text or supplemental reading for those teaching personal finance
on a secondary or college level. Useful addition to school
libraries and resource for school counselors.
Enjoy Your Money! How to Make It, Save It, Invest It and Give It,
by J. Steve Miller (Wisdom Creek Press, 2009, 254 pp., includes index,
documentation, discounts for bulk purchases, chapter reviews, thought
questions, assignments, free web-based teacher resources,
recommended further reading. Retail price: $15.99, but
discounted for multi-volume purchases or for review copies.
Available to schools and libraries through
wholesalers/distributors Follett Library Resources, Baker &
Taylor, as well as Amazon.com.)
High school principal Dr. Phillip Page (North Cobb
High School, Cobb County School System) reported, "Teachers of financial management and life skills will be thrilled to discover this book! Miller uses people stories to breathe life into financial concepts, making lessons both memorable and enjoyable. As an educator, I was impressed that the book:
- goes beyond “the same old stuff” that students hate;
- expands minds with research-based facts;
- engages minds with intriguing angles and creative assignments;
- challenges students beyond selfish accumulation to consider service to humanity;
- includes multiple cultures;
- offers hope to those with learning disabilities.
Robert Martin, Lecturer of Accounting in the prestigious Coles College of Business
(one of Princeton Review's best business schools) --
"A fast, fun read with practical and often remarkable insights. Should be required reading for every high school senior and every young adult who has landed his or her first full-time job. I'm incorporating parts of the book into my lectures."
Dr. Dwight "Ike" Reighard, Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer of HomeBanc
-- "Had I read this book in my 20’s, I’d be financially independent today. It’s a remarkable blend of fabulous research with clear and lively writing. You’d pay an expert quite a sum for this caliber of counsel. That’s why I say that the best investment you make this year just might be this book. Your second best investment will be the copies you buy for your children."
Larry Winter, of Winter & Scoggins, CPA's
-- "As a practicing CPA and financial counselor for the past 35 years, I've read scores of books and periodicals on personal finance. Just when you think you've heard it all, something like this comes along. It's rare and refreshing to find a book so enjoyable, so accurate, and so life changing. I’m purchasing 200 copies to give away to graduating seniors."
Cliff Pletschet of the Oakland (California) Tribune
-- "Whether you are a beginner or advanced investor, do yourself a favor and absorb Miller's advice, filtered engagingly through rapport between a skillful mentor and her inquisitive followers."
School Teacher with 20+ Years Experience --
"Miller's book is overflowing with appealing and agreeably
structured information existing as coursework, conversation
materials and motivation packed notations." "Miller has created
a nicely penned, well-ordered manuscript intended to assist
anyone at any phase of earning, saving, investing and enjoying
their money. The text is chatty and packed with plenty of
practical and constructive data. Coursework and assignments are
designed to give support to the reader toward making
constructive changes toward, or continuing good money
management." - Reviewed by Molly Martin, 20+ Year Classroom
Teacher, for The Compulsive Reader) For this
complete review, click here.
"Steve Miller has written an engaging story that will
allow young people to learn a great number of useful things
about personal finance in a relatively painless manner."
Ann D. Witte, PhD, Professor of Economics, Wellesley
VOYA Magazine, Voice of Youth Advocates, "The Library
Magazine Serving Those Who Serve Young Adults" "VOYA is
the only magazine that matters for librarians working with young
adults. . . . Simply the best there is."—Patrick Jones, public
librarian and author of Connecting Young Adults and Libraries,
2nd Ed. (Neal-Schuman, 1998).
Miller, J. Steve. Enjoy Your Money! How to Make It, Save It,
Invest It, and Give It. Wisdom Creek Press, 2009. 270p. $15.99.
978-0-9818756-7-5. Index. Illus. Charts. Source Notes. Further
"Miller’s practical approach to saving, investing, and paying
cash emphasizes that managing is as important as making money
and allows each person to set priorities for life goals within a
context of honesty, integrity, and generosity. Four students of
Asian, African American, Caucasian, and Hispanic ethnicity, are
assigned In-School Suspension and eventually, with the help of
Mrs. Kramer, a teacher and money-management wizard, form The
Counter-Culture Club, a kind of financial Breakfast Club. In
four parts divided into breakfasts, the five plus Mrs. Kramer’s
guests sort out financial challenges and ways to meet them.
