What's the secret to becoming a millionaire For years people have asked David Bach, the national bestselling author of Smart Women Finish Rich, Smart Couples Finish Rich, and The Finish Rich Workbook, what's the real secret to getting rich What's the one thing I need to do Now, in The Automatic Millionaire, David Bach is sharing that secret. The Automatic Millionaire starts with the powerful story of an average American couple--he's a low-level manager, she's a beautician--whose joint income never exceeds $55,000 a year, yet who somehow manage to own two homes debt-free, put two kids through college, and retire at 55 with more than $1 million in savings. Through their story you'll learn the surprising fact that you cannot get rich with a budget! You have to have a plan to pay yourself first that is totally automatic, a plan that will automatically secure your future and pay for your present.
Bach, author of several bestsellers including Smart Women Finish Rich and Smart Couples Finish Rich, offers a simple prescriptive plan for financial security. The secret: the astonishingly vanilla "Pay Yourself First," which, in Bach's words, is "the one proven, easy way to get rich." Instead of worrying about taxes, budgeting or investing, the key, according to Bach, is to set aside between 10% and 15% of gross income for savings the equivalent of one hour's worth of income every day. While this strategy may seem obvious, many people don't take this basic step. That's why Bach says everyone should write down their "Automatic Millionaire Promise," which spells out what percentage of their income they will start saving by a certain date. To insure that people carry through on their efforts, Bach says they should have deposits automatically made to a retirement account. Then, the next step is to capitalize on the power of compounding by contributing the maximum amount to, say, an employer's 401(k) account. To help readers navigate the maze of investment choices, Bach includes contact information for a number of mutual funds and Web sites offering authoritative financial information. Bach's key principle, along with such advice as buying real estate, paying down debt and making charitable deductions, is not groundbreaking; and regrettably, it may be unrealistic for many: tens of millions of Americans are in serious credit card debt because they can't make ends meet on their salaries; how, then, are they to save so much of their gross income However, his easygoing approach, complete with real-life examples and clever phrases such as "Latte Factor," will appeal to the many money-challenged consumers who have made a New Year's resolution to get their finances on a firmer footing. (Dec.) Forecast: With a confirmed appearance on Oprah along with a television and radio satellite tour, and some 700,000 of Bach's other books in print, this one should hit some bestseller lists. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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December 27, 2005
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Excerpt from The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach
MEETING THE AUTOMATIC MILLIONAIRE
I'll never forget when I met my first Automatic Millionaire. I was in my mid-twenties and was teaching an investment class at a local adult-education program. Jim McIntyre, a middle-aged middle manager for a local utility company, was one of my students. He and I hadn't spoken much until one day when he came up after class to ask if he could make an appointment with me to review his and his wife's financial situation.
The request surprised me. Though I felt strongly (and still do) that just about everyone can benefit from the advice of a qualified financial planner, Jim didn't strike me as the type who would seek it out.
I told him I'd be happy to set up a meeting, but if he wanted my help, his wife would have to come too, as my group managed money only for couples who worked on their finances together.
Jim smiled. "No problem," he said. "Sue's the reason I'm here. She took your Smart Women Finish Rich seminar and told me I should sign up for your course. I've liked what you've had to say, and we both figure it's time to do some financial planning. You see, I'm planning to retire next month."
Now I was really surprised. I didn't say anything, but as I looked Jim up and down, I doubted he could be in a position to retire. From the few comments he had made in class, I knew he was in his early fifties and had worked for the same company for thirty years, never earning much more than $40,000 a year, and didn't believe in budgets. I also knew that he considered himself to be "ultraconservative," so I figured he couldn't have made a fortune in the stock market.
My Grandma Rose Bach had taught me never to judge a book by its cover. But something didn't add up. Maybe Jim had just inherited a lot of money. For his sake, I hoped so.
"WHAT AM I MISSING HERE?"
When the McIntyres came into my office a few days later, they looked exactly like what they were: hardworking, "average Joe" Americans. What has stuck in my mind about Jim is that he was wearing a short-sleeved dress shirt with a plastic pocket protector in his breast pocket. His wife, Sue, had a little more flair, with some seriously blond highlights. She was a beautician, a couple of years younger than Jim.
The thing was, they didn't act like middle-aged people. They were holding hands like two high school kids on a first date, bubbling with excitement. Before I could ask how I could help them, Jim started talking about his plans and what he would do with his free time. As he did, Sue kept exclaiming, "Isn't it great he can retire so young! Most people can't retire until they reach sixty-five if then, and here's Jim able to do it at fifty-two!"