Start Late, Finish Rich

Amey Stone

Yesterday David Bach, author of bestselling personal finance books like The Automatic Millionaire and Smart Women Finish Rich, came in talk about his latest book, Start Late, Finish Rich, and tape a video interview (Look for it soon at Business Week Online's media center).

Bach, who already has three titles on BusinessWeek's hardback and paperback bestseller lists and who will no doubt have a fourth soon with Start Late, Finish Rich, has a few simple messages that clearly resonate with his readers: find ways to save by cutting out small luxuries (like latte's -- that's your "latte factor"), create an automatic investing plan (such as through a 401(k) at work), and don't focus on eliminating debt to the exclusion of saving -- just manage your debt by seeking out low interest credit cards.

These are all fine pieces of advice. In Start Late, Finish Rich he also gives readers advice on how to supplement their income with side jobs (like selling on eBay or buying a rental property, for example). His no-nonsense investment plan using exchange-traded index funds is a smart strategy I might be tempted to try myself.

Still, the advice isn't so unusual and the ideas so original to explain his runaway successs. I suspect the key may be Bach's efforts to motivate and inspire his readers. The book is filled with Oprah-style (indeed, she helped his career along by having him on her show) messages, like, "You're special" and "Give yourself a break." He offers ongoing coaching with work books, newsletters and seminars through his website Clearly he makes a lot of money off his most ardent followers, but if he gets them to cut debt, save and invest for the future, it's all for the good. Any Bach fans out there? I'd love to hear from you.

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