Wealth Without Risk

When someone claims he can show you how to get wealthy without taking chances, it is a good idea to pause and consider his credentials. Charles Givens is a multimillionaire who spends thirty weeks a year presenting financial seminars. He has appeared many times on national television, and, judging from his success, most of his listeners like what they hear.

This book shows why Givens is so popular. He explains scores of angles--things that sometimes seem obvious but that many people overlook. For example, part 1 tells how to improve your credit rating. In some cases, a credit bureau must remove negative information from your file if you ask them to do it. Givens explains why term insurance is a better buy than whole or universal life and why insuring children is generally an unwise expenditure. Another tip concerns credit cards. They are not all “about the same.” Interest charges are sometimes a few percentage points apart on different cards. Knowing this can be worth hundreds of dollars a year.

Part 2 discusses taxes. Givens again emphasizes tips that smart people use to save thousands of dollars. He points out that you should always use the long form on your federal tax return: The short form selects the maximum tax for your income level. If you find yourself in a bind when April 15 comes around, you can delay filing for four months just by sending in an automatic extension form--something a lot of people still have not heard about. Givens likes the idea of hanging on to your tax dollars as long as possible and making them work for you. His suggestions are all perfectly legal. As he explains, there is a big difference between a tax strategy and cheating.

In the last part, Givens shows how to put your money to work in investments. He favors mutual funds, asset management accounts, and IRAs. These work better than trying to beat the market through hot tips. In fact, it is a good idea to stay away from individual stocks altogether.

The book contains 268 succinct tips on making or saving money, some of which are bound to be new to all but the most experienced money managers. Givens provides hard-nosed, conservative advice which seems to be in tune with the temper of our uncertain times.