Review: The Rules of Money

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Every Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance or other book of interest. Also available is a complete list of the hundreds of book reviews that have appeared on The Simple Dollar over the years.

The Rules of MoneyThe Rules of Money is one entry in a series of “Rules” books written by Richard Templar (such as The Rules of Management, The Rules of Life, The Rules of Love, The Rules of Work, and so on).

All of these books have a similar style. They consist of (usually) 100 short essays on the topic at hand, each espousing a specific idea for success in that area. They’re all perfect for nightstand reading, when you’re just awake enough for a few entries but not awake enough to dive deeply into a complicated book.

In reviewing a book like this, I can’t possibly give a chapter-by-chapter walkthrough, so instead I’ve chosen ten chapters that particularly stood out at me. You can imagine me reading it and inserting little bookmarks in the ones that I enjoyed.

1. Anybody Can Make Money – It Isn’t Selective or Discriminatory
The only thing that’s holding you back are your own money myths. Most of those money myths involve blaming others for your lack of success. The reality is that everyone (that’s healthy) has the same opportunities to make money and get ahead in life. People will always pay for skills and talents. Companies will always offer dividends to people who invest with them. It doesn’t matter who you are, you can do it.

5. Most People Are Too Lazy to Be Wealthy
The biggest money obstacle that holds people back is their own work ethic. If you go home from work each night and do nothing to improve your situation, you will always be beaten by the people who go home at night and do improve their situation. It takes a strong work ethic to do this. If you don’t have that work ethic, it’s not someone else’s fault.

11. If You See Money As the Solution, You’ll Find It Becomes the Problem
Money never solves problems, at least not in the long term. Our money problems virtually always can be traced back to our poor choices. The solution to preventing future money problems is to work on our own decision-making processes so that we make better decisions in all aspects of our life.

18. It’s Harder to Manage Yourself Than It Is to Manage Your Money
Your behavior is the most difficult part of money management. It is so easy to make mistakes. We buy something we don’t need. We panic with an investment decision. We make moves without a clear head. We use emotions in our money decisions. All of these things are challenges that a person must overcome if they want to find success with personal finance.

34. Don’t Waste Time Procrastinating – Make Money Decisions Quickly
This might seem counterintuitive, but it’s worth noting that if you wait even a month to start making monthly investments, you end up leaving yourself worse off after a year even if you invested in something with significantly worse returns in your haste. Small returns are better than no returns at all. Plus, when you invest in a tax-deferred account (like your 401(k)), you can usually change investments later on with no penalty. Start now, not later.

41. Don’t Be Too Busy Earning a Living to Make Some Money
Sometimes, our jobs give us tunnel vision and we don’t see the opportunities around us. It took me many years to figure this out. We all have lots of opportunity to earn money in our lives if we open our eyes to them. I have a friend of mine who has a lucrative side business buying and re-selling headphones. Why? How? He’s passionate about music and music technology and he just kept his eyes open.

64. Get Some Money Mentors
A money mentor is a person that can provide money management guidance and encouragement. For a lot of you, I (and other personal finance bloggers) am a money mentor, for example. These help, big time. For me, I found additional value when I sought out people in my own life that I knew face to face to help me with my money.

80. Shop for Quality
Rather than just buying stuff on a whim, make sure that you actually have a real use for it in your life. Don’t just buy stuff – plan your purchases carefully. When you do decide you have a use for something, buy a good version of it, one that will last. Don’t just go buy a set of cheaply made pots and pans, for example – buy one enameled cast iron pot. Don’t buy a set of junk knives – buy one very well made chef’s knife.

95. Don’t Over-Protect Your Children from the Valuable Experience of Poverty
If you’re poor, don’t try to shield your children from it. Use that as part of their learning experience as they grow up. Talk to them about it. If you’re not poor, expose your children to it. Do things like working in a soup kitchen or building a Habitat for Humanity house. Exposure to the financial realities of the world can have a tremendous positive impact on a child.

62. Don’t Just Read This – Do Something
It’s great to read about good personal finance ideas, but they don’t mean anything if they’re not paired with action. Don’t just read. Do something.

Is The Rules of Money Worth Reading?
As you’re reading it, The Rules of Money comes off like reading the archives of a personal finance blog that consists of 100 short but well-edited pieces on money. There’s a bit of quirkiness in places and good ideas spread all around. If that sounds appealing to you, you’ll probably find a lot of appeal in this book.

