Complete Reviews for Enjoy Your Money! How to Make It, Save It, Invest It and Give It
(For shorter reviews, see the press
kit, which pulls out brief statements from longer reviews.
This page gives those truncated reviews in their entirety.)
Cliff Pletschet, financial columnist
for 30+ years with
Finances takes Discipline
mentor "Kramer" talks about her life experiences in
moving up the ladder of life from despair to a
$500,000 retirement nest egg.
Her husband died of cancer at
age 30, leaving Kramer without life insurance and
with funeral expenses and $20,000 in credit-card
debt. The monthly payments on the debt were killing
her and her heart sank every time the phone rang.
Was it another collector hounding her?
What was she to do? Well, she sold her house and
moved into a condo to pay down her debt and reduce
her expenses. She took an extra job, this one on
weekends, which, if nothing else, took her mind off
her grief. In a little more than four years she paid
off the debt. She kept the extra job until she paid
off the $15,000 she owned on the condo. "With very
few expenses, I quit my weekend job and divided the
money I used to make payments into investments,
travel and giving to worthy causes. So far, I have
saved up about $500,000 toward an early retirement,"
Kramer is not a real person, has no first name,
but a fictitious creation of educator/investor J.
Steve Miller and the central character in his book
"Enjoy Your Money! How to Make It, Save It, Invest
It and Give It'' (Wisdom Creek Press, $15.99)
written in reader-friendly conversational style,
meaning it's a departure from the usual drab
encyclopedic makeup of most investment books.
Since Kramer is not a real person, can we to buy
her life story? It may be hard for the average
person because how many people base their life on
acute planning, hard work, patience and adversity to
debt. We can believe her, but can we follow her
example? Yes, but improving your financial life
Kramer delivers her common-sense message to four
unusually inquisitive young followers, members of
her Counterculture Club, who ask basic questions,
some of them one could brand as "stupid.'' But, of
course, Kramer, ever patient, implies there's no
such thing as a stupid question.
But the world is full of stupid people, as Miller
indicates with some survey results. Ninety-seven
percent of workers over 45 regret how they spent
their money, in light of how much they could have
saved. Almost one in four adults live
paycheck-to-paycheck. Fifty-nine percent of
Americans don't save regularly. By 2005, for the
first time since the Great Depression, we spent more
than we earned. About 1.5 million Americans declare
personal bankruptcy each year. The average college
student graduates with more than $20,000 in debt.
Most Americans haven't even calculated how much
money they need to retire. Personal debt is reaching
record highs and personal savings is reaching record
lows. Do you see yourself in there somewhere?
Kramer tells her followers the life-story of
Warren Buffett. He was born in the midst of the
Great Depression, which stripped his father of his
job and savings. They had food to eat, but that was
about all. He decided that he wanted to be rich some
day. At age 5, he set up a stand in front of his
house and sold Chichlets, tiny candy-coated pieces
of chewing gum, Then he progressed to lemonade,
finding a better location at a friend's house on a
On vacation at age 6, he bought a six-pack of
Cokes and sold them at a profit of five cents per
Coke. Before age 11, he hired neighborhood kids to
find golf balls and paid others to sell them, taking
his cut. He caddied at a golf course for $3 a day.
He started to weigh investing and at age 11, buying
three shares of Cities Services preferred stock for
$114 (more than $1,500 in 2008 dollars) and selling
them at a profit. He read everything he could find
about business and finance. He grew a paper route
into a profitable business, so that at age 14, he
invested $1,200 (more than $12,000 in today's money)
in 40 acres of Nebraska farmland.
Buffett and a friend bought a used pinball
machine and put it in a barber shop, splitting the
profits with the barber. By high school graduation,
he had read more than 100 business books and earned
more than $5,000 ($47,000 in today's money) and in
college he studied under respected investor Benjamin
Graham. By age 31, he had multiplied his savings to
$1 million. He never spent money on extravagant
living. Today, he's a billionaire.
