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Showing 1-10 of 13 reviews (3 star)show all reviews
510 of 529 people found the following review helpful
on November 27, 2009
Format: Paperback
The fundamental premise of this book is pretty good. The idea is as follows: You devote a given amount of time a day into work (say 10 hours). You earn an hourly wage, let's say for argument's sake it is $16 / hour. But there are many hidden costs associated with having a job.

For example, you may spend 30 min. commuting to and from work. After you get back from work, you may spend an additional hour "decompressing" - as in mindlessly watching TV in order to relax. You may also spend maybe another 30 min. or so talking about your work situation to your significant other.

So when you calculate your REAL hourly wages, you have to take all of this extra time into account. After all, you wouldn't be doing all of this stuff if you didn't work at this particular job.

Also, there are monetary costs to working. Such as spending money on nice work clothing. Buying lunch in the afternoon, because it would be too time consuming to prepare lunch every night. If there are things that you might do yourself but don't because of your job (taking care of your lawn, car, house, etc), you have to subtract the monetary costs of outsourcing all of this work.

What the book points out is that your REAL hourly wage is often much less than you think it is. In the example above, $16/hour could easily fall to $10 or $11/ hour.

The book then goes on to argue that when you start looking at stuff to buy - you should think about the cost of a new iPod for example in terms of hours spent working for it, not money. So for example, if you buy a $200 iPod, and you REAL hourly wage is $11/ hour, you've just spent about 18.2 hours of your life working away for that iPod. It really puts things into perspective.

The book does not tell you not to spend, but rather to be conscious of what you are actually spending, which is literally your life energy.

They have a "9 step program" but really it amounts to this:

1) Calculate your REAL net worth. All assets minus all debts. For many people its negative, because they have accumulated so much debt during their lifetime.

2) Become aware of your real hourly wage, and your spending patterns, and you will find that you naturally stop buying frivolous things. They recommend tracking EVERY single cent that you spend on goods. Pretty extreme, but I understand why. People in this program supposedly paid off seemingly large loads of debt in stunningly short time periods.

That's pretty much the gist of the book. The reason why I've given it 3.5 stars is because the manner in which this is all presented is not that great. The writing attempts to make the message seem very profound, when in fact it may not be so deep a truth as all that.

There is also a *LOT* of negative generalization about how everyone lives an over-stressed, under-paid lifestyle and it keeps coming up, over and over again in the book. It's this part that I really don't like. It probably all together takes up maybe 75 pages of the book, and it really only needs to be stated once. I think some brevity could have made this book really amazing, but it is still ok.

Finally, I strongly disagree with the investment chapter at the end of the book, and I think it will lead a lot of people astray. It recommends that you should only invest in long-term US treasury bonds that pay very marginal rates, because they are the only thing 100% guaranteed over time. A slightly "riskier" strategy is to invest in lifecycle funds.

Let me state plainly that to invest in only US treasury bonds would be akin to shooting yourself in the foot. Many things (like your job), are not 100% certain over long periods of time, and by using some common sense and effort you can do MUCH better than treasury bonds by making wise choices with index funds, stocks, bonds, and real estate.

Lifecycle funds are ok, but it is also perfectly ok to invest in stocks if you are willing to invest the time to do a little bit of research. "The Intelligent Investor" is the best book hands down for teaching you about stock selection and bonds, and I'd look there first if you are interested in learning about investing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon September 7, 2009
Format: Audio CDVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a 2-CD audiobook based on the 1992 print of the same title, abbreviated and supposedly updated.

The first CD starts out with an overly warm "I want to connect with you" message and I find the introduction/history a bit unnecessary, but further along, the topics become interesting: after a high- level overview of service- oriented economy, the author explains money in terms of "life energy". That's not New Age - speak though; what she means is that you put your efforts and time into work which eventually becomes money. Basically, the first CD is like listening to a smart radio host for about an hour - good voice, backed up opinion, not providing any mind- altering insights, but still getting you to think.

The second CD begins with a poem a bit too sappy for this New Yorker here. But just like the first disk it then switches to some meat and outlines the actual program. In short, you'll start by summing up all you've ever earned, keep tight notes on your spending for a month, and transform the expenses in your life into "hours worked to afford it". I happen to have done this recently outside of this program, and it is quite enlightening to realize, for example, that you go to work one full day each month just so you can afford the iPhone or cable. After you've itemized all your expenses, you evaluate whether you want to spend less or more on each position - less if you don't get enough satisfaction out of it, and more if it's important to you (like for example healthier food). Finally, you make your intentions public, such as hanging your plan out in the living room.

A few of the money- saving tips I find trivial (such as "don't go to the mall to kill time", or "buy things on sale"). And I question the feasibility of some advice, like to sell your services for more money (in this economy?) or to invest your savings in a low-risk, liquid, 10% yield, fixed-income vehicle (please find me such a thing in 2009!). Nevertheless, the message of this audiobook is a sensible one and applies to consumers today: spend more consciously and know when "enough is enough" so you can start enjoying life and perhaps check out of the rat race early.

