Customer Review

160 of 165 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Little new information, March 15, 2010
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This review is from: Payback Time: Making Big Money Is the Best Revenge! (Hardcover)
I've read Rule # 1 back when it first came out and I thought it was excellent. I'm about halfway done with Payback Time and so far 90% of the information is simply rehashed information from his first book. The one thing that appears to have changed is that MSN now apparently gives 10 year data for free, which was not available when Rule # 1 came out (back then you had to pay a third-party company to obtain 10-year data about a stock and MSN and Yahoo only offered 5-year data if I remember correctly). So if you haven't read either book and are wondering which one to pick up I would say go for the second one (Payback Time). If you've read Rule # 1, reading the second book certainly won't hurt for repetition sake, just don't expect any major new information. The concept of stockpiling is nothing revolutionary. Simply buy more shares when the price goes down. Wow. The one thing I did not like about Payback Time is how Phil is constantly directing the reader back to his website for every little piece of extra information. And he doesn't tell you what link on his site to click on for each piece of information so you end up randomly clicking on his site until you find what you're looking for (not to mention the fact that you have to register in order to use the site in the first place and it keeps on logging you out every few minutes for some reason).
Having said that, I still have to give credit to Phil for his clear writing style. He has a special ability to take complex information and making it understandable to the average person. I also like the fact that he gives his email address in the book and encourages readers to contact him with any questions. I like that type of service. I will update this review as soon as I'm done reading the book.

3/16/10: As a side note, I also have noticed, like others, that many of the raving reviews for this book sound fake (some almost sound like an infomercial) and are from users who have only reviewed a single item (i.e. this book).

4/1/10: In chapter 5, "Eight Baby Steps to Wealth", Phil walks you through a tool on MSN's website called "Deluxe (stock) Screener" (also known as "Supercharge your search"). It's supposed to be a free stock screener that lets you find companies that match Phil's criteria for great companies (saves you a ton of time). Unfortunately, this tool no longer exists (MSN retired it back in November of '09!). However, Phil recently posted an entry on his blog saying that you can find the exact same information on google's website. If you go to "Google Finance" look for Stock Screener. It's supposed to be just as good as MSN's Deluxe Screener. I will be playing around with this tool and will post an update soon.

5/26: Remember how I said that Phil gives out his email address in his book and encourages readers to ask him questions? Well, I sent him a question (regarding the use of Google Finance - see my post from 4/1) in late March all I got was an automated reply saying that someone would get back to me and no one ever did. So much for that. So if you have any questions, I would call the number listed on Phil's website. They will answer your questions.
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Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 10 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 21, 2011 5:30:08 PM PDT
Hi Roman,

Thanks for the very thorough review. Very helpful. I've also read both books and share some of your sentiment.

Posted on Apr 21, 2011 6:03:47 PM PDT
Hi Roman,

Thanks for the very thorough review. Very helpful. I've also read both books and share some of your sentiment.

Posted on May 28, 2011 5:51:21 AM PDT
P. Town says:
Roman - My bad about not getting back to you. I thought I could handle the emails, the system got tangled and we're rebooting. I think in about 2 months we ought to have it set up right so that I can get and reply to emails. I know it should be an easy fix but we're re-doing the websites to fix a number of the issues you raised.

As you point out here, stockpiling is just buying more when the price goes down. Except it isn't. Doing it right requires a solid understanding of the value of the business. In my experience, investors who use real money suffer emotional trauma when the price goes down significantly. (The ones who don't usually just have their heads stuck in the sand and a mutual fund guy running their money.) What I tried to do in Payback Time was to show you how to do that and be excited when the price goes down, the idea being that if you're happy when the price goes down, you'll be happy to buy more.

Warren Buffett has written and spoken about this concept somewhat as its central to his investing style but most people still don't get it. They think its just dollar cost averaging. It most definitely is not. And its a bit frustrating that I didn't make it clear how important this concept is to a long-term investor. My apologies.

Posted on Aug 15, 2011 2:34:06 AM PDT
A. louis says:
hi roman,

thanks for an honest review. I've read Rule # 1 and as a small time investor. i find it hard applying the rules without spending some money! research, etc. in your review on rule #1. you mention getting started in "index funds" as a small time investor.

what is your experience on the matter.

your thoughts are much appreciated.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 15, 2011 8:29:21 AM PDT
Roman M says:
Hi A. louis,

