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Start Late, Finish Rich: A No-Fail Plan for Achieving Financial Freedom at Any Age

Start Late, Finish Rich: A No-Fail Plan for Achieving Financial Freedom at Any Age

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by David Bach

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David Bach has a plan to help you live and finish rich—no matter where you start

So you feel like you’ve started late?

You are not alone.

What if I told you that right now as you flip through this book, 70% of the people in the store with you are living paycheck to paycheck?

What if I told you that the man browsing the aisle to your


David Bach has a plan to help you live and finish rich—no matter where you start

So you feel like you’ve started late?

You are not alone.

What if I told you that right now as you flip through this book, 70% of the people in the store with you are living paycheck to paycheck?

What if I told you that the man browsing the aisle to your left owes more than $8,000 in credit card debt? And the woman on your right has less than $1,000 in savings?

See? You’re really not alone.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of people who’ve saved too little and borrowed too much will never catch up financially. Why? Because they don’t know how.

You can start late and finish rich—but you need a plan.

This book contains the plan. It’s inspiring, easy to follow, and is based on proven financial principles. Building a secure financial future for yourself isn’t something you can do overnight. It will take time and it will take work. But you can do it.

I know. I’ve helped millions of people get their financial lives together—and I can help you. Spend a few hours with me—and let me challenge you. Give me a chance to become your coach.

Just because you started late doesn’t mean you are doomed to an uncertain future. Whether you’re in your thirties, forties, fifties, or beyond, there is still time to turn things around. It’s never too late to live and finish rich. All it takes is the decision to start.

—David Bach

Is it too late for me to get rich?

Over and over, people share their fears with David Bach, America’s leading money coach and the number-one national best-selling author of The Automatic Millionaire. “If only I had started saving when I was younger!” they say. “Is there any hope for me?”

There IS hope, and help is here at last!

In Start Late, Finish Rich, David Bach takes the “Finish Rich” wisdom that has already helped millions of people and tailors it specifically to all of us who forgot to save, procrastinated, or got sidetracked by life’s unexpected challenges.

Whether you are in your thirties, forties, fifties, or even older, Bach shows that you really can start late and still live and finish rich – and you can get your plan in place fast. In a motivating, swift read you learn how to ramp up the road to financial security with the principles of spend less, save more, make more – and most important, LIVE MORE. And he gives you the time tested plan to do it.

The Start Late, Finish Rich promise is bold and clear:

Even if you are buried in debt – there is still hope.

You can get rich in real estate – by starting small.

Find your “Latte Factor” – and turbo charge it to save money you didn’t know you had.

You can start a business on the side – while you keep your old job and continue earning a paycheck.

You can spend less, save more and make more – and it doesn’t have to hurt.

David Bach gives you step-by-step instructions, worksheets, phone numbers and website addresses --everything you need to put your Start Late plan into place right away. And he shares the stories of ordinary Americans who have turned their lives around, at thirty, forty, fifty, even sixty years of age, and are now financially free. They did it, and now it’s your turn. With David Bach at your side, it’s never too late to change your financial destiny. It’s never too late to live your dreams. It’s never too late to be free.

