by Dara Duguay

:  Contemporary

Pub Date:  Spring 2003

Format:  Trade Paperback original

Brief Description
A concise, practical guide of rules to follow to make--and keep--you rich.  Written by one of America's leading authorities on finance, the Director of the Jump$start Coalition in Washington, D.C.

* Chosen by The Washington Post as the June pick of the month in personal finance

            "I picked these books because all three are in paperback, each costs less than $13, and all are small enough to fit in a tote bag. The books also contain easy-to-understand, nugget-size chapters. Trust me, despite the subject, they are perfect beach books. To be certain, you won't find them to be the typical trashy novel or crime thriller many vacationers like to read while catching some rays, but with these books you'll actually come away with information you can use.
            I'll write more about the July and August selections in the coming months, but for now let me discuss "Don't Spend Your Raise" by Duguay, the executive director of the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy, a nonprofit organization that seeks to improve the personal financial literacy of young adults.
            This book reminds me of the common-sense financial advice I got from my grandmother, Big Mama. Whether you're a financial pro or someone just graduating from college, you will learn something from "Don't Spend Your Raise." In her book, Duguay comes up with 60 rules about money that are simple but tried and true. Here are just a few:
            Free does not always mean free. "Try to figure out any related costs that may occur as a result of getting something for free. If the item is used, will there be repair costs? If you win a vacation, what costs are covered? Questions such as these need to be seriously considered before you accept anything for free."
            Don't spend your raise. "Try not to spend your raise or any bonus you receive. Since you are not used to receiving this extra money, you won't miss it."
            Don't leave home too soon. "It is normal for young adults to want to assert their independence. But if they are not prepared for the financial realities of the marketplace, they may falter and end up moving back to the nest."
            Never have more than two credit cards. "There is this mistaken notion that you need lots of credit cards to build a credit history. This notion is false. You only need one or two that you pay on time and preferably in full every month. As Ann Landers once said, 'The easiest way to get a fatter wallet is to take out your credit cards.' " As Duguay told me in an interview, if you leave home without your credit cards you'll find you have more money to save.
            Don't start your married life with excessive wedding debt. "Just keep in mind that the money you and your spouse-to-be spend at the start of your life together is money that will then not be available for your immediate or future goals."
            Never hide from the bill collector. "The best course of action is to always call the creditor before the creditor has to call you."
            You may look at this list and say to yourself, "Duh." Who doesn't know that you should save your raise or cut back on your credit-card usage? Well, many people may know the rules that Duguay lists, but they sure don't follow them.
            Duguay should know. She spent six years as director of education for Consumer Credit Counseling Service in Los Angeles. She's seen what happens to people who overspend or fail to save for an emergency.
            So this summer while you're soaking up some sun, immerse yourself in this book (no chapter is longer than four pages). Duguay's rules will no doubt help you make fewer financial mistakes."
--The Washington Post

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