The lessons from Buffett's life, Kramer points
out, were: Have long-range goals, work hard, gain
wisdom through reading, live cheaply, invest
regularly and help make others happy.
An important entry in Miller's book is a list of
10 ways to lose money: Doing drugs and alcohol,
acquiring debt and not taking it seriously, abusing
credit cards, avoiding wise counsel, trusting the
wrong counsel, gambling, living beyond your means,
trying to get rich quick, making risky investments
and keeping inadequate insurance.
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.
Reviewed by Muhammed Hassanali
Books on financial planning are generally either so broad
that they don’t really help provide a plan of action or are so
detailed and complex that they can be used to cure one’s nights
of insomnia. Enjoy Your Money is different in that it is written
as a novel (and reads like one) while simultaneously providing
sound financial planning advice.
The book is divided into four parts. The first is titled
Investing Money and consists of six chapters. Each chapter
explores the various investing vehicles available to the
individual investor. The second part is titled Saving Money and
focuses on how to spot and avoid high priced items. More
important is that this section also provides a means for asking
questions to help us find put for ourselves what we are buying.
The third section is titled Making Money and is about finding
the job you love and working at improving your skills. The last
section s a one-chapter section titled Enjoying Money and really
gets to the crux of the question as to why we want to have money
in the first place.
While the book is clearly written for young professionals just
getting started in their careers, it is useful for anyone. The
presentation style and narration is easy enough for even high
school or college aged readers. The information is valuable for
them as well.
The Midwest Book Review
"Money can't buy happiness, but it
sure can help. "Enjoy Your Money! How to Make It, Save It,
Invest It, and Give It" is a guide for the early
twenty something just now becoming aware of the real word
where money management is the key to success and happiness.
Author J. Steve Miller seeks to inspire young people to pull
themselves out of debt, and find their niche to make their
keep and have something for themselves and the future.
"Enjoy Your Money" is a solid and recommended read for those
who want to plan well now so they don't have to live in debt
Particularly supportive for those who may have modest to no
appreciative perception of personal finance; J. Steve Miller’s
Enjoy Your Money!: How to Make It, Save It, Invest It and
Give 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.
Forward Review (From Foreword Magazine)
One can imagine that, if every young adult would read a copy
of Enjoy Your Money!, there
would be a lot more saving, a lot less spending, and fewer
personal bankruptcies in American society.
This book clearly targets a twenty-something audience,
offering sound, basic financial advice intended for them, but
its content is broadly applicable. Anyone who needs a primer in
investing in stocks and mutual funds, understanding the
implications of owning real estate, or figuring out ways to save
money will find Enjoy Your Money!
Perhaps the most engaging aspect of the book is the manner in
which the information is packaged. Too many financial advice
books treat the subject in a dry, humorless way or,
alternatively, in a breathless “You can be a millionaire” style
that dumbs down the content. But here, author Miller follows a
storytelling path that brings a new life and energy to the
topic. He recounts the story of a group of high school students
who have regular breakfast meetings with a teacher to learn the
ins and outs of personal finance. The teacher, herself a
nonconformist, says the group needs to "break loose from a
culture that’s gone crazy with its finances," so she labels them
“the Counterculture Club.”
The book presents an overview of the fifteen breakfast
meetings the club holds, replete with snappy dialogue, jokes,
and shenanigans. Within the entertaining patter, however, are
serious lessons about managing money. “Old widow Kramer,” the
social studies teacher who advises the “club,” guides the
discussions. On occasion, the owner of the restaurant where the
breakfasts take place joins in the discussions to provide
another perspective. The chapters, each of which essentially
covers one breakfast meeting, are easy to consume. The members
of the club always ask questions that seem likely to anticipate
the reader’s own inquiries.