Editorial Reviews

When David Bach speaks, people listen. In books like The Automatic Millionaire, the "Finish Rich" guru has converted hundreds of thousands of readers with his sensible financial advice. In Start Late, Finish Rich, he pinpoints his target audience to calm the anxieties of nervous baby boomers. Instead of doomsday talk, Bach reassures middle-aged and older workers that it's not too late to secure their futures. His suggestions are practical and sometimes unconventional: He argues, for instance, that you should not pay down your debt before you begin to save.
Publishers Weekly
The seventh book in seven years of the Finish Rich series (two million in print) is aimed at older readers who have neglected their savings. It reads like an infomercial script, brassily positive and unrelentingly motivational. Anyone can finish rich, says Bach (Automatic Millionaire, etc.), if they are willing to "spend less, save more, and make more." The bulk of the book describes a variety of tactics and strategies (many covered in his previous books) for accomplishing these three tasks. Readers of financial help books will have heard many of Bach's ideas before, but he does deliver a lion's share of solid advice in an entertaining format, and, for good measure, he throws in an occasional counterintuitive gem, such as why paying off credit card debt can be "a huge mistake." He also anticipates and overcomes common objections ("dealing with debt doesn't mean putting the rest of your life on hold"), although anyone impolite enough to push back too hard is dismissed: "I have a term for negative people who seem to enjoy raining on other people's parades. I call them dream stealers,' and I try to avoid them." Agent, Jan Miller. (Jan. 4) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Start saving and stop spending-advice as familiar as Ben Franklin's "a penny saved is a penny earned." But best-selling author Bach (The Automatic Millionaire) makes it sound so much nattier when he coaches readers to calculate their double-latte factor-those little indulgences that, when curbed, can froth into huge savings down the road. Bach hammers home a number of well-worn yet worthy principles, like buying a home instead of renting, cutting expenses, asking for a raise, and paying off those pesky credit card debts, all the while saving, saving, saving. From offering advice on supplementing day jobs with pursuits like small home businesses or e-bay to analyzing how real estate, direct selling, and franchising can contribute to financial success, Bach's enthusiasm is infectious. And after all the practical advice, he does not neglect the more humane elements of financial planning-giving to worthy causes and living richly and fully. This book will be appreciated in public library business collections by the latte-sipping set, who will be glad to learn that it's never too late to take control of one's financial futures.-Carol J. Elsen, Univ. of Wisconsin Libs., Whitewater Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
“Here is one good source to help you realize that there are options and it is possible to create life the way you want it, financially speaking. . . . [Bach’s] work looks at many fine details and provides research backed up with actionable ideas. ” – Times-Colonist

“David Bach tackles head-on the common complaint for far too many complacent Canadians that they can’t help themselves financially or it is too late to do so. Bach’s practical messages with proven financial principles to help oneself are doable. . . . It’s never too late. Bach can help those who are motivated to help themselves.” –Canadian MoneySaver

From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

Random House Audio Publishing Group
Publication date:
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5.72(w) x 6.27(h) x 1.02(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One


Of all the things people say to me after they’ve read my books, attended one of my seminars, stopped me in an airport, or called in to my radio show, there is one comment I hear more than all the others put together:

“If only I had started saving when I was younger.”

While some of you may blame yourselves for not having started earlier, I also know that many of you are starting late not because you were shortsighted or lazy or irresponsible, but because life threw you a curveball. I hear from people all the time who are starting late because of divorce, death, illness, disability, bankruptcy, poor career choices, lack of education–and on and on. Either way, it’s time to cut to the chase. What’s done is done. You can’t go back and fix the past.

Oh, you say, if only I knew then what I know now, my whole life would be different.

Of course it would. But guess what–you didn’t know. Or if you did, you didn’t do what you knew you needed to be doing.

So it’s done. Finished. Settled.

Sometimes life is unfair.

But that’s okay.

You can move on.

You can get over it.

Stop asking yourself why you didn’t do what you should have done. The real question is: What are you going to do about it now?

For a long time now, you’ve been beating yourself up about what you haven’t done or should have done. Some of you have been beating yourselves up for your mistakes for decades. It’s unreal how tough we can be on ourselves.

We all do this. I’m no exception. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said to myself, “Oh, if only I hadn’t sold that house in Danville, California.”That house was the first house I ever owned. I bought it for $220,000 and sold it nearly five years later for $225,000. (Not exactly a Donald Trump real estate flip.) Today, that house is worth more than $700,000.
If only. . .

Or how about this one? If only I’d bought Dell stock when I bought my first Dell computer. A $10,000 investment in Dell back in 1994 would have been worth $963,000 at the end of 2003.

If only. . .

I could go on and on. But none of it matters. What matters is that with all the amazing mistakes I’ve made over the years, I still managed to become a multimillionaire. That’s because rather than looking back, I focus on going forward. And here’s the bottom line: If you are not yet as rich as you want to be, stop focusing on what you haven’t done and start focusing on what you want to do. And if you’re not yet who you want to be, get over that, too. You can become the person you really want to be. You start by letting go of all of the old stories you keep replaying in your head like a broken record or scratched CD.