Although the situations and conversations sometimes seem forced,
the overall content will persuade readers that anyone can
realize stability and personal satisfaction with thoughtful
resource planning. Each breakfast contains a flashback and
review, a new topic discussion, a preview of and preparation for
the next session, a self-questioning, and suggestions for
further information. Several sessions include instructive and
entertaining personal money management stories. As with
Teenvestor (Perigree/Berkley, 2002/VOYA June 2002), the
excellent complementary Web site (http://www.enjoyyourmoney.org)
contains stand-alone advice and free instructional materials
that expand the book’s content and purpose.
Miller’s message is that financial responsibility gives personal
freedom and the power to contribute to something larger than
oneself. Short, easy-to-read sections facilitate individual
self-improvement or collaboration. Miller offers great support
for junior or senior high students faced with their own or their
parents’ financial challenges and provides teachers and support
groups a wealth of information and direction." — Review by Lucy Schall.
High School Teacher - "As a high school
teacher for over 30 years, I have seen a void develop with our
youth about how to handle money. This book fills that void and
should be used in all high schools and colleges. It is so good
and well written that I could not put it down until its
completion. All ages can learn from Mr. Miller's methods that he
presents in just the correct way to make it interesting." -
Review in The Oakland (California) Tribune
View Book on Amazon.com
Book Ordering Information
J. Steve Miller - educator,
investor, entrepreneur, and speaker -
has taught audiences from Atlanta to Moscow. He’s known for
drawing practical wisdom from serious research and
communicating it in accessible, unforgettable ways. In
researching and field testing this book, he not only drew from
respected books in the field of finance, but received input from
business leaders, educational leaders, professors, students,
CPA's, financial advisors and parents.
Steve is the founder and president of Legacy Educational Resources, providing global resources for teachers of life skills in public schools and service organizations at www.character-education.info.
A self-styled "wisdom broker," he collects wisdom from many
fields and packages it for teachers and writers via his
published books and the Web. His wife, Cherie, and their seven
sons continually remind him what works and what doesn’t. Connect
with him at
Q: Steve, what motivated you to write this book?
A: First, people are hurting with their finances. Even before
the current recession, surveys found that:
- Twenty-five percent of American adults live paycheck to paycheck. They fear going under and desperately need to accumulate wealth.
- Ninety-eight percent of middle-aged people reported regret at how they spent their money in the light of how much they could have saved.
- Today's college students graduate with, on average, over $22,000 in debt. Their first job out of college doesn't pay what they expected. They want to get out of debt and accumulate enough wealth to purchase a house.
- Personal debt is reaching record highs as personal savings reach all time lows (under zero percent average savings in 2006). How will people ever get ahead?
Second, to get more personal, Cherie and I are raising seven boys, from 14-year-old twins to a 27-year-old. I don't want them to live their lives experiencing the misery of financial bondage. This book sums up what we're trying to teach them about finding financial freedom.
Q: Bookstores offer shelves of books on personal money management. Why write another one?
A: Some of those books are really good. I read wheelbarrows' full of them in my research and recommend many of them throughout my book and Web-based resources (www.enjoyyourmoney.org). But I thought a different approach was in order, something that could help people totally rethink the way our culture has taught them to manage their money. So I wrote a book with these distinctives:
- Well researched and documented, ensuring
that the advice is solid
- Story form to grab and hold attention
- Multi-Cultural (Afro-American, Hispanic, Oriental, White Anglo-Saxon)
- Multi-Generational, including characters from eighteen to eighty
- Defies stereotypes
- Likeable characters
- Neither talks down to students nor ridicules teachers
- Encourages learning from one another and multiple sources
- Includes building knowledge, skills and character
- Fosters giving as well as getting
- Encourages those with learning disabilities
- Includes reviews, thought questions and assignments
- Broad use of real people stories
Q: The story line reminds me of the movie The Breakfast Club, where high school students from different parts of the school culture broke through the stereotypes to find that they weren't so different after all.