Miller conveys a lot of information, offering a “penny saved,
penny earned” kind of philosophy, but with contemporary flair. A
nice touch is the additional information he provides after each
breakfast lesson: a section called “Hmmmmm…” with
thought-provoking questions, an “Assignment Between Breakfasts”
that includes some added fact-finding exercises, and “Resources
to Take You Deeper,” a useful section of websites and
publications for further study.
Enjoy Your Money! takes what
could have been a fear-inducing subject and sheds new light on
it in a positive, non-threatening way. All in all, it is simply
a joy to read.
Reviewed for Foreword by Barry Silverstein
When J. Steve Miller contacted me about reviewing
his book, I was unbelievably excited. That might
seem like an odd response for a personal finance
book, but I had just heard about
Enjoy Your Money from a couple Yakezie friends.
Debt Ninja &
Enemy of Debt were talking about how interesting
the book is and how totally different from typical
I couldn’t wait to read it, since I’m a
non-fiction fan already. Wait, let me rephrase. I
enjoy learning from non-fiction books, but they’re
often tedious and, let’s be honest, a little dry &
boring. This book was far from boring! While it is a
non-fiction, personal finance book, it is set up as
a story, with characters whose diverse backgrounds &
personalities come together in an effort to achieve
the financial peace their parents lack.
You’ll learn valuable lessons on earning, saving,
investing and being charitable through the stories &
lives of the Counter Culture Club—4 high school kids
who learn from their financially savvy teacher, Mrs.
Kramer. The book—and her lesson plan—is divided into
4 sections. The book opens with lessons on
investing, including compounding interest, showing
the students how quickly money can double when
invested safely & smart.
It was fascinating and very motivating, but it is
followed quickly by a lesson on saving that
discourages early investing. Emergency fund of 4-6
months salary first. Period. There are also
money saving tips, most of which I already knew,
but it was cool to learn that even Warren Buffet
uses coupons! The section on enjoying your money
fits right in line with Inexpensively’s
philosophy—just because you want to save money,
doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your life along the
I truly enjoyed reading this book, and I’ve
passed it on to the hubby to read next. I wish I’d
had a book like this—or a teacher like Mrs.
Kramer—15 years ago. My entire life would have been
different. Alas, we’ll have to jump in where we are.
I think this book would make a fabulous gift for a
graduate or a newlywed couple. I may just have to
buy it for my sister & her fiance. If you can begin
your life with lessons like these (in a format that
is fun to read)
Review by Molly Martin, 20+ Year Classroom Teacher, for
The Compulsive Reader.
Also published in
"Reviewer's Bookwatch," a book review magazine by
The Midwest Book Review.
Enjoy Your Money!: How to Make It, Save It, Invest It and
J. Steve Miller's
Wisdom Creek Press, LLC
5814 Sailboat Pointe, NW, Acworth, GA 30101
J. Steve Miller's - Enjoy Your Money!: How to Make It, Save It,
Invest It and Give It presents readers occasion for learning to
Invest, Save, Make and Enjoy Money.
One of the first declarations set down in the work 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
Now THAT sounds hard to beat.
Attaining acumen, learning, knowledge, living below ones means,
investing habitually and serving others all are keys to triumph.
Miller tenders a manuscript penned in an stirring and satisfying
arrangement proposed to keep the reader occupied and turning the
page. Each sheet is overflowing with appealing and agreeably
structured information existing as coursework, conversation
materials and motivation packed notations.
Particularly supportive for those who may have modest to no
appreciative perception of personal finance; J. Steve Miller's -
Enjoy Your Money!: How to Make It, Save It, Invest It and Give
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
1 GET OUT OF DEBT; try to pay off your mortgage as quickly as
possible. Even if you hold onto your employment during a dire
market; it is likely you will earn less money for the reason
that companies will be hurting. Ask yourself, -if my income were
cut in half, could I still make my payments?