You know what I’m talking about. So stop “shoulda-ing” all over yourself. It’s messy and makes you unhappy. I know. I’ve been there.

Instead, decide today–right now–to let it go. We all make mistakes. I’ve made them. You’ve made them. Your parents and friends have made them. We are all human. Mistakes hurt. But let’s not waste one more ounce of your energy, spirit, or time thinking about them, because all that will do is hold you back.

Keep this in mind:

The past will continue to be your future if you drag it along with you!

Here’s an exercise I recommend you do. (Not this minute. Right now I want you to keep reading. But try it when you finish reading this chapter.) If you really want to get over something you regret, the fastest way to do it is to acknowledge the regret–and then burn it up. Literally.

Here’s what you do. Get yourself a blank sheet of paper and write down a list of as many of your personal “if only’s” you can think of.

If only I had saved more money.

If only I hadn’t quit that job.

If only I hadn’t taken the job I have.

If only I’d had kids.

If only I’d not had kids.

If only I had bet on the Yankees.

If only I hadn’t bet on the Red Sox.

I’m serious about this. Really go to town with it. Free-flow. Let it all hang out. Be honest with yourself. You’ve been beating yourself up over this stuff for years, so you might as well as get it down on paper.

When you’re finished making your list… set fire to it! I’m serious. Light a match and BURN IT UP. Let all those damn “if only’s” turn into ashes.

Have a “Goodbye If Only’s” party. Invite a friend over and do it together.

Just make sure you burn your “if only’s” somewhere safe. We don’t want you setting fire to your house. If burning them seems too extreme, then just tear up your “if only’s” into little pieces and toss them in the garbage can.

The fact is that your brain is hardwired. You wake up each day, and for the most part you rethink 90% of what you thought about yesterday! Now think about that! It’s really quite amazing. You use the same words, you go through the same motions, and you often do the same things over and over and over again. What’s ironic is that we do the same things over and over and over again and then hope for a new result. This is called insanity!

Watch a fly try to fly through a window sometime. The fly is hardwired to think that the harder it tries, the better its result will be. Well, you and I both know that the fly is not going to get through that window because it is impossible to fly through glass!

I started off trying to convince you to give yourself a break because I know you really need it.

The one thing I’ve learned from coaching so many people on their lives and money is that we are just too brutal on ourselves. And what do we do when we actually make some progress? We beat ourselves up for not doing everything perfectly.

Take it from me. You’ve been way too hard on yourself over the years. If a friend or relative ever said the things to you that you’ve been saying to yourself, you’d stop talking to them. You’d end the relationship then and there. You’d cut them out of your life.

It’s a fact that no one will ever be as tough on you as you are on yourself. So give yourself a break.


OK, now let’s focus on what really matters: how money can help you buy your freedom.

Chapter Two


If I could give you only one gift, it would be the gift of freedom. The gift to be the person you were put here to be.

Why? Because you are a very special person. In fact, you’re unique. There is no one like you on the planet. You were put here for a reason, and I promise you it wasn’t to struggle through life.

What does any of this have to do with achieving financial security and independence? In a word, everything. If you are worried about money and your future, it’s more than likely you’re not living as free a life as you want. And if you’re not living as free a life as you want, how can you be living the life you were put here to live?

It may not be politically correct to say so, but the brutal reality of life is that in almost every case ,if you sit down and get honest with yourself, you will find that 90% of your problems can be fixed with money.

Yes, I know we’re supposed to believe that money doesn’t make you happy.There are entire schools of philosophy built on that premise. Well, here’s what experience has taught me: Money may not make you happy, but LACK OF MONEY can certainly make you miserable.

When all is said and done, the way you get your freedom is to buy it. You don’t lease it. You don’t wish for it. You buy it, and then you own it.

