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Customer Review

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Should be Required Reading in High School, June 18, 2009
This review is from: The 1-2-3 Money Plan: The Three Most Important Steps to Saving and Spending Smart (Paperback)
Reading and applying the common sense advice in this book will save a person at least a small fortune over their lifetime. This is so well written that it's almost impossible not to understand its many practical, common sense lessons.
The book is divided into three major sections "Spending Smart Today," "Spending Smart Yesterday" and "Spending Smart Tomorrow." "Spending Smart" today is talking about current everyday expenses. "Spending Smart Yesterday" is about paying off debt for purchases made in the past. "Spending smart tomorrow" is about saving and investing for future spending. It's about overcoming the human hardwired instinct to consume immediately. It's as simple as one, two, three. And everyone can count to at least three. Therefore anyone should be able to apply at least some of this information to making his or her own lives easier and much, much less stressful. It also tells its readers how to become solvent instead of being broke all the time. It's the kind of advice that your grandparents provided if they had lived through the Great Depression. "Waste not, want not." "Don't buy it if you don't have the money to pay for it." There is no free lunch."
The author uses the metaphor of a Global Positioning System navigator for this book. This book is a GPS system for "smart spending" and avoiding "dumb spending." He points out that most people simply want to be told what to do and then they make up their own minds about whether to do it or not, but mostly they just do it. Therefore much of the advice in this book doesn't examine every piece of advice from a dozen different angles, the author just points to a time-honored and proven piece of advice and says, "Do this, and everything will be fine and you will be happy." He then points out that not all the advice in this book is original; it's simply what has worked for most people on the planet who try it.
The author gives plenty of straight talk on the subject of debt and overspending. He warns against all those expenses people set up to be automatic, but which can build up sight unseen, like extra minutes on a cell phone, an unused monthly gym membership, and interest on credit cards. At the same time the author points out the dangers of leaving these meters running and building up costs, he talks about the ways to set up automatic savings and investment plans. Having automatic paycheck deductions made each month for an IRA, 401K or other pension plan, for future college costs, for any kind of savings or mortgage payment in fact are good things because most people don't miss the money if they don't see it. And, as Mr. Karp points out, once good spending habits and automatic savings plans are set up, they are automatic and don't need constant attention as they work their own kind of scientific magic.
This is an excellent book for understanding how spending works for or against you. Every page is packed with helpful advice about any facet of our economic life. It introduces comparison-shopping as the key to controlling all expenses and warns against the overuse of credit cards. If a person can't pay off the balance on their credit card each and every month, they are spending too much and should call a halt to that "dumb spending." The author emphasizes the increasing importance of maintaining a good credit rating. Since the
book is just off the press, some of the changes that will follow this current serious recession are also discussed in detail with possible paths through the economic quicksand pointed out.
It has excellent advice about all phases of our economic life including the importance of wills and insurance and how to get the best deals on those items. I loved the advice about buying cars that don't depreciate by 50% the minute the buyer drives off the car lot. It sounded like the exact words my Father gave me years ago because over a lifetime, most people spend more on their automobiles than they do their homes. If everyone in the nation followed this advice, it would be a much happier and wealthier place. And it's a page-turner too. It's excellent advice!
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