26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on January 23, 2005
You might say Lynnette Khalfani is perfectly qualified to tell people how to get out of debt. She's been onstage with Dr. Phil and Jane Pauley and numerous others talking to people about spending wisely and managing their debt. However, what makes her the perfect candidate is that she was over $100,000 in credit card debt herself and dug herself out of it in only three years. While that fact is very impressive, the valuable step-by-step instructions on how to get out of a financial rut is what makes ZERO DEBT a book you'll really want to have.
Khalfani provides her readers with an easy to follow plan to get out of debt. She starts the lessons by defining debt and how most people find themselves caught up in it. Whatever the reason for the debt, it seems Lynnette Khalfani has a plan for it. From simple requests like opting out of credit card offers to more complex tasks like gathering all your bills and finding out what you owe, ZERO DEBT is well-balanced and simple.
ZERO DEBT is written in an easily followed conversational tone, a helpful trait when talking about finances to those who are already stressed when they pick up the book. Lynnette Khalfani breaks it down for the rest of us and I, for one, am grateful she did. I'll be following her steps to get myself on track financially and plan for the bright future ahead. (RAW Rating: 4.5)
Reviewed by CandaceK
of The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers
56 of 63 people found the following review helpful
on November 12, 2004
I bought this book because it wasn't available at my library and she was on Tavis Smiley that evening. This book is no more helpful than Oprah money guru -- Suze Orman's book.
I'm loaded down with student debt from college and law school and I'm always on the look out for a solution to ridding myself of that mortgage sized monthly payments. It turns out when you've pared your life down to the bone, a book like this isn't helpful.
The advice is helpful if you're hanging by your fingernails on the edge fielding calls from evil bill collectors. For those of us trying to get rid of 'good' debt -- I'm still looking for a book with a good solution.
She has one good point, though -- don't live your life pared to the bone because there isn't anything to give up when you're in financial trouble.
22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on April 13, 2005
This is a 30-day guide to financial freedom. Many may not need to follow the guide verbatim because some things may not apply. The tips start with evaluating your financial situation. Khalfani suggests writing it down, because once you see, in writing, how much debt you have then you can start your blueprint to becoming debt free. Visualize what's causing the undo stress in your money worrying woes. The next and most important step is to determine "how" you're going to get rid of the debt. This is where the pitfall begins. Most think, "If I don't have money to pay the debt, where am I going to get extra money to pay more on the debt?" The answer: Simplify your life. What does that mean? Get rid of those things you think you need (i.e. cellular phones, expensive cars, weekly hairdos, cable TV, etc.). Once you've completed the first two steps, the rest is easy. The first step is always the hardest.
Zero Debt explains financial jargon like: FICO, IRA, adjusted rate, 401(k), etc. before information on the subject is presented. Regardless of your level of debt, you'll find some useful tips in this easy-to-read book. In short, here are some of the basics to experiencing Zero Debt and financial freedom. Evaluate debt. Stop creditors. Talk to your creditors and let them know what's happening. Get rid of the unnecessary; stick with the necessary. Pay more on debt. Check your credit yearly. Check your FICO scores. Write letters disputing discrepancies on your credit report. Don't write the credit reporting agencies; write the creditors directly. Start a budget and stick to it. Consistency. Start a savings plan by making small deposits, and gradually increase them as your debt decreases.
I like Khalfani's approach to becoming debt-free. Most of what she wrote, I've already heard; however, hearing it again didn't hurt. Sure this book is not going to solve your money problem; only you can. But you have to make a concerted effort to stick to the program. The only suggestion, from the author, I don't recommend is going into a debt-consolidation program. Why pay someone to do what you can do yourself with a simple phone call? Think about it. What makes a stranger asking to reduce your interest rate more credible than you, the customer, calling to ask the same question? Not to mention, sometimes those services damage your credit rating. Hmm, something to ponder.
Reviewed by Esther "Ess" Mays for Loose Leaves Book Review
29 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on June 6, 2008
The author paid off her debt by cashing in her $80,000 IRA and paid the rest off with her paycheck, interst and all. I don't have an $80k IRA or a Masters Degree or a job with a major tv network. If the system doesn't work for someone wealthy like her - then there really is something wrong! For the average middle class consumer though - who is maxed out on their credit cards - I find no relief in this book. Pretty much it says Just pay off your debt - double your payments even - find some way to make more money to do it. Why did she write a book? This doesn't tell me anything or help me in anyway.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on January 13, 2005
Zero Debt shows you step by step what to do about your financial situation.
