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Book Review: '13 Things Rich People Won't Tell You' a mix of obvious, handy tips

"13 Things Rich People Won't Tell You: 325+ Tried and True Secrets to Building Your Fortune No Matter What Your Salary" by Jennifer Merritt with Roe D'Angelo


From the title, Jennifer Merritt's and Roe D'Angelo's book may sound like a get-rich-quick scheme, but the 304-page book is exactly the opposite. There are practical tips for those who are lower income, middle income and higher income trying to get even bigger deals and a higher bank balance in "13 Things Rich People Won't Tell You: 325+ Tried and True Secrets to Building Your Fortune No Matter What Your Salary."

In Jennifer Merritt and Roe D'Angelo's book "13 Things Rich People Won't Tell You" there was a breakdown list of graduates/attendees from in-state colleges. states Matt Groening's, creator of "The Simpsons," salary is $500 million.
(Valerie Macon/Getty Images)
This is the cover of the hardcover version of this book.
(Photo: Shamontiel L. Vaughn, Publisher: Reader's Digest)

Ignore the 13. Pay attention to the 325+. Some tips may seem obvious. Others may be something a reader has never considered profitable but worth testing. And even more are monetary topics that go under the radar.

The book is broken up into six sections: Joining the Millionaires Club, Become a Budget Master, Your House and Home, The Financial Road to Higher Education, Living Rich Without Going Broke, Retire Smart.

If you're unfamiliar with basic terminology for CDs, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, etc., then "Joining the Millionaires Club" may be a bit overwhelming, but as long as you can keep up with the basics of this money terminology, you'll get useful advice about what investments are becoming more popular and useful versus those that may have been great once upon a time but are slow money now. Even if you don't understand the basics of your job's 401(k) plan or why bonds matter, this is the ideal chapter for those who are trying to live beyond a checking and savings account.

"Become a Budget Master" gives everyday tips for how to save money. One of the strongest points in this chapter was how to use your current qualifications to save money. For example, say you're a computer expert who needs a haircut. How much money would you save helping your barber figure out how to set up his website instead of a cash transaction? This book takes budgeting a step higher than clipping coupons and signing up for e-blasts, although that's covered, too. The section on credit cards and how to get the most value out of them is also a smart tool.

"Your House and Home" is helpful for first-time buyers, those who are pondering on a mortgage, homeowners who want to do renovations, shoppers who aren't sure how to pick a real estate agent and people who don't understand how real estate contracts work. If you're someone who wants to own property in addition to finding a roof over your own head, you'll want to check this out to avoid possible scams.

"The Financial Road to Higher Education" is most suited for parents who are wondering whether their kids should go to in-state schools and out-of-state schools. Is the school's name and reputation going to be valuable in the long run? What are the best loans to sign up for and which ones should be avoided? Should your children invest their own money into education or should it solely be left up to the parents? There's even a checklist of rich people who have gone to in-state colleges and made the most of their hometown, including going back to those locations to find possible employees to work for them later in life.

"Living Rich Without Going Broke" should be retitled "New Money: Calm Down" because it breaks down all of the horrendous mistakes that people do when they're trying to keep up with the Joneses. Sometimes it makes sense. Most of the time it's unnecessary. Smart shopping tips, such as renting high-fashion accessories or expensive high-end outfits instead of buying them, are included. For those who are already rich, there are tips on how to make a profit off of expensive items you barely use. One of the best sections in this section is how to travel without going broke. Suggestions like ditching airport taxis and opting for public transportation have valid arguments (and from my 2011 trip to Maui, I completely agree with this tip -- Maui buses charge $2 for an entire day of traveling versus $4.44 per gallon for a rental car and double-digit numbers for a taxi ride).

"Retire Smart" is useful for those who aren't thinking about retirement as well as those who are getting close. But more importantly there are reasonable tips for adults who aren't quite sure how to speak to their older parents about long-term care, wills, living trust and why only one child should be named the executor.

The strongest part of this book is that it covers so much information, even in one chapter, so even if you're not interested in something as sophisticated as Wall Street financing, you can get equally beneficial advice for general topics like why March or the end of the month is a good time to purchase a car. It'd be very difficult to believe that a reader wouldn't be able to learn and retain anything from this book, especially considering the language used in the book is conversational. Real-life examples, real-life celebrities and real-life horror stories make the book even more personable.

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