In 2002 and 2003,the American Association of Retired Persons sponsored an in-depth study of baby boomers (people born between 1946 and 1964). It revealed some amazing things about their attitudes and experience. Perhaps its most significant finding was this:

Personal finance and work are among the least satisfying aspects of baby boomers’ lives.


• While higher-earning boomers tend to be more satisfied with their lives than lower-income boomers, only about 20% of all boomers (one in five) are satisfied with their finances.

• One in four says the worst thing about their lives right now is their finances.

• One in three names personal finances as the one area of their lives they would most like to improve.

• Lack of finances makes it hard for baby boomers to enjoy leisure activities.

• Higher education is no guarantee of financial well-being. Only 20% of college-educated boomers are satisfied with their finances.

• Less-educated boomers are equally unhappy; only 22% of them said they were satisfied with their finances. Perhaps the single most eye-opening finding of the AARP study is this:

In terms of their single largest ambition, both men and women mention dreams ofan improved financial situation.

Read that again. The AARP surveyed thousands of baby boomers and found that their single biggest dream is to get their financial lives together.

Why? Because millions of them have put off saving–and now that they are getting older (and living longer),they’re realizing that they face a huge problem.

What’s the problem they face? Well, according to the AARP:

When contemplating their personal finances, slim majorities of younger adults (58%) and boomers (54%) and just half of older Americans (50%) believe they are likely to reach their goals in the area of personal finances.

In other words, nearly half of us–old, young, and in between–DON’T believe we’ll be able to achieve our financial goals. What makes this finding so shocking is that the same AARP study found that most boomers and younger adults are confident about just about every other area of life. They believe their lives are bound to improve over the next five years in terms of relations with family and friends, mental health, religious or spiritual concerns, work or career, and physical health.

This is why it is so important for you to decide right now that even though you are starting late, YOU ARE GOING TO FINISH RICH. The race of your life is already on. You can continue to sit on the sidelines, moaning about how you should have gotten started last year or 10 years ago or 30 years ago. Or you can get up and start running.

OK, are you ready to be motivated? Well, consider this: We are totally blessed in this country. As a society, America has achieved more financially over the last century than the entire world has in all previous centuries combined. Our standard of living is higher, our life expectancy is longer, and our educational and recreational opportunities are greater today than they’ve ever been.

Within your lifetime, the wealth of the United States has increased by a staggering amount–jumping from about $6 trillion 50 years ago to some $30 trillion today. And while many people are broke and struggling, a whole lot of other people are LOADED.

Indeed, never before in our planet’s history have so many people been so wealthy. According to Merrill Lynch & Co.’s 2004 World Wealth Report, the number of millionaires in the United States (which the report defines as people with at least $1 million in financial or liquid assets) jumped by 14% to 2.27 million in 2003.In other words, one out of every 125 Americans is now a millionaire.

By way of comparison, back in 1900 there were fewer than 5,000 millionaires in the United States–or only about one out of every 15,000 Americans at the time.

And it’s not just the number of millionaires that has increased. Since the 1960s, median household wealth in America has nearly tripled, growing from $29,000 in 1965 to $86,100 in 2001 (the most recent year for which data is available)–meaning that while half the nation’s households were worth $29,000 or less back in the 1960s, today half are worth more than $86,100.

When you contrast the bad news (the paycheck-to-paycheck struggle that kills freedom) with the good news (the phenomenal wealth and opportunity that is all around us),you begin to realize that life is not fair. The fact is, you don’t get in life what you wish for. You get in life what you go for.

People choose their lives.

People choose their actions.

People choose their outcomes.

Life is a cause set in motion.

And life is not over until you quit.

Before we get to the specifics of exactly how you can start late and still finish rich, I want you to meet some remarkable people. What makes them remarkable is not that they did something difficult. Rather, it’s that they discovered how easy it is to do something that most people think is difficult.