Because of the brevity of each chapter, though, no individual topic is delved into too deeply in one shot. Often, the exploration of specific issues is spread across a lot of chapters, with specific elements addressed directly in individual chapters but without much overall coverage of more general topics. The book often feels like a collection of trees, not a forest.

This is a great book to pick up and take a quick bite out of. It is not a great book to drink deeply from. If you like short pieces, this is the book for you.

Check out additional reviews and notes of The Rules of Money on Amazon.com.

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17 thoughts on “Review: The Rules of Money

  1. Right off the bat, I’m going to have to disagree with #1 and #5…Not everyone has the same advantages in life that allows for the same opportunities as others.

    I think the truth of the matter is that as Americans, we believe this is true because we were raised in the “Land of Opportunity” where anyone is supposed to be able to make it with a little hard work and determination. It’s the foundation of our capitalistic society…but it’s BS. Not everyone is going to make it, no matter how hard they work, or how determined they might be.

    Not everyone has the same intelligence, is born in the same geographical location, has good looks, has the “right” skin color, or accent. It might feel good for us to pretend that anyone can make it in our society, but it’s just a myth…propaganda.

  2. I think what it comes down to is that we’re all given a fair chance in the eyes of the government, that is, we’re not held down and restricted by the government, should we choose to open a business or go to college or whatever.

    Whether or not someone has the resources readily available to them, is in the right place at the right time, or happens to know someone who can provide them with what they need due to position, influence, or connection is another question entirely.

    I think if more people understood that equal results is not something that is guaranteed in this country, we’d all be better off.

  3. Steven, while I don’t quite think that the whole “Land of Opportunity” thing is BS, I do agree with you to a certain extent, especially after reading Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Outliers” (good book).

    I think what it comes down to is that we’re all given a fair chance in the eyes of the government, that is, we’re not held down and restricted by the government, should we choose to open a business or go to college or whatever.

    Whether or not someone has the resources readily available to them, is in the right place at the right time, or happens to know someone who can provide them with what they need due to position, influence, or connection is another question entirely.

    I think if more people understood that equal results is not something that is guaranteed in this country, we’d all be better off.

  4. i totally agree with #95. i grew up poor, and didn’t feel disadvantaged at all. we ate good food that my mom cooked, i never had fast food or soda, except on our birthdays we got to choose to eat out or have pizza delivered. so four dinners per year for most of my childhood and teenage years. to this day, i feel privileged that i didn’t grow up getting everything i wanted. as a nanny, the kids i watched were so spoiled and had no idea the worth of the things they had. kids that lost their hand held game or scratched up all their dvds so none would play correctly, and didn’t care because they could always get another one from their parents.

    to the other commenter, i disagree. the rules don’t say that everyone has the same opportunities but that everyone has the same opportunity to make the most of what they have. And i agree that not everyone makes the most of what they have or can do.

  5. I take issue with #95 because Trent, you are always complaining you grew up poor but now it is a “valuable experience”? If someone is poor they SHOULD NOT HAVE KIDS! Yet, so many people have kids they cannot afford. No one ever brings up that birth control is a way to prevent people from being poor.

  6. Steven sorry I can’t agree to you. Being from a land of “poverty” I know surely that any one with any color, any race and any location can make money and that too, plenty of. Making money is a trick, very easy for people who know how to make money.

    It is strange when you read a book about a super rich, you feel like it is easy, you could do everything that they did, but still you can not make money to be any where near them.

    Everyday you get 10s of ideas to become rich, but still you can’t apply them. Didn’t it ever happen that a brilliant idea occurred to you, you started researching for existing patents and just when you are about to patent it, the $3K fee to apply for patent pulled you back.

    After few years you discover someone mad e few billion out of the similar idea.

    Getting rich is not hard, if you have IQ, you can be rich, But getting super rich needs a 6th sense to be at the right place at right time.

  7. I love #62! Action trumps almost everything. Successful people make mistakes, but they do more things right than wrong. When they make a mistake they usually keep trying and fix it.

