A debut guide that offers sound advice on how to achieve financial independence.
Mendez, the president of Eclipse Investments and the director of contracts for Fortune 500 company Automatic Data Processing, explains how to take maximum advantage of good corporate pay and benefits. In this account of how he, a corporate “everyman,” achieved financial independence, he covers how to maximize one’s contributions to a 401(k), invest in index funds, contribute to a health savings account, and more. You don’t need to be a corporate executive or entrepreneur to become a millionaire in America, Mendez writes. However, if you want financial security, which eludes even those with good jobs, you must learn to do a number of things, including how to take a “Personal Inventory,” manage your career, create a financial plan, choose the right investments and shield them from taxes, purchase essential insurance, and set up an estate plan to protect your assets. The book covers each of those topics in separate chapters, which often include written exercises and examples from the author’s own experience, as well as tips on how to make better financial decisions and lists of websites with additional information. However, the book doesn’t acknowledge the fact that many American corporations have embraced a winner-take-all culture, resulting in reduced benefits, stagnant wages, and job insecurity. Instead, it focuses in a practical way on the “fantastic benefits and wealth generation opportunities” that are still available to rank-and-file employees, who may share the author’s goal of financial independence by the age of 50. There are many good suggestions in this volume, such as the idea that young workers should put their career and financial goals in writing, including specific dates for reaching them. Think every day about your financial plan, Mendez writes, and once you achieve one milestone, replace it with another. If the author updates the book in the future, he might consider adding a section about keeping one’s financial information secure; in today’s world of mobile banking and online financial transactions, no book on financial literacy is complete without it.
A practical personal-finance book that stands out in a crowded field.