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You Don't Have to Be Rich: Comfort, Happiness, and Financial Security on Your Own Terms Hardcover – September 29, 2003

28 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

Money can't make you happy, but it can make you miserable, explains money maven Jean Chatzky in You Don't Have to Be Rich: Comfort, Happiness, and Financial Security on Your Own Terms. Her premise is provocative: the financial habits of people who believe that money equals happiness will stand in the way of achieving that happiness. Chatzey, a financial editor for the Today show and a columnist for Money magazine, leverages money smart habits of mind from her research with 1,500 Americans and their wallets.

She begins with short and savvy history of how Americans turned from market observers to "in the game all the time participants." Then, she focuses on how to use market down turns as an opportunity "to take back our money by living within our means." Chatzky's down to earth advice is practical and confronts the reader head-on with a non-nonsense approach: "five steps to wanting less," "Feng Shui finance to simplify," "advice for the organizationally dyslexic," "non-gaseous goal setting," or "how to stop digging a financial hole and spotting unconscious spending."

Chatzky illustrates with clear examples and includes survey questions so readers can assess their own money matters. Although some of the advice will sound familiar, (pay your bills when they come in), this is a priceless blueprint for balancing your checkbook along with your outlook. --Barbara Mackoff

From Publishers Weekly

Chatzky, a Today show contributor and columnist for Money, Time and USA Weekend, acknowledges that the combined impact of the declining stock market, war and continuing unemployment have led people to worry about money more than in the recent past. However, Chatzky says, they don't know what to do with their concerns. The solution: "It's time to take back our lives. And in order to do that we need to take back our money.... We need to regain our financial power if we feel we've ceded it. Or to grab hold of that power, even if we've never paid much attention before." To find out what steps people should take, Chatzky and the Roper Center surveyed 1,505 people about the impact of money on their happiness, and how prepared they feel with their financial plans for the future. Chatzky uses the survey responses as chapter openers and then goes on to offer anecdotes and advice. She discusses finding the right job, saving, setting realistic goals, planning for emergencies and more. Chatzky's style is friendly and her counsel sound, though less extensive than some readers may need. Those struggling with basic money woes, like debt or trying to put away savings for their children's college education, will find this book helpful, but people wanting more in-depth or sophisticated information would do better with other investment guides.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Portfolio Hardcover; First Printing edition (September 29, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591840120
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591840121
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #779,490 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 4, 2004
Format: Hardcover
There are dozens of books which address many of the same topics and issues and this is one of the best because it was written primarily for non-experts such as I who seek "comfort, happiness, and financial security on [our] terms," of course, and need guidance to make appropriate decisions. Answers to questions such as these are more difficult to formulate now than at any prior time that I recall:
* What are the significant differences between standard of living and quality of life?
* Are they mutually exclusive?
* How can -- and should -- "wealth" be measured?
* To what extent (if any) is there a correlation between personal happiness and net worth?
* What do the happiest people seem to share in common?
* What are the most damaging misconceptions many people have when formulating a financial plan?
* Which strategies and tactics are most effective to achieve financial security? Why?
* What are "The Ten Commandments of Financial Happiness"?
Chatzky address these and countless other questions which many of us may have but feel embarrassed to ask. Of course, we can retain highly reputable financial planners whose services are worth every dollar they cost. However, my own experience suggests that a financial planner's best client is a well-informed client. More specifically, financial planners are most valuable once a client has carefully completed exercises such as those which Chatzky includes in her book. Invoking direct address, what do you REALLY want in life? Being rich and being happy are NOT mutually-exclusive. Many people are unhappy because they are essentially insolvent, if not destitute. No savings, credit unworthy, deeply in debt, in danger of foreclosure or eviction, etc. Many others are just as unhappy because of their affluence.
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57 of 63 people found the following review helpful By R. G. May VINE VOICE on October 7, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I had an opportunity to obtain this book at a function before it was available to the public. Ms. Chatzky also provided some very nice supplemental commentary to the delegates of this convention. I appreciate her approach; however, there is one point to keep in mind as you read this book: this book is for consumption by a populace that for the most part is financially illiterate. If you're a detail oriented person with some financial acumen, some of the suggestions made in this book will drive you crazy (i.e. paying your bills the day they come in). However, if money is controlling you instead of you controlling it, if you find yourself confused or bewildered by a myriad of options and not enough explanation, or you feel your financial life is simply out of control, then this is an excellent starting point to bringing some order to chaos.
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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Bob Stephens on September 26, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Jean Chatsky has written a very timely and powerful book on personal finance. While many books merely regurgitate popular dogma, "You Don't have to Be Rich" overs a fresh perspective to personal finance.
This book is somewhat like "The Millionaire Next Door" except that it discusses what the happiest people in America have in common when it comes to managing their money, and what the rest of us can learn from them. For instance, they have distinctly different habits and behaviors about things you might consider minor, such as how often to pay your bills, and what you will do with your bank statement when it arrives in the mail.
"You Don't have To Be Rich" offers clear cut strategies to take control of your money. "It's time to take back our lives", says Chatsky "and in order to do that we need to take back our money."
Chatsky also offers a series of questionaires which will enable you to take a good hard look at your money habits and make necessary corrections.
Overall this is an excellent book and worthy of five stars. For even more in depth information, I recommend "Talking Money" also by Chatsky. These books will get you on the road to financial freedom.
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39 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Joe Ubesh on October 3, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Jean Chatzky's new book on personal finance is unlike any that has come before. I know becaue I've read dozens of books on personal finance and getting rich. Chatzky's book includes an abundance of valuable advice and information necessary to manage your money in today's economy but what makes this book unique is the 'bigger picture' approach Ms. Chatzky takes on money's relevance to the whole of your life. After reading the book and doing the exercises I have a new awarness of my perceptions about money, its value and place in my life and I'm taking steps to do more of what brings me satisfaction instead of obsessing about how much money I have, what my investments are doing and so on. As if all that is ever going to make me happy. I'm spending more time with my family and friends and enjoying life more. And my money is doing just fine.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 30, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Excuse the pun, but this book is so on target. As soon as I saw the title, I thought I heard my conscience speaking. Like many of my friends, colleagues and neighbors, I recently found myself chasing the buck and losing sight of the more important priorities. Ms. Chatzkey's book helps to re-focus the reader on what's really matters and most importantly, how to achieve it. The book is an interesting combination of good practical advice that we'd expect from a therapist coupled with good practical advice we'd want from a financial advisor. It's going to be my "bible" in terms of getting back on the track of living an enriched life and not just a rich life.
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