  8. #1. Steven “Not everyone has the same intelligence, is born in the same geographical location, has good looks, has the “right” skin color, or accent.” This is correct. Anyone unfortunate enough to be a White male (I’m not) at this point in time has major problems, with the quotas, set asides and help for “minorities” (who will shortly comprise out majorities). For instance only the cream of the crop of White (and Asian) males gets into medical school for instance. With the quota system, there must be lower scoring Blacks and Hispanics allowed into medical schools to make it “fair” as excellence is no longer the most important criteria for being a physican. of course this encourages me to only seek out White or Asian male doctors on the theory that they will be the best of the lot. How about that firefighter’s test where only Whites scored high enough for promotions, so the Federal Government threw out the results Because the protected “minorities” were not intelligent enough to pass the test? Not everyone has the smarts to become a plastic surgeon or wall street hedge fund manager, but anyone with grit, determination and tenacity can become a success: develop and manage a cleaning company, painting contractor business, lawn and landscape maintenance service, etc., and make a good living. Not everyone WILL make a good living because many are lazy, profligate, produce a series of illegitimate children out of wedlock, don’t stay in school, prefer to speak some ghetto dialect to proper English, deal drugs, commit violent crimes. America is the land of opportunity, not the land of guaranteed equal outcome, that is the Communist states. We have a Black President of the USA, a man with no business experience, no wide social graces, no job experience except voting “present” in his previous brief office and the ability to read off a teleprompter. Don’t tell me Blacks are held back in America. Every company is forced by the Feds to hire a certain quota of Blacks and Spanish, and to promote them whether they are capable or not. I don’t see the NBA hiring any short White or Asian men to be players, so discrimination laws only work one way. Any person with reasonable health and grit can make a success in America. You have to work at it. This is why there are so many at the bottom, they don’t want to do what is necessary to succeed, it takes self discipline.

  9. I work in education. I have student taught, observed, and taught at many schools in a 10 mile radius.

    The idea that these kids have equal opportunities is ludicrous. Education is EVERYTHING. Until public education is the same for everyone, everyone does not have the same opportuinites.

    I would elaborate, but the previous screed is so obviously closed and hostile to considering this possibility- I will not waste my breath further.

    Trent, allowing such vitriol fraught with hate-filled comments undermines any open-minded thoughtful conversations in the comments.

  10. I’m with #4 kristine on this one. You’ve not allowed several recent comments from me which I did not believe were negative, which of course is your right to do on your website. But this latest comment from deRuiter is in my mind negative and does not contribute to the growth and thoughtfulness of anyone.

  11. deRuiter’s screeds against anyone who isn’t a rich white man are nothing new. I usually just ignore them, unless they go really over the top (like in the most recent reader mailbag).

    Unfortunately, Trent’s attitude of “Discrimination? What discrimination? You’re just a whiner who wants to blame everyone else for your problems, which are obviously all your fault,” is also nothing new, and is equally unlikely to change.

  12. Reference #95 on not protecting your children from poverty. We’ve chosen as each our children turned 16 to send them for a week long mission trip, formerly into Mexico, with a church-sponsored group to build a house in a very economically depressed area. Each has come back with a much greater sense of the good fortune with which they have been blessed. Sadly, due to the violence in the area, the organization has decided it is no longer safe enough for the volunteers and will no longer sponsor the trip.

    We have also expected them to volunteer year round over and above the school mandated 100 hours for graduation. As parents, we think it is a very valuable experience which not only fits into our value system of service to others but also points out how important education is for building a better life. Not just in financial terms, but appreciating the diverse world outside our small community.

  13. You think skin color is a handicap? Try having a disability or two! All other can see is the few things you can’t do, so they blow you off.

  14. There’s no need to play the Oppression Olympics, SLCCOM. There are a lot of factors that contribute to privilege/marginalization, and none of them detracts from the reality of any of the others. And of course, there are many people who have the “wrong” skin color *and* a disability or two. Don’t forget about them.

  15. I agree with Steven. I think there are some that are disadvantaged and they have to work harder at acheiving their goals and they never come out on top. I have friends in this situation where you compare kids born in nice suburbs of america, all of whose parents are doctors, lawyers, CFO’s,CEO’s,their children usually end up going to IVY league schools all paid for % by their parents, then you have the hard working average kid that grew up poor or with modest means that has massive student loans that will rent an apartment for 10 years coming out of college because they have student loans? They will have to work twice as hard and sometimes you can’t. You have kids, elderly parents, social problems, etc.. I think this country has a lot of opportunities to succeed but i think you have to really plan it out and make smart decisions so you don’t fall behind.

  16. “I think this country has a lot of opportunities to succeed but i think you have to really plan it out and make smart decisions so you don’t fall behind.” Thank you Annie #16!!!!!

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