This guide is full of tips how to stay debt free. You study your spending habits and are shown how to restructure them so you can save more.There are tips on overspending,dealing with you credit card company and how to lower your interest rate. How to obtain your credit report and and how to protect yourself from identity theft.
Zero Debt is a great guide to financial freedom.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 2, 2007
I did like the book. I read it the first day I received it. It had some information in it that was unknown to me. Most of the information listed in the book is common sense. Like contacting your creditors directly, trying to lower your interest rates and setting a budget. This book would be great as a debt eliminator for dummies. For anyone looking for more of an in depth read and examples you will be disappointed. There were some extra resources listed and mock forms to use with creditors. This book is by no means a magic pill. Don't expect that from any book. You still have to work for it. You have to give up something to pay your debt.
I did order another book from this author. I hope it provides more information than this one.
This is a great read for begginers. The book has alot of general knowledge information. Would like to have read more on what exactly to do to bring your credit score up and the right mixture of credit accounts to have.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on May 15, 2007
Lynnette is keeping it R-E-A-L!! Ok, there is better advice here than any other of the myriads of books on getting out of debt. You can tell the difference between her book and most others! She really cares and has a counseling attitude along the way. There is no gimicks or alluding to techniques that are covered in another book, and no crazy formulas. This is straight talk, and great advice, similar to what a relative would do if she sat down with you every night for 30 days because she loved you and wanted you to get your financial house in order, for good.
Her 30 day plan, which you could turn into a 30 week plan depending on your psychological readinees for change and transformation and amount of work to be done getting clarity and control on the financial front - is heaven sent. I like her approach. I like some other books techniques as well - like David Ramsey- establish 1 month emergency fund first and then tackle the bills. However that in itself is not always wisest. I prefer the pay yourself first through automatic pre-tax deductions, as espoused in the David Bach world, and then start your debt plan.
But Lynnette Khalfani, unlike others, she acknowleges the addictive process of debt. How useless it is to cut up your cards, and go on a debt diet, pay everything off, or get a home equity loan, and then binge later and end up back where you were before. I find her approach to be very real and refreshing. Even her guidance on when and how to call your creditors: early in the morning on a weekday, nicely, and talk to a supervisor.
Following her advice I was able to lower my interest rate on 1 card by 15% APR from 30% to 15%! Additionally, I found out that one of my cards was closed by the creditor, but I never knew, until I called to find out what was going on with the APR!
Finally, I find her advice on prioritizing debts to be really unique versus others. Her advice is start with what is driving you crazy the most, what is keeping you up late at night. For some it might be high APR - but not always. This is what is hugely different from the other authors who assume the APR is the key to MOTIVATING your debt reduction plan. This is WRONG for me, and she was the only author who nailed this! I have a Sallie Mae Financail Career Training loan which is a HUGE rip off. I'm paying 17.5% on $17.5k, and the interest alone amounts to over half the monthly payment required! Crazy. This is my huge motivator, as well as the card closed by the creditor.
No, I don't need any debt snow ball to motivate me (like David Ramsey espouses). I have enough regret with those two to create my own momentum.
The last thing she states which (since I'm not through the book yet, but only on page 44...!) I think is outstanding, is to put all the interest you pay every month in writing. In other words, see in writing how much your debt is costing you. That exercise alone is enough motivation to gain committment to the cause, and overcome other propensities to keep digging.
So far, this has been the one book that has been life changing for me. I had the good fortune to see her in person. Wow is she a force of nature!
Go there, get there, work with her. I think she's the best!
Thanks for reading.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on November 16, 2004
I read Zero debt in a matter of hours however the lessons learned will last a life time. From the easy-to-understand straight forward advice to helpful web sites and tools Zero Debt is an excellent primer on managing your personal finances. It has certainly helped me.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 14, 2007
As a foreigner in United States, I have no idea how money works here... until I've read this book. I've always asked my co-workers how to increase credit scores and how to properly use a credit card, but I always get mixed answers (which are not all correct, by the way). I bought this book to help with my financial judgement and I'm pretty much satisfied with what I have read. The book has a 30 day checklist that you should do to get out of debt. I didn't feel pressured reading the whole book in one seating... I just took my time and read every chapter everyday, and applied what she tells you to do. Some of them doesn't apply in my situation, like when you're being abused by collectors (Thank heavens I'm not at that point yet), but most of the chapters really helped me. This book also opened a whole new interest for me in reading more about personal finance. As a young, single guy, I have yet to learn more about investments... but this is a good start.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 16, 2007
This book was really good. I will be reading it again so that I can apply the steps in order. I am about 50% at my financial goal and plan to reach 100% by August 2007.