books to read RECOMMEND?


N

newrvguy

Hello

I was wondering if anyone out there could recommend some good books or CD
programs for financial planning
or recovery from debt.
My wife and I are not in trouble but we do have debt.
We would like to be 100% debt free (monthly bills are ok of course).
We have read and listened to THE MILLIONARE NEXT DOOR and we watch Suzie
Orman a lot but these
things just make us feel bad about the debt we already have. For example,
the MIL NEXT DR goes on and on
about how stupid it is to own an expensive car. Problem is, we already have
an expensive car and just giving it back and ruining credit does not solve
the problem.
Especially when you owe more than it is worth.
I have heard that the DAVE RAMSAY financial peace university is a great
thing. Can anyone else recommend it?
 
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J

John A. Weeks III

newrvguy said:
I was wondering if anyone out there could recommend some good books or CD
programs for financial planning or recovery from debt.
Most of the major financial sites have recommended reading lists.
Bob Brinker's site has a great reading list. I expect that Suze
would, too. There are a few books that are a little more
unorthodox that I would suggest:

The Money Drunk
Your Money Or Your Life
A Kick In The Assets

These books pretty much view debt as sucking the life blood
out of a person, and gives you strategies for fighting back.
In reality, there are only two things you can do...earn more
and/or cut spending.

In my case, I have a few luxuries that I allow myself, such
as a nice satellite TV package and DSL. Beyond that, I when
I consider spending money, I ask myself who will die if I don't
make this purchase. Unless someone's life is in danger, then
I don't see a need to spend. Doing this for a few years means
that I don't buy dumb stuff, or stuff at all unless I really,
really, really need it. The net result is that I have accomplished
some goals that are very important to me, such as paying off
student loans, getting out of debt, and now very nearly paying
off my house. All the while, I have been putting away a big
chunk of my income into savings. Saving my way to freedom
has been worth the sacrifices.

-john-
 
H

herlihyboy

newrvguy said:
I have heard that the DAVE RAMSAY financial peace university is a great
thing. Can anyone else recommend it?
Ramsey's stuff is very good. He's on the radio in most cities, also,
and streams his show from his website (http://www.daveramsey.com) every
day. You might give him a listen and see what you think. Check out
The Total Money Makeover (his latest book).

He has a tough love attitude about nuking debt and having a plan for
your financial future.

Ryan
 
K

Kathryn Morgan

I am a Suze fan also, but don't always agree with her. Dave Ramsay is very
good and has concrete plans outlined for getting out of debt and financial
planning. I would recommend it and have passed my copy onto friends.
Another good one is "Debt Proof you marriage" by Mary Beth Hunt.

--
Kathy Morgan EA
H & R Block Master Tax Advisor
Proud Mom of Sgt RT Morgan
1/156 AR BN C Company
Louisiana Army National Guard
currently serving in Baghdad, Iraq
(Home is less than 30 days! WHOOHOO!)
 
M

Mike Stone

John A. Weeks III said:
In my case, I have a few luxuries that I allow myself, such
as a nice satellite TV package and DSL. Beyond that, I when
I consider spending money, I ask myself who will die if I don't
That's pretty funny. The two big luxuries I have are broadband
and TiVO. I can easily justify broadband though because I get
unlimited long distance on Vonage for $25 a month.

To the OP, I found "Personal Finance For Dummies" to be a good read.
I don't see it recommended much.

Here's my advice:

- get rid of the car, I had a M3 that I could afford, but
wasn't saving much. Getting rid of it was a great thing.
I sold it a minor loss, but if I had waited longer I would
have lost more. Also, with a Saturn, I really do get better
service than BMW gave me. Go figure.
- force yourself into deducting savings from your paycheck
into a Roth IRA or your company 401k.
- get rid of your credit cards, or settle on just 1 card,
put it in a sealed envelope in case of an emergency
- put together a budget and trim and get rid of everything
you don't need. always leave some room and money for the
things you truly enjoy.
- use MS Money or Quicken to track your finances
- find a good financial planner that works on commision
only

Good luck with it. I was in a similar situation myself a few years
ago. Now our school loans are paid off, my wife's credit card debt
is gone, our 2 cars are paid for and we are aggresively saving money.

