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Customer Review

on April 28, 2005
I found this book slightly disappointing, having read so many 5 star raving reviews of it. It is a worthwhile read, for sure. To me, the book was more of a "how I succeeded" book than I was expecting. He is very specific in recommending those things that have done well for him. He offers many strategies for making more money doing specific types of (high paying) jobs, investing in real estate, and starting or financing small businesses. There is good advice in there, and I think it is worth reading for that, since Mr. Masterson is very successful, and whose example to follow but someone successful?

The book's pitfalls to me center around specific investing advice. For instance, he recommends not investing much in the stock market because of its volatility, and talks about how much he likes investing in bonds, since if you hold them to completion you know what you are getting. This is true, but does not consider the effects of inflation, which makes that steady income worth less (whereas stock valuations and dividends tend to keep up with inflation). This is a perfect example where you have to realize he is telling you what has worked for him, but may not be the best advice for many (although I agree with him the stock market is currently overvalued). He also seems to contradict himself when he uses the stock market's historical average of 10% returns to claim you need a net worth of 10 times your living expenses to retire (or 12 times if you're more conservative). In one breath he is poo-pooing the stock market as an investment, then using its average returns in his retirement calculations.

I also wish he didn't refer to real estate investing as "flipping" real estate. All the advice he gives about real estate is sound, explaining rents need to be able to cover your mortgage payments, and that today we're in a housing bubble (here in San Diego it's a bubble bath!). Then later he estimates an average ROI of 25% from real estate investing. Again, after inflation is taken into account, I doubt this to be an accurate figure (even taking into account the leverage involved) in today's already-too-pricey environment. Personally, I believe there will be many people losing a lot of money (read: bankruptcy) in real estate over the next five years. I kind of wish Mr. Masterson hadn't used the term "flipping" houses, as I expect it to be a term that in five years will be looked back on with regret and disbelief, just like "day-trading" is today five years after the Nasdaq crash.

I've spent a lot of time here explaining my negative comments. I do think he has presented a good way one could get wealthy - one that has been proven, which is even better. So I would say read intently his wealth building strategies, but double-check the math on your own.
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