I hope their stories inspire you to really believe that it’s not too late for you. Because it isn’t.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
“Here is one good source to help you realize that there are options and it is possible to create life the way you want it, financially speaking. . . . [Bach’s] work looks at many fine details and provides research backed up with actionable ideas. ” – Times-Colonist

“David Bach tackles head-on the common complaint for far too many complacent Canadians that they can’t help themselves financially or it is too late to do so. Bach’s practical messages with proven financial principles to help oneself are doable. . . . It’s never too late. Bach can help those who are motivated to help themselves.” –Canadian MoneySaver

Meet the Author

David Bach is the author of the runaway bestseller The Automatic Millionaire, which spent fourteen weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, and was simultaneously number one on the New York Times, USA Today, BusinessWeek, and Wall Street Journal business bestsellers lists. He is also the author of the national bestsellers Smart Women Finish Rich, Smart Couples Finish Rich, and The Finish Rich Workbook. Bach has appeared twice on The Oprah Winfrey Show to share his strategies for living and finishing rich, and he is a regular contributor to CNN’s American Morning. His FinishRich® seminars are the leading financial seminars in North America, having been taught by thousands of financial advisors to more than half a million people in more than 2,000 cities. He lives in New York with his wife, Michelle, and his son, Jack. To read excerpts of any of David Bach’s books, please visit his website at www.finishrich.com.

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Start Late, Finish Rich: A No-Fail Plan for Achieving Financial Freedom at Any Age 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
the book was an easy read and any information is beneficial.the book was only three years old but with recent economic realities I found the information to be out of date. the information on real estate and mortgages was particularly dated.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Someone that knows what they are talking about can make things easy for everyone else to learn, and there is no more shining example I can think of than David Bach's series of financial books. This might be the only man who is more organized than I am! Well-developed, easy to understand, with stories we can all relate to, I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am writing a book on smart stock market trading strategies and realized I needed to address the question of where and how to get the money to make money. A few weeks ago I noted David Bach's book on sale at B & N and so I picked it up to see if he had any more ideas than I did. WOW!! He had it all and made the chapter I was writing almost moot. I'm sending copies to my brother, daughter granson, and great grand-children and recommend it to you, too.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Unbelievably simple to follow. Great ideas for different investments and start up guides to assist you and get you on your way. Good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
kevinat More than 1 year ago
Good info and well written. Not as in depth as I had hoped but better than most of these sorts of books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Easy to read. Great simple advice.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This book simplifies the often complicated subject of money. His ideas are simple and easy to understand, the problem is doing them. He offers some motivation along with teaching. His success stories (of himself and others) are also encourageing. This book also shows multiple ways to be debt free and to invest allowing the reader to personalize the approach. I recomend this to anyone just starting out as well as starting late. Anyone who is not debt free or investing needs to read this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I received two tickets David's seminar. At first I thought just another one of those people out to get you. I thought I will give David Bach the benefit of the doubt and I will purchase a book and read it first. I purchased the book 'START LATE, FINISH RICH' and before the end of the first chapter I was signing up for the seminar. I also purchased 'THE AUTOMATIC MILLIONAIRE' and 'SMART COUPLES FINISH RICH'. I have also been all over FINISHRICH.COM website. I have been writing notes and marking pages. I have been working on putting everything that David says in perspective. What David has to say is so right and easy to understand. I had read Suzie Orman's books and I would get so lost. I believe that God has put David here on this earth and David is fulfilling his mission and God will reward him. I have never been so motivated to make my money work for me. These have been the best books I have read and I can't wait to go to the Seminar. I barely had a smile about how the finances were looking over the here the now and the future. I can't tell you how much better I am feeling.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Almost completely a rehash of prior efforts. One star for advocating a go slow approach to real estate investing. If this title is of interest to you I recommend going to the library for previous works.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is my third David Bach book and I've enjoyed this one just as much as the first. Contained inside of this book is the solid common sense advice that others have written about and unfortunately many of us have not followed. The whole point of the book is to encourage people to know that it is never to late to correctly manage your finances so that you have a retirement that does include financial worries. For those who need more direction they should always consult a certified financial planner for hands on advice and guidance. All in all, another helpful book by David Bach.