Synopsis of Content:
In his sixth book Bach tackles the problem that his audiences and correspondents have been bringing to his attention, namely that his wealth building method works well for younger people who have the time to realize substantial return on investments while the large “boomer” generation, who likely buy more of his books than the younger crowd to, do not have all that time left.
This book was undoubtedly a challenge for Bach because late starters are at a great disadvantage to younger investors. The only real advantage that older people have is that retirement is now a looming reality rather than a theoretical target in the far distance and as such a better motivator to exercise the discipline necessary to plan for and save for the golden years.
The book starts out telling the reader not to worry or give up, that there is still time although the task at hand is all the more urgent and difficult. He then proceeds to explain what the reader already knows, that to save enough late in life to have an adequate retirement one must save very aggressively. This means either taking on additional work to earn more income or reducing one’s current standard of living significantly to save so much.
He offers some useful tips about getting the most out of credit card companies and using automatic savings devices. Much of the center of the book is a rehash of his basic theories of paying oneself first, saving aggressively, investing wisely, etc.
The fourth part of the book discusses ways to earn more money. Some of this is practical and realistic while much of it is not for most people. His advice on real estate investing comes in two forms. The first is about investing in a growing market that existed in 2006 when the book was published but has little relevance in today’s market. The second approach is to invest in REIT’s which if done in the cautious way he advises remains a sound method.
Bach never really touches on the problems that many older people face in the decade or two before retirement. He does not discuss how one does all he advises while caring for aging parents, putting children through college and facing their own health problems and limitations.
In general the book provides some optimistic views on starting late and gives good ideas on how to make the best of a bad situation for the large portion of the population who have not prepared adequately for retirement. For the reader who is over 40 especially this is a good read. For younger people it may be a good wakeup call to let them know what they are in for in their middle age period if they do not start saving early.
As with all of Bach’s books it is very readable. It is well organized, reads easily, avoids complicated investment mathematics and formulae, and uses real life examples of how to apply his theories.
Notes on Author:
David Bach started out as an investment advisor who found he could help more people and make a lot more money writing for and speaking to larger audiences. He has written seven other books on building wealth starting with the best seller The Automatic Millionaire.
Three Great Ideas You Can Use:
1. Do not allow fear or a late start to paralyze you. The worst thing to do is to do nothing. It is vital to educate yourself about your options and take action immediately to reduce your expenditures and save more.
2. Paying yourself first is the most important thing anyone can do to build wealth. It means exercising the discipline to set up an automatic savings system to set aside a percentage of all your income for long term investment, wisely investing that money and exercising the discipline not to touch it for anything before retirement.
3. As important as saving and investing is paying down all debt and avoiding incurring any further debt. The worst debt of course is consumer debt which you cannot afford to have any of except possibly your home mortgage. This means living a much less affluent lifestyle – a sacrifice that is unavoidable if you are serious about providing for your old age – and you should be because you cannot count on anyone else to do so.
Start Late, Finish Rich by David Bach, copyright 2006 by David Bach. Published by Broadway Books in paperback. 333 pages not including the index.
Rating for this Book: Very Good