Book review: The Simple Path to Wealth

Yesterday, my pal Jim Collins dropped me a line. "The audio version of my book just came out," he told me. "Audible is letting me give away some free copies. Do you think your readers would be interested?" I do think so! Plus, this is a perfect opportunity to migrate my review of The Simple Path to Wealth from Money Boss to Get Rich Slowly. At the end of this article, I'll explain how you can get a copy of Jim's audiobook, if you're interested (and lucky).

Hanging with JLCollinsNH In 2015 and 2016, Kim and I took a 15-month RV trip across the United States in an RV. It was awesome.

During late July 2015, we stopped for a few days on the Wisconsin side of Lake Michigan. My friend Jim Collins had invited us to spend some time at Shamba, the waterfront vacation home that belongs to his sister-in-law. For several days, we sipped wine and walked in the surf with Collins and his wife. We also talked about work. (I had just begun formulating plans for Money Boss; Jim was writing a book.)

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Books about money that might make appropriate Christmas gifts

"My brother sucks with money," a friend told me the other day. "I'm thinking of giving him a book about money for Christmas. Do you have any recommendations?"

"Honestly, I'm not sure gifting a book about money is the best way to help," I said. "I know you mean well, but from my experience this sort of gift has the potential to create hard feelings rather than help. Sometimes it creates resistance rather than acceptance."

"But didn't you get started with your financial turnaround because people gave you books about money?" my friend asked.

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When She Makes More: 10 rules for breadwinning women

A few years ago, my little brother moved his family to Seattle. His wife had received a promotion and an opportunity to work at her company's flagship location. The offer was too good to refuse. There was just one problem: They moved before Tony could find a job.

Tony's wife enjoyed her new position and increased salary. He pounded the pavement looking for work. He had no luck. When he was in Portland a few months later, he stopped by my place for a beer.

"How are things going?" I asked.

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The power of profit margin

Be Your Own CFOAfter six months of work, my guide about becoming the Chief Financial Officer of your own life is ready for launch! Be Your Own CFO will be released on April 22. Over the next couple of weeks at Get Rich Slowly, I'll share some background on this project, including excerpts and outtakes. Today, for instance, I'll give you a taste of what I've written about the importance of profit.

The overall theme of my new guide is that people would have greater success managing their money if they acted as if it belonged to a business. I think most of us understand that companies can't exist without profit. But for some reason, people don't practice this concept in their personal lives -- even though the same principle applies!

The Importance of Profit

Profit is the life-blood of every business. It's like food and water for the human body. Although proper nutrition isn't the purpose of life, we can't exist without it. Food and water give us the strength we need to pursue the things that bring us happiness and meaning. Similarly, profit isn't the purpose of business, but a company can't survive without it.

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What are the best financial accounts and tools available?

As a personal finance blogger, it's my responsibility to keep up-to-date on the latest in the financial industry. Whose advice is worth heeding? (And whose advice sucks?) What are the current tax rates? Where's the best place to save for the future?

In the Olden Days, it wasn't tough for me to stay informed. I paid attention. I read books and magazines and blogs. PR agencies sent me buckets of email. Plus, GRS readers constantly sent me tips and recommendations.

But I've essentially taken the past couple of years off from the world of personal finance. I'm out of touch. I no longer know which credit cards are best, where I ought to have my savings, or how to best track my investments.

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Career strategies of high earners

I mentioned in my last post that I read Barbara Stanny's "Secrets of Six-Figure Women." Stanny interviewed 150 women who earn more than $100,000 annually and sought to find what traits, experiences and motivators they shared in common.

Unlike most books, this one didn't take me three months to finish. It's a fast read, and I think that has a lot to do with how relatable it is. I'm not saying I fit the bill for every six-figure trait Stanny has outlined; but you can't help but compare yourself to the high-earning women she's interviewed.

Although the book is meant to empower women, I think much of Stanny's research is every bit as helpful to men. Here are the strategies and milestones of high earners Stanny outlines in the book. Some of them hit home; others I questioned. Tell me what you think.

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9 traits of underearners

I just read Barbara Stanny's "Secrets of Six-Figure Women." I was happy to find that I share similar traits to the 150 women she interviewed. But there was a section that stood out to me, mostly because I didn't expect it to stand out to me.

We previously reviewed Stanny's book "Overcoming Underearing." Guest reviewer Jeremy M. wrote:

"[Stanny] learned that the big difference between highly successful women and less successful women was how they valued themselves and what they were willing to do to get what they wanted."

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Invest like Warren Buffett… but not really

If you want people to read your investing-related post or book, you'll increase your chances by mentioning Warren Buffett in your title. After all, I just did it -- and it might be why you chose to read this. Every financial media company does it, including us at The Motley Fool.

His investing skills while the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway have made him the fourth-richest man in the world. Most of the articles and books about him attempt to dissect his investing strategies and explain how you can use them to identify your own winning stocks. So it was a bit surprising when Larry Swedroe wrote Think, Act, and Invest Like Warren Buffett. He's the director of research for the BAM Alliance of independent financial advisers, the author of several books, and a blogger on CBS Marketwatch. He also thinks that picking individual stocks -- as opposed to investing in index funds -- is a really bad idea.

I've chatted several times with Larry over the years, because he's as smart as they come on the topics of asset allocation and financial planning. Recently, we had a conversation about why he would write a book singing the praises of the world's most famous stock picker. Of course, that whole "increase sales by including Buffett in your headline" thing probably had something to do with it. But it's not just a gimmick; Larry has three main arguments for why the index investor should still listen to the Oracle of Omaha, and he uses actual quotes from Buffett to back them up. And it starts with…

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Investing in your investing education: A resource list

Investing isn't new to me. I opened my first CD in high school back in the good old days of 5 percent interest, and I started contributing to my 401(k) as soon as I was eligible (at age 21). I did everything right according to the articles I read. I:

  • Contributed enough to get the maximum employer match
  • Saved/invested around 10 percent of my income
  • Opened up an IRA

Before I break my arm patting myself on the back, let me tell you that I made a huge error. I stopped too soon in my investing education. Instead of continuing to learn, I rested on my investing laurels -- and who knows how much money I've lost out on because I forgot that no one cares more about my money than I do.

And my huge error led me to make many mistakes. For instance, I didn't realize until (embarrassingly) recently that different funds in your 401(k) have different fees. Selecting funds with low fees can make a huge difference in returns. Or "buy and hold" is not the same as "buy and forget about it." And then there's the issue of investing and taxes.

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Why we buy: The science of shopping

Ready or not, the holidays are here and the shopping season is upon us. Although I wish I could convince you not to shop during November and December -- I'm a fan of Buy Nothing Day myself -- I realize I'm in the minority. It's Black Friday. It's Christmas. People are going to shop.

If you do choose to shop this time of year, be smart about it. Make no mistake: It's a war out there, my friends, and the merchants aren't on your side. They want your hard-earned money just as much as you do, and they've got all sorts of tricks to separate you from your cash.

Shopping season is upon us!You see, merchants are smart. They spend billions of dollars every year conducting research into what makes people like you and me buy things. And so they put the sweetened cereal at your 6-year-old's eye level. They block the aisles with displays to create traffic jams in front of the things they want to sell. They'll even use scent to encourage spending!

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