When I received a copy of Larry Winget’s You’re Broke Because You Want To Be , I didn’t really know what to expect. I had seen parts of a few episodes of his show, Big Spender on A&E, and knew his style to very much be no-nonsense, get right down the business, you need to deal with your problems because you are in control, type of person. I like his style because it doesn’t tip toe around issues, it doesn’t BS with you to get you to think of the right questions to ask or the right answers to say, his style gets you and your problems into a room so you can fix it. This book is exactly in that same style and anyone with money problems and the fortitude to face them in this manner should read this book.
A great example of his style is practically the first page when he discusses who this book is for. He says “Before we begin, let’s make sure we understand one another.” The title is The Difference Between Poor and Broke. Anyway, he goes on to say that poor is a sad condition but broke is something controllable. Broke means you’re either underearning or overspending, poor is something entirely different. Most Americans are broke, they aren’t poor (for poor, think of those places supported by charities stating they could feed people for pennies a day); and they can control it if they knew how and were given a swift kick to get them started. The introduction goes on to say how victimhood is not something you can claim because it’s not like someone showed up one day and forced you to pile on credit card debt, it’s not like someone forced you to buy a flashy new car, etc. Lastly, he ends the introduction by saying everything you already knew: “I am not a blow-smoke-up-your-skirt, you-can-do-anything- with-a-positive-attitude kind of guy. I am a nose-to- the-grindstone, no-excuses-will-be- accepted kind of guy. I’m harsh. I’m abrasive. Your feelings will probably get hurt as you read what I have to say. … I’m the guy you go to when everything else has failed and you are desperate. I know what it’s like to be desperate because I’ve been there. It’s terrifying. And the last thing you want is a hug and to be told to have a positive attitude.”
So, why this book? This book is like a focused laser and is designed for people who are earning a good wage but can’t seem to get ahead. Everything about it is focused on that so if you’re looking for a book on investing, this isn’t it. If you’re interested in hearing the commonalities between all the folks Larry has worked with to see if you exhibit those traits and how you can fix them, then this book will do you some good. One prime example is on page 65 where he says not a single person he has worked with had a clear idea of how much they earned and how much they owed. In other words, they didn’t have a clear understanding of their current state. If you don’t know where you are now, how can you ever possibly 1) get anywhere; 2) improve your situation?
The only thing I’d be concerned about is that many people don’t respond to this kind of motivation. Not only do many people not respond to it, far fewer people will respond to it when it’s in the form of the written word. It’s one thing for Larry Winget to be in front of you, forcing you to confront your problems, and it’s another to be reading it from a book! My take is that the people this book is trying to reach should read it and put his advice to work because he makes excellent points and gives actionable advice.