An audacious playbook focuses on absolving one’s debts.
This instructional book by Newbery (Burn Zones: Playing Life’s Bad Hands, 2015), who wangled his way out of $26 million of debt, could be a panacea for the millions of Americans owing large sums of money. The author’s “debt cleanse” plan is described in considerable detail, both as it pertains to overall strategy and to specific forms of obligations. At the heart of the proposal is a notion some consumers may find unsettling: Newbery recommends, rather bluntly, to “stop paying every debt you have.” He couples this with additional advice that could be regarded as surprising, if not financially controversial: Move assets out of one’s name, “ignore creditors,” dispute debts “even if you owe them,” and “welcome lawsuits.” The author applies this basic methodology to the most common forms of debt consumers face, devoting a chapter each to mortgages, vehicle loans, student loans, business loans, secured personal loans, credit cards and unsecured personal loans, medical bills, payday loans, and collection accounts. Every chapter is written in perky, consumer-friendly language, detailing a step-by-step approach to either settling a debt “for pennies on the dollar” or not resolving it at all. The 25 steps in the chapter on vehicle loans, for example, are characterized as “Mile One,” “Mile Two,” and so on; Mile Eleven is “Get an Attorney in Your Pit,” while Mile Twenty-One is “Try to Find the Middle Road.” Regardless of the type of debt, the overarching theme is that, rather than be intimidated by creditors, the consumer should use every means available to delay or avoid paying it off. As a testament to this approach, the author boasts “over 900 deficiencies, document requests, interrogatories, requests for admissions, deposition questions, and letter templates” in a final section of “action tools” that may have some readers playing amateur attorney. Thankfully, the book includes a levelheaded chapter that discusses how, after ridding oneself of crushing bills, to strive for a debt-free life.
A provocative guide that could embolden those with substantial debt to pursue evasive action; some consumers may not be comfortable with the volume’s unconventional, sometimes confrontational approach.