The Cold Hard Truth About Men, Women & Money

My latest read is the ever-controversial Kevin O’Leary’s The Cold Hard Truth About Men, Women, and Money. It’s taken me a solid six months to get over my disdain for the man and the way he treats presenters on Dragon’s Den but this book has increased his standing in my eyes.

While other books on investing and personal financial management take a friendly approach to convincing you to pay yourself first, commit to saving, and live within your means, O’Leary basically takes the hardcover book and hits you over the head with it. His polarized views and no guff delivery leave you never wanting to buy another Starbucks coffee or smoke another cigarette.

Here are three things I took away from the book:

1. Be brutally honest with yourself

What’s preventing so many of us from getting a hold on our financial situations and taking the necessary steps to improving it is the inability and lack of desire to take a real look at debt, spending habits and current financial health. Start by being brutally honest with yourself and scrutinizing every detail of your credit card spending and excess spending on things like cigs, lunches, coffees, and magazines. (I use mint.com for this and it’s awesome)

2. Pay your student loans off in your 20s and pay down your mortgage in your 30s

Life is a constant battle to have the upper hand against the bank. This is much easier said than done. As Kevin says, from the moment you’re born, the bank and the world are trying to take money from you. By committing to paying off your student loans and your mortgage (if you choose to have one) as quickly as possible, you can finally be the one making money off of the bank – instead of their hand being a permanent fixture in your pocket.

3. Beans now, steak later

Too many young people start making a relatively decent salary and start living like rock stars. The reality is that going out for lunch 4 days a week, swinging by Starbucks a couple times a day, and going out for drinks a few times a week are sure ways to end up having to work until you’re 85 to afford retirement. Kevin uses the example of a man who bought rental property, spent 12 hours a day renovating, serving his renters, and collecting rent. He ate nothing but rice and beans for years. When he finally made his money back and was able to purchase another valuable property after 20+ years, he rewarded himself with a steak. “Beans now, steak later” is good motivation for living within your means and coming out way on top later on.

Linden’s Book Rating: 8/10. Check it out.

Here he is on Kobo in Conversation: