In his new book, “Living Large For the Long Haul: Consumer-Tested Ways to Overhaul Your Finances, Increase Your Savings, and Get Your Life Back on Track” (Avery, $20), consumer expert and AJC Bargain Hunter blog contributor Clark Howard shares the stories of Americans who saved, lost and saved again.
Some rebuilt their finances, others improved their savings — and all changed their lives. While each story is unique, Howard’s key takeaways from each situation are applicable to anyone going through a similar situation.
You’ll learn how to improve your credit (pay your bills on time!), when to invest in rental property (only if the rent will cover 90 percent of monthly mortgage, taxes and insurance) and why independent car repair shops are preferable to dealers.
Sections on retirement, investing and living below your means help you get a handle on important questions such as how much money you need to retire and why you should not stash $100,000 of your savings in a mattress like Victoria and Dan of Savannah (true story, fictitious names and location).
Many of the stories in the book highlight locals including some well-known names such as Laura Turner Seydel, environmental advocate and daughter of Ted Turner, who gives the scoop on living off the grid. Perhaps you can’t live in EcoManor like Seydel’s Atlanta stone-and-brick home, but you can take baby steps toward a more energy efficient house.
And while every budding entrepreneur will not become as successful as Home Depot co-founder Arthur Blank, you can learn a lot from his story about rebounding from a career mishap to build a business that you (and others) are passionate about.
Howard also addresses budget travel, family concerns, health care, education and how to be an empowered consumer.
It all adds up to 300 plus pages of life lessons that can help you move forward financially.