The Die Broke Complete Book of Money: Unconventional Wisdom about Everything from Annuities to Zero-Coupon Bonds

Overview

The past few years have witnessed incredible economic growth, and have created quite a few new millionaires. There's one problem—the old principles of money management are ill-suited for this new financial environment. What is needed now is an updated users' guide to the current economy, and that's just what Stephen Pollan's Complete Book of Money is. With opinionated, hard-hitting, and informative entries on everything from allowances to zero-coupon bonds, Pollan provides readers with the same savvy, ...
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The Die Broke Complete Book of Money: Unconventional Wisdom about Everything from Annuities to Zero-Coupon Bonds

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Overview

The past few years have witnessed incredible economic growth, and have created quite a few new millionaires. There's one problem—the old principles of money management are ill-suited for this new financial environment. What is needed now is an updated users' guide to the current economy, and that's just what Stephen Pollan's Complete Book of Money is. With opinionated, hard-hitting, and informative entries on everything from allowances to zero-coupon bonds, Pollan provides readers with the same savvy, sophisticated, and succinct advice that he dispenses to his millionaire clients. Comprehensive, capacious, and refreshingly unconventional, this book is a must-have for anyone who plans on succeeding in the new economy.

About the Authors:
Stephen M. Pollan is a frequent commentator in the financial media, a contributor to magazines as diverse as Worth and New York, and the author of more than a dozen books. He lives in New York City and Litchfield, CT.

Mark Levine had been Stephen Pollan's collaborator for more than 15 years, and lives in Ithaca, NY.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This comprehensive reference from the authors of the bestselling Die Broke and Live Rich covers every imaginable topic from living wills and insurance to mentoring. While much of the advice is sound and helpful, the book covers so much ground that it may prove daunting to readers. In addition to specific subjects related to money, such as debt, real estate and investing, there's also a great deal of advice on career issues, including buying a franchise, selecting office equipment, hiring temporary help and more. There's even help on such specialized subjects as budgeting for garden and pet care. The most useful sections are the advice boxesDincluding "secrets of dealing with cranky creditors," "saving money on moves" and "learning the lingo," which defines college aid financial terms. Here, readers are given concrete steps they can act on. However, with so many other sources of helpDboth online and offDmost people would be better served by a book offering more focused, detailed advice on specific topics rather than the brief summaries here. (Jan.) Forecast: Given the success of Die Broke as well as the extensive 25-city public radio campaign, online promotion and other publicity planned for the authors, this is likely to sell briskly initially, especially at larger chains. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
In their two previous best sellers, Live Rich and Die Broke, Pollan and Levine offered a fresh approach to money and careers. In this encyclopedic follow-up, which includes extensive see also references, they provide concise, practical advice on a broad range of issues. Among the topics addressed are dealing with professionals; the pluses and minuses of various investment options; factors to consider when contemplating whether to rent, lease, or purchase property; how to manage various personal life challenges; and factors to consider before making the decision to start your own business. Their comments regarding asset allocation, financial planning, time management, retirement planning, the need to prioritize, problems associated with credit cards, fraud, gambling, and pyramid schemes will be especially useful. Recommended for public libraries. Norman B. Hutcherson, California State Univ., Bakersfield Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780641509841
  • Publisher: HarperInformation
  • Publication date: 1/1/1902
  • Pages: 608
  • Product dimensions: 7.12 (w) x 8.92 (h) x 1.52 (d)

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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Read an Excerpt

Unconventional, Wisdom: Live Rich and Die Broke

Unconventional wisdom. That's what I've been offering my clients and readers like you for more than three decades now. Some have even called my ideas heretical. So be it. I come by my heresy honestly.

Unlike most of the authors of personal finance, small business, and career books, I'm a hands-on practitioner. I practice what I preach. I have a coterie of dedicated clients, individuals just like you, who pay me to help them with their legal, financial, career, business, and consumer problems.

After careers as a real estate developer, venture capitalist, banker, and college professor, I launched a private legal and financial consulting practice 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 can be counted among the new breed of e-millionaires, most aspire to that level of financial success. 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. They take vacations to Europe or St. Bart's, go out to restaurants at least once a week, buy wine by the case, and drink single-malt scotch. They belong to gyms and spend most of their few free moments doting on, and catering to, their spouses and children.

