Last month, I received The Money Coach’s Guide to Your First Million by Lynnette Khalfani in the mail from the publisher. Here’s a look at the book from my point of view.
First of all, Khalfani (who calls herself the “Money Coach”) has devised an acrostic to outline the path to your first million dollars. Conveniently, the word is “MILLION,” and here’s what those letters mean. By the way, each line is also the title of a chapter within the book.
* Make a personal prosperity plan
* Invest first, last, and always in your reputation
* Live like a lender, not a borrower
* Leverage the power of property
* Increase your fortune with proven methods, not shortcuts
* Overcome setbacks and minimize risks to your financial health
* Never forget the next generation
The book is heavy on the basic ideas of managing money and working with people who will help you, not help themselves. I did like the attention in the last chapter spent reviewing the idea of leaving a legacy. The author emphasizes the importance of determining what kind of mark you want to leave on the world.
Khalfani provides the usual resources for handling estate issues, but she spends more of an effort talking about the impression you can leave on your children by the way you act. When lamenting her son’s materialistic nature, she ponders:
It didn’t take me too long to realize that I, in fact, had contributed to his bad case of the gimmes. After all, since he was in preschool weekdays and I was working full-time, it was only on the weekends that Jakada would spoend eight straight hours or more with me. And what did we do during that time? When there weren’t playdates, parties, or extracurricular classes to attend, our family ran around doing all the errands that couldn’t get done during the work week — shopping for groceries, dropping off laundry, getting the kids clothes or shoes, and so forth.
Even though I don’t have children, I can relate with the small amount of time available for quality interaction.
Lynnette Khalfani is from Newark, New Jersey, and she was able to build money after a divorce and deep debt in the town she knew well by investing in property. This is a theme that runs throughout the book. While reading, I marked a number of pages containing thoughts I’d like to revisit. Here’s a summary of a few tidbits from the book I thought were interesting, in my own words:
Laziness is one of the biggest barriers that must be overcome before becoming a millionaire. Just like running the country, it’s hard work.
Study of Harvard students in 1979: 84% did not set goals. 13% set goals but did not write them down, and they earned double the income. 3% wrote down their goals, and they earned 10 times more than the other 97%. Write down goals! (Note! This study may never have existed. Read this for more information. Thanks to Steve Mertz for bringing that to my attention and inspiring me to research further.)
When you make a budget, make it realistic rather than too restrictive. It has to be something you want to stick with.
70% of all credit reports have mistakes (that’s an industry estimate). You must check your reports (from annualcreditreport.com) and dispute any incorrect information.
Grow intellectually to fluorish financially. Even if you don’t enroll in a degree program, keeping your skills and abilities up-to-date will improve your chances of becoming a millionaire.
Khalfani was able to pay of $100,000 in credit card debt in three years without declaring bankruptcy. Apparently to find out how, you have to buy her other book. I suggest writing a book and getting it picked up by a major publisher.
She does describe her land purchasing advertures in Newark, New Jersey, a crime-ridden city that seems to be perpetually going through urban renewal. (It’s still mostly a dump, but there are major renovation plans for the riverfront underway now.)
The author tackles the sensitive question and takes a well-deserved dig at Robert Kiyosaki when contemplating, like I have done, whether a house is an “asset” or a “liability.”
Khalfani stresses the importance of an emergency fund to handle the setbacks she calls the “Six Dreaded Ds:” downsizing, divorce, disability, disease, death in the family, and disaster.
In total, The Money Coach’s Guide to Your First Million is another good book for beginners to those with slightly intermediate experience. The basics are here, with a little extra. My biggest problem with the idea of becoming a millionaire slowly over time is that by the time you become a millionaire, $1,000,000 won’t be what it used to be. I’ve detailed the ever-decreasing cachet of being a millionaire thanks to a little thing we call inflation.
You can find Lynnette Khalfani at The Money Coach.net.
Updated June 17, 2014 and originally published September 26, 2006.