Barefoot Investor - Is It Worth The Hype ?

So a few of my friends regularly post about how reading the Barefoot Investor book has changed their life dramatically. For example one posted basically that because of the book they saved $200 a month on internet and mobile plans and another $200 a month on shopping around on insurance policies …..

I mean that's all well and good for them, but don't people shop around anyway ? I know that I shop around anytime I am out of contract or if I get a insurance renewal I never take just run with it….I shop around for every thing basically !!

Are his money saving principals really that basic ?

(I'm ready for all the loves of Barefoot to shoot me down which is ok but I really don't get what the hype is ?)

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Comments

  • +122 votes

    Got halfway through the book and realised i do a majority of things he says so stopped reading

    • -123 votes

      Wow, that is a stupid attitude to have and morons on this site are upvoting it. Did you at least skim the remaining chapters to see if there was something you could learn?

    • +5 votes

      I think I might have read the book. It might be the one I took to the Australian Open 30 years ago to read during quiet spells (there were none), and left the book behind. I vowed from that day I would never spend another cent on someone telling me how to save money.

      My brother recently asked me about this book. I told him to save his money, it's all just common sense. He got it anyway (which to me is typical of his throwing money at things) and everything he shares with me I'm surprised that it was worth writing down. Surely everybody knows everything this author has to say?? It isn't rocket science. I don't think you'd get your ozbargain license without knowing more than him.

      (However, what I say is common sense, I may have got from his book many years ago??)

      • +2 votes

        Even if you learn one thing from the book its worth more than the $12.
        He teaches a lot in there, not just saving on electricity, gas, phones, bills. He teaches saving strategies (which are very basic but some people really do get use out of them) He teaches people how to ring their bank and reduce their mortgage (literally gives them a script of what to say to the bank), shows them the best mortgages out on the market at the moment. He shows them the best performing super funds (which can save literally hundreds of thousands over a lifetime) He shows them how to manage spare money, how to look for financial planners who aren't just going to offer you the best plan that they take a percentage of your investments from which can be thousands and thousands. He gives you ideas on how to get your kids into saving and investing. He advises to on not getting into too much debt, and that happiness is measured more on security than earnings. He also tells people what to get in order in the way of wills, funeral expenses, passwords and codes for bank accounts and investments.
        99.9% of the population would not know everything in the book, and it does change peoples lives. I wouldn't dismiss it as 'common sense', most of it was known for me, saying that i went and got a 0.2% discount on my mortgage so it's saving me around $700 a year. And it motivated me to get my will, and start organising my financial future.

        • +3 votes

          maybe it's just me, but everything you listed I ticked off as obvious. Except ringing the bank. My book would say shop around for cheapest no frills online loan - it'll be cheaper than you can negotiate??

          I suspect the author knows that the same people who don't manage their money well will gladly fork out $12 to try to motivate themselves to do better. He should have made it a monthly newsletter to keep the $$ rolling in.

    • +1 vote

      Yep, at the very least, you have affirmed that you're on the right track financially. There's nothing wrong with that at all IMO

    •  

      good for people who know nothing about saving, bargain shopping for services or investing :)

  • +103 votes

    Would you trust the financial advice from someone who couldn't afford shoes?

    • +16 votes

      He can afford them, but no one got wealthy spending all their money on frivolous things… /s

      •  

        But you want to be wealthy so that you can spend money on frivolous things..

        • +1 vote

          He buys everything from Ali Express - clothes, seeds for fruit that grow shaped like penises…Xiaomi pens…everything.

  • +79 votes

    It's a guide to finance that covers a lot of the basics and does teach a lot of useful information, arguably what everyone should be taught as they are growing up.

    But the problem is, they aren't, so this book fill's a knowledge gap in a lot of people's lives.

    Sure, a lot of people will already know what this book covers and more, but a significant amount of people aren't taught money-related information and this book helps fill that gap in a easy to understand way.

    A gardening book probably isn't useful to Costa, but I sure as shit couldn't keep coriander alive without it.

    • -35 votes

      People aren’t taught money-related information? How hard is it to grasp the concept of spending less than you receive?
      Most people just want things immediately rather than saving and budgeting.

