I put off reading this book for some reason. There was something about its brightly-colored exterior, and how it didn't seem to fit in with the other books about money on the bookstore shelf that I just didn't like. It's bold title, "I Will Teach You to be Rich," seemed very similar to the late-night infomercials promising you money, women, and fame beyond your wildest dreams if you would only pick up your phone and "dial now!"
But, I figured that since both the author (Ramit Sethi) and myself have blogs (his is I Will Teach You To Be Rich.com), that sort of makes us colleagues (in the sense that my blog is an infant and his is a Heisman-trophy-winning college athlete), so I sat down to read his work.
Within the Brightly-Colored Cover…
The first thing thrown in your face is Sethi's writing style. It's certainly unique, full of friendly, witty, informal banter geared towards those 20-somethings, with a certain sense of humor that really only appeals to that demographic. Nonetheless, in between the banter lie helpful tips on everything from choosing the right credit card to rebalancing your portfolio.
The book is organized in a logical way, beginning with a quick discussion on the merits of being sexy versus being rich (similar to this post… kind of. I really just wanted to throw a link in here). Optimizing your credit cards is mentioned in the next chapter, followed by advice for picking the best bank accounts and how to negotiate down some of those bank fees. An intro to investing and conscience spending (actively choosing how you'll spend your money), occupies the next few chapters, after which various topics are covered such as the fact that you don't really need a financial advisor (something I generally agree with), automating all of your investments and bill-paying, and even some advice on relationships and money.
Something I did take special note of was the one-page inserts scattered throughout that were written by some of the bigger personal finance blog owners, from such blogs as The Simple Dollar, Five Cent Nickel, Get Rich Slowly, Lifehacker, Pfblueprint (now know as Bargaineering), and Consumerism Commentary. It was pretty cool to be reading things from blogs that I frequent, let alone from some of the exact people I've E-mailed back and forth with.
Yup, Time to Complain…
I was entertained by this book, to be sure, and there really are good ideas and suggestions within its pages, some of which I will be adopting into my own financial stratum. That being said, there were a few things I took issue with.
This guy has a thing for negotiating. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing bad about that, and possessing this skill can save you lots of money over time. But after discussing various different strategies and tricks to get out of bank fees and other things, I almost began to wonder how much was too much. It was as if there was this sense of "I shouldn't have to pay this fee simply because I don't want to," and threatening to no longer be a customer if said fee isn't revoked. I agree that some fees are simply unfair and not the fault of the customer, but there's a time and a place for everything.
Another thing that irked me toward the end of the book was his writing style, which I previously mentioned in a positive light. In the beginning, it was 100% entertaining, but after a while, it got slightly tiresome (especially his continual references to being Indian, and how that qualifies him to negotiate relentlessly… we get it, I mean your name, Ramit Sethi, really says it all. There's even a picture of you on your book).
Maybe this last one is just me buying into the marketing ploy, but with a title like "I Will Teach You To Be Rich," I was expecting something slightly more, well, out of the ordinary. To be fair, if you follow the advice consistently , you will be rich. Period. It's not a get-rich-quick scheme, but you will get rich. I was just surprised that the stuff that I had already been doing could be labeled as teaching someone how to be rich. It was a nice reminder that I'm on the right path actually.
When All Is Said And Done…
Read this book. It's entertaining, humorous, and refreshing. It is full of good advice, and it does a good job of covering many, many personal finance topics thoroughly within the space of 260 pages. This book would be a goldmine especially for those younger college graduates out there that are just getting started and really haven't thought too much about their money, or had money to think about up until recently, as well as some of those who aren't exactly up to speed on some of the modern tips and tricks that can save you money (basically, you old people who don't use much technology).
Plus there are pie charts. And pictures. It keeps thing fresh.