Thursday, May 15, 2008

Finishing Richly

Now, I'll say right off the bat that I'm not writing about this particular book because I'm paid for it. As I wrote previously, I have a bit of a passion about the topic of women and their money, and I think this book deserves recognition.

I'm cynical enough to recognize that David Bach has an empire that he's building based on his "Finish Rich" books. And I'll also admit that if you've read one of his books, you've probably read them all. They do get kind of repetitive, with the people only changing names from book to book, but the situations remaining much the same.

However, I specifically mention this book in regards to finance because I tried to read several other books on women and money, and his was the only one that didn't read like a text book.

Smart Women Finish Rich is quite entertaining. It raises a lot of good points, about the state of finances in America today. Think about it: when was the last time you had a discussion with your mom and dad about how much money they make? Are you squirming just thinking about how that conversation would go? You're not alone. A lot of Americans are deeply in debt, even in foreclosure on their homes, because they never learned how to handle their money. We think our parents are supposed to teach us everything, but honestly, most parents don't talk to their kids about money, which means the kids don't learn how to handle their money, and end up in financial trouble.

Are you already in debt up to your eyeballs? This book gives you a new outlook on money. It really teaches you that money is a tool, and how powerful that tool can be when you use it correctly. This book encourages you to pay down debt, pay cash for things, and teaches you how to be in control of your finances, so you can make a better life for yourself.

The way I describe this book to people is: "It talked about things I didn't know I didn't know."

Did you follow that? What I mean is this: before I read this book, I knew I should have life insurance, if for no other reason than my family could afford to stick me in the ground someday.

What I didn't know before this book was how to determine how much, or what kind, to buy. Heck, I didn't know there were different kinds of life insurance! So, like I said, this book told me something I didn't know that I didn't know. And here's another thing, too: If you don't know about something, you don't know what questions you should be asking.

So what did I learn from this book? I learned what types of checking accounts I want to avoid - the kind with high fees - and that I should look for free checking accounts.

But that's kind of obvious, isn't it? What's the harder stuff I learned?

I learned that if I don't have dependents (children, family) who rely on me to provide for them, I probably need only a small amount of life insurance to take care of the costs of my final resting place.

I learned that when buying life insurance after you get married, consider that the surviving spouse will be grieving, and is probably not going to want to go back to work for a while. And no working means no income. So when buying life insurance at that point in time, consider buying enough insurance to replace not just ONE income, but enough to replace TWO incomes for about a year, so the surviving spouse has time to get his or her life back together, without worrying about how to pay bills. And while carrying life insurance on a child is controversial, if a child dies, the parents will want to have time off to grieve, and they can't do that at work, so it might be worthwhile to purchase life insurance on a child too.

I learned tha Prof. Bennett was right, and it was possible to retire a millionaire at 55, using the power of IRAs and compounding interest.

After reading this book I committed to myself that I wasn't going to rely on some else to take care of me. I was smart enough to realize that David Bach's words applied to me, too, and that if I relied on a man (dad, husband, son) to take care of me, I was in trouble, because people die, divorces happen (not to mention I wasn't married at the time, and still don't have any kids), and I was leaving myself open to financial ruin if I didn't address my future financial needs myself.

I went out and opened an IRA, started on my way to finishing rich.

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