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Getting Out of Debt by Ken Clark

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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Getting Out of Debt by Ken ClarkIt looks like the Complete Idiot’s Guide franchise has expanded into the personal finance world with their latest offering, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Getting Out of Debt by Ken Clark. I normally associate their books with specific products, like how to use Quicken or how to get the most out of TurboTax, but this one talks about the steps you need to take to put your personal finances back on track and get yourself out of debt.

The book has a good approach towards what you should do to get yourself out of debt, fortify your personal finances along the way, and then prepare yourself to live a debt-free life afterwards. The book focuses on a lot of strategies you can use to pay off or renegotiate your debt, including bankruptcy. It’s a good survey book that will give you an solid overview of every possible strategy. More importantly, it gives you the good and the bad about those strategies (Chapter 17 is a chapter entirely devoted to strategies that can backfire on you). He arms you with enough information to make an educated decision on what you should do next.

I do have one bone to pick with the author and it has to do with his initial characterization of debt. Here’s the first paragraph from the Introduction:

Managing your finances is like driving a car down a winding mountain road. Take your eyes off the road for just a second and you can end up upside down in a ditch. In personal finance, that ditch is a thing we call debt.

I don’t like characterizing debt as an accident or something that happens very quickly, as if it were to sneak up on you when you’re not paying attention. Ask anyone who has been in debt and paid it off and you’ll hear a story about how they recognized they were making bad decisions. They didn’t take their eyes off the road and hit a ditch, they drove into the ditch. They willingly charged that television or those jeans or that new iPod on their credit card. They knew they were going into debt.

If you’re in debt and not sure what to do next, find this book in the library or read it at Barnes and Noble. Don’t buy any books when you’re in debt, you’re already paying for the library with your taxes, take advantage of it. Take the ten bucks that this book costs and put it towards your debt!

Buy A Copy Today!

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11 Responses to “Getting Out of Debt by Ken Clark”

  1. katy says:

    Yes, get it at the library or read it in the bookstore. We pay taxes for the library!

    $$ should be used for food; getting a job; rent; clothes. Bare minimums. When you’re more flush…

  2. katy says:

    Jerry Mundis’ GET OUT OF DEBT, STAY OUT OF DEBT AND LIVE MORE PROSPEROUSLY will help the most – if you do the work.

  3. Looks like a good book to read …where can we find it on net? Is it available for download? The review has got me excited to read this one.

  4. Chiko777 says:

    I am currently debt free at the age of 22 and I suggest that the only way to get out of debt is to not get into one. I went through college with out having to take out a loan and that’s why I don’t owe $80K.

    Most people find it easy to borrow from lenders, instead of doing it the old-fashioned way of saving and investing until they have enough money to buy the thing they want or need. I plan to retire by 25, and the only way I am going to do that is by being debt-free and creating enough passive income greater than my full-time job.

    • Anthony says:

      25?! Wow! That’s a nice goal!

      In any case, I agree with you. The best way to get out of debt is to not get into it. Unfortunately, that’s not the case for most Americans/people. I’m in the “people with debt” boat. But I’m definitely wiser now. I live thriftier and haven’t noticed a huge change in my lifestyle.

      • Chiko777 says:

        Congrats! I am glad that you have come to the understanding that you need to cap the debt and start working on getting out of it.

        Yes, retiring at 25 is a big goal, but I plan to get it done! It’s better to chase a dream worth chasing and fail, then not to chase anything and succeed in not chasing anything.

        • commonsense says:

          Hi Chiko,

          You have piqued my interest, could you give me an idea of how you will retire at 25?

          How did you pay for college?

          How have you amassed your retirement fund?

          Thanks for the info.

  5. Daniel says:

    The Compolete Idiot’s line actually has quite an extensive line of titles in the Personal Finance category – http://us.penguingroup.com/nf/Browse/BrowseStdPage/0,,265354,00.html

  6. Anthony says:

    I’m sure that the book is very well written and full of ideas.

    But websites, like Bargaineering, have the benefit of personal advice, multiple points of view (via comments and forums), and can remain up-to-date with their information. Go Bargaineering!

  7. Mike says:

    I have been in debt, paid it off, and repeated that cycle a couple times in the past 30 years. I agree with what you say about making bad decisions. With me, I have gotten lax for a while and allowed debt to pile up. Then I start to scutinize every purchase so I can get it paid off. It really is about scrutinizing every purchase. I agree, don’t buy the book if you have to charge it. Get it from the library.


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