Monthly Archives: August 2016

Rich is yours

Who it’s for: Young adults under 30, written with young men in mind.

Readability: MEDIUM. Ramit writes in his own voice and has presented the material in a well-organized, predictable fashion, which makes the book easy to read and reference.

What I liked about it: Ramit has organized the book both by theme and by step:

  • focusing the reader on “first things first” in getting their finances organized
  • getting started with investing the right way, and
  • changing our attitudes about the “why” behind saving.

The end of most chapters (1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 7) includes a page of action steps for the reader to follow, complete with what to do and an estimate of how long the activity is likely to take. This type of summary is effective because the clearer the work and effort involved, the more likely we are to follow his advice. (As an aside, I did take action and double-checked some information on my credit card rewards.)

The advice Ramit provides is based on solid personal finance principles, such as “pay yourself first”, automate your finances as much as possible, pay off consumer debt before you invest, and think of a home as a purchase first and investment second. And the reader is never left to wonder why Ramit thinks it’s the best way to go—he spells it out clearly.

What I didn’t like about it: I expected this book to be fun (which it is) but I didn’t expect it to be crass*. I don’t see why selecting a bank for checking and savings accounts needs to be compared to selecting from a line up of strippers at a club (with the apparent similarity being that they both really want your money). The information is very good, as is the humor, but the cheap dirty jokes are unnecessary and trivialize the great advice provided. Unfortunately, that and its sexist undertones can turn off female readers.

Also worth noting: The last section on relationships was awkward compared to the rest of the book. The scripts for conversations and the suggested actions didn’t seem as thought out as the others and it might have been better for the author to leave them out completely. Is it a surprise based on the above that I wouldn’t call him a relationship expert when it comes to the opposite sex?

How to Make Total Money Makeover

Who it’s for: Anyone who has debt and is looking for both the motivation and the system they need to get it paid off.

Readability: HIGH. Ramsey’s writing style, the book’s clear objectives and organization, larger font size and the success stories it contains make it an easy read, despite clocking in at 200 pages.

What I liked about it: Ramsey’s TTMM offers a no-nonsense approach for household money management. His instructions are clear, as is the rationale for his recommendations. Dave takes the reader through his plan, baby step by baby step, from denial all the way to financial security, debunking money myths along the way. I also like that the advice he covers in this book is supported by a daily radio show that takes caller questions and shares success stories from families who have successfully become debt-free as a result of his program.

What I didn’t like about it: The book is preachy in all senses of the word* (though he does offer a warning about that fact right up front) and includes tenets that few would appreciate, such as renouncing the use of credit cards, dismissing the value of a credit score and a strong focus on home ownership. I also dislike the lack of information about fee-only advisors and the strong focus on mutual funds vs. lower cost options, not to mention the stated belief that a steady 12% return is a realistic return for most investors, or even as a total market return, making it possible to live off 8% of the total investment base annually!