I met Stacy Johnson at a work event in San Francisco months ago and was pleased to hear he had a new book coming out (actually, a re-do of a book he published 10 years ago.) Stacy, who is a CPA, shows in Life or Debt 2010: A New Path to Financial Freedom that he knows what he is talking about.
The book begins with a 5-page rant on why personal and national debt is damaging. Then Stacy puts our current fiscal mess it into perspective:
In the 1930s, unemployment approached 25 percent, more than twice what it is now, and there were no unemployment checks. The stock market declined 80 percent. When banks failed, and hundreds did, there was no FDIC to insure deposits, you simply lost your money. So if you think it’s tough these days, imagine what that was like. But there was a silver lining to that dark cloud: The Greatest Generation became tough…They learned that their only protection was to save a dime every time they earned a dollar and not to trust their employer or their government for their financial security…
They also got behind legislation that changed the financial system so it would be tilted more to the benefit of the have-nots. They created Social Security, a means to help people when they become too old or sick to work. They created the FDIC, which guarantees that nobody would lose money in a bank failure again, at last within the insured limits. They created unemployment insurance at both the federal and state levels…
In short, the Greatest Generation harnessed their collective power and changed the United States in major ways in an attempt to ensure that a tragedy like the Great Depression couldn’t devastate their children the way it had devastated them.
Many of us are re-learning the hard lessons of the Great Depression now. To prosper Stacy recommends:
- Stop whining and start acting
- Reconsider the relationship between material possessions and happiness
- Create financial freedom by living below your means
In seven chapters Stacy explains how to get out of debt as quickly as possible, how to stop creating more debt, and how to rank your debts to determine which one to payoff first. There are also three chapters at the end with 250 tips to save, how to repair your credit, and resources for getting help.
Many chapters have charts and worksheets so you can crunch your numbers. Stacy ends each chapter with a handful of key points so you remember the lessons. The book is 223 pages. Life or Debt is sensible, occasionally funny, and very down to earth. I highly recommend it!
Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win my review copy. Or buy Life or Debt 2010 from Amazon for $8.50 (orig. $15).