A: Great observation! That movie was a part of my inspiration. So I've got this white cheerleader, an Afro-American muscle car enthusiast, a Hispanic do-gooder and an Asian low achiever. They meet at "In School Suspension" and discover that they've got at least one thing in common: their parents
are inept at personal finances and it hurts their families. They desperately want to do better, but they first must overcome their demons.
Amy, Antonio, Akashi and James
Akashi suffers from undiagnosed disabilities, making her the black sheep of her high achieving siblings. Can a "C" student get any better than a "C" vocation and a "C" life? Antonio loves outdoor adventures and serving the less fortunate. But can he make enough of a living to support a family while working in a potentially low-paying career? James wants to make a million dollars before age 40, but no matter how much he works, he can't seem to save a cent.
They're introduced to Mrs. Kramer, an eccentric high school teacher who's unusually successful with her finances. She meets with them each Saturday morning for breakfast to discuss money management.
The resulting package includes adventure, romance and fascinating people - everything you'd never expect in a financial book.
Q: This book is more about people than numbers.
A: Yes! And not only about my fictional characters, but about real people who've succeeded marvelously with their money. Kramer introduces them to Oseola McCarty, who washed clothes for a living the old fashioned way - boiling them in a kettle over a fire. After arthritis forced her into retirement, she shocked the world by giving a $150,000 gift to a college to allow deserving students to get the education she never had. How did she save $280,000 dollars while working such a low-paying job?
Young Warren Buffett started making money with lemonade stands, finding and selling golf balls, and running paper routes. With jobs that anybody could do, he ended up making more than his teachers while he was in high school. Then he multiplied that money into billions. What were his secrets?
The answers aren't hard to comprehend; they're just counterintuitive - not what you'd expect. The book introduces the reader to a host of interesting people and their finances, from Thomas Jefferson to Mark Twain to Sam Walton. I
think that financial principles are more easily understood and applied when you learn them in the context of people stories.
Yet, math weaves its way through the story, as students prepare
budgets, figure compound interest, calculate grocery savings,
Q: With the story line, I assume your target audience is high school seniors?
A: My characters range from 18 to 80 years old. Warren Buffett started investing at age 11. My grandmother started saving and investing at age sixty-five. At age 101, with her sharp mind intact, she's accumulated a small fortune. If the interest is there, I'm
finding that a wide range of ages enjoy it and reap the benefit.
Q: In the book, you keep referring readers to your Web site for more information. Why didn't you just include everything in the book?
A: Because few people would buy a 1000 page book that's about finances instead of Harry Potter! Even fewer would actually read it once they brought it home. Personal finance is a very broad subject. My copy of Benjamin Graham's classic,
The Intelligent Investor, is over 600 pages, and it just covers one slice of personal finances: investing in stocks. The Web gives me unlimited space to
offer teacher resources and cover topics that readers want to
explore further. I think many will especially find helpful the in depth summaries of other books related to personal finance. If you want to get a snapshot of the advice of several financial writers, or to get the scoop on a book before you buy it, I think you'll find my
executive summaries valuable.
Q: How much do the Web resources cost?
A: They're free. You can find them at
Introduction: Part One – Investing Money
- Breakfast 1 – Discover the Basics
Oseola McCarty cleaned clothes for a living the old fashioned way - boiling them in a pot over a fire. So how did she accumulate over a quarter of a million dollars, when people making multiples of her salary can't seem to get by?
- Breakfast 2 – Catch the Vision
Young Warren Buffet worked paper routes and found and sold golf balls - stuff that anybody can do. But through saving and investing, he out-earned his teachers while he was in high school. How did investing multiply that money into billions?
