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Customer Review

183 of 209 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Basic Orman with a twist, March 8, 2011
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This review is from: The Money Class: Learn to Create Your New American Dream (Kindle Edition)
Orman's new book is unique in a way and typical Orman teachings in another. She tells us (as if we need to be told) that things are different now and will be into the unforeseeable future. She says her last book, quickly written, was for an emergency situation and this book is more of a road map, the master plan.

Among the words of wisdom, "In many areas of the country, the dream of homeownership has backfired. Real estate values have deflated to such an extent that a record number of people owe more than their homes are worth. That's not an American Dream--it's a nightmare."

"The home, the job security, the education, the retirement--the very standard of living that all of us took for granted for so long is completely under siege."

In her discussion of the American dream, she admits it's over. "In many ways it pains me to say this, but in my opinion the American Dream as we knew it is dead." She says, however, that's a good news, bad news situation. She then precedes to tell the reader how best to handle the situation as it exists.

She persists in her eight months of savings and yet having a 700 plus Fico score. I personally see this as impractical for many people. Moreover, people with unstable income, such as the self-employed, often can't make budgets and plan the way Orman insists everyone should.

Orman talks like everyone has buckets of money to put in this, that and the other thing. And, yes, if you do all of it, you'll be fine. Question is, where does one get the money?

I much prefer the great book The 10 Commandments of Money: Survive and Thrive in the New Economy. It's far more doable, in my opinion.

Orman tells us, "We must transform ourselves from dreaming society's dreams and putting our faith in a false and misleading sense of entitlement, to being a society where each of us strives for dreams that are personal and realistic and that are in the best interests--in the truest and most honest sense--of us and our family. I am calling upon each of us to rethink the very way we dream."

One thing that hit me straight away, was her reversing herself somewhat from her 2009 book on the subject of reverse mortgages. In that book, she was quite keen for them. In the new book, however, she has many reservations.

"I have to say that I think reverse mortgages are a potentially dangerous step for many retirees. It is far too easy to get blinded by the prospect of receiving much-needed income today and overlook some important considerations", she writes.

While everything she writes about reverse mortgages is true, it's also true that there are some older people who could not stay in their homes were it not for reverse mortgages. There are folks in their sixties, seventies and above still making mortgage payments. A reverse can save many of those people so much grief. Therefore, I think it's wrong to scare at least that group off reverse mortgages and I do not understand her reversal, especially since a new type of reverse is now available that is less costly.

The book is well written for the most part, although she writes to a group and not an individual, not a specially good style of writing.

She writes, "I am going to challenge you not merely to live within your means, but to live below your means." Certainly few can argue with that. "It is time to move beyond materialism in order to set our sights on authentic happiness", she adds.

"We must let go of the past. The decisions you make today must be based on what is realistic today--not what may have been true in the past, but what you know for a fact is an honest accounting of what is happening for you right here, right now."

Orman is giving us her view of reality. Only the reader can judge for himself if it's the view he or she wants to adopt. But I find no fault with it.

Other tidbits include:

"While you will always need to borrow to purchase a home, and many families will need to borrow for college as well, one of the fundamental principles of the New American Dream is to pay for as much as possible with cash. Spend what you have today, not what you hope to have tomorrow."

"Monitor your account every other day. If someone has managed to hack into your account and withdraw money using your debit card info, your liability is limited to $[...] if you notify your bank or credit union within two business days. Otherwise you could be held liable for up to $[...] in fraudulent charges."

"Open a separate savings account for each goal. Your emergency fund should be its own separate account. And every additional savings goal should have its own dedicated savings account."

There's lots of good in the book. But I found Weston's book much better.

Nonetheless, there are lots of Orman fans and, if you're one, you'll likely enjoy this book. You will, however, find lots of the same old stuff in it.

A word about the Kindle edition, it is not text to speech enabled. I find that a disappointment, especially considering the price of the book. That had no bearing on the number of stars I gave the book, however.

- Susanna K. Hutcheson
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Tracked by 1 customer

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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 21, 2011 4:48:23 PM PDT
S. Pinder says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 21, 2011 4:57:53 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Mar 24, 2011 8:20:54 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 27, 2011 12:45:28 PM PDT
nobody says:
This is an absurd comment. Don't read it then. Other people might like it, will like it. I did.

Posted on Apr 29, 2011 1:52:05 AM PDT
J. R. Belt says:
I appreciate your review. I am a rather avid fan of Dave Ramsey and I was looking for another author that writes similiar material. I was hoping Suze Orman would fill that bill. I think maybe not. I will certainly take a look at Liz Weston's book. Thank you for the recommendation.

Posted on Apr 29, 2011 11:30:57 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Apr 29, 2011 11:34:25 AM PDT]
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