Unconventional Because It's Practical

While there are some uniquely New York elements to my clients' personas and while they may be more affluent than the average, in the most important ways they're just like most successful Americans, including you. They've acquired more possessions and experiences thantheir parents had at their age. They hold down decision-making and policy-setting positions in corporations, they are running their own successful small companies, or they have made a name for themselves in a competitive creative field. And they lead complicated lives filled with a variety of financial obstacles, from the monumental to the mundane. They've taught me, and continue to teach me, the real money problems that people face. I know how vexing seemingly ordinary tasks -- like deciding on a child's allowance, dealing with office politics, selecting an answering machine system, and shopping for a checking account -- can be.

Unconventional Because It's Effective

Not only do my clients regularly teach me what matters most to real people like you, but they also hold me to a high standard: my advice must work; otherwise they won't continue as clients.

That means I can't be doctrinaire about money issues. My clients' money problems aren't hypothetical exercises; they're real-life dilemmas. So my approach to issues can't be theoretical and abstract; it must be pragmatic and practical. That holds true for my books as well as my consultations. I know the advice I'm offering you in this book works because it has worked for hundreds of my clients. It has helped people win employment contracts, negotiate business loans, finance post-retirement careers, and purchase weekend homes.

Unconventional Because Its Direct

Because I work with clients my advice also needs to be unambiguous. I've found that when people are paying for advice, they want to be told what they should do. They come to me to get an answer, or at least my opinion, not to engage in a Socratic dialogue. In both my consultations and my writing, I'm direct about issues. You won't have to read far into an entry in this book to learn my opinion on a topic. You may not always agree with me or like what I have to say, but it's my best advice. Giving my clients-or you-any less would be unconscionable. I say you should always be looking for another job, you should lease rather than buy a car, you should never buy whole life insurance, and you should terminate any employees you possibly can.

I don't abandon clients who don't agree with me; if they wish, I continue to help them pursue their goals in the manner they've chosen. Similarly, in this book I'll provide you with enough information and guidance that you can follow paths other than those I recommend. If things work out, bully for you. If they don't, you can start over. I promise I won't say I told you so.

Unconventional Because It's Holistic

Dealing with real people day in and day out, I've learned that money issues can 't be neatly divided and filed into separate categories like investing, career, real estate, business, shopping, and personal life. Most authors limit their scope to one of these topics because their experience is more conventional than mine. This is understandable: having been trained as specialists, they focus on their area of expertise. I'm not a specialist. My clients have trained me to be a generalist. Through them I've learned that all the areas of our money lives must be viewed as a unified whole. When clients come to me for help in buying a home, I need to learn about their career status, investment portfolio, marriage and parenting plans, and even their health, before I can give them sound advice.

I've counseled clients to have physicals before undertaking a job search and to have children before buying a summer home. I've taught clients how to be savvier when shopping at supermarkets and when buying mutual funds. I've helped clients pick out engagement rings as well as real estate. In my practice I deal with any and every area of a client's life that is touched by money because I've learned that all these areas interact. That's why you'll find the first truly comprehensive approach to money in this book, with entries on legal, financial, career, business, consumer, and even some personal topics. You'll find entries on things you never think of in financial terms: topics like listening, reading, garb, and pets.

Unconventional Because It's Cutting Edge

Finally, working with clients has led me to appreciate just how much the money world has changed. It's one thing to read survey results or view stock market tables. It's quite another to have a real-life embodiment of the information age sitting across the table from you, asking for your help.

During the past ten years many personal finance authors and pundits have been discussing Roth IRAs as if they were still state-of-the-art in financial planning, talking about refinancing your mortgage as if it was daring, and offering tips for landing a grand title and a corner office. They've been bending and tweaking and jury-rigging the conventional financial wisdom of the industrial age (in some cases, even the agrarian age) and trying to make it work in the information age. Another set of authors have been focusing on the lifestyles of the superwealthy, either self-made or accidental, suggesting that these silicon sagas are today's Horatio Alger tales.

During that same time I've been talking with my clients about viaticals, d4C trusts, prepaid tuition plans, and headhunters. I've been offering practical twenty-first-century money advice.

