Thanks to a three week Christmas holiday I finally had the time to do some…
1. Book review: “How you get rich and stay rich” by Erica Verdegaal
Last Updated on November 12, 2019 by Mr. FightToFIRE
It’s been long overdue, my first book review. I originally planned to get this out faster, but life got in the way. That said, without further ado, a review of the book with the enticing title: “How you get rich and stay rich” by Erica Verdegaal.
“Hoe je rijk wordt en blijft” or “How you get rich and stay rich” seems like an appealing title. It’s also the reason I borrowed it from the library.
Let us see whether the title had any weight to it or if it was just to sell more copies.
The title is appealing because who wouldn’t want to be rich? This inevitably begs the question: at what point can you be considered “rich”? A million? Ten million? € 10,000? Or is wealth that you have the means to meet your desires? In her new book, Erica Verdegaal encourages readers to think thoroughly about this question. Wealth – or what you think it means- only comes within reach once you start from the beginning and that is: what is sufficient wealth for you?
The answer to that question relates to what kind of family you come from and what your idea of money is. Is money synonymous with misery, lack of it, or injustice? Or did your parents teach you that the world is one big shop and that success is closely linked to money and property?
Nobody will give you all the money in the world. This is a problem for the average Joe or Jane. They fantasize about having vast wealth but don’t always realize that many rich people have worked very hard for their wealth. And not so much in the traditional sense of the word, but by being smart with their money and by staying focused. What do those rich do what we, normal mortals do not do?
Verdegaal reveals what rich people already know. Your chances of getting rich are considerably greater if you:
- Manage your impulses
- Do not let emotions seize the lead
- Know what you want
- Act on your priorities
- Are in-depth immersed in money matters (and not just leaving them to someone in a fancy suit)
- Know the difference between debts/possessions and will not consume in this current crisis time because the government wants you to.
- You draw your own plan and solve your mortgage debt ASAP.
These tips are basic and easily found online, so in that regard, you learn nothing new. Verdegaal’s book doesn’t think thousands of new millionaires will appear by next year, who will collect property immediately after reading the last page of this book. She brings across a clear message: we cannot assume that the state will take care of us, so take care of yourself. Times have changed profoundly and a well-stocked piggy bank has become almost a necessity in this day and age.
Think for yourself, do not let financial institutions force insurances and policies upon you. Only take the mandatory ones. Save instead of paying too much premium so you can take the hit yourself if bad luck ever befalls upon you.
Know what type of person you are and adjust your behavior accordingly. Can not you withstand stress? Then keep it at savings. She reckons you with how to put aside a small capital with the monthly setting aside of €100. If you are more risk-oriented, you can think about stocks and investments but only with money you can miss.
The book is also showing its age, which isn’t a good sign for a book about finance. The first print came out in 2013 and it shows. For example, she talks about sticking to savings if you don’t like to take any risk. Unfortunately, 5 years later, the savings rates have dwindled even further, and it’s impossible to keep your buying power by just saving.
Verdegaal’s book reads like a train nonetheless. The tone is pleasant, and it motivates you to do things and improve your personal wealth. The book contains many examples and explanations, including from behavioral economics and lets you think about money in a sometimes almost philosophical way, at the same time it is also practical.
It’s a decent book that provides an albeit more generic insight into how to gather wealth. It very much is a book to motivate you. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone that has already a grasp on his finances and the basics of economics. She quotes other personal finance books such as “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”, which would be a better read.
My final score
3 / 5
- F: Financial level, How complex is the finance explained in the book. Is it more academic in nature or for the average Joe or Jane?
- 2/5: The information she gives is generic and nothing really earth-shattering. It’s easy to understand but that’s because she isn’t explaining anything complicated.
- I: Informative, does the book provide good examples and are they up-to-date?
- 3/5: There are clear examples for each topic she touches upon but, 5 years later, some of the advice she gives is clearly outdated. You get the first set of tools to get your budget in order and to really look at what you have and what you want to achieve financially.
- R: Rhetoric, did the writing convince me? Was the book able to persuade made about its point?
- 3/5: if it were not for the fact I already knew most of what she wrote, I’d give her a 4, but given the information provided is nothing new and can easily be found online with a simple google search I can’t give her more than a 3.
- E: Elucidation level, was the message of the author clear to understand?
- 5/5: It was an easy read and you understand the purpose of the book is to motivate you to think differently about your finances. It’s an excellent book if you are completely new to personal finance and what stick your toes into it to see what it’s like.