Book Review – You’re Broke Because You Want To Be


I’ve discussed more than a few money advisors to those with financial difficulties in my time on this blog, usually through reviews of their books on posts just like this.  There are numerous approaches that such advisors can take, from soothing and sympathetic with your problems to being forceful and challenging you about how you got into such problems in the first place and what you MUST do to fix them.  Just how far can they go down the latter path?

You’re Broke Because You Want to Be provides a pretty good answer to that question.  Written by Larry Winget, ‘The Pitbull of Personal Finance’, it covers how to get your finances under control and get yourself out of debt in an aggressive, all but bullying manner.  Is it an effective means for getting the information across and motivating the readers?  To find out, we need to read on ourselves!

Summary

Introduction: The Difference Between Poor and Broke

You're Broke BecauseYou’re Broke Because You Want To Be starts by comparing the conditions of being poor, an unfortunate economic state with few opportunities for advancement or other improvement (and which is outside of Winget’s ability to fix) and that of being broke, where someone has a job, makes a decent living, and still can’t seem to improve their financial situation.  The intro then lays out some of what the book will and won’t cover, before getting into the main meat of the book itself.

PART ONE. WHY YOU’RE BROKE

Chapter One. Money Matters

The first chapter discusses why money is important in life, no matter what people tend to say to the contrary.  It also looks at some of the excuses that people tend to give for why they aren’t doing well with money, and why none of them fly.  It finishes off by having readers write down the things that they could do to improve their lives.

Chapter Two. Your Real Problems

With the excuses out of the way, Winget looks at some of the real problems people have with money, or rather, with how they think and how they end up using money.  It provides advice on how to look at your priorities in life (as judged by your spending) and how to reorient your spending so that it works to achieve your really desired goals and priorities.

PART TWO. HOW TO START GETTING AHEAD (MAYBE EVEN RICH!)

Chapter Three. Know Where You Are.

The second part of the book starts by looking at where you stand.  It provides a section for the reader to record their monthly spending and compare it their earnings, then stressing the importance of recording the emotion that came along with that comparison.  The third chapter finishes by providing readers with a start on creating an action plan to improve their financial situation.

Chapter Four. How to Get Out of Debt

This chapter is a fairly short guide on how to decrease, and eventually eliminate, your debt.  Most of the suggestions are fairly common (Winget even notes as much on some of them, like ‘cutting up your credit cards’), but they provide the reader with a guide on how to get out of debt if needed.

Chapter Five. How to Cut Your Expenses and Increase Your Income

Here you find out how to increase your amount of money available, either by cutting expenses or raising your income.  There are several suggestions for doing the former, from dropping cable to quitting smoking.  The latter half of the chapter covers how to increase your earnings, focusing mainly on taking on other jobs and selling things you do not need.

Chapter Six. The Stuff Most People Overlook.

As the title suggests, this is where you look to find ways to save or earn more money that are out of the ordinary.  From things like carrying cash to minimize your spending when shopping to eating less (to cut down on your food spending AND get healthier), several unusual methods are covered in this section.  It wraps up with what to teach your children about money and how to deal with shopaholics (yourself or others).

Chapter Seven. Now It’s Time for Your New Budget!

With all of this new information available, this short chapter provides a new budget sheet to lay out what you hope to spend and a few suggestions for when you are successful with your money.

PART THREE. PROOF THAT IT CAN BE DONE!

Chapter Eight. Interviews with Larry’s Rich Buddies.

The book finishes up by looking at the lives of five of Winget’s friends, each of whom started out with little money, had hard times in their lives, but ended up millionaires, in most cases multi-millionaires.  The chapter (and book) finishes by giving some of Winget’s final advice on getting ahead, along with ending with the Vulcan Salute.

Pros

  • Solid Advice on Eliminating Debt: There’s plenty of information included within these pages on how to reduce your debt, even if there is a great deal of said debt that must be eliminated.
  • Useful as a Workbook: There are parts of the book where you are expected to fill in the blanks, as it were, add a level of interaction that help to drive home the points of the book not present in most others.
  • Encouraging: Although the style is rather rough, the overall theme of the book is that it is possible for people to eliminate their debt and take control of their financial situation regardless of where they stand now.

Cons

  • Abrasive Style: The overall tone of the book is in your face and at times even hurtful, not the nicest of things you may want to read (although, perhaps the sort that you should…).
  • Little New Information: If you’ve done much reading on how to cut down your debt and get your finances back in order, you’ve probably encountered most of this material already.
  • Nothing Beyond Eliminating Debt: Although the book discusses getting rich quite a bit, it doesn’t provide any information on investing or otherwise improving your finances, beyond eliminating debt.

Overall

You’re Broke Because You Want to Be is a pretty solid guide to getting out of debt, particularly large amounts of debt.  It’s not the first thing I would go for in many cases, as the style is more than a little off putting and it doesn’t give you much new information if you are successfully cutting down debt already.  But if you (or someone you know…) is greatly in debt and could use a kick in the pants to get out of it, Winget would a good source for that kick.

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