2 LIVE WAY BENEATH YOUR MEANS. Those living beyond their means
will be in financial disarray. Lots of money will be lost should
need arise forcing the selling of cars and houses at a massive
3 Put more funds into your emergency account. In some locales,
half the population were without work during the Great
Depression. Consider how long could you last without an income?
Miller changes course in Part Two: SAVING MONEY and the writer
yet again points out Live Way Beneath Your Means. 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 and to the point 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.
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 situation.
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.
Writer Miller has created a nicely penned, well-ordered
manuscript intended to assist anyone at any phase of earning,
saving, investing and enjoying their money.
Text is chatty, filled with witticisms 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
Happy to recommend J. Steve Miller's - Enjoy Your Money!: How to
Make It, Save It, Invest It and Give It.
R.J. Medak for Allbooks Review
The title and subtitle of this book is “Enjoy Your Money! How to
Make It, Save It, Invest It and Give It. (The Adventures of The
Counterculture Club).” The book spends time with people in a
dinner as they discuss investing and anecdotes about people that
managed to save, and give away money for the express purpose of
helping others, even though they had little to live on, on a
We start with four High School students in detention and how
they grow and what they learn about investing, saving, and
helping others with their money. It is not hard to save money
following the simple and basic rules found in this book. The
only thing it takes is dedication to have money, even in a down
economy. While it is easier to begin when you are young, any age
can do it, 50+ readers can have
something for retirement if they follow some basic principles.
It is also possible to invest and make money. It is by investing
that one might be able to keep ahead of inflation, according to
J. Steve Miller is an investor as well as entrepreneur, and
speaker. He has taught from Atlanta to Moscow. He is known for
turning research and practical wisdom into information, and
imparting it in an accessible and unforgettable way. Mr. Miller
and his wife Cherie have seven sons.
If you are
any age and wondering about money, this is a book for you to
read and learn a new way of thinking about money and how to use
it to your advantage over the long haul. We should all have
something for retirement. This book might be one way for you to
accomplish this. On this point, you will have to make your own
decision. This reviewer found the premises to be compelling and
to the point. If you wish to learn more about personal finance,
and possibly be ahead of the game, you need to read this book.
This book receives a four star rating. Highly recommended
by RJ Medak, Allbooks Reviewer.
One of the best books on money
management that I read,
August 31, 2009
Many years ago, working as a Quality
Control Engineer, I read "The Goal" by Eliyahu Goldratt &
Michael C.Gray. I loved their approach - teaching complicated
management concepts in a novel format. Later, I reviewed a
similar business novel on Lean Manufacturing. It did a great job
of explaining the concepts of "lean" and the benefits of "lean"
to business enterprises. So, when an opportunity arose to review
the present book, I was quite enthusiastic. I am happy to report
that my enthusiasm was not misplaced!
I have been a lazy investor and thus in a way protected myself
from the bull and bear cycles of Indian Stock Market over the
years and thus felt somewhat vindicated by the strategies that
Miller recommends. If I could go back and relive my life, I
would follow many of Millers' recommendations beautifully
brought out by his main character, an older school teacher named
Mrs. Kramer. Her wisdom applies across borders and across
Enjoy Your Money is one of the best and most complete resources
for money management at the personal level. Yet, the concepts
are equally applicable to any business of any scale. The book is
divided into four parts: Investing Money, Saving Money, Making
Money and Enjoying Money (including giving it away to causes
that you believe in). You need to make money, save money and
invest today's money for a secure future. Then, you need to find
the right value systems in life (money is not the end; it is a
means for the end). That message comes through quite lucidly.
I loved the movie script or play format! It worked for this
book, transforming a large amount of research into an
entertaining and easy read. The characterization of the
participants is quite good and the style is very good, holding
the reader's attention quite well. The book is well edited and
nicely printed with just a couple of errors that won't affect
your enjoyment or understanding. The Epilogue is quite
surprising! I won't spoil your own enjoyment by revealing it.
