How to Get Out of Debt, Stay Out of Debt, and Live Prosperously: Based on the Proven Principles and Techniques of Debtors Anonymous Mass Market Paperback – Mar 1 1990
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Millions of consumers have become trapped in a spiral of debt, but there is hope. If you want to free yourself from the shackles of debt, this book is for you--it can help you "get out of debt, stay out of debt and live prosperously". Jerrold Mundis writes in a friendly, engaging style, urging readers to stop the cycle of spending. Mundis knows what he's talking about--he, too, was once thousands of (US) dollars in debt and didn't know where to turn. Anecdotes from Debtors Anonymous folks, plus multiple examples from the writer's own life and ledgers, make How to Get Out of Debt an encouraging read, not a condescending one. Once you start your program, you may want to periodically reread some chapters for inspiration or fun. --Jake Bond
From Library Journal
Mundis flies a countercultural flag: debt is "wholly unnecessary," and "bankruptcy is not an option." He offers a brief discussion of formal debt-handling methods and several very practical money management techniques from his own hard-won experience. Solutions depend entirely on the use of personal resources, and many Mundis remedies would be hard to apply outside of single-person, middle-class households. Despite its narrow focus, the book's thorough coverage of the Debtors Anonymous approach makes it a useful addition to large personal finance collections. Justine Roberts, Univ. of California at San Francisco Lib.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This book is geared toward those with very large debt who have creditors knocking down the doors. However, even those of us who can still manage to juggle the debt around (you know who you are), without having a late payment (yet) will greatly benefit from this book.
My financial advisor gave me this book when we began working together. After only 30 minutes with her, she told me that my net worth was badly in the red (yikes!) Gently, she recommended debt reduction BEFORE investing. This book opened my eyes to my relationship with money and spending. Only 4 months later, I have not incured new debt (credit card is in a jug of ice in the freezer - there for emergencies, but takes time to get to it - great for taking time to change your mind), I pay more than the minimum on my credit card, I'm paying off my student loans, putting money aside monthy to create a next egg, and able to invest in my 403b plan at work for the first time in 4 years! This on less money than two years ago!
This book is based on the principles of Debtor Anonymous, don't let that scare or intimidate you!, The premis is simple; Today, I will not incure new debt. It goes from there to include keeping close track of all spending, creating payment plans you can afford (not what the loan/bank is asking for), spending money well for yourself, and most of all, about impulse control skill development. That was essential for me!
If you are ready to change your relationship with money, spending, saving, etc. Then try this book. What's $7 when your debt is as big as yours?
BTW, this book also helped save my relationship with my fiance. I would get into panic attacks over my finacial situation and freak him out. Now, I'm calm about my money and he sees me with new respect and admiration for my desire to change and improve that aspect of my life. He has begun to review his relationship with money as well and we have become so much more secure with each other as a result!
His steps: write each and every incoming and outgoing transaction into a weekly, then monthly account. Use those figures to create a budget to fit your lifestyle and repay your creditors, without hard-core sacrifice that only proves self-defeating. Know to the penny what you have, spend and owe. Do not debt, at all, just for today. Or, to quote Teddy Roosevelt, "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."
The most interesting sections concern psychological and social implications associated with and leading to problem debting, and how to overcome and prevent them. Mundis encourages figuring out creative ways to handle money emergencies other than with a credit card. He encourages meditation, visualization, planning future successes beyond momentary highs or relief credit seems to provide. He explains how to handle the collection agency, lawyer, courtroom.
To achieve this, he encourages creative list making, re-evaluation of supposedly nevessary material things (his section, "Keel The Bool" most notably here) or ideas that seemed zany. Most of all, he encourages dismissal of any emotions associated with money: it's no mood changer, nor love declaration when spent, nor sell-out to materialism and selfishness when saved.
His opening chapters, describing the types and warning signs of problem debting, were chillingly accurate and uncompromising. ("And everybody bounces a check now and then, don't they? No. Most people without a debt problem hardly ever do.") Mundis writes with the compassion and reassurance of someone knowing the issues of problem debting. His three things to remember when debt worry becomes overwhelming are among the most useful worry defusers I have heard. Yet Mundis also speaks with the zeal of the recovered addict, knowing the road to and from disaster and letting no one cross or return. His personal stories and case studies from Debtors Anonymous (including that of the young woman who tearfully gave up her American Express card), are sweepingly sad.
