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How to Be Richer, Smarter, and Better-Looking Than Your Parents [Paperback]

Zac Bissonnette

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Book Description

April 24 2012
Striking out on your own for the first time is exhilarating. But in a culture full of bad advice, predatory banks, and splurge-now-pay-later temptations, it can also be extremely dangerous—leading you to make financial decisions that could hurt you for years to come. Combine this with a slumped economy, mounds of student loans, and dubious examples from reality TV stars to politicians to your own parents, and it’s no wonder so many twenty-somethings are struggling.

Twenty-three-year-old Zac Bissonnette—the author of Debt-Free U—knows exactly what you’re going through. He demystifies the many traps young people fall victim to in their post-college years. He offers fresh insights on everything from job hunting to buying a car to saving for retirement that will give you a foundation for a secure, stable, and happy life. In the process, he reveals why FICO scores are overrated, online job applications are a waste of time, car loans are for suckers, and credit card rewards are a scam.

With detours to discuss wine connoisseurs, Really Broke Housewives, and Lenny Dykstra, Zac shows you how to make better choices today so you can be richer, smarter (and better-looking!) for years to come.



Product Details


Product Description

Review

 “Are you there, Zac? It’s me, Chelsea. I loved your book. Plus, I’m only half-Jew so your financial wisdom really balanced out my Mormon side.”
—Chelsea Handler


"Though only a third of 2012 has passed, Zac Bissonnette is already a strong contender for the cheekiest author of the year award."
—The New York Times

“Our four daughters learned ‘Waste not, want not’ before they knew their ABCs, but Zac Bissonnette says it better and more credibly than a mere father could. His enjoyable romp through the basics of debt-free personal finance will be in their next Christmas stockings.”
—Mitch Daniels, governor of Indiana

“Zac Bissonnette puts the ‘smart’ in smart-aleck with his irreverent, hilarious, and eminently sensible financial advice. This may be the one personal finance book that actually delivers on its title. Parents, give it to your kids. Kids, leave a copy on the kitchen table—maybe your parents will pick it up and learn something."
—Daniel Pink, author of Drive and A Whole New Mind


Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  63 reviews
35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my Top 5 favorite financial books of all-time! April 24 2012
By MoneyPlan SOS - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a book for young people and answers the simple question:
What should young people do with their money in order to have the best possible life today AND for the rest of their life?

Zac Bissonnette gives great tips on:

How to select the best bank
How TV will make you fat and poor (with all the studies to prove it)
How starting to save now in a simple, boring, Index fund will make you richer than your parents.
And what finance book wouldn't be complete without 8 pages talking about Credit?

The subject matter in this book is well researched and insanely in-depth.

The information he gives about student loan debt is spelled out in a way that anyone can understand and Zac even gives real-life examples of how student loans could KEEP YOU FROM pursuing the very career you spent 4 years and $50,000 to get!

If you take one thing from this book and apply it to your life I can promise you that it will save you 5.7 times the amount of money you spent to buy a copy. OK, so that was made up. But learning about how money really works and making the right choices about saving, spending, investing, and avoiding the traps of debt WILL save you TONS of money over your lifetime.
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars He does it once again.... April 30 2012
By FredCouples - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As someone who bought 15 of the Zac Bissonnette's Debt Free U books, I am biased. I bought the books for my graduating high school seniors to check out and it has paid huge dividends with the choices they made in going to college. Completely changed the way the looked at college and how to go about paying for it. The economic truth hit them hard and now they are much better off for it.

His new book, How to be Richer, Smarter and better looking than your Parents, again tells the truth to the next generation regarding investing, saving, buying a car, job interviews and wide range of subjects that college graduates want to know about.

I deal with 18 year olds everyday and I am shocked at the lack of financial literacy that is being taught by parents. Why? Because their parents have no FREAKIN idea what they are doing. They bought into the myths in our society that have been sponsored by Bank of America, Visa, Citi Group, Sallie Mae, etc..... Wake up America, the entities we thought were trying to "help" are actually robbing us blind.

