Why I Wrote The Book

I’m tired of the financial whining and want to set people straight once and for all. My new book, Financially Stupid People Are Everywhere: Don’t Be One of Them does that. It covers only what’s needed to solve the most common money troubles, exposes the way society is aligned against citizens to take their money, and motivates readers to break free.

Back in February 2009, readers themselves asked me to write the book after reading my article, The Whole Damn Sham. It began, “As governments around the world mortgage the future to save the financial system, do you ever wonder what’s so worth saving? If a bunch of deadbeats failing to pay their mortgages in the U.S. takes down the global economy, I say we need a new system.” Readers emailed their agreement and expressed outrage at the subprime mortgage crisis caused by financial nitwits. Their collective opinion was, “Enough is enough. Somebody needs to knock some sense into these people.” I’m that somebody, and this book knocks in the sense.

I know a lot about money because I’ve been writing about it for years. I’m the author of The Neatest Little Guide series of financial books, which includes the BusinessWeek best seller, The Neatest Little Guide to Stock Market Investing, and I also publish a weekly stock newsletter called The Kelly Letter. You know what my time in the stock market has taught me? That it will never make a person wealthy if they’re still stupid enough to carry a balance on 13 credit cards. There are only four basic rules to getting ahead financially. Four! They’re all in this book, and they’re all explained in a blunt manner that anybody will grasp.

I’ve lived and worked in Japan for eight years now and seen its 21-year-old recession firsthand. You know what caused it? A government takeover of banking debts. You know what the U.S. government did in the subprime meltdown? Took over banking debts. Your tax dollars saved the likes of Goldman Sachs because Goldman and its sleazy peers own the political system, and that corruption will hamper U.S. economic growth for decades. We’re in a world of hurt, and personal financial defense has never been more important than it is now.

It’ll never get better, so people have to get smarter. The collusion between government, banks, and big business is more than 100 years old. Everyone needs to understand the traps they set to steal citizen wealth. There’s a reason it’s hard to get ahead in America: those at the top don’t want company.

I was told by a college professor that I would never be a writer because I lacked “a basic command of the English language.” Getting where we want to get in life requires pushing through resistance. It’s the same with wealth. If people get the basics right and stick with them through every trap and societal pressure, they can succeed. This book shows how.

Background On The Book

The concept grew from an article I wrote on February 27, 2009 called The Whole Damn Sham, which sparked overwhelming reader response. From the article:

As governments around the world mortgage the future to save the financial system, do you ever wonder what’s so worth saving? If a bunch of deadbeats failing to pay their mortgages in the U.S. takes down the global economy, I say we need a new system.

Most people’s financial lives are a complete mess, and there’s no excuse. I’m tired of hearing that financial planning is not taught in school, that our parents didn’t teach us, that it’s too complicated. Those of us who managed to discover the ills of debt went to those same schools, grew up with imperfect parents, and were able to grasp the oh-so-complicated idea that paying 18% interest on a pair of sneakers isn’t good math.

Financially stupid people are America’s most toxic asset.

It wasn’t just the bankers, after all. The people offering senseless loans had to find people financially senseless enough to sign on to them. Did you fall for a loan you couldn’t repay? I didn’t. Are you making payments on a depreciating automobile? I’m not. Have you ever borrowed money for anything that didn’t end up being worth more than what you borrowed? I haven’t. Have you ever carried a balance on a credit card? I haven’t.

After voluntarily shackling themselves to a life of debt, people complain about their lack of financial freedom. “I hate my job, but I need the money,” they say. “I can’t get ahead because my house payment and car payment are so high that I have to pay for everything else on credit cards, and the tab just keeps climbing.”

Yet, some of us were able to figure it out. The people angriest right now are not the poor or the rich, but the ones from any class who bettered their situation through their own hard work and sacrifice.

Which brings us to the whole damn sham. Rather than seeing this as a chance to encourage a more responsible lifestyle, the government is using my tax dollars and yours to get the credit cards sliding again, the oil flowing again, and people in hock on new cars again. Consumption, consumption, consumption is the rallying cry of business, and the business of America is business, so the government is on it.

For what, after all, is the stimulus package attempting to stimulate? A restrained life of living within our means? No. It’s stimulating consumption. All the big talk of getting the credit markets moving again, banks healthy again, balance sheets strong again comes down to this: we need little Susie to get a loan for a really cool new car she can live without, drive it to a shopping mall to buy crap she doesn’t need with a credit card she shouldn’t have, and return to a home mortgaged at a price higher than she can afford. That way, when she can’t keep up with all of it, she’ll have to fall back on other credit cards, and bank balance sheets will be strong again. Great!

The system was shot to begin with, so let’s let it fall to pieces, let everybody who deserves to be broke go broke, let the dire collapse the government keeps warning about take place before our very eyes…and then start fresh with lessons learned.

Nothing will pound financial sense into somebody better than going broke. So let the pounding begin.

Readers poured forth their support. The following are sample quotes from their notes to me:

“Yes! Finally somebody has the guts to say it!”

“I couldn’t have said it better.”

“Good points. It helps to blow off steam.”

“Your article speaks well to those who live responsibly.”

“I agree, especially when [the stupid] manage to reach fiduciary leadership positions!”

“Right on target with what I’ve been sharing with [my family], so I added it to my blog for them.”

“The politicians keep telling me that even though I [acted responsibly], bailing out my irresponsible neighbors is in my best interest. Bull****!”

“I feel the exact same way. I share your same frustration over this whole ordeal. I find myself closing browser windows or turning off the TV in utter disgust over what I hear and read.”

“I totally relate to your article as I have always lived my life as you have. I have always lived within my means, saved and bought only what I could afford. True, I never had as much as others who took on too much debt, but I have always lived comfortably.”

“Bravo! You finally put into words what I am feeling. I came from a very poor family and worked myself up. No debt, no car payments, and a mortgage that I can afford at a 30-year fixed because I don’t take chances. Now my tax dollars are going to those who put us into this mess: the top banks that lent bad loans and the stupid people who took loans they could not afford. They are the ones getting bailed out. They play the victim when the true victims are those that paid and played by the rules. We will now [suffer] higher taxes because of other people’s stupidity. My taxes are going to rise higher to bail out stupid people. Those who cannot afford should not be bailed out…they need to lower their living standards and learn. Thank you for posting this.”

That kind of support led me to write a book on the subject, and boy what a doozie I wrote. Its language is so tough that it was initially turned down by the publishing industry. I was told that the book was rude. “Good!” I thought. “It should be. It’s high time somebody called the idiots out in public.” I found the right publisher for Financially Stupid People Are Everywhere, and now it’s available for anybody to learn the truth about America’s crooked economy — and how to defend themselves against it.

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One Comment

  1. Albert
    Posted November 6, 2011 at 1:40 am | Permalink

    Yes! Your book is rude, but it is exactly the tone young people need to break through the denial of living above and beyond their means, and/or stalling on their savings. I wish I read this book five years ago. The saddest thing is that one does not gravitate towards information on saving until one has already become a saver – at least it’s been true in my case.

    I know a couple people who need to read this, and thankfully they will because finally there’s a book that’s not only educating and motivating, but also fascinating and entertaining but not in a fun sense, but a “how can this be true?” way. Thanks again for writing this gem and raising the shutters.


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