Wednesday, March 15, 2006

#12 - The Automatic Millionaire Homeowner

David Bach's "Finish Rich" philosophies, appearances on Oprah and well-timed practical advice have made him a superstar. I read one of his books last year and found it more profoundly annoying than anything. Plain common sense wrapped up in cute buzz words and self-discipline. But I like to read money books, or rather, books about how to manage your personal finances (maybe because money manager is my self-appointed role in our marriage), so I read The Automatic Millionaire Homeowner in about thirty seconds.

It's a practical book that explains mortgages and all the other good stuff involved in utilizing real estate as an investment. I was looking for some solid advice as to how to own (or plan to own) a vacation home (cottage, condo in Paris, ah, dare to dream) but the book's not really about that. It's primary message? You have to live somewhere so you might as well own where you live. It's secondary message? Don't sell your first house, but rent it out if you can afford to. See, good, practical advice.

But my biggest problem with the book and with the cookie-cutter approach to finance that so many of these self-appointed 'gurus' proport to have remains the lack of a holistic approach to money management. Resources are looked at in terms of dollars and cents, and not in a more 'what am I contributing to the world' point of view. Not that David Bach is an anti-environmentalist (he often has chapters on charity and giving), but so far in my life I've only read one book about money management that looked at the human costs as well. Sam Lamb lent me the book and I can't for the life of me remember what it was called, but I'd like to go back and read it again, just to be reminded that every dollar you earn has a true physical cost attached to it, and that's worth something far more than the interest ING Direct is paying me on my life savings.

In the end, I'll still read books about money management, still be annoyed by them, take what I need and be glad that I spent the two hours learning (or being reminded) of how finance works, because it's important. But I'll always be doing it with the idea in the back of my mind that I'd love to end up a poor, starving novelist one day, if only I could dare myself to give up the stability of a two week paycheque and the small comforts of cable television.


Zesty said...

I think the book you're talking about is called Your Money or Your Life?

samlamb said...

Zesty's right - and it just never gets old. I could read it over and over...actually I think I'll take another look now. Want it next?