Its about time that we get people like Zac to stand up and scream about this insanity. His sometimes, "unconventional adivce breaks the mold of our normal society.

As I said with Debt Free U, this should be required reading for college students. I've already bought a book for my niece and will again buy another 15 books to send to my former students in college.

Highly recommend this to twenty somethings and their parents.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Common sense financial advice beneath the snark May 27 2013
By Deb Nam-Krane - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
I got this book for both myself and my soon-to-graduate college student. Because my kids have been watching me read The Complete Tightwad Gazette since before they could speak, most of the advice isn't new to either of us, but it's refreshing to hear it repeated in a slicker 21st century package.

Bissonnette's basic advice is don't spend money on anything you don't need to, and if you do have to spend money on something, do so wisely. That means paying in cash whenever you can, and paying with an eye toward permanent security. He becomes close to apoplectic at the thought of leasing a new car, and don't get him started on the people he knows who lease a new *luxury* car. Buy a used car, many of which can be found for $1000 to $1500, in cash. And to those who protest that they can't afford $1000 in cash, Bissonnette would answer that you really then can't afford a lease on a more expensive vehicle either.

As for housing, Bissonnette is an advocate of buying a home as opposed to being a permanent renter. I agree- unless you live in an area with an extremely low cost of living, it's difficult to accumulate wealth if you're paying rent to someone else as opposed to investing in a home. However, he is cognizant of the housing bubble which artificially inflated a lot of people's wealth a decade ago. Many of those tragedies could have been avoided if people had followed well-known rules about purchasing a home, including keeping the mortgage to 28% or less of your monthly income... and in general not believing a picture that's too good to be true.

As for other investments, your primary avenue should be whatever kind of matching plan your employer offers, usually a 401(k), although he discusses other options. He also advises everyone to keep it simple, citing evidence that shows that even the most highly trained financial professionals don't usually make decisions better than the overall market performance. And while it is possible to find an investment manager who can beat the market, betting your financial future on being lucky is a lousy strategy.

Bissonnette strongly advises against credit cards but reluctantly acknowledges that in some cases they are necessary in order to build a credit history. However, any other benefits- airline miles, interest accrued in a savings account (because you can delay paying for something)- are specious and not enough incentive for a reasonable person to use a credit card when they could pay cash. He seems to feel that debit cards are a safer option.

Those four chapters that used the most technical financial terms; the rest was common sense advice about essentially disposable purchases like food (eat inexpensively but healthily) and clothing (look for bargains and don't get hung up on labels). He also advised against acquiring expensive, status-conscious habits: his thoughts on wine connoisseurs made me laugh (shorter: don't bother). He argues that if you need a label or prestige hobby to make you feel better, your money is going to be better spent on therapy than possessions.

All standard stuff, and something that the DIY GenXers have known for a while. However, his most interesting advice was about how to go about finding a job and creating a career. Admittedly, my generation didn't have nearly as many concerns as this one: there were fewer of us and the economy was good. The opposite can be said of Generation Y, and they have the added problem of a very poor reputation regarding work habits. There just aren't that many jobs right now. However, sending resume after resume isn't as likely to help as old-fashioned networking and even reaching out to people of importance. He advises that people do their research and reach out to someone in their desired field. While there is no guarantee that this will open any doors immediately, it can help distinguish you from the thousands of people sending resumes out each day.

As for finding a job that makes you happy- something Bissonnette believes is key to overall happiness- he asks that his readers step back and focus on what brings them happiness and satisfaction as opposed to a specific job title. Chances are that employment in more than one field will allow you to exercise your analytical skills, write, work with different kinds of people or whatever it is that you enjoy. Learning to see that within an entry level job is critical to long-term success in a tight job market.

While I didn't find Bissonnette's humor offensive at all, it's pretty acerbic throughout the book. (Maybe pretentious people shouldn't be disemboweled, you know?) However, it's pretty easy to tell what's a joke and what's not.