Yes, index funds are by far the easiest way to invest in the stock market and they beat at least 80-85% of all active investors and mutual funds (plus index funds are cheaper because they are not actively managed by a person, so the fees are usually minimal). Warren Buffet says that index funds are an appropriate investing method for a lot of investors who don't want to or don't have the time to learn the difficult "advanced" methods of investing. The disadvantage of index funds is that you can never do better than the overall market with this method but then when you consider how few people are actually able to consistently beat the market, it's really not a bad method at the end of the day.
So depending on how much money you have to start with you may want to contact T Rowe Price or Vanguard and tell them that you are interested in investing in a no-load broad market index fund (such as the S&P 500 as an example). Some brokers require an initial deposit (usually $1,000 - $3,000), others don't as long as you sign up for a monthly automated investing plan (usually $50 to $100 per month). If you are going to invest into an index fund, my suggestion is to sign up for an automatic monthly investing plan (so you take advantage of dollar cost averaging). Then regardless of what happens in the market you just keep on investing the same amount month after month, year after year, without letting fear or greed affect your investing decisions and without worrying about short-term losses in principal (which can be pretty big at times, expect to lose up to 30%+ in the short term). Then 10, 20, 30 or 40 years from today (depending on how old you are and how long you are planning on investing for) you start taking the money out (usually 3 or 4% a year to make sure it lasts you for as long as possible). Don't invest in index funds if you have a short investing time horizon (such as 5 years or less) due to potential short-term losses. Finally, keep in mind that nothing is guaranteed when it comes to investing. You could potentially lose money, even in the long term, if the economy was to crash and never recover. But the way I look at it, we've gone through a depression, wars, recessions, 9/11, and somehow the market has always managed to recover and go higher. So I'm betting with my money that it will continue to do so. If the market crashes and never recovers, then we will all have much bigger things to worry about than our money lost in index funds :) That's the short summary. Hope it helps and let me know if you have any questions!

Posted on Apr 19, 2012 10:33:09 AM PDT
Garrett says:

I was just ordering some more of Phil Town's books to give to some friends and saw your comments/review.

I'm a huge Rule #1 and Payback Time fan and frequent volunteer contributor to Phil's blog. Honestly, I'm amazed at how much Phil reaches out to his Rule #1 Community and truly tries to help "the little guy." I don't know of ANY author that has ever made such a commitment to his customer base.

Here's what you've got to do...get on Phil's blog at There is a wealth of information there and some really amazing people to help evaluate your next Rule #1 Company.

To Your Wealth!


In reply to an earlier post on Sep 17, 2012 5:29:43 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 18, 2012 4:13:46 PM PDT
Leslie Estes says:
1st, thanks to Roman for the thorough review. Thanks also to Garrett for the added suggestion, to get on Phil's blog, which I will follow.

I was extremely impressed that the author is not only monitoring these comments but that he took the time to respond - and very appropriately. (I hate it when they respond with an arrogant "you're just too stupid to know what I meant" kind of comment.) Wondering if the website issues are worked out and if Roman would update us on how following P. Town's advice has helped so far?

I am about to purchase this book with the intention of beginning my financial education a bit late to the game. I know absolutely nothing about investments and I need some help here. Okay, a LOT of help here! I currently have a manager at UBS who handles everything and I don't have a clue what they are doing. Financial language is so GREEK to me! I hope I will be able to make some sense of it. My background is in the alternative health field and I can talk about neurotoxins, excitotoxins, metabolic syndrome, antioxidants, you name it, but my eyes laterally glaze over at the fist mention of money or investments. I once even subscribed to the Wall Street Journal certain if I just powered through every issue I would eventually "get it". Hahaha - still lol! I might as well have been reading in tongues!

Is there a beginner's book on investing I should read first - or is this a good starting point?

I am also wondering if any info is included in real estate investing? I have bought and sold many properties (even sold them all FSBO) so this is an area I am comfortable in. I know people who are doing quite well in this area, mostly buying bank-owned properties and renting them out. Since the market is so unpredictable, wouldn't it be prudent to spread your investments into outlying areas such as real estate? Also, I keep getting seminar invites from financial management funds and they all try to sell their annuities. They make them look amazing, with a 7-8% annual gain guaranteed. Are the pros and cons of these included in the book?

I know... sooo many questions and so little time! ;-)

Thanks to anyone who responds!

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 19, 2012 2:55:06 PM PDT
Leslie Estes says:
Roman, you seem to know a bit about investing and I am hoping you can comment. Here's an update to my previous post:

My husband and I went to another "free investment seminar" last night. It was about Options. It began to sound too much like day trading, and the big pitch to buy his "real" seminar, training materials and software was coming so we left early. (I know people who have lost everything in day trading, and no one who has ever made money.)

Is the book about day trading - or about making managing your investment portfolio a full time job? I realize a lot of people want to do this, but I can't. Wondering if it cover indexes - which you suggested might be a good investment for people like me - and does the author give his opinion on other investments such as gold, currencies, real estate, etc...? Or is this another book where the author has his agenda? I guess I'm looking for a well-rounded viewpoint on realistic investing options for the layman.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 11, 2013 5:06:34 PM PDT
dan reed says:
Hi Phil,
I have just signed up on your website and have questions but not getting answers on the site. How can I ask a question and get an answer?

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 11, 2013 5:12:35 PM PDT
P. Town says:
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