      • +58 votes

        Ok, let's think about it another way.

        How hard is it to grasp the concept of spending eating less food than you receive burn?

        Hard, apparently, according to all the obese and overweight people in society, and in this instance, people in significant debt.

        This book isn't made for people who don't want to improve their financial situation. It's a source of information allowing people the ability to do something positive financially to improve their situation. It's not a bible, nor is it the be-all-and-end-all of financial knowledge.

      • +4 votes

        Get a load of this guy who's never heard of superannuation, stocks, bank fees or interest.

      • -2 votes

        Pretty unloved comment, but I agree.

        I've never relied on parents or an education system, I find what I need to know for myself. It's made me very untrusting, eg I can't use financial advisers, but overall I think I'm better off. It's good to think for yourself, and you will reach the same conclusions as you'd learn from the book, but be able to apply to any situation, not have to see whether the book addresses your situation.

        I reckon if the stuff in this book is revolutionary for you, someone smarter than you is going to take your money. In fact, the publishers have already started.

        My brother is doing almost insignificant things from the book but not doing the things what would make a real difference to his finances.

        I honestly thought I should be writing a book, coz I've learned more on ozbargain than I did from this book.

        • +5 votes

          The book is not for you then, but it is useful for others who may not be savvy.

          It's better to be a bit financially smarter from reading this book than to have never read it and have no financial knowledge at all.

      • +5 votes

        It's not just about spending, it teaches saving, investing and growing your money. It's pretty basic stuff but you'd be surprised what a lot of people don't know.

      • +1 vote

        People aren’t taught money-related information?

        If you have a look at the stats on how many people don't pay off their credit card, you would understand that clearly people are not taught.

  • +30 votes

    Yeah some of my friends have been talking about how good it is, they're raving about these strange new concepts of "savings accounts" and "budgeting".

    •  

      There was an article I was reading today, stats from the ATO for people earning 45k-$120k or so earn on average ~$500 in bank interest which sounds pretty wild.

      It's started a phenomenon where every one sticks their wage into a 'savings' account and everytime they go a check out they hold everyone up when they have to transfer

      • +2 votes

        Bank savings accounts hardly earn more than the inflation rate now. If you're transferring money out of a savings account every time you want to purchase groceries then you're doing it wrong.

        • +1 vote

          Ozbargain taught me to use fee free point earning credit cards.

          But I wouldn't have thought of that before I came here regularly.

          • +3 votes

            @Superannuation: The 0zB Investor

            Chapter 1 - Free T Shirts.

          • +1 vote

            @Superannuation: I am not a 100% behind that advise. Like all things you need to calculate the benefits, a fee based credit card with signup bonus's can actually be far better than a fee free credit card if you do things correctly and churn appropriately. e.g. an annual fee of $200-$400 is expensive, but when it comes with a 100,000 qantas points (conservatively worth $1000) it is actually very cheap, especially if you never pay interest because you manage your finances well and dump them and move on in the following year.

            • +1 vote

              @gromit: Too "hard" for most people as it requires discipline, effort and maybe even patience. Barefoot's advise is really simplistic making it easy to follow for the majority.

              •  

                @abc: yep that is why they offer those deals, they realise most people don't have the discipline to manage their finances properly so they will make the money back in interest. For those that do manage their finances well it is basically low hanging freebies ripe for the taking.

  • +18 votes

    borrow a copy from the library and see if its for you.

    some basic stuff in there, but also some decent advice.

    really its just a well written basic financial advice book that breaks it down to simple to understand terms

  • +10 votes

    I am surprised by this but theres a LOT of people who dont bother shopping around / changing providers because 'too much effort' or 'i like this company' various other excuses. Maybe this just encourages them to change their mindset.

  • +4 votes

    It's a very short book. Just read it!

  • +4 votes

    You would be surprised how many basic things in modern life people are not taught or do not understand. I guess it is good for them, not good for everyone. I personally wouldnt buy or read it.

  • +18 votes

    they saved $200 a month on internet and mobile plans

    If you are the sort of person who is paying ~$300 a month for mobile and internet, yes you probably need to read the book. If not, then there is not likely to be anything too revolutionary in there for you.

    • +1 vote

      Agree, shes not the smartest cookie !!