I think this is a four-star product that I might recommend to friends. I'm subtracting 1/2 star though because I expected a bit more when I read "achieving financial independence" on the front cover, and the same goes to "revised and updated" (I'm still waiting for that 10% constant return investment, Ma'am.)
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon November 19, 2009
Format: Audio CDVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a review of the book - the unabridged CD (which is what I listened to) is just fine, although it is a lot to take in in auditory form. I would suggest getting the book and not the CD unless you REALLY like listening to audiobooks and can remember and keep track of things well.

So, the basic idea of this book is that we work a lot to have money, but in the meantime we lose our life. Thus, the book gives you nine steps to get your life back.

The steps involve a lot of record keeping - how much have you made - how much do you make - how much do you spend - radically reducing what you spend - investing differently... and, in the end, you probably realize that all your working and spending wasn't really worth it - you worked to spend, but in the process lost what was REALLY important to you.

There are some good points on saving money and being frugal. There is also some strange advice like how you should invest only in government bonds and that there is really no such thing as inflation. There is also quite some advice about how you should invest your money. I think it is pretty outdated, especially given the recent financial meltdown.

In short, this book can be used two ways: some people use to completely revamp their lives and do a big overhaul plan to retire early. It seems to work well for some people, but that wasn't so much my thing. I liked some of the tips, I like some of the points, but I wasn't a "convert" like many.

I preferred The Simple Living Guide which was also about simplifying, but it included lots of good ideas and steps - it wasn't a whole "program."

Also, this book is written for middle-class and upper-middle class people. Rich people don't so much need to worry about money because they are already rich and set. And I can't imagine how this would be helpful for a family that is impoverished or struggling and already cutting corners and just barely able to make it. You need to have something to cut for this to work - cable, cell phone, name brands, etc. If you are impoverished and can't cut, this isn't going to help much.

In short, okay, but not the life-changing book it was for many people.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on January 10, 2009
Format: Paperback
I will rate this book again after I've taken the time to do some of the steps to see how well they work for me and my family. The book takes a very interesting approach to the subject of managing money and aligning it to your life goals and values. I am going to try to implement steps 1-8 in earnest (I agree with previous reviewers that the steps on investing are too conservative and more a matter of personal choice).

I found the "preachiness" of the book very irritating. I am all in favor of examining how to live a more value-driven life, but the authors spend too much time proselytizing THEIR values and THEIR definition of how to live a financially independent life. I found myself skimming whole sections that had nothing to do with the steps and everything to do with their personal views. I should note, too, that I am a committed environmentalist, so if I found it went overboard, I can only imagine how off-putting it would be to someone less focused on those issues.

In spite of the preachy tone, I am glad I read the book and will edit my review after I am able to assess the effectiveness of the steps.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 15, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
This book seemed more about the psychology of debt, saving and investing. The author spent tens of pages to get across a very simple concept. Perhaps there are those who need these in-depth analysis and multiple anecdotal stories to understand the why's of doing and of the nine steps, however for me much of the information could have been condensed to a few pages to get the point across.

I believe that Dave Ramsey is popular because he takes his steps and explains them simply and without lengthy explanations and statistics.

That being said, the income to expense chart and the investment crossover to me were the most compelling points brought out in the book. The remainder were mostly psychology. Perhaps a Reader's Digest version of this book would have been more advantageous for me.
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VINE VOICEon August 27, 2009
Format: Audio CDVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Kudos to the author for creating a life she loves, and living it for decades. I also respect that she has lived her system for decades, and it's helpful to hear the perspective of someone who is past their forties and fifties (as so many money/finance books are written by younger authors who may be experiencing their first really big downturn in the market).

However, I thought the audio book would go into more detail and specifics than it did. The format of the audio book is somewhat conversational; you get the feeling that you're listening to someone in a telephone conversation. Perhaps the delivery will resonate with some, but I found it a little distracting.

Regarding the content, I was hoping for a little more nuts and bolts rather than the long way to get to the principles and then have the principles and steps be somewhat general.

It is ironic that the author takes a few knocks at the industrial growth economy and debt, and then says to go buy bonds and finance other people's debt and earn interest.

With that said, she does make good points such as we're called consumers more than we are called citizens (which is good food for thought), and that we need to figure out what money means to us and that consuming, and consuming doesn't bring the happiness we'd hope.

Yes we should get out of consumer debt, and consume less, it would have been helpful if the book went into more details and strategies on how to do so.
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Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Being already in tune with budgeting, saving etc. I found the book a little boring but it would be helpful to the new budgeter and the extra frugal tips was interesting which is something I have not found in the other budgeting books I've read.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 15, 2012
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Certainly, the step about a complete inventory of all assets and liabilities makes sense; however, income from babysitting and newspaper delivery jobs from 40 plus years ago is extreme. The step about bonds and investments is one to be shared with my spouse who does our macroeconomics. (We share a frugal streak.) This does not allow for tax issues and the uncertaintly attached. We are comfortable at this point, but who knows how much the federal goverment will think they deserve?
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
I cannot commit to their whole premise - a little too extreme for me - only parts. I have been doing some of the things they recommend, but I guess I have to follow through each month and track income and expenses. I do like their focus on acquiring capital - I wish I had more of that!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 16, 2009
Format: Audio CDVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The first CD is a bit tedious to listen to and the meat of the program is in the 2nd CD. I like the concept of thinking of things in terms of your income being dollars/per hour and how many hours will I have to work to "pay" for what I want and is that really worth my time? Can make you think twice on many things...
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