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The Automatic Millionaire

Posted - Mar. 15, 2004 at 9:59 a.m.



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THE AUTOMATIC MILLIONAIRE by David Bach

This is a very simple, even simplistic, book about a few basic steps we should take in order to live comfortably in our retirement years. If you know a little about money management, you will likely be bored with the book and start skimming somewhere around page 20. Of course, the value in the book may be in the simple reminder it offers. "Hey Dummy - save in your 401(k) and pay down your debt!" The book reminded me of hiring a personal trainer to tell you what you already know - "Move your butt!" - because you might not do it without him.

In a nutshell, David Bach's philosophy to living well in retirement is to pay yourself first by investing in a 401(k) or other plan and, here's the key and the reason for the title, doing it automatically. Bach believes and is probably right that discipline will only take us so far. We've got to take that money out before we see or feel it, or we won't do it. This is the main point of the book - save ten percent of your income and have it deducted from your payroll check if at all possible.

The only other interesting point for me was what Bach calls "the latte factor." He encourages his readers to find those few dollars we spend every day which we could save - and then save them. The latte is $3.50. Add a muffin and you're up to $5.00. Now, have that every day for a month and you're at $150. If you invested that $150 per month for 40 years, you'd have close to a million dollars. So that latte is costing you a million dollars. Get it?

The rest of the book is somewhat disappointing, but not for the true beginner. If you don't have access to a 401(k) and need to know the phone number for Morgan Stanley, it's in the book. There are also about 14 shamelss plugs to Bach's web page for additional interesting information, which left me thinking, "If it's so interesting, why didn't you put it in the book?"

The Automatic Millionaire may be a good reminder for those who need one or a good book for the young man or woman about to get married, but for anyone who's been around the saving/investing block, it leaves something to be desired. On the Book Beat for KSL Newsradio 1160, I'm Amanda Dickson.

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