    • +1 vote

      Yes. When people say they've saved $X per month on their phone plan I just wonder how they were spending that much money in the first place. My wife and I spend ~$30 each on our phones - and I feel decadent with that because most months we could get away with a $20 plan, but I don't want to deal with the hassle for the months when we need more.

      • +1 vote

        i spent $20 all up for a year.

        I bought two milo cans on special and a lot of string, and after consuming the milo had a cheap phone system.

        The hardest part was the wait! At least I had some milo to drink…

      • +4 votes

        Get yourself a12 month boost mobile plan

    •  

      Yeah, for 2 people in our house, our plans are $40/month each and I even wanted to reduce that to $30 each, but Voda-cow wouldn't :(

  • +4 votes

    This book is really how to budget and grow wealth for dummies. It does have some good stuff that is very practical. Depending on how financially savvy you are will depend on how much you get from it though. Not all the concepts will work for everyone though.

  • +15 votes

    I just finished listening to the audiobook (2018 version) a few days ago and really loved it. It's good solid financial information for Australians and is probably the best start for a young person or financial newbie. The audiobook is also entertaining and fun.

    You also take what you need out of it. I don't have a phone plan, I just buy iphones outright and have prepaid. That bit is not relevant to my life. I'm also stay at home mum/ carer to my disabled son, so I don't have any superannuation, so all all the lovely information about superannuation is not something I can implement in my life.

    How the book changed my thoughts about money was that I was always curious about (but never was brave enough to ask) is how to buy shares. I had no idea that you could just do it through your bank. So because of his book I have joined my banks shared trading program and will start buying shares. Just his few sentences about how to buy shares (and that is is for long long term investment, not trading) was enough for me to get started.

    Also the bit about not stressing about paying off HECS, and that your HECS debt will die with you was fanastic news for me (as full time carer who will never go back to work, but who has two degrees with their accompanying HECS debt)

    So basically you take from the book what you need.

    • +8 votes

      Without intruding too much on your personal situation, is there a working partner that can make a co-contribution to super for you? At least enough to get the government $500 for $1k contribution for low income earners.

      Well done on the shares. To diversify, consider some of the exchange traded funds that invest in "the market" rather than individual companies. Something like IVV (S&P500) or VESG (socially responsible overseas companies). There are dozens of ETFs to choose from investing in local and foreign sectors.

      HECs: My daughter just finished a Uni course. $29k in fees. I wanted to give her $29k in shares and have a HECs debt. My ex insisted we pay the fees so she was HECs free. Here we are almost 12months after she finished her course and she's still working casual in a coffee shop earning less than the tax free threshold. At least with the shares she'd be getting a bit more income…

      • +2 votes

        Wow thank you brad-8tsi for your reply. Great information, I will have to research about the $500 for 1K super contributions, wow free money (LOL). I had no idea this was even an option for me. Yes I have a husband who will help in this regard. Thank you.

        I will also have to research about EFT's. Another thing I had no idea about.

        Yes I was suprised about the HECS debt thing too. The Barefoot Investor, just said let HECS do it's thing and don't worry about it. The number of people I have known over the years who have struggled to pay HECS, worred themselves over it etc. It was a relief not to have to think about it anymore. I have two daughters who have recently finished uni too, so let them both know not to worry.

        Thanks again for your help. I'm keen to research more about the super and the EFTS, so thank you.

      •  

        That's a shame - I think your shares instead of HECS debt was a wise idea.

        •  

          That's what I think too (obviously). I'm doing it with #2 - especially as she's so disengaged with learning that education costs will be a waste of money.

    • +2 votes

      I just buy iphones

      I thought that was the first line of chapter 2 - "don't buy Apple Products"

  •  

    Disclaimer: I haven't read it (yet). My GF has and she said it takes you step-by-step from basics to more complicated investing strategies.

    Her boss ($400k+ combined household income) used it in conjunction with a financial planner and it sharpened up their investment strategy and also gave them more confidence in their financial planner's advice.

    We've lent it to my SIL & her husband (combined household income of $100k and really hopeless with money). I'm not sure if it's made any difference to them or if they've even read it.