If only we could get our house mortgage to go away :)

-Mike
 
S

SD

Mike said:
- get rid of your credit cards, or settle on just 1 card,
put it in a sealed envelope in case of an emergency
This is stupid advice. Have some control over your spending - spend
everything on a credit card with a great rewards program and make free
money. Credit card = rewards + free extended warranty on all purchases +
free car rental insurance + free travel insurance & more. All you need
is some self control not to max out cards. Plus credit cards improve
your credit score.
 
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E

Elle

newrvguy said:
Problem is, we already have
an expensive car and just giving it back and ruining credit does not solve
the problem. Especially when you owe more than it is worth.
I know you just asked for books, but I think you should ask for specific
advice on this situation as well as any other debt you have.

I suspect any half-decent book on personal finance is going to say pretty
much the same thing about your expensive car.

Care to elaborate a little more on what you mean by "giving it back"? Do you
mean simply selling it (do-it-yourself sale) or trading it in on another
car?

Is there a pre-payment penalty on the loan you have on the car?

Want to share the numbers on the loan, the age, condition, and model of the
car?

Expensive cars are not only expensive to buy, but the maintenance and
operating costs also tend to be _very_ high. With no relief from the
increases in gas prices in sight, getting rid of this car really is
something you should strongly consider.

I would investigate seeing if you can trade it in for a high-reliability,
preferably used, gas-economical car (Honda or Toyota, say). This will cut
your maintenance and operating costs a lot. You can use the savings to help
pay off the loan on the original car.

www.edmunds.com is an excellent tool for pricing used cars (for trade-in or
private party sale, etc.), by the way.

Or do you just love this expensive car to pieces and would not scale down to
a Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla no way no how?

In which case, I think the only solution is to let time pass, whence you may
tire of carrying debt and see that Millionaire Next Door and Suze Orman
advice certainly is applicable and ultimately gives you more freedom
(releasing you from the shackles of debt!).

Good luck.
 
J

John A. Weeks III

SD said:
This is stupid advice. Have some control over your spending - spend
everything on a credit card with a great rewards program and make free
money. Credit card = rewards + free extended warranty on all purchases +
free car rental insurance + free travel insurance & more. All you need
is some self control not to max out cards. Plus credit cards improve
your credit score.
Giving credit where credit is due, Dave Ramsey put it best.
Credit cards are like vipers. If you play with them long
enough, one of them is going to bite you. It isn't worth
taking that risk. Get rid of the cards.

Dave wants you get rid of them all. If you are responsible
person, I think you can have one. There is no need for more
than one. If you cannot control your spending, then follow
Dave Ramsey's plan and cut them all up.

-john-
 
D

dapperdobbs

newrvguy -

An accounting text book. Assuming an RV is in the $100,000 range (I
don't know) it sounds like you don't have a low-income problem, and are
fairly smart (even if not very good at budgets and financial planning).
The point being that you probably know how to use a spreadsheet like
Lotus 123 or other, and should take a few hours to do an income
statement that highlights your interest payments (in detail, for
example, so that you can see them very clearly). Rich Carreiro posted
some very competent basic accounting under another topic, recently. (If
you can't do this, get some help in that area, fast.) If I'm guessing
right, you have a surplus of income over expenses. So run the
spreadsheet out, monthly, over a couple of years, and see if you can't
find a way to apply your income surplus to reducing your interest
payments. Reading books is fine, especially good ones, but in the end
you have to get your accounting and budgeting in order. All advice is
subject to specific circumstances, and you should know your specifics
very thoroughly, and be able to project them out several years, in
order to selectively apply advice you read. Who knows - it may be that
you can rein things in to your satisfaction, eliminate your interest
payments over the course of a couple of years, and keep the bus :) Oh,
P.S. - I pay mortgage interest, nothing else. I once had a one-pay
lease on a Jeep, but the details worked out to my advantage
dollar-wise. Kind of like SD pointed out here, a credit card is a
convenience - not a source of funds.

Hope this helps a bit.
 
D

dapperdobbs

Mike Stone -

Well done! I couldn't resist noting that my big luxury is my cable and
internet bundle. That makes three of us here in this topic! I wonder
what the heck ... maybe we're all overpaying for our TV's and internet?
(Actually, I took a long weekend recently, for the first time in years.
It cost $440, but it felt good!! Really good! And it fit within my
budget.) I really liked the advice you laid out for newrvguy - but I
prefer a spreadsheet hands down over canned software. Keep saving, and
invest wisely and profitably.
 