Like all self-help books, "How To Get Out Of Debt" can only be judged successful if those reading it apply its precepts and achieve its promised conclusion. (Obviously, those for whom debting is not an issue probably do not read or review, these books.) Suffice it to say that Mundis has provided possible emotional and practical tools to achieve financial freedom, and has done so in re-readable, instructional style. Debtors Anonymous, quoted liberally as inspiration and support source, would do well to endorse this guide in its program.
Dear Mr. Mundis,
I am writing to thank you for essentially saving my life. For the last 10 years, since I was 21, I have been drowning in debt -- student loans, credit cards -- and filled with anixety and depression. Every time I dug myself out, I did it by throwing every single penny I had into my debt, then needed to borrow again right away to pay for expenses that arose. Even though I make a decent salary, I haven't had money to buy simple things like clothes because I am putting all my money toward debts. I have put off graduate school and other things I really want to do in my life for years while I try to deal with this. I am guessing I am not that unusual, but I never really talked to anyone about it until a few weeks ago.
Someone I respect a great deal recommended "How to Get Out of Debt, Stay Out of Debt, and Live Prosperously," and I finished it in a single sitting. I was completely stunned when you said that I came first and my creditors came second -- those words really changed my life. I put needed expenses and expenses that make my life fulfilling back into my spending plan and started from there, as you recommended. And I decided to work with a reputable credit counselor to help negotiate my horrific credit card interest rates down from 31% and 29% to 8% and 9%.
I now actually have a completely reasonable plan to pay off all of my debt in 4.5 years -- and that assumes no increase in my income over that time, and I expect it to increase. I can also afford to take the prerequisites I need for graduate school and put $50 a month toward clothes. I can even put a tiny amount into savings for a contingency fund in case emergency expenses arise. I am again completely stunned.
Your book is so straightforward and blunt while at the same time completely compassionate. I was expecting scolding and shaming, which is basically what I've been doing to myself. Your advice was completely doable, and I really believe I am on my way to being debt-free.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
I've read some other reviews here that were critical of this book. As I stated before, this book is for those who are in a crisis due to their debt. This book was written in the 1980's and has not been revised so the writing style may seem dated, but the principles are rock solid. There are excellent books available on subjects relating to investing and personal finance, but this book is a special book for debtors in crisis.
I am still using the principles that Mundis lays out in his book such as the spending record. I know exactly where every cent of my money is going and where I have a tendency to over spend. Even though I no longer debt I still have a tendency to be a spendthrift and the techniques I learned from this book help to keep me in check. I also have a spending plan- not a budget- that I update every six months and follow consistently. As Mundis points out, it is not about doing without and sacrificing. You will learn that you can take the vacation you want and pay cash for it. You can have everything you truly desire and not go into debt. You will develop an incredible sense of freedom that will enable you to live fully and successfully because you won't be burdened by debt anymore. I'm sure all this sounds too good to be true, or even magical in a way, but it isn't. If being in debt is causing a problem for you, you should get this book and read it and then follow the advice closely. Mundis walks you through all the difficult tasks you must face, such as totaling up how much you owe, contacting creditors to work out a payment plan, and not going one cent further into debt. I felt like I was the only one going through the hell of being seriously in debt, but he made me realize I was not alone and I could one day be debt free, too.
This book will teach you so much and it will also restore your confidence in yourself. It gives you the courage to face up to dealing with the mess you've made of your finances and it gives you hope that you can one day truly be debt free and living prosperously.
If you're a chronic debtor, this guy has your number, shoots down all your excuses before you can even make them, and offers hope when you most need it. I've gone back to re-read bits when I'm feeling doubt, and I feel better right away.
The only thing I had trouble with was the idea of putting all your unpaid bills in a box and not looking at them for a month. A week maybe, but a month?
I bought several other books on debt at the same time, but this one far and away was the one that motivated me to take control of my situation. Worth way more than I paid, because I haven't felt this relaxed and sane in a long time, and in no way do I feel deprived either.
March 5 2006-since I wrote this review I've paid off all my unsecured debt, lived on a cash-only basis, and even created a budget (and stuck to it more or less!) I've also managed to build a nice savings account. I credit this book for a complete, and sustainable, financial turnaround. Never thought I'd see the day when I didn't rely on credit cards, but my way of thinking has totally changed on that.