I was contacted a little while ago by Michael Mihalik. He was wondering if I would like to review his book, Debt is Slavery: and 9 Other Things I Wish My Dad Had Taught Me About Money. Any book about debt is right up my alley.
But I really didn’t have much time to devote to reading a book and I let Michael know that. He said I could take my time and told me that his book is fairly short and free of fluff. So I agreed to receive his book and review it.
I started reading it one day last week during my work breaks and I finished it up after work. Michael was right. It was short and free of fluff. But it did not lack with content!
This book was written by the viewpoint of someone who was in a lot of debt and managed to get himself out of it. He’s not an expert in finance and doesn’t claim to be. Rather, he is sharing what he has learned (sort of like what I’m doing with this blog). Most of what he learned about is how he thinks about money.
The main theme of the book is that debt is slavery. As long as you have debt, the author argues that you are “bound in servitude.”
Do you ever wake up in the morning and groan “I don’t want to go to work today?”
As you lie in bed toying with the idea of staying home, your thoughts turn to all the bills you have to pay: the mortgage, car payment, credit card bills, tuition, insurance premiums, electricity, phone, cable, groceries…”
I work a job now where I have sick time. But there was a time where I didn’t have sick time. Unless I was very, very ill, I drug myself to work because I needed that paycheck. I didn’t have the luxury of taking a day off or we’d dig the hole we were in deeper and deeper. I remember one gal I worked with who had a severe allergic reaction to something and was not completely recovered. She came to work, swollen face and all, because she couldn’t afford to lose the hours.
Michael goes on to discuss how possessions have hidden costs. We all know that it costs money to buy things. But do you think about the other costs?
Owning stuff not only costs money, it costs time and peace of mind. In addition to money, you spend time and energy storing stuff, cleaning it, maintaining it, fixing it, worrying about it, and moving it.
Let’s say you decide to have a 2,000 square foot home rather than an 800 square foot home. Going bigger won’t just mean a higher purchase price. Think about the increased wall space to paint, the flooring to clean and maintain, the furniture needed to fill it. It all ads up. After reading this book, the article about the 84 square foot house story made perfect sense. Just think of the low maintenance costs for that house!
Another section of the book discusses the GMM (Giant Marketing Machine) and how you are tempted all the time to spend, spend, spend! I had a chuckle when the author brought up how it used to be fashionable to wear leg warmers! Even I had a pair way back when. The GMM works to get you to buy things because we are “cool” and have status if we own them. When you are thinking of buying something that is “in” think about those leg warmers (mine were bright blue *shudder*).
There’s way more information packed into this book, like controlling your expenses and getting a handle on your finances. Like I mentioned earlier, this book is packed full of content in a relatively small amount of space. It’s also filled with personal tidbits from the author which I really enjoyed as well.
Overall, I think this book is great. Debt is Slavery prompted me to action. It’s a big reason why I decided to sell most of my possessions. As you can tell with this review, I could relate to what was said in the book with things from my own life. This book just made so much sense to me and I think it helped me realize the true priorities in my life.
One last thought from the book that made a lasting impression on me:
For now, it’s important to remember that when you spend money, you are spending a part of your life that you can never get back.
Next time when you pick up an item to purchase it, think about the number of hours of work you have to do to purchase that item. That’s time spent that you can never get back. Is that item now worth it?