Buy This, Not That Book Summary - Buy This, Not That Book explained in key points
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Buy This, Not That summary

Sam Dogen

How to Spend Your Way to Wealth and Freedom

4.1 (354 ratings)
20 mins
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    Buy This, Not That
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    Key idea 1 of 4

    Tackle your debts, and avoid the temptations of buy-now-pay-later offers.

    Take a moment to think about your monthly income and how you use it. How much are you able to save each month? What are you doing to leverage your income toward achieving financial independence? What is financial independence?

    First things first. Sam Dogen defines financial independence as being one of two things: either you have a net worth that’s 20 times greater than your average gross income, or you have sufficient investments to generate enough passive income to cover your expenses. Ideally, you have both.

    How soon you become financially independent depends on the work you’re willing to put in, how much you save and invest, and how much risk you’re prepared to take. Again, think about your savings: if you can save 50 percent of your after-tax dollars, that’s the equivalent of one year’s living expenses. Seventy percent gets you two years’ living expenses. And if that’s simply not an option right now? At an absolute minimum, save 20 percent, and you’ll have one year’s living expenses within four years. The wise choice is to save and live frugally in your early years to reap the rewards later.

    You need to earn, save, invest, and plan if you’re going to achieve financial freedom. But before we get into how to invest, we first need to tackle a thorny subject: debt.

    Many of us get into debt because we try to live a life we simply can’t afford. Buy-now-pay-later offers are around every corner, tempting us to skip the hard work and go straight for the rewards. But giving in to them is a surefire way not to achieve financial independence.

    Of course, debt is sometimes unavoidable – there’s a catastrophe, unexpected medical costs, or, as a single parent, your finances are just stretched too thinly. But if you’re serious about your quest for financial freedom, paying down debt must be your top priority.

    Where do you start? Credit cards. Average APRs are around 15 percent, but some are as high as 29.99 percent. So pay off your cards immediately, and only use them for rewards and insurance. Never ever carry a balance forward – you’ll just find yourself being ripped off by the credit card companies.

    Next, you should tackle your car debt. Your car depreciates in value every month – even if your car loan interest rate is low. Follow “the one-tenth rule for car buying.” That is, don’t spend more than one-tenth of your gross annual income on purchasing a car. After all, driving around in your five-year-old, more-milage-on-the-clock-than-I-care-to-mention hatchback won’t kill you until you can afford to buy your spiffy, new car outright!

    Third, get your student loans cleared. If you haven’t yet been to college and would like to pursue a degree, choose a school that’s affordable. That way, you can pay off your loan within four years of graduating.

    Finally, think about your mortgage. This is a complex area, which we’ll delve into in the next chapter.

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    What is Buy This, Not That about?

    Buy This, Not That (2022) is your ultimate guide to achieving financial independence and freedom. It tells you what to buy, how much to spend, and how to make the most of your money.

    Who should read Buy This, Not That?

    • Financial freedom seekers
    • Recession-wary worriers looking for security
    • Couples craving financial wisdom for a prosperous future

    About the Author

    Sam Dogen, the creator of the hugely successful Financial Samurai, is retired. He achieved his retirement at the remarkably early age of 34 after working in a top investment bank and going to business school part-time. His motivation for writing Buy This, Not That was to offer tips and advice to anyone looking for financial independence. 

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