M

Mike Stone

SD said:
This is stupid advice. Have some control over your spending - spend
everything on a credit card with a great rewards program and make free
money. Credit card = rewards + free extended warranty on all purchases +
free car rental insurance + free travel insurance & more. All you need
is some self control not to max out cards. Plus credit cards improve
your credit score.
Well, I actually use a miles card and charge a lot to it (including
most of my bills and my mortgage) and pay it off at the end of the
month. We get 2 free plane tickets a year this way.

But, when I met my wife, we fixed her situation up by getting rid of
her credit cards all together. She just loses track of the money
and gets careless.

Different systems work for different people.

I got the impression the OP has a spending problem of living beyond
his means. If you have a hard time controlling your impulses, you
need to make drastic changes to get out of debt.

-Mike
 
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S

SD

Giving credit where credit is due, Dave Ramsey put it best.
Credit cards are like vipers. If you play with them long
enough, one of them is going to bite you. It isn't worth
taking that risk. Get rid of the cards.

Dave wants you get rid of them all. If you are responsible
person, I think you can have one. There is no need for more
than one. If you cannot control your spending, then follow
Dave Ramsey's plan and cut them all up.

-john-
Everything in life is double edged, all you need is to know how to use
it right. There is no point in giving up things because "if you have
them you will misuse them". Just learn to stop misusing them.
 
E

Elle

SD said:
Everything in life is double edged, all you need is to know how to use
it right. There is no point in giving up things because "if you have
them you will misuse them". Just learn to stop misusing them.
Destroying them and having no plastic available for awhile is one way to
learn to stop misusing them.

Having serious debt by itself is extremely stressful. I can't think of
anything more overwhelming. It's a loss of freedom. Eradicating it requires
a _serious_ change in lifestyle. This is extremely difficult. One has to
imagine one's self in another person's shoes here, a person who has
overlived his/her means for many years.

I posted about an acquaintance's $25k of debt (which is snowballing) several
weeks ago. All the evidence is he's frozen and in the mindset that, if he
ignores it long enough, it will go away. He is increasing his participation
in (athletic) recreational activities, which not only cost money but mean he
isn't going to get the second part-time job that several of you suggested
was a viable solutionto his problems. If it were easy to change his
lifestyle, then why would he make the irrational choice he's making? It's
very hard. I predict he will suffer some major setbacks in life in the next
ten years and learn the hard way.

Regardless, I don't know the specifics of the original poster's situation. I
do get the feeling he's seeking a magic bullet to dispel his debt, so I hope
he'll elaborate, which ultimately will help others.
 
M

Mieko

Giving credit where credit is due, Dave Ramsey put it best.
Credit cards are like vipers. If you play with them long
enough, one of them is going to bite you. It isn't worth
taking that risk. Get rid of the cards.
I learned my lesson 10 years ago, and one month the credit card bill came, and
I didn't have enough money to pay it off in full. Don't spend money you don't
have.

Personally, I love my credit cards, my main ones give me cash back, I can pay
for things I need without having to go to the ATM to get cash, I can pay the
exact amount and not have change in my pocket that I'm going to waste on other
things, and I get a great listing of everything I've bought that month, which
makes it super easy for me to put it in my budget.

But I only use it on things that I need and can afford, and I pay it off in
full every month. Doesn't matter how you spend your money, with cash, with a
check or with a card - you're still spending money. Personally, I feel cash is
much harder to track.

