parent, The Child of Aging Parents.

Features within the chapters include:

The 11 Reasons You Need to Plan
Building Cash Reserves
Event Risk
Three Ways to Buy Stocks
Understanding Volatility
The Computer vs. The Money Manager
How to Get Out of Debt
Should You Buy or Lease Your Next Car?
How to Protect Your Identity
The American Dream
IRA Accounts
Your Will
Ten Taboos Between You and Your Planner
Four Tips for Working Successfully with a Real Estate Agent
How to Make Money by Giving it Away

If you only have time to read one book about money, "The Truth About Money" should be the book! You could really laugh your way to financial security if you take this advice seriously. This has to be the most enjoyable book about money I've ever read. Everyone in America should read this book in their 20s so they can make wise financial decisions throughout their entire life.

You may also want to read: The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness

~The Rebecca Review
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on January 28, 2004
The Truth About Money 3rd edition is more than just a updated version of the very best financial book ever written. It's almost like a totally new book.
Some many other authors out there just revise a few things and more or less put a new cover on an old book. Not Ric. This book is completely redone.
The Truth About Money is an easy read. It is informational, entertaining and enlightening. And it stands alone as a single source of financial information.
Want to know how to buy your first home, your next home and save on taxes when you sell. It's in here.
Want to get the facts on estate planning and long term care; learn how to protect yourself and your family? It's in here.
Want to learn the ABC's of investing; from annuities to zero coupon bonds, mutual funds to writing covered calls, go from owing money to owning money. Get out of debt and stay out of debt? It's in here.
And how about retirement. Do you want to learn the right steps that you need to take to reach the American Dream? Then read Ric Edelman's new book.
I considered myself pretty savvy on investing untill I took the 130 question money quizzes that Ric provides. I was surprised to find out how much I didn't know.
The Truth About Money is divided into 18 sections, 86 chapters and 625 pages. With all of that, you would think that this book would be a difficult read. Wrong. It is a delightful read. Ric is not only the most knowledgeable of financial authors, he is also one of the best writers in that he can take the most difficult subjects and make it fun and easy. No wonder his books have sold so well!
Ric is uniquely qualified to write on the subject of personal finance. Aside from earning the designations of CFS, RFC, CMFC, and QFP he was named by Research magazine as the #1 financial advisor in the nation for his focus on the individual client in 2003.
His firm Edelman Financial Services, Inc. has won more than 50 professional, business, community service and philanthropic awards and has been ranked twice by Bloomberg Wealth Manager as one of the largest independent financial planning and investment firms in the nation. The firm has created and implemented financial plans for more than 6,500 clients, and today Ric and his team manage $2 Billion for investors across the country.
If you want to buy just one book on personal finance, The Truth About Money should be that book. It is excellent. Everything you need to know about personal finance is in here.
5 stars is not enough. Amazon, you need to go back to 10 stars for this outstanding work by Edleman.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on January 29, 2004
The more I read this new book by Ric Edelman, the more I like it and the more I appreciae good honest advice from a man like Ric.For example, in part 5 in the chapter on mutual fund investing, Ric uncovers the five most common broker tricks practiced by unethical brokers. Even though illegal, they are unfortunately comon practice. Sounds unbelievable I know...but it is also true. Interesting is that Ric also tells how broker tricks can become your treats.In another regard, I had followed the advice of another financial author and sold my annuities. This so called "expert" doesn't believe in annuities.After reading the chapter on annuities in Ric's new book, I became very angry at the advice of that so called "expert" and invested again in self directed variable annuities.The chapter on annuities in The Truth About Money will help you decide if annuities are right for you (I believe they are right for just about anybody) and show you how to shop for the best annuity.HINT: Your insurance agent's advice may not be in your best interest. Nor are certain financial authors who merely assert their opinions.Overall, The Truth About Money is an excellent book and a must read for anyone who wants to maximize their financial rewards. Only Ric Edelman would write a book like this one.The Truth About Money really delivers and should be a part of your financial library.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
I have read and reviewed most of the popular money guides in the past. I was pleasantly surprised by the 3rd edition of The Truth about Money. The book displays excellent accuracy about choices, is very up-to-date (through December 31, 2003), reads easily, and combines practical advice about human behavior with math. If you only read one money guide, I suggest this one.
As an example of how well disciplined this book is, the rules about IRAs are very hard for anyone to keep straight. Mr. Edelman provides a blue pullout bind-in insert between pages 484 and 485 that asks you questions about yourself. Then based on your answers, it tells you which IRA choices you should pursue.
Each part of the book (Introduction to Financial Planning; Understanding the Capital Markets; Fixed Income Investments; Equities, Packaged Products; The Best Investment Strategies; The Best Financial Strategies; The Best Strategies for Buying, Selling and Owning Homes; Taxes, Taxes, Taxes; Retirement Planning; Insurance; Estate Planning; and How to Choose a Financial Advisor) has a brief quiz at the end to test your knowledge. Mr. Edelman cleverly suggests that you check out the quiz before reading the section to help you focus on reading what you don't already know . . . and to track how well you've learned your lessons. I enjoyed that feature.
The first parts about financial markets are excellent for making the material interesting. The examples are cleverly drawn to help you understand how compounding works and why you want to have a more stable portfolio so that you can a good combination of risk and reward.
I was very impressed by the practical advice on human emotions. The stories are superb for showing how emotions can lead you astray. One woman did a great job of getting assets out of her estate, but neglected to be sure that her daughter wrote a will. As a result, the assets came back into the woman's estate when the daughter died before the mother with worse tax consequences than if the mother had done to estate tax planning. In other instances, he points out that most people won't have the discipline to execute superior strategies and points out choices that will take advantage of our normal sloth in financial planning.
As an attorney and a financial consultant who often advices entrepreneurs on financial matters, I found the explanations of key issues to be succinct, accurate and remarkably complete. I wish I could explain half these points as well.
As I finished the book, I realized that the only possible improvement I could think of would be to add a section that takes significant life events (such as taking a first job, getting married, having a baby, changing jobs, getting divorced, losing a parent, and so forth) and listing what actions each person needs to take in such a situation. That would draw together all of the elements of the book in a much more useful way.
Assuming that there is a fourth edition (and I'm sure there will be), perhaps Mr. Edelman will add that feature.
In the meantime, follow the parts of this advice that fit your personality . . . and get expert advice when it's called for.
May all your financial decisions be well-informed ones!
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