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Die Broke: A Radical Four-Part Financial Plan Paperback – September 23, 1998
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Baby boomers, forget all you've learned from your parents about managing your money, your career, and your life. In Die Broke, Stephan Pollan challenges readers to rethink their notions of workplace, money, retirement, and inheritance. He believes that most of us are rooted in thinking that's out of sync with the realities of today's economy. For example, according to Pollan, the "job" is not what it used to be--there's no such thing as corporate loyalty. Making it in today's workplace means putting your own interests first, not your company's. Pollan argues that you should do your best at work, but make sure you're getting the best deal financially. If you're not, then get another job. After all, it's only a job.
Die Broke is organized into two sections: the first lays out the principles for dying broke. Pollan bases his whole argument on these four maxims: quit today and work for yourself, not your company; pay cash, melt your credit cards, and don't even think about using your ATM card; don't retire, retirement is a relatively new concept created during the Depression, instead plan to work all your life, and; die broke, after all, you can't take it with you.
The second part looks at specific instances of how to put this philosophy into action, covering everything from "Automated Teller Machines and Cards" and "Umbrella Liability Insurance" to "Mortgage Loans" and "Real Estate Investment Trusts." The book draws on Pollan's experience as a financial and legal consultant and includes many examples from his own practice.
Some may find Pollan's views extreme. However, if you're starting to think about retirement or are at all worried about your financial future, Die Broke is worth a look. Even if you think you've got it all figured out, this book could change your mind. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Smoothly written...a treasure chest of financial advice." -- "USA Today""If you're unhappy with conventional thinking about how we live and plan our lives, this book will speak to you." -- Scott Burns, "Dallas Morning News"""Die Broke is more than a guide to personal finance, it's a code of values, many of which run contrary to instinct."-- "Sales and Marketing Management
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1) Quit Your Job - Not literally, but in your head. Start thinking like an independent contractor mercenary instead of an employee. The work world has changed. Long term company loyalty is a thing of the past. Instead of fighting it, embrace it.
2) Pay Cash - Get rid of the "must-have-now" credit mindset and only buy what you can afford with actual cash you have at hand. The only thing you should borrow money for is a house. Possibly a car under certain circumstances.
3) Don't retire - Retirement has seeped into the social unconscious as a virtual given. In reality, it's a very recent phenomenon, less than a century old. There is nothing magical about hitting a certain age that means you have to 100% stop working then. With advances in medicine which keep people fitter and healthier into older age, and most jobs these days being knowledge work (or highly mechanized) rather than hard physical labour, there is no reason why you couldn't work (to one degree or other) way past for artificial retirement age.
4) Die Broke - Spend all your money wisely while you are still alive. Aim to essentially spend up all you have by the time you die, leaving any remaining remnants to a good cause of your choice.
To me the most interesting points in the book are the "don't retire" and "die broke" points:
Retirement - Retirement has become somewhat of a societal "given", when really it's completely artificial and unnecessary. It makes more sense (in terms of financial, physical and mental health) to keep working to some capacity for as long as you can. When taken together with the "Quit Your Job" point it makes even more sense. A job doesn't have to mean drudgery. It can mean doing simple "light duties" part time work somewhere, which tends to keep people active and healthier than the usual retirement mentality. Not to mention the financial advantage of continuing to have some income.
Die Broke - It's fairly well documented that an expectation of inheritance is a demotivator for children to work. We all know of airhead heiresses who are messed up on drugs, dropped out of college, and will never amount to anything (except spending their trust fund money). Also, inheritance tends to poison family relationships. And yet, the inheritance mentality persists. People feel outright bad about NOT leaving an estate to their children. The alternative that the book suggests is to spend money on your children while you are still alive. eg. Spending $10,000 to give them a gap year studying abroad at age 19 will mean a lot more than an extra $10,000 inherited at age 49. Not to mention that you avoid the demotivational and family relationship-poisoning problems of inheritance (especially if you are fairly well off).
All in all, it's a great read. Mostly for the philosophy and how it's presented. The non-philosophical parts are mostly a reference to various financial instruments that can be used to make it happen.
Note: The book is aimed at a US Baby Boomer audience, but most of the philosophy is applicable anywhere to any generation. Some of the specific financial instruments and such may be different in different countries, however. But this is easy enough to see.
Most recent customer reviews
When you cant ever pay them off?