As someone who is in the throes of writing a book, I am always interested in reading stories from those who are popular. And I am very happy to see that the most popular book being sold in Australia now is The Barefoot Investor.
If you have not read "the only money guide you will ever need", I suggest you do. As a professional in the advice and investing community, it's a great insight into what mass Australia wants. It's also written in plain speak English, just like how a friend would talk, and represents the voice of someone who has grown their own brand and business model by being independent and passionate.
Now I know this may not be the most popular view to hold, when it's clear the book and Scott Pape have criticised large segments of the industry. However, he is serving mass Australia with his content. Many of his readers would not believe they could afford, or would need, a financial adviser, but they obviously need money advice or why else would they buy the book? (Well over 200,000 copies have been sold so far.)
The point of difference I found in his book was twofold. Firstly, he broke the process down for investors on how to get on top of their money, in a way that used humour, and gave insight into what people really need to do to conquer building wealth and being financially independent. He suggests going out to dinner to discuss these stages and to celebrate the wins.
He also suggests that budgets are too hard and that a bucketed amount for spending should be agreed upon, and the rest allocated elsewhere. None of this is rocket science, but it is both practical and doable.
He labels this process with fun names like calling your savings account 'mojo' to get you excited about the possibilities of what you can achieve – something which everyone in this industry is trying to do, but is one of the hardest psychological barriers to getting people to change their money habits.
He also tells you products which are a good value and appropriate. Now here is where I think it's harder for the advice community to compete. So often I hear people ask "where should I put my money?" The legalities of product recommendation are, and rightly so, tightly surrounded by compliance and legislation that it's near impossible for a financial adviser to write materials that tell readers what product to choose.
Meaning an author like Scott can add value in a way that many of the advice community cannot.
But rather than seeing this as a negative, or taking away from advice, I believe he is giving people steps that may well lead them to advice in the future. By getting the basics right, getting rid of debt and having enough savings, people are ready to make the next move.
So if you have not read the book, I suggest you help Scott’s sales along even further and read it. As someone who has spent more than 20 years writing for, and generating education materials for the advice community, I learned a thing or two from it, and take great joy that our genre, money management and creating wealth, is a best seller – a sure sign more Australians are waking up to taking financial responsibility.
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