- Breakfast 3 – Don’t Lose Money in Stocks
"Hash Brown" made all of the mistakes that most investors make, losing tons of money trying to beat the market. He shares his hard-earned lessons with wisdom from Warren Buffett,
mutual fund expert John Bogle, Buffett's mentor Benjamin Graham, and
Wall Street Journal personal finance columnist Jason Zweig, leading readers safely through the investing minefield.
- Breakfast 4 – Make Money in Mutual Funds
Here's how to choose stock and bond funds for the ultimate in diversity, safety and healthy returns.
- Breakfast 5 – Diversify with Real Estate.
Travis is a likeable "Dukes of Hazard" type who prefers muscle cars over golf and
real estate over stocks. At twenty-eight years of age, his cars and comfortable home in the country are totally paid off. How did he do it?
- Breakfast 6 – The Breakfast that Almost Wasn’t
A kidnapping, a car chase and a life lesson.
Part Two – Saving Money
- Breakfast 7 – Live WAY Beneath Your Means
"Watch your expenses more than your revenue." So says the successful CEO of Wherehouse Music. Since a dollar saved can equal two dollars earned (hint: savings aren't taxed), cutting costs is the most underrated trick to building wealth.
- Breakfast 8 – Save on Food and Clothes
Carmen, a spunky young mother, leads a whirlwind field trip through a grocery store, finding huge savings with "loss leaders," generic drugs, bulk buying and "store blitzes."
- Breakfast 9 – Save on Cars
Kramer asks a hairy, audacious question: "Is it possible to spend almost nothing over a lifetime on purchasing cars?" James's answer tells a lot about how to save a bundle on reliable transportation.
- Breakfast 10 – Save on Houses
Bob and Bud live in identical houses in the same neighborhood. Why is one paying half what the other
- Breakfast 11 –Ten Popular Ways to Lose Lots of Money
Thomas Jefferson was brilliant and famous, but spent his last years fretting over his huge debt. Mark Twain and coach Joe Gibbs lost fortunes in bad investments. How can we avoid their mistakes?
Part Three – Making Money
- Breakfast 12 – Find Jobs You Love
Researchers Stanley and Danko discovered that
first-generation millionaires made their money at vocations they loved. How can we find jobs we're passionate about?
- Breakfast 13 – Excel at Your Job
It's more than college degrees and developing skills.
- Breakfast 14 – Invest in your Mind
"In times of profound change, the learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists." (Al Rogers, Global SCHOOLHOUSE Network)
Part Four: Enjoying Money
Breakfast 15 – Look for Happiness in the Right Places
People want to be financially successful because they think it will contribute to their happiness. What makes people happy? How should scientific studies of human happiness impact the way we use our money?
Epilogue: Where Are They Now?
Discover what happened to the main characters later in life.
Web-Based Complementary Resources
- "By far the most valuable book on finances I've ever read." (Callie C. Brown, author of The Complete Guide to Investing in Gold and Precious Metals)
- "Financial responsibility has reached a state of crisis. This book attacks the problem in a common sense, refreshing manner that anyone can understand and apply to real life. It should be required reading for all young people, before they find themselves broke, deeply in debt and miserable." (William C. Lusk, Jr., Senior Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer, Retired, Shaw Industries, a Fortune 500 company and the world’s largest manufacturer of carpet.)
- "A very entertaining, engaging book! The characters are appealing and aid the reader in interacting with the principles taught. All ages will enjoy it and benefit. Meticulously researched and documented. Chock full of financial and lifestyle wisdom. I’ll keep plenty of copies in my office to hand out to clients." (Dr. Ken Walker, Psychologist with the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice and Director of Dalton Counseling Service.)