  • +13 votes

    As someone new to the whole independent thing, with parents and family who never were good with money. It's been very useful to me, sure it's not for everyone but if you read it and don't learn anything new, appreciate that you had the opportunities to learn these principles from people in your life, or knew to ask the right questions in the first place, don't label others as 'morons' for not having the same opportunities.

    But I'm curious, what book would people recommend either instead of Barefoot Investor or as a stepping stone afterwards?

    •  

      Asking in Ozbargain Finance of course.

      Jokes aside, the book is a good shortcut. To truly improve, one needs to research A LOT. Don't spend until you understand what you're getting. IE Do you shop for food in one place every year? Try a different place once every 6 months with exact same groceries. The answer might surprise you (Tongue in cheek)

      Some things to research:

      Marketing tricks/exploits.

      Dark patterns of websites.

      Privacy/Disloyalty is important. Otherwise companies like Google/Travel site will know how much you spend and charge more because you don't care.

      •  

        Thanks for the reply Orange.

        I like to think I am quite a frugal person and don't fall for the typical marketing/advertising as well as tend to shop around for a good 3-6 months for any purchases out of the norm, I do have a weakspot for the bargains on this site though.
        I will look into the comment regarding travel sites and their pricing model, try it with a VPN and different browsers/devices to see the kind of price differences I get.

        I'm primarily looking for advice on what kind of investments I should make for my medium to long term future, any blogs or sites you would recommend, I'm happy to dig for the information but it's difficult when you don't know what you're looking for.

    • +1 vote

      don't label others as 'morons' for not having the same opportunities.

      Some people are far too entitled to be able to count the blessings in their lives.

      It's commendable that you are making sincere efforts to improve your financial situation. Acquiring the essential knowledge would be the first step in donig that, so kudos to you there for being on the right path.

  • +14 votes

    Just read it. Even if you know 95% of what he talks about, that 5% could make a difference so why not? You also don't have to agree with everything he says. Reading is all about learning a different perspective then making up your own mind.

  • +5 votes

    Basically if you are a financial idiot, its great advice.
    If you aren't (insert blowing hot air up my own ass), then its just a great way to confirm that what you are doing is on the right track, and may require small tweaking to achieve your goals.

    It does contain very basic information, but I think its great.
    I read Tony Roberts "Money" book, which is made for Americans, speaks a lot about Super. After reading that I didn't do anything, but then I read Barefoot Investor and made changes to my super. It also changed my investment habits a little bit.

    It is a small book so you could just loan it from the library.

  •  

    It really is a book that makes it simple for people that have no thoughts about how to save money.

    You can probably get the book for free somewhere (library) or even in a op shop cheap. The book has been around for at least over 10 years (I remember reading the first edition a long time ago) I don't think the added stuff over time is going to be a heap of value, just pick up whatever version you find.

    It is a quick read, what do you have to lose?

  •  

    i dont spend over $100 on mobile+internet per month. please tell me how to earn $100 for using mobile and internet services.

  • +1 vote

    At least it's not Tim Ferris.

    Don't spend everything.
    Save something.
    Pay your bills.
    Shop around for cheap prices.
    Compound interest is a thing.

    Did I miss much? It was a skim read on my part.

    • +3 votes

      Hostplus should be your super fund

      invest in either VAS or AFI - but only after you have paid off your family home

      otherwise you nailed it

      • +2 votes

        Why not as well as? I’ve got a fair bit of cash spread across a number of ETF’s, diversifying essentially.

        For starters, my ETF’s are up about 14% this year (my mortgage is 3.7%, so I’m about 6% in the green (after tax) on my investments, instead of paying off my family home

        Secondly, if I ever want to convert the family home to an IP, I need to maximise the loan against it, so I’m best to not pay it off.

        I like your advise on ETF’s, but there’s a few more considerations…

        •  

          Oh course IOO, IOZ etc heaps of great EFT's but i was just saying that is what Scott Pape recommends

          Full disclosure i own VAS in my portfolio

  • +5 votes

    It's good stuff. I've been reading personal finance blogs for years and they all cover the same principles over and over, but they're US-based so not all of it is relevant. Barefoot is all the same content but Australia specific, so the book filled some gaps for me.
    I think there's some value in it for everyone, no matter what your situation is. Like others have said, at least borrow it from your library. Even if you find out you've been following his principles already, there's probably something you're missing.