Mieko
 
S

SD

Destroying them and having no plastic available for awhile is one way to
learn to stop misusing them.
If you are going to misuse money, you don't need plastic. As Mieko
mentions it is really hard to keep track of cash expenses.
Having serious debt by itself is extremely stressful. I can't think of
anything more overwhelming. It's a loss of freedom. Eradicating it requires
a _serious_ change in lifestyle. This is extremely difficult. One has to
imagine one's self in another person's shoes here, a person who has
overlived his/her means for many years.
It is like Obesity. Completely avoiding the fatty foods one likes is
really hard and generally doesn't work. Moderation is what needs to be
learned.
I posted about an acquaintance's $25k of debt (which is snowballing) several
weeks ago. All the evidence is he's frozen and in the mindset that, if he
ignores it long enough, it will go away. He is increasing his participation
in (athletic) recreational activities, which not only cost money but mean he
isn't going to get the second part-time job that several of you suggested
was a viable solutionto his problems. If it were easy to change his
lifestyle, then why would he make the irrational choice he's making? It's
very hard. I predict he will suffer some major setbacks in life in the next
ten years and learn the hard way.
Make irrational choices is what people do. Some learn from things around
them. Some don't. Either way people have to learn. Somebody suggested
making a simple spreadsheet and keeping track of your net worth in some
thread here. I update my spreadsheet once a month and have been doing so
since over a year. Looking at the savings accumulate long term has been
rewarding. Avoiding plastic is not the solution. But just somehow
getting something more important (like looking at diminishing debt,
increasing savings by keeping track of things) is a better way.
Regardless, I don't know the specifics of the original poster's situation. I
do get the feeling he's seeking a magic bullet to dispel his debt, so I hope
he'll elaborate, which ultimately will help others.
As far as the OPs solution goes. If your monthly spending is > monthly
income after tax and your savings goal, then you need to cut expenses.
Selling your car may or may not be the way. For two months keep track of
every $ you spend and look at it retrospectively and see what you could
have done without. You will probably easily knock off a few 100$/month
of expenses. Seperate your spending by category and reduce your expenses
in the biggest categories (e.g. eating out/ movies)
 
D

Douglas Johnson

SD said:
This is stupid advice. Have some control over your spending - spend
everything on a credit card with a great rewards program and make free
money. Credit card = rewards + free extended warranty on all purchases +
free car rental insurance + free travel insurance & more. All you need
is some self control not to max out cards. Plus credit cards improve
your credit score.
All those benefits are great, I guess. But if you carry a balance, they are
very expensive. You need self control to pay off the card every month, not "not
to max out". You can use credit cards as a handy form of cash. I do.
However, the first month you can't pay it ALL off, you should put it a sealed
envelop, or freeze it in a block of ice, or whatever it takes to keep you away
from it.

By the way, the goal on credit scores is not to get the maximum score. The goal
is to not care what your score is, because you don't need much credit.

-- Doug
 
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J

John A. Weeks III

Giving credit where credit is due, Dave Ramsey put it best.
Credit cards are like vipers. If you play with them long
enough, one of them is going to bite you. It isn't worth
taking that risk. Get rid of the cards.

Dave wants you get rid of them all. If you are responsible
person, I think you can have one. There is no need for more
than one. If you cannot control your spending, then follow
Dave Ramsey's plan and cut them all up.

-john-
Everything in life is double edged, all you need is to know how to use
it right. There is no point in giving up things because "if you have
them you will misuse them". Just learn to stop misusing them.[/QUOTE]

That is really easy to say, but for people with addictive
personalities, a credit card is just like a bag of cookies
or 12-pack of beer--you cannot stop until you had it all.
Giving a person a credit card when that person cannot easily
control their spending is just like giving them a hand
gernade--you never quite know when it is going to go off.

-john-
 
S

SD

By the way, the goal on credit scores is not to get the maximum score. The goal
is to not care what your score is, because you don't need much credit.
Not if you ever want to buy a new car or a house.
 
S

SD

Elle said:
The goal



You must like debt.
I don't like debt but I'm not averse to it. I don't advocate being in
debt or any such thing. However some forms of debt are essential (such
as home loans). Credit cards only cause debt if you are irresponsible. I
am advocating responsibility here, not love of debt.

Even if I could pay for my car in cash I wouldn't. Who else is going to
loan you money at rates lower than car companies :) Plus used car loans
suck.
I advocate paying cash for one's car. Buying used is fine, especially if it
ensures peace of mind (which is priceless!).
Thats debatable. New car = more peace of mind (atleast for some), this
topic has been beaten to death in a previous thread a few months ago.
And with the kind of prices, loans and deals you get for new cars, a
reasonably good used car is generally more expensive.
Always buy a house that is easily affordable, too. Build wealth gradually.
Don't borrow from Peter to pay Paul, or else one will never accumulate
wealth.
A house that is easily affordable. A lot of people will have to move for
that :).
 
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E

Elle

SD said:
Not if you ever want to buy a new car or a house.
You must like debt.

I advocate paying cash for one's car. Buying used is fine, especially if it
ensures peace of mind (which is priceless!).

Always buy a house that is easily affordable, too. Build wealth gradually.
Don't borrow from Peter to pay Paul, or else one will never accumulate
wealth.
 

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