Book Review

Smart Couples Finish Rich – Ch. 2 Review

This post is part of my review of Smart Couples Finish Rich by David Bach. The chapter 1 review can be found here.

This chapter is about your values and what you want to do with your life. I found it quite interesting because a lot of personal finance books focus on trying to retire with as much money as possible or they focus on trying to retire with as little as possible. The reality is that you have to decide for yourself what is important in terms of your financial security and figure out how you want your life to go. It’s not good enough just to decide that you need $X dollars in retirement, you have to tie together your current lifestyle while working with your retirement goals so that it all goes together. Usually this means cutting back on your lifestyle while working so that you can save for retirement.

One of his examples of analyzing your values during your working years was health & fitness. Bach says that if it is one of your top values then you should devote the time and money to work on it. If $50/month for a gym membership doesn’t fit into your budget then you should cut something else out that you don’t value as much and make the gym membership happen. Obviously if your values include expensive hobbies then you have to make some decisions. One of the important points of this chapter is about taking control of your life and schedule. Sometimes people get so busy that they don’t make time to do things that they like to do, like get together with old friends, hiking, bicycling etc. Some of these activities don’t even cost any money but they take some time and planning in order to happen.

Determining values is an important exercise for a couple because lots of times people don’t know what their partners values are and this can complicate retirement planning as well as planning your finances during your working years.

8 replies on “Smart Couples Finish Rich – Ch. 2 Review”

Good stuff, I have found that if I don’t schedule healthy activites or hobbies they tend not to happen. If I write it down on the calendar it makes it easier to give myself permission to do it.

I think I commented back on the review of the 1st chapter how much I realy enjoyed the “values” chapter. Discussing our values really helped my husband and I tweak our budget to spend money on things that bring the most enjoyment to our lives and less on things that don’t.

We’ve since added more money to the “health & fitness” catagory (hockey league, a few sessions of personal training here and there, etc.) and travel catagories (both because we enjoy it and to get around to visiting out of town family & friends more). At the same time, we reminded ourselves that we don’t get a big reward out of mortgage payments (i.e. buying a bigger house) and car payments (i.e. keep driving the beaters). Some things just really don’t fit into your true ‘values’.

I really enjoyed this chapter and I think it’s a really great tool to use in budgeting. It’s probably a good idea to revisit your goals & values from time to time. I think I might just pull out this book again…

Thanks Mike!

Kyle – I know what you mean.

Telly – You’re welcome. One problem with the values section though is that sometimes values change. Three years ago I was pretty gung ho to buy a big expensive house, we ended up getting a fixer which translated into a very nice expensive house. Now I realize that my values don’t include being house poor but there is not a lot I can do about it. We could downsize but with the hassle and fees involved I just can’t see it happening.


That’s exactly why it’s a good idea to revisit your values and goals! We revisit them occasionally to remind us that maybe there’s nothing wrong with living in a “starter” house right till the end. We’ll see how long the attitude lasts. 😉

One doesn’t need a gym membership at all. I still do 5BX, the exercise program invented by the RCAF in the 1950s. It’s the cheapest possible fitness option you could find. I bought the book for about $1.50 back in the 1960s and still use it (so that’s about 3.5 cents per year), you can find the whole thing copied for free on the Internet. Just do a Google search. It requires no equipment and takes only 11 minutes per day and can be done anywhere there’s enough space to lie prone.

I think even more than the specific point about health, Bach’s point is that you have to have some REASON to live life other than just making money. The gym/health is a good example, but not the only one. If your pursuit of money interferes with your relationships or your interests or passions, what does that say about the relative value of those things? If you would rather work an extra 2 hours per day at your job for $50 per hour, does that mean you’d rather get $100 per day than work out and live longer? Than spending time with your family? Than biking, running, blogging, whatever?

If you ask me, any personal finance book that doesn’t highlight the fact that you need to have a reason for achieving your financial goals isn’t worth reading! Bach does a good job of emphasizing this fact with this chapter.

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