The Die Broke Complete Book of Money: Unconventional Wisdom about Everything from Annuities to Zero-Coupon Bondsby Stephen M. 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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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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