financial advice

Review of ‘5 Easy Steps to Financial Freedom’

Posted on

Lots of books are penned that purport to tell you the secret to financial independence or getting rich. Some are written by authors whose objective is to get rich themselves from the poor schmucks who buy their books looking for the keys to the kingdom of wealth, while others come from writers who actually provide a few helpful, practical hints that can be useful in your efforts to gain financial security and independence. Duane Harden’s 5 Easy Steps to Financial Freedom: Do What You Love & Get Rich Doing It, which I received a free copy of in return for an unbiased review, is fortunately one of the latter. It offers a few very helpful hints for anyone seeking to establish a financial status that enables him to do the things he wants to do.

Harden starts by enjoining the reader to rewrite his or her history and create a future. He outlines the five steps he took to gain his own financial independence, with helpful advice such as ‘be careful who you listen to,’ ‘avoid negative people,’ ‘don’t be afraid to take risks,’ and ‘spend less than you make.’ While this might seem like no-brainer advice, it’s amazing the number of people who ignore it.

I found the book helpful, to a degree, and quite easy to read, but I took issue with the author early on. He maintains, for instance, that it’s easier to say ‘yes’ than to say ‘no.’ My fifty years in the bureaucracy taught me the exact opposite – it’s easier to say ‘no,’ but the consequences are often more severe than if you say ‘yes.’  While I don’t disagree that passive income is a good wealth generator, I’m not of the belief that this is the only route as the author seems to be. Most troubling to me in this book, though, is the statement, both implied and explicit in more than one place that business ownership, real estate and investment are the best ways to become wealthy.

The author describes the steps that he took in these areas, and seems to imply that anyone who follows them will experience the same results. If you read the entire book, though, including the front matter, you will notice that the publisher includes a disclaimer,


“Limits of Liability & Disclaimer of Warranty: The publisher and author have made every attempt in preparing this book for educational purposes only, however, they make no representations or warranties with respect to its accuracy or the completeness of the contents of this book. The advice and strategies contained in this book may not be suitable for your situation and results may vary. Any statements about profits or income, expressed or implied, does not represent a guarantee. You accept full responsibility for your actions, profit or loss, and agree to hold the publisher and author and any authorized distributor harmless in any and all ways. The use of this book constitutes your acceptance.”


And, rightly so, because what works for one does not necessarily work for all, and not all of us are cut out to be business owners or real estate magnates. Even investment is different for different people.

Now, while I disagree with the author’s premise on ‘what’ fields to follow to ensure financial independence, I don’t disagree with most of the ‘methods’ he describes. Knowing where you come from, where you wish to go, and what you’re willing to do to get there, is valuable regardless of the path you take. There are nuggets of wisdom here, and if the author had been just a bit more forthcoming, this would rank in my top tier of books on ‘how to become independent.’ Unfortunately, it misses the four-star category, but the clear writing and practical manner gives it a three (two and a half actually, but there are no provisions for partial stars, so I’ll go ahead and give that other half).

Review of “Living Rich by Spending Smart” by Gregory Karp

Posted on

Gregory Karp’s Living Rich by Spending Smart has as its main premise what is essentially a no-brainer: controlling what you spend is the key to building wealth. This book grew out of columns Karp wrote for the Tribune Company of newspapers beginning in 2004. In the columns, he didn’t focus on telling people what to do with excess money; rather, he talked about how to manage spending so that people could generate excess money in the first place.

Written in easy to understand English, Karp’s guide covers the waterfront, from how to avoid the worst spending habits, to strategies for intelligent spending on specific occasions like holidays, shopping and spending around the home, vacation spending, and financial services. In selecting bank accounts, for instance, he warns against paying banks to hold your money. Like I said, a no-brainer, but a spending mistake that millions make to their detriment.

Whether you’re just starting out in your working live, or you’re trying to make ends meet on retirement income, there’s something in this book that will help you become more financially secure.

Even though it was originally written in 2008, it’s a must-read in today’s uncertain economic times. A clear five stars.


Posted on Updated on

A guest post from UK  financial blogger Lucy:

People say that “The important thing is not being afraid to take a chance.” So you need to be prepared to take risks and face it when you plan to start a business. A well-structured plan will definitely build a business. However, here are a few ideas to help you get started:

Things to know before starting a business,

  • Plan your business ideas according to the market demand
  • Be ready to face business challenges and failures
  • Know the strength of your business plan
  • Gather your investment
  • Know who your team includes
  • Know your business work place

So, if you are clear on the above, and are searching for business concepts, you have come to the right place to get the information you need. Check out the ideas below on the best new businesses to consider.

Top 10 business start up ideas

Creative business

We’re all creative in our own way. So use your creative ideas to earn money. There just might be people who will like your creative products and buy them. You can earn a lot through selling the things you make as a hobby.

Some examples of creative business are Boutique, Interior designer, Crafts seller, Sports trainer, Jewelry making.

Online business

Online business is in high demand. You can earn a lot doing internet business, and the good part is you never have to leave home.

Online businesses includes Blogging, Affiliate marketing, Data storage, and online product sales.


This is a process of earning from your experiences. There are many people around the world who are in need of your advice to solve their problems. Let the experiences you’ve gained make money for you by offering to help people. Consulting can be face-to-face or online.

Areas of consulting include Virtual assistant, Financial and health insurance assistant, and Management consultant.


Products can be sold either online or directly to consumers. Plan to offer discounts or promotions in order to attract people to your products and potentially increase your profits.

Sales business includes Wholesale food sales, Product sales etc.


Foreign language skills are in demand. If you are fluent in another language, you can offer your services as either a translator of documents or as an interpreter. The advantage of translation services is that they can be done online.

Cleaning and custodial

This field has experienced rapid growth in the past 5 years. People are having their homes, vehicles, and pets taken care of by cleaning agencies. There is also the possibility of commercial cleaning contracts for offices, small factories or stores. Among the fastest growing cleaning businesses are Vehicle cleaning, Pets cleaning, House cleaning

Event management

Due to the hectic pace of modern life, many people find they don’t have time to arrange social and other events themselves. In addition, organizations often find they lack the skills to effectively stage events. Event management specialists are in demand for the whole range of activities from decoration, catering, venue selection and preparation, and other services.

Examples of event management include birthday parties, weddings, and receptions.


This is a type of work that covers a wide range of activities, from caring for people to house sitting. Success in this field requires empathy and attention to detail. Caretaking tasks include childcare, eldercare, house sitter, and pet caretaker, among others.


Recycling involves collection of recyclable items and either recycling them or transporting them to an appropriate facility. Some items, such as cans and bottles, are often recycled into art objects or other useful items. Care must be taken with such items as computer or TV parts which often contain harmful or toxic materials. Check with your local government for any license requirements for this activity.

Computer or Electronic Repair Technician

A fast-growing field, computer or electronic equipment repair requires specialized training. In many cities there are schools providing such training, but it is wise to check the credentials and student post-training employment records before enrolling.

Author Bio: This guest post was contributed by Lucy, financial guest blogger from Manchester, UK. Find out more about her blogs