If you get a chance, that is a great book to read. But, this article is about Ron’s new book, “Surviving Financial Meltdown: Confident Decisions in an Uncertain World”.
This book is hot off the press, published in January 2009 and Co-authored by Jeremy White.
Here is what I liked:
Ron has been a financial planner and consultant for more than 40 years, so I bought the book with high expectations, knowing that Ron was the author.
I like Ron’s aggressive approach to dealing with the economic meltdown. Ron says, “The challenge you face in planning for retirement (or for other long-term dreams) can generate a great deal of tension and anxiety. The fear that you might not realize your hopes and desires may prove just as unsettling as the threat of an unexpected loss or crisis. Yet none of these fears should compromise your peace of mind. Confront your fears head-on, wrestling them into submission before they become a stronghold in your life.”
A few chapters later Ron tells of the story of Joseph from the Bible and how he was able to prosper during times of economy uncertainty. Ron used this example to show that just because we are in a recession does not necessarily mean you will fall on hard time.
Here is what I would add to what Ron says.
There are plenty of opportunities out there for new business ideas and plenty of talented people to find a way to produce value. The US is still the largest economy in the world, with the most productive people in the world. Don’t assume the worth for your personal finances and if hard times do find you despite your efforts, take a few days to feel bad for yourself and then get over it and more on.
Set new financial goals that are realistic to your current circumstances and throw away your old goals. Get together with your spouse and write down all your financial obligations and assets. Create a plan together how you can turn around your financial situation.
Then in chapter 6, Ron reminds us that reducing your spending is the most effective way to improve your cash flow. So, focus on reducing your spending and changing your lifestyle to becoming more frugal.
In the last chapter, Ron addressed investing in Gold. Ron recommends limiting your portfolio to 5 percent. But, Ron goes on to talk about how gold is a great wealth preserver especially during times of high inflation (which is at the door step of our economy). Ron says, “Gold has indeed preserved purchasing power through the years. People can’t counterfeit gold. Governments can’t print more of it and devalue it. … In the last few years, my patience was rewarded.”
Here is what I didn’t care for:
Ron has put together a great book, but it’s just over 100 pages. I was expecting more like 250 pages. The only other thing I didn’t like was in the beginning of the book. In the process of trying to get the reader into a good mood about their financial outlook, he belittles the pessimistic economists saying that the few that got it right just got lucky at guessing what would happen.
This is where I disagree. Economist like Ron Paul and Peter Schiff didn’t just get lucky, their market analysis was spot on yet nobody was listening. It’s too easy to say, “no one saw this coming”, when a lot of people did for a long time. Even Larry Burkett, who co-authored a book with Ron just a few years ago, also predicted a major economic meltdown.
Ron then suggests that the only thing that matters is your checkbook and the global economy isn’t important to your personal finances. Then, a few pages later he basically says not to stick your head in the sand or not to ignore what is going on in the global economy. I realize that Ron is just trying to set the stage and get the reader to focus on what they can do to improve their personal finances, but he is contradicting himself.
30 years ago the global economy didn’t have much influence on your personal finances. But today it has a lot to do with it. Most large companies have become international companies and are very dependent on what goes on in several nations around the world.
Your more likely to lose your job to a order change from somewhere else than to from your own town. Like it or not, personal finances has become part of the big picture and the only way to protect your job is to keep up with the global economy.