“But I’m already richer than my parents, and I’ve always been smarter and better looking!” All of us like to think that of course, but regardless of whether or not it’s true for you, Zac Bissonnette’s best-seller is a must read. “How to be Richer, Smarter, and Better Looking Than Your Parents” is a book that focuses mostly on personal finance topics, especially frugality and wise money management.
The book starts out with some rather hilarious mockery of celebrities who have gone broke, and shows the logical reasons why. No matter how much money you make, if you spend it all, you’ll be gaining nothing. These celebrities made millions, and then blew it all with regular $25,000 shopping trips.
Bissonnette then goes into how the mistakes of the rich and famous can be avoided (albeit on a smaller scale money wise) in your own life. The golden rule of personal finance, spend less than you earn, is at the heart of his philosophies. For those of us who grew up in frugal households, this seems like common sense. But to others who didn’t, it can be a big shock to the system. But the rewards are incredible if you apply his advice.
His chapter on the financial service industry is one of the smartest things I’ve read in a while. He talks about how when things are going well for the financial service industry, they aren’t going well for you. The reality is that these people are out there to profit from your own successes with money. Being careful with who you trust your money to may be one of the biggest keys to greater wealth.
The Debtonator, as one chapter on debt is called, is also an excellent read. He talks about why all kinds of debt should be avoided at all costs, and I agree with him wholeheartedly. Debt is never a good thing. Mortgages are the one kind of debt that I will ever allow myself to have, and even then I plan to avoid them if possible. However, the one area here that I disagree with him on is credit cards. Bissonnette is very anti-credit card, even if you are more than responsible enough to manage one wisely.
He talks about how a credit card can be dangerous, even to those of us that pay the bill in full each month. The benefits, he argues, are too small to outweigh those risks. I personally disagree, and think that the benefits of my credit card far outweigh the risks for my situation, but his advice may really strike home with some. If you are the kind of person to do things like impulse shop heavily or not pay your bills on time, he is absolutely right. Credit cards can be extremely dangerous in the wrong hands.
Another point he made that really resonated with me is that you should never turn down any type of free money. His main example was with 401k’s with employer matches. People often take more money in their pockets now and forget about saving for retirement, leaving thousands of dollars on the table by doing so. This is a huge mistake for anyone, even if you are in debt and trying to pay the bills. Unless you need that last 5% of your income to survive, take the match and get some free money.
One of the cores of his message is that if you spend less money, you will end up even happier. This is something that I agree with very strongly. The less you spend, the more you are free to enjoy life to it’s fullest. For example, cooking your own food instead of paying someone else and the rent for their restaurant at the same time just for a quick meal is one of the most popular ways to waste money. Once you’ve learned to insource the basics in life, you’ll notice that you feel as though you have more control, and are more satisfied with life.
Bissonnette goes into more topics, like cars and homes, and it is all excellent advice. If you want to become richer in life and in money, than I strongly recommend reading his book. Even if you think the title makes it sound like some dumb book for rebelling adolescents, it will have something in it that you can apply to your own life. The advice he gives out is excellent, and if you follow it, you may end up richer, smarter, and even better looking than your parents.
Guest Post By: James Petzke is a college student, and the writer behind This Is Common Cents. His writing focuses on frugality, increasing income, and becoming rich in both life and money.
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