The Die Broke Complete Book of Money. Copyright © by Stephen Pollan. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xiii
Unconventional Wisdom: Live Rich and Die Broke xv
Using This Book xxvii
Accessory Apartments 1
Accountants 2
Adoption 7
Advertising 8
Age Discrimination 13
Alimony 16
Alliances 18
Allowances 20
Annual Reports 22
Annuities 24
Answering Machines and Services 30
Answering Machine Messages 32
Antiques and Collectibles 34
Apartment Leases 38
Appliances 39
Arbitration 42
Asset Allocation 44
ATMs and Cash Cards 47
Auctions 49
Audits 51
Automobiles 55
Automobile Insurance 59
Automobile Leasing 62
Automobile Loans 64
Automobile Ownership 66
Automobile Rentals 68
Automobile Repairs 70
Automobile Shopping 72
Banking and Bankers 76
Bankruptcy 79
Benefits 82
Bill Collectors 85
Bonds 87
Bookkeepers and Bookkeeping Software 91
Bosses 93
Bridge Loans 95
Budgeting 96
Business Cards 101
Business Insurance 102
Business Interruption Insurance 106
Business Meetings 107
Business Plans 109
Business Travel 113
Bypass Trusts 114
Call Forwarding 117
Call Waiting 118
Capital Gains 120
Cash Flow 122
Cellular Telephones 124
Certificates of Deposit 126
Charge Cards 128
Charitable Remainder Trusts 130
Charities 131
Checking Accounts 133
Child Care 135
Child Support 138
Client and Customer Relations 140
Closings 142
Clothing 144
COBRA 146
College Financial Aid Applications 147
College Grants and Scholarships 150
College Loans 153
College Planning 157
College Selection 160
Commodities 163
Condominiums and Cooperatives 165
Conference Calls 167
Consumer Electronics 169
Consumer Fraud 170
Continuing Education 173
Contractors 174
Corporations 180
Credit Cards 183
Credit Reports 186
Creditor Relations 189
Debit Cards 191
Debt Consolidation Loans 192
Disability Insurance 194
Discrimination 197
Diversification 199
Divorce and Mediation 200
Doctors 205
Dollar Cost Averaging 207
Domestic Partners 209
Down Payments 210
Dread-Disease Insurance 211
Durable Powers of Attorney for Health Care 212
Earthquake Insurance 217
E-mail 219
Employees 221
Employee Stock Ownership Plans 223
Employment Agencies 224
Employment Contracts 227
Entertainment 235
Equipment 237
Executors 238
Family Leave 240
Family Limited Partnerships 241
Financial Planners 243
Financial Ratios 246
Flex Time and Telecommuting 248
Flood Insurance 251
Focus Groups 253
Franchises 254
Franchising Your Business 257
Funerals 259
Furniture 262
Futures 263
Gambling 266
Garb and Hygiene 268
Gifts 270
Gifting 272
Gratuities 273
Grocery Shopping 275
Headhunters 278
Health Clubs 281
Health Insurance 283
Hobbies 286
Home-Based Businesses 288
Home Equity Loans 290
Home Furnishings 293
Home Improvements 295
Home Offices 301
Home Ownership 302
Home Sales 304
Home Security 308
Homeowner's Insurance 310
Hotel Reservations 313
Independent Contractors 315
Inflation 318
Informational Interviews 319
Initial Public Offerings 321
Insurance Salespeople 323
Internet Service Providers 325
Inventory 327
Investment Clubs 328
IRAs 329
Jewelry 332
Job Interviews 334
Joint Ownership 337
Keogh Plans 340
Laddering 343
Land 344
Lawn Care 345
Lawsuits 347
Lawyers 349
Layoffs 351
Leverage 353
Liability Insurance 355
Life Insurance 357
Limited-Partnership Investments 361
Listening 362
Living Trusts 364
Living Wills 366
Location 369
Logos 371
Long-Term Care Insurance 373
Lump-Sum Distributions 376
Magazine and Journal Articles 378
Mailing Lists 379
Malpractice Insurance 381
Manners and Mannerisms 383
Margin Loans 384
Marketing an Idea 386
Medicaid 388
Medicaid Planning 389
Medicare 393
Medigap Insurance 395
Memberships 398
Mentoring 399
Money Market Accounts 401
Mortgage Loans 403
Moving 405
Multilevel Marketing 407
Mutual Funds 409
Names 413
Negotiating 415
Neighbor Disputes 416
Net Worth 418
Networking 420
Newsletters 422
Nursing Homes 424
Office Politics 428
Options 430
Outsourcing 433
Pagers 435
Partnerships 436
Passports 438
Payables 440
Penny Stocks 441
Pension Plans 443
Performance Reviews 444
Personal Loans 446
Pets 447
Pet Insurance 449
Pre- and Postnuptial Agreements 451
Precious Metals 455
Prepaid Tuition Plans 457
Prescription Drugs 458
Press Releases 460
Pro Bono Work and Volunteerism 461
Probate and Settlement 463
Promotional Kits 465
Promotions and Lateral Moves 466
Property Taxes 468
Property Titles 471
Punctuality 472
Pyramid Schemes 474
Reading 476
Real Estate Investment Trusts 478
Receivables 479
Records and Papers 481
Renter's Insurance 484
Resumes 485
Retirement Communities 488
Retirement Planning 489
Reverse Mortgages 492
Risk versus Reward 493
Safe Deposit Boxes 497
Salary Reviews 499
Savings Accounts 501
Savings Bonds 502
Scripting 504
Second Homes 506
Second-to-Die Insurance 507
Seed Money 509
Shopping 510
Signage 513
Simplified Employee Pensions 514
Small-Claims Court 515
Social Security 517
Sole Proprietorships 518
Speeches 520
Stationery 521
Stockbrokers 523
Stocks 525
Suppliers and Vendors 527
Survivor Benefits 529
Tax Preparers 532
Telemarketers 534
Temps 536
Terminations 540
Time Management 542
Time Shares 544
Toys 546
Travel Insurance 547
Unemployment Compensation 550
U.S. Treasury Bills, Notes, and Bonds 552
Vacation Home Rentals 555
Viaticals 556
Web Sites 559
Weddings 561
Wills 562
Wines and Liquors 564
Withholding 566
Word of Mouth 567
Working Capital 568
Yard Sales 570
Zero-Coupon Bonds 573
A Note of Gratitude 575
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Interviews & Essays