The book gives many other useful resources (websites, other
books etc.) and thus points you in the right direction if you
want to explore further. The biographical sketches (from Warren
Buffett to Sam Walton to Led Zeppelin) are informative and
In summary, this is one of the best books on money management
that I've ever read. I strongly recommend it to one and all.
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.—Lucy Schall.
Darwin's Finance Blog
Enjoy Your Money by
Steve Miller is a pretty neat book targeted especially toward
the young and inexperienced when it comes to personal finances,
investing and basically, life management. While many blogs
and books cater to either people with broader experience or
those who think they’re more sophisticated when perhaps they’re
not, this book does a nice job of laying out all the ground
rules for a successful financial life. I’d recommend
giving it to any teen, college student or recent entrant to the
workforce to start them off on the right path. Some of the
facts, stories and methods will get them psyched to invest, save
money, cut expenses and do things right, as opposed to what most
of the country is doing. Here are some examples:
- Personal Finances in America:
The book shares some well-placed and shocking statistics to
put things into perspective – i.e. 1 in 4 adults lives
paycheck to paycheck; in 2005 for the first time since the
Great Depression the average American spent more than they
earned; 1.5 Million Americans declare bankruptcy each year
and so on.
- The Laws of 10s and 7s:
Via the rule of 72 (approximately), if earning 10% on an
investment like stocks over the long run, you’ll double your
money every 7 years. If earning 7% on say, a more
conservative stock outlook or a mix of stocks and bonds,
you’ll double it every 10 years. While many experienced
finance readers are familiar with this concept, it’s a neat
thing to teach starting investors, especially when they
consider how young they are and see how $5000 invested at
age 20 can turn into $640,000 at age 69 in retirement.
- Sound Stock Investing Advice:
Stocks are long term investments. Don’t start
investing in them until you’ve already built an emergency
fund…”If the odds of having an expensive emergency in any
given year are 1 out of 10, the odds of it occurring during
a bear market are almost certain“…sound familiar?
- Benefits of tax-deferral in an
- Ritzy Neighborhoods = Expensive
- The envelope method
- Loss Leaders when shopping
…the list goes on. Basically, it’s a compact
guide of all the basic concepts and strategies that young people
should be familiar with (pounded into their heads actually) and
I can’t say I disagree with anything I read. I actually
learned a thing or two even though I consider myself to be
relatively versed in personal finance and investing topics.
If you know someone 15-30, pick up
Enjoy Your Money!: How to Make It, Save It, Invest It and Give
for them, it may very well change their lives!
Redeeming Riches Blog
April is Financial Literacy Month and graduation season will
soon be in full swing.
If you’re looking for gifts for grads that will be a valuable
resource for them for years to come then you may want to
check out Enjoy Your Money! How to Make It, Save It, Invest It
and Give It by J. Steve Miller.
J. Steve Miller is a former missionary, current president of
Legacy Educational Resources and father of seven boys! Yes,
Miller did tons of research on successful money practices,
then wrote the book in story form.
This book starts off with the basic premise that it will help
- Get out of debt and accumulate wealth
- Get ahead, even when the work you love
doesn’t produce big bucks
- Find your strengths and passions and
make a living with them
- Live a more fulfilled life
Miller discusses many of the things I
talk about in my blog like saving money, frugality and
The last chapter particularly struck me about enjoying money.
“People who strive most for wealth tend to be less happy
than others. Those who strives for ‘intimacy, personal
growth and contribution to community’ have a better quality
I love that – and
happiness and wealth is something I try to talk regularly about
on this blog!
I wished Miller would have started the book with that chapter
because in my opinion, understanding that accumulating wealth
beyond a certain comfort level will not lead to more happiness
is a foundational part to dealing with all other areas of our
I like Miller’s use of personal stories and quotes from real
folks, but at times the use of the non-fiction stories can get a
little cheesy in parts.
All in all though, this is a very solid book for graduates
looking to get a good grasp on personal finance without getting
so bogged down with jargon!