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Die Broke: A Radical, Four-Part Financial Plan

Die Broke: A Radical, Four-Part Financial Plan

by Stephen Pollan

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From America's most trusted financial advisor comes a comprehensive guide to a new and utterly sane financial choice. In Die Broke, you'll learn that life is a game where the loser gives his money to Uncle Sam at the end. There are four steps to the process:

Quit Today

No, don't tell your boss to shove it...at least not out


From America's most trusted financial advisor comes a comprehensive guide to a new and utterly sane financial choice. In Die Broke, you'll learn that life is a game where the loser gives his money to Uncle Sam at the end. There are four steps to the process:

Quit Today

No, don't tell your boss to shove it...at least not out loud. But in your head accept that from this day on you're a free agent whose number one workplace priority is your personal bottom line.

Pay Cash

You should be as conscious of spending as you are of saving. Credit should be a rarely used tool for those few times (buying homes and cars) when paying cash is impossible.

Don't Retire

Your work life should be a journey up and down hills, rather than a climb up a sheer cliff that ends with a jump into the abyss.

Die Broke

It sounds terrifying, the one intolerable outcome to your financial life. And yet, in truth, dying broke might be your best option for a life without fear: fear of failure and privation now, fear of impoverishment in the long run.

Editorial Reviews

USA Today
Smoothly written...a treasure chest of financial advice.
Scott Burns
If you're unhappy with conventional thinking about how we live and plan our lives, this book will speak to you. —Dallas Morning News
Sales and Marketing Management
Die Broke is more than a guide to personal finance, it's a code of values, many of which run contrary to instinct.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
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5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)

Read an Excerpt

Die Broke
A Radical Four-Part Financial Plan

Chapter One

Die broke. Turn the phrase over in your mind. At first it sounds insane. Instinctively it's something to avoid at all costs, not something to pursue with a vengeance. It immediately conjures up images of Dickensian poverty; of Depression-era families having their mortgages foreclosed on by Lionel Barrymore. But fight off those instinctive responses and reflex images and think about it for a minute, really think about it.
What's wrong with dying broke? What good will money do you when you're dead? Isn't there something ironic about hoarding money for a time when you can't spend it? But what about your family, you worry; how will they get by? Well, why can't you take care of them when you're alive? Isn't it daft for them to have to wait for your death to be taken care of? Okay, you say, but what about those images of poverty the concept instantly brought to mind. You just can't shake them. Don't. In fact, look at them really closely. There's something very important about them you need to focus on. They're from the past.

Stop Living in the Past
Are you living in Victorian England? Does your hometown look like Bedford Falls? Of course not. You're about to enter the twenty-first century. Your home, regardless of where it's located, is probably closer to that of the Jetsons than that of the Cratchits. Yet the images of financial ruin that instantly spring to your mind are from the turn of the prior century. That's because your entire approach to money and career, and much of your approach to life, is based on principles and beliefs that sprung from the experiences of the past.Your fear of dying broke is an early-twentieth-century fear carried forward to a twenty-first-century life.
Rather than running your twenty-first-century life by up-to-date rules, you're using outdated nineteenth- and twentieth-century ones. You're taking practices designed to deal with the shift from an agrarian to an industrialized society and trying to make them fit the shift to an information world. You're following financial patterns sketched out in the Great Depression at a time when the Dow Jones is over 7,000. You're managing your career based on advice formulated when every man still wore garters to hold up his socks and the only women in the corporate world were in the secretarial pool. And you're still running your life as if your family looked and lived like the Cleavers. That's why you're experiencing an overwhelming sense of uncertainty, insecurity, and fear.

You're Not Alone
I can make these generalizations about your feelings because I speak with people like you every day. I'm a financial and legal consultant on New York City's Upper East Side. Most of my clients are baby boomers from what used to be called the upper middle class. While only a few of them would have felt at home in Tom Wolfe's Bonfire of the Vanities, almost all of them aspired to be masters of the universe in the 1980s. Today they have combined incomes of well over $150,000, live in apartment buildings with doormen or rural homes on more than an acre of land, take European vacations, go out to Thai restaurants, shop at Barney's, and buy wine by the case. They belong to health clubs and send their kids to after-school programs. They grind their own coffee beans.
While there are some uniquely New York elements to my clients' personas, they're just like lots of other successful baby boomers . . . including you. They've succeeded in acquiring more possessions and experiences than their parents had at their age. They hold down decision-making and policy-setting positions in corporations, are running their own successful small companies, or have made a name for themselves in a competitive creative field. At work they have staffs and personal assistants. They read The Wall Street Journal. They have accountants to prepare their taxes, therapists to help them with their psyches, nutritionists to help them with their diets, and personal trainers to help them build up their pecs.
And they have me to help them with their fears. In fact, on the conference table I use for an office desk there's a name plaque--a gift from a grateful client--that reads "Stephen Pollan: Professional Fear Remover."
I really am an expert on fear. Not the life-threatening kind, but the gnawing doubt kind; the kind these people are feeling; the kind you're currently feeling.
For more than two decades I've been very successful at helping people solve their problems and achieve their goals. Much of my practice deals with traditional legal matters, like real estate transactions, wills, divorces, business negotiations, and workplace issues. But what makes my practice different is that I see these problems as elements of a much larger project: the Business of Living. I try to put my clients' financial, legal, and career problems in the context of their entire lives, and help them draft "life plans" tying all these elements together into a cohesive whole. I spend much of the time empowering clients by providing the kind of advice and backup they need to overcome their fears. Basically, I teach them the rules for succeeding in the Business of Living.
And my clients are very good at following rules. You probably are too. For all their rebelliousness, boomers are excellent at following rules. After all, they've been achievers all their lives, and to achieve you've got to follow the rules. My clients learned the education rules and won one or more degrees. Most learned the career rules and landed good jobs and climbed the corporate ladder, sometimes making larger salaries than their fathers ever could have dreamed of. Die Broke
A Radical Four-Part Financial Plan
. Copyright © by Stephen Pollan. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Stephen M. Pollan, one of America's most trusted and admired financial advisors, is the author of more than a dozen books, including the national bestseller Die Broke. He presently lives in New York City and Litchfield County, Connecticut, with his wife, Corky, and in close proximity to his four children and nine grandchildren.

Mark Levine has been Stephen Pollan's collaborator for sixteen years. He lives in Ithaca, New York, with his wife, Deirdre, and his Newfoundland, Molly.

Mark Levine has been Stephen Pollan's collaborator for more than eighteen years. Together they have authored numerous books, including the national bestsellers Lifescripts, Live Rich, and Die Broke, and most recently, Second Acts. They have been nominated for three National Magazine Awards.

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