Highly recommended for college-students and older.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun to read, and great advice too! April 30 2012
By Tracy Coenen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Zac Bissonnette has another winner on his hands with How to Be Richer, Smarter, and Better Looking Than Your Parents. His self-deprecating humor is on display in one of the most useful personal finance books you will ever read. Whether you are young or old, in debt or financially solvent, you can learn how to get your financial house in (even better) order with this quick, interesting read.

The book starts by reminding readers what financial freedom is. It is not the fantasy of being rich and living a life of leisure. It is being able to live life the way you choose: being able to take a lesser paying job because it's what you love to do, being able to start a family because your debts aren't eating up all of your paycheck, and simply having more choices in your daily life.

Bissonnette lays the foundation by discussing research which shows that the more materialistic they are, the less happy they ultimately are with life. Having nice things won't make you happy, especially if you're going into debt to get them or you're sacrificing meaningful belongings (like a modest house, for example) in favor of expensive labels on consumer goods.

The meat of this book is in Bissonnette's ability to debunk many myths surrounding personal finance issues, and succinctly explaining how you can make better financial choices. He starts with the financial services industry, pointing out how these people are there to help themselves, not you. Readers are educated on how to use financial services (credit cards, insurance, loans) in ways that will help keep them available and protect your financial well-being, without overpaying.

A discussion of investing and mutual funds will help you understand what the average consumer doesn't: the type of fund you should pick, fees to avoid, and the long-term results you will get from keeping your money in an inexpensive mutual fund.

Bissonnette spends little time on budgets. Why? Because most people won't follow them for the long term anyway, and making true changes in your lifestyle is the real way to becoming more financially secure. The author discusses topics including wine, clothing, getting in shape, technology, and food, pointing out many obvious ways to change your spending and still feel good about yourself. Yet as obvious as these are, too many consumers aren't following the rules and are ending up broke because of it, so they need to hear it again.

A whole chapter is devoted to automobiles, probably because this is one area in which people universally waste a lot of money. People buy new cars because they think they will make them feel better about themselves, but scientific studies debunk this myth. The concepts of leasing, buying new, avoiding auto loans, and how to buy a used car are covered briefly, but thoroughly.

The chapter on home ownership is one of the most useful in the book. Bissonnette talks about how to compare renting versus buying, and provides valuable tips on purchasing . The book closes with chapters on relationships and careers, which are definitely geared toward the younger reader. (So if you're an older reader, buy the book and read it, give it to your kid to read, and you've just doubled the return on your investment.)

This book is geared toward the younger generation, particularly with Bissonnette's brand of humor. However, nearly all of the information is applicable to older people (myself included) as well, so if you can get past the tasteless (but still quite funny) jokes, you will learn a lot from the book.

How to Be Richer, Smarter, and Better Looking Than Your Parents may not present any new personal finance topics (Are there any that haven't been discussed to death?) but Bissonnette has built a better mousetrap. The explanations and logic are clear and easy to follow, the information is right on point, and it is summarized well. My biggest disappointments were that I wasn't mentioned in the book, and that Zac's editor failed to change "OK" to "okay" numerous times throughout the book. If these are my most pressing complaints, I think it's clear that the book is a winner.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Basic information. Basically useless. Jan. 3 2014
By John Adkins - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I thought this book for would different and a good, informative read for a young professional like myself. I've read several financial books, and this book is very basic comparatively. It's somewhat amusing to read due to the sarcastic style and pop culture references, but the amusement quickly gets repetitive and boring. The book is mainly examples and the little information is very basic. He did give some good ways to do some things to cut costs, but most is common sense or outdated information that most young adults wouldn't do or follow through.

My money saving advice: Buy another book such as Suze Orman or Ramit Sethi. If you do buy this, buy it used from a discount seller. Or I will give you my copy. Maybe I'll just give it to someone I don't consider a friend.

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