  • +1 vote

    I mean that's all well and good for them, but don't people shop around anyway ?

    I think that's the same as asking why doesn't everyone use OzBargain, some people care more about saving a buck and others simply do not.

  •  

    Some valid points, but it’s really based on a the average family l, both parents working who don’t know where their money has gone. If you know what you are doing, it can help plug some leaks, but won’t give you 1000s of dollars.

    Eg: Don’t pay bank fees.
    I haven’t ever paid bank fees between student accounts and ANZ waiving fees for teachers. My husband gets fee free accounts because his employer banked with a certain bank (happened to be his preferred).

  • +7 votes

    It’s like any guide book. If you’re a master builder, a Bunnings handyman guide probably isn’t going to help you very much.

    My wife’s read them and loves them. It’s a great way of starting a conversation — rather than an argument — about these important issues. She’s now thinking far more about the future financially than either of us was prior to reading them.

  • +6 votes

    If you want to know, grab it from the library and skim it. No cost.

    If it's too basic then you're already ahead of a lot of the population, so start reading the Mr Money Mustache blog instead.

    •  

      Just a thing with MMM blog. His wife ran a online shop & was earning quite a bit of $ on etsy; Why this matters - they were turning over $400 p/w from memory, while they were "retired" (only admitted after some people found out) plus houses in the US are like $100k.
      So him earning $ from his 'investments' (saved because he had a high paying job, at least for American), plus earning $400 per week non disclosed, plus $5k mortgage payment. When you have all that lined up, its not too hard (your literally living on $800 per week after mortgage in the US where wage is like $8 an hour).

      So a lot of the stuff just does not compute well to Australia, but everybody should be trying to save a big % of income always.

  •  

    True…all his advice is basic and common sense but people generally don't have a plan for their finances. He offers one which is easy to follow and works.

    Bear in most of his ideas are based on the work of US finance radio personality Dave Ramsey. If you want better advice watch his YouTube videos.

  • +6 votes

    You are right, it is generally common sense stuff, however you're making a mistake in your thinking here. You are assuming that everyone is like you, with a similar background, education, modelling and information available to them. Many people are not.

    For a significant number of young Australians (and old for that matter) they've been raised with a poor level of financial literacy, with money management modeled to them by parents who live in a cycle of poverty, using store finance, short term lenders and Afterpay. People with a poor level of financial literacy view money management as scary and it's something they don't want to ask other people about as it is assumed knowledge and people are ashamed to be without it.

    The Barefoot Investor makes it easy to access this information without feeling embarrassed.

    And you have to remember that we don't know what we don't know. Ozbargainers generally understand budgeting and good money management. Not everyone does.

  • +3 votes

    Some people are TERRIBLE with money. The book is for them, and I highly recommend it.
    We got the book and we're already doing most of the suggestions.

  • -2 votes

    When he had a tv show, I was a teenager and I opened up a first home saver account and was getting awesome returns and government co-contributions. But then Tony Abbot came to power and and closed my account >:-/ I moved it into super, but I prob would have had a house by now on barefoot's advice if Abbot didn't foil it. I do save and never use credit or afterpay but it's not as motivating without the great interest and returns. I did buy the book for my partner (with my partner's money >___<) and it got him saving.

  • +2 votes

    Good basic advice for people who dont live within there means

    Also gives good advice on super which most people dont even think about they just allow the default super for work

    Not going to say it was ground breaking information but it is all 'good' advice.

    The truth is he gives better advice then most financial advisers i've met

    He has no vested interest which is why he is popular

  • +3 votes

    It’s great info. If my kids could only buy one financial book to guide them through life and subscribe to one newsletter it would be Scott’s. Yes it’s basic to medium level stuff but totally necessary for everyone to grasp and or revisit.
    I wouldn’t trust my kids to see 99% of the financial planners out there because they simply charge too much and are only interested in milking you. Scott is not and gives great guidance and info.

    Subscribe, it’s more than worth it.

    •  

      Last year, too. He'll be closing shop and starting a not for profit financial counselling service.

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