Living Well on Practically Nothing

Tired of being one of the rats in the rat race? Are you trying to take a different path than mindless consumerism and debt? Author Edward Romney has some excellent techniques on how to achieve independence on an ordinary income.

Living Well on Practically Nothing is radically different than most financial and self-help books, newsletters or infomercials. No get-rich-quick fantasies, Texas-sized “guru” egos, or risky speculations using OPM (other people’s money, or borrowing) are promoted or suggested.

As might be expected from someone who grew up in Depression-era New Hampshire, Romney is full of old-time Yankee common sense, thrift and wisdom. While that doesn’t sound like the basis for an interesting 21st century book, the utter scarcity of those traits in modern society makes Romney’s advice and observations leap off the page and into the reader’s mind.

Buy a modest, affordable house (sometimes for $50,000 or less) in an age of “bigger is better” and a monstrous real estate bubble? It can still be done in a number of states. Living on a boat in coastal areas or an old school bus in the desert southwest are other ways to survive on a minimum amount of cash.

What kind of person would drive a 10-year old car when they can get a no-money-down payment plan from just about any car dealer? Why spend big bucks for designer clothes when the same items are available for a dollar or two at thrift shops? If this makes sense to you, then Living Well on Practically Nothing will be one book that will be read and re-examined many times.

As Romney points out in his wise old uncle/curmudgeonly style, following the herd only leads to debt slavery and a gnawing dissatisfaction with life. Those who manage to spend less than they earn can build a nest egg that will allow them to snap up good deals for cash and even have the resources to go into business without borrowing. For those who are understandably leery of having large amounts of depreciating Federal Reserve notes on hand, keep in mind that surplus cash can always be converted to gold and silver.

The author’s son is one example of how following such basic, time-tested methods can lead to true financial security. The younger Romney began a used pallet business with just $2000, and it has become a thriving enterprise with annual gross revenues of $1.5 million. Many part-time ventures can be started with small amounts of capital, and they can provide the independent minded with a starting point for leaving the wage labor world.

While some of Romney’s suggestions are admittedly offbeat and not practical for most folks, the book is a very solid piece of outside-the-box thinking and sensible counsel. Living Well on Practically Nothing is published by Paladin Press, an excellent source for dozens of nonconformist books.

July 9, 2005