Friday, January 6, 2012

‘7 Money Rules for Life: How to Take Control of Your Financial Future’ by Mary Hunt – Book Review

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I like the timing of this latest review! As most of us are hopeful for a better year in the New Year we’re entering, one of the big topics is improving our finances. That is certainly true for me and my husband, Fred. Revell has a new release, ‘7 Money Rules for Life: How to Take Control of Your Financial Future’ by the wonderful Mary Hunt.

Here is the synopsis of this book:

Simple Rules. Big Payoff. In her warm and encouraging style, financial expert Mary Hunt shows you how to master the essentials to get your money under control and prepare financially for the rest of your life. She shows you how to master the essentials to get your money under control and prepare financially for the rest of your life. She shows you how to apply each of the 7 Rules, starting today, as well as how to recover from past financial mistakes. With Mary on your side, you’ll learn how to

·         Spend less than you earn
·         Save for the future
·         Give some away
·         Anticipate your irregular expenses
·         Tell your money where to go
·         Manage your credit
·         Borrow only what you know you can repay

Money mastery isn’t hard when you know the rules. Let 7 Money Rules for Life change your future from uncertain to rock-solid – no matter what your income level.

Here is the biography of the author:

Mary Hunt is founder and publisher of Debt-Proof Living, a highly regarded organization consisting of an interactive website, a monthly newsletter, and personal finance tools. Since 1992, DPL has been dedicated to its mission to provide hope, help, and realistic solutions for individuals who are committed to financially responsible and debt-free living. Her books have sold more than a million copies, her syndicated daily newspaper column is enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of everyday Cheapskate readers, and her articles appear in such magazines as Women’s Day, Guideposts, Christianity Today, and Bottom Line. Hunt speaks on personal finance and has appeared on shows such as Oprah, Good Morning America, Dr. Phil and Focus on the Family. She and her husband live in California.

Here is Mary explaining her concept of Debt-Proof Living:

In the Introduction to this book, Mary explains the predicament she found herself in:

I banked on the fact that the US economy all but guaranteed an upward spiral of increasing prosperity, better-paying jobs, and appreciating home values. There would always be plenty of jobs, plenty of credit, unending supplies of loans to pay for kids’ education. If we worked hard, bigger and better cars and homes would always be within reach.
And I got away with that kind of attitude for years. But our lifestyle was built on a house of cards that could teeter only before it came crashing down.

I came to the end of the line and had to face just how ignorant and illiterate I was about money, or lose everything. Learning and applying simple, sound principles of money management saved my life. (p. 14)

I can’t say that our straits are that dire, but we definitely need help in this New Year!

I will focus on two of the rules that impact our lives the most: Rule 1: Spend Less Than You Earn, and Rule 7: Borrow Only What You Know You Can Repay.

I loved this section from Rule 1 (Spend Less Than You Earn):

What follows may be the single most important thing you will read in this book, so I hope you are paying attention: choosing contentment as a way of life is the only way to win this battle between needs vs. wants. Contentment is choosing to be happy with what you have, while not always desiring something more. Contentment is not something we achieve, it is a choice we make. It is an attitude we learn. It’s a decision we make to buy what we need and want what we have.
Prosperity does not bring contentment, and poverty cannot take it away. Read that again. If prosperity were the secret for contentment, Hollywood, the NBA, and the National Lottery Winners Association (I made the last one up) would be the happiest places on earth. (pp. 54-55)

I have to admit that discontentment is one of my problems. It is a sin to God, and I want to learn to live with contentment. I am getting there!

The subject of contentment is prevalent throughout the book; it is addressed again the chapter on Rule 7: Borrow Only What You Know You Can Pay:

Debt promotes discontentment. Debt is often what happens when you’re not satisfied with what you can afford to have right now. And once you start pursuing “more,” you’ll always be unhappy with what you have at the moment because, face it, there will always be something more out there that captures your attention. It’s easy to use debt as the antidote for feelings of dissatisfaction and discontentment. Then it become akin to drinking a glass of salty water. It makes you thirsty so you want to drink more, and the more you drink the thirstier you become.
Debt limits your options. This is true of any type of debt, even a secured home mortgage. Debt is like a lead balloon that hold you in one spot…. (p. 130)

I love Mary’s point in the chapter entitled ‘Getting It All Together:’

Once you write a goal, no matter how simple it is, it takes on a power of its own. You have something specific on which to focus. Your thoughts point to it like a laser beam, which leads to another powerful benefit of your human brain: you become what you think about most of the time. (p. 148)

Great point; awesome wisdom!

Another good thing about this book is that she gives each reader the opportunity for a 6 month free membership in her website, Debt Proof Living. I took advantage, and hope to glean a lot more from her after the book has long been finished.

I thank Mary for what she shares with us from her own personal experience. I plan on reading it with my husband, Fred, who has been hounding me for what seems like years to be a little more attentive to financial matters…. I highly recommend this book. Mary’s style is engaging and warm, and she makes financial issues as warm and fuzzy as they can be! She writes from a solid, Biblically based perspective, which is the way I want to live.

You can order this book here.

Available January 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. This book was published by Revell and provided by them for review purposes.

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