Author Essay

Resolve to Die Broke in the New Year

This January, do more than just organize your tax records. Instead, think of the month as an opportunity to finally take charge of your financial life by taking the following eight steps:

1. Pay down your debt. Forget all the talk about savvy borrowing. There simply is no such thing as good debt. If, after funding your retirement accounts you have extra money available, use it to pay off as much of your outstanding debt as possible. Paying off a credit card balance on which you're paying 15 percent interest is the equivalent of earning 15 percent interest on that money. And don't let tax ramifications cloud the issue. The single best thing you could do for your post-65 financial life is to have no mortgage.

2. Renew your job vows. Your stream of income is your No. 1 financial asset. Do everything you can to find out if your job is safe. Cross your fingers and let your boss know how much you love the company and your job. If the love seems unrequited, do everything you can to get back in good graces. Show up early and leave late. Become a profit center. And meanwhile, look for your next job. Talk to headhunters and network like crazy. From now on, everyone needs to constantly be in the job market.

3. Review all your insurance policies. If you're like most Americans, you have more life insurance and less disability coverage than you really need. Get rid of any whole life you were fooled into buying and get straight term. Take the savings and invest them in disability coverage that protects you and you family from potential calamities. See if you can trim your auto and homeowner's payments by taking out higher deductibles. Use those savings to buy umbrella liability protection. Even if you find no reasons to change coverage, put all your policies out for new bids to see if there's another carrier who's more eager for your business.

4. Examine your estate plans. While I think you should do everything possible to "Die Broke," there's no guarantee you'll be able to spend it all or give it all away before you die. That means you need to have some kind of estate plan in place. Odds are there will be changes made in the estate tax rules in the coming four years, so now is a good time to review your plans and get ready to shift in response to new regulations.

5. Discuss your professionals' fees. Accountants and financial advisers today often base fees on the size of your income or portfolio. That's nonsense. If you find yourself paying more for the same advice and work simply because you've gotten wealthier, negotiate new fee arrangements. If your professionals object, look for new ones.

6. Reallocate your assets. Your asset allocation requires constant adjustment. If your stocks have taken a hit in the past few months while your bond funds have soared, it may be time to shift your monies around to make sure your portfolio still matches your allocation formula. And while you're at it, reconsider your formula itself. Remember you're going to be living a lot longer and a lot healthier than was normal when those traditional percentages were developed. Even a 75 year-old today needs some growth funds or stocks.

7. Investigate charitable remainder trusts, annuities, and reverse mortgages. If you're not satisfied with the yields you're getting on your bonds or money funds, consider replacing them with investments that can not only provide guaranteed incomes, but whose tax status may result in your receiving greater net benefits.

8. Revisit your child's allowance. This is an excellent time to have a talk with your child about his or her allowance. Consider increasing not only the size of the allowance but also the scope of purchases for which your child is responsible. It's never to early to start teaching financial skills -- or to teach that January is the time for financial as well as personal New Year's resolutions.

--Stephen Pollan

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