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Book Review: Debt is Slavery by Michael Mihalik

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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?

 


83 Comments

  • Reply Danielle |

    My most prized possessions I do not own and they are priceless!! They are my two sweet little girls!! No material goods could ever match the love and joy I receive from them. Being their mom pays more dividends than any object or investment:)

  • Reply Brenna |

    There are a handful of answers to this question: my health to enjoy life, my husband to reflect, share and create memories and life itself.

  • Reply Kathryn |

    Hands down, what I most treasure are my husband, kids, and memories of our time together.

    So far as what can be purchased, my favorite things are indoor running water and paper products.

    Thanks for the review. The book sounds great.

  • Reply sf mom |

    My most valuable possession(s) are my photos. If my house were on fire, I would grab my family and then the hard-drive with our online photos and as many photo albums as I could. Luckily, most of the photo albums are right by the front door!
    Thanks for giving out the book!

  • Reply Wendy |

    I’d have to say my dog, Cameron the Brave. He’s taught me patience, self-sacrifice and unconditional love. We’ve had a couple of stuff-destroying chewing incidents, and his worth always wins out. The face licks are nice, too.

  • Reply Christine |

    My most important posession would have to be the pictures and scrapbooks of my children. They grow too quickly and I love to look back at the pictures and remember.

  • Reply kris |

    My Dog, Brownie Boy. He’s the first thing I would grab as I run out the door.

  • Reply Kim L. |

    I couldn’t pick just one. Really. Between all of my kids stuff, my pictures, my grandmother’s artwork, my great-grandmothers mirror … I couldn’t do it.

  • Reply Sharon |

    My most treasured possessions are a little musical piano box that my son got me in 4th grade for Christmas. And, a gawdy, but pretty covered ceramic dish that my daughter gave me in seventh. I know they are because when I go on vacations, visits, etc., I always pack these with me, just in case the house were to burn while I am away. My son will soon be 30, and my daughter is 23.

  • Reply Sandy |

    The most important “possession” I have (if they are possessions) are my baby African Grey Parrot, Josh and his cage, etc. (very expensive) but I love him more than anything. I pray I don’t have to give him up till I die for health or financial reasons. My other most important Possession is my dog, Chelsea who is the best dog in the world. I pray we can be together always.

  • Reply Catherine |

    My most important possession at this point in my life would be my house. It might seem materialistic, but this is where I care for my children, cook their meals, shelter them from storms, and comfort them when they can’t sleep at night. We could probably live in an apartment, but it means so much to me that my children have a big yard to play in and neighbors that we know. We feel safe when my husband has to be gone, and I never felt this safe in an apartment. We don’t have a lot of grand stuff, but we have a good house, and we thank God every day that we do, and that we can afford to live here.

  • Reply MB |

    The most important possession I own is a trunk that was given to me by my grandmother when I mentioned that I had been trying to find a trunk to use as a “hope chest”. Her grandmother (my great-great grandmother) brought it with her when she emigrated from Germany to the U.S. when she was a little girl.

  • Reply karen w |

    Probably my most important possession is my computer. It holds photos, music and other memory-triggers. Not to mention that I use it to freelance…

  • Reply David |

    My saxophones are likely the most important on a daily basis to me, but I could replace them all if I had to; none are incredibly sentimental. I don’t really have any tangible sentimental things.

    Probably it would be my external hard drive, where every picture from the past 12 years is there, along with old mp3s from years ago that evoke memories. Also on there is music I’ve written and recorded, stories and essays I’ve written, schoolwork from high school and college, backups of websites I’ve created, webcam videos from old friends, my own webcam diary from years ago, software and code I’ve written, and you get the picture. A bunch of digital data that comprises about half my life and still fits neatly on a 200GB drive… Would definitely grab that first, then try to grab my macbook and saxophones. 🙂

  • Reply Emma |

    My most important possesion is a tiny pewter colored box. It’s made in India and has tiny colored mosaic on the lid. When I was a young girl my poppa (grandfather) kept this tiny pewter colored box in his bedside drawer. When my baby teeth fell out he would put them in the box(they’re not in there now…lol) and the tooth fairy would leave fifty pence under my pillow. I always loved that box. Poppa died two years ago this month, I was devastated.My sister and I were raised by my grandparents, so it’s as if my father died. I had to fly home to the UK from the US. My Nanna (Grandmother) asked me what I would like, my choice was the pewter colored box. I keep it on my dressing table displayed proudly as a momento of my Poppa.

  • Reply Debbie |

    My most important possession would be family photos. Of course, I probably will never get them organized or in albums — and I’d have to haul them away in a big storage tub — but they’d be the first and possibly only “possessions” I’d definitely take with me in the event of an emergency… (if I’d actually have a choice in the matter!) Everything else, with the exception of my husband and daughter, could be replaced.

  • Reply Tutorgal |

    My most prized possession is my wedding ring, a gift my husband and I picked out together and he did go into debt (briefly–it was paid for before the wedding) to buy it. But it would be on my hand, so if I had to run into my house to save something (excluding living beings) it would have to be the carved wooden hope chest that belonged to my grandmother. It contains many pieces of memorabelia (my baby book, baby booties knitted by my other grandmother, letters from over the years, etc) that chronicle my life.

  • Reply christopher mayfield |

    My most prized possession is all the letters and cards i have acumilated though the years.
    letters from my clasmates when i went oversees, leters from my grandmother and letters to my daughter and wife.

    great Book review and site.

  • Reply Ron & Sharon |

    Our most valuable possession belongs to our children. Their artwork, schoolwork, Christmas ornaments made from macaroni, those kind of things and negatives from pictures we’ve taken (all the negatives from before we went digital and the CDs made from the digital camera are in a fireproof box). Aside from the children themselves, those are the most valuable things in this house.

  • Reply DebtFree-Revolution |

    A framed picture on my wall from the Franklin Mint. When I was 12 I went out and got a paper route because my parents refused to buy it for me…they told me to get it myself! It was the first thing I worked for and that I could truly call “mine.”

  • Reply John |

    Looking around, I can’t think of a single thing that I wouldn’t happily leave behind if I had to. However, This computer would probably be the most difficult thing to replace given the data on it.

  • Reply Tish |

    My home. It’s small and modest — but it’s all mine. After going through a period of not having a place to live, I will never again take the place I lay my head for granted again.

  • Reply Vlad the Impala |

    My most valuable possession is time. I have gotten out of debt, paid back creditors and gone from being stuck in the rut of debt to having savings. I cannot get the time back that I had to use to work to pay off those loans and overdrafts. I miss the time the most.

So, what do you think ?