- "A comprehensive look at managing your money. For me, the genius of this book is that it gathers wisdom from top financial gurus and uses it to explain clearly and practically how average folks can apply it to everyday living." (Alan Buckler - Allstate Insurance)
- "I loved the story and the characters! Read this book and you'll get the practical tools and wisdom to chart your own course toward financial freedom." (Jamie Maddox, former Senior Business Analyst, The Coca Cola Company)
- "For me, the section on savings was worth the price of the book, detailing scores of hidden ways to save a fortune over a lifetime. Then, unlike many books, it goes beyond 'having more' to 'doing more with what you have.'" (Bryan McIntosh, Ph.D., Dalyn Corporation)
- "I really liked the format! The dramatic layout used a totally different part of my brain when I read it...it's like watching a movie or reading a novel. The story line kept my interest so that I got through it quickly. The content was very inspiring. "Living differently" and "starting a financial counterculture" hits home to me. And it was SO PRACTICAL! I think it will also appeal to most of my generation and the one coming up behind me." (Anthony Daniel, age 28, Chemist, Tiarco Chemical)
- "Clever! The movie script format pulled me into the story and endeared me to the characters. Before I knew it, I found myself thinking about money strategies that I'd have never learned from traditional finance books. Teaching finance through people stories works for me. Rather than staring at obscure charts, I just followed the lives of successful people. Finally! A readable book on personal finance for people who don't want to read a book on personal finance...which of course is me and just about everybody else!" (Mark Hannah, Film Producer)
- "One of the
first declarations in J. Steve Miller’s Enjoy Your
Money!: How to Make It, Save It, Invest It and Give It
caught my eye. Miller wrote: I strove to be one of those
exceptions by basing my advice not just upon years of
personal experience, but upon the knowledge and experiences
of well over one hundred wise people. Now that sounds hard
to beat. Attaining acumen, learning, knowledge, living below
ones means, investing habitually and serving others all are
keys financial to triumph.
Miller's book is overflowing with appealing and agreeably
structured information existing as coursework, conversation
materials and motivation packed notations. It will be
particularly supportive for those who may have modest to no
appreciative perception of personal finance. It can leverage
as a jumping off point, or a road map to direct the neophyte
toward proficiency when it comes to understanding money, and
what can be done with it in order to give surety toward a
more advantageous future.
Part One: Investing Money presents readers with important
information for discovering the basics, catching the vision
and how to not lose money in stocks. Miller furnishes
information for how to go about making money in Mutual
Funds, along with advice for how to diversify with Real
Estate. Scattered throughout this section are sidebars, set
apart boxes, colored headings and lots of information. I
found a note down on page 76 which seems to hold a wealth of
well thought out realism and is it timely: "Preparing for
Hard Times in Case of Another Depression, Work: jobs will be
scarce, so work hard and smart now. Make yourself
indispensable by knowing more about your job than anyone
else and getting along with everyone. I need to be the last
mechanic my boss would ever let go."
Miller changes course in Part Two: Saving Money. He suggests
ideas for how to save on food and clothes cost, on purchase
of cars as well as how to save when buying houses. I found
stimulating Miller’s list of ten ways to lose a lot of
money. He calls them Ten Popular Ways, meaning these are the
ways many people bring into play to shoot themselves in the
foot so to say when it comes to money.
Part Three: Making Money is concise, filled with notes for
how to locate those dream jobs, how to go about to do
extremely well at your job and how to empower in your mind.
It seems trouble-free enough, however, most of us have heard
many co workers, or others bemoaning the job they have, and
don’t want, while doing little to nothing to change the
Part four Enjoying Money makes available sagacious
matter-of-fact suggestions for how to go about looking for
happiness in the right places which Miller notes
necessitates some learning, includes some philanthropic
giving of self to others, and considering religion and other
centered activity. Appendices incorporate an adult spending
sheet or budget as well as one for 17 year olds.
Miller has created a nicely penned, well-ordered manuscript
intended to assist anyone at any phase of earning, saving,
investing and enjoying their money. The text is chatty and
packed with plenty of practical and constructive data.
Coursework and assignments are designed to give support to
the reader toward making constructive changes toward, or
continuing good money management." (Reviewed by Molly
Martin, 20+ Year Classroom Teacher, for The Compulsive
Would you like to review a copy as a
possible text? Wisdom Creek
Press offers educators review copies at a 60% discount
off the $15.99 retail price ($6.40 + $2.77 media mail = $9.17
total). Contact them at email@example.com or
770-337-4385 for details.