Summary: Why Didn’t They Teach Me This in School By Cary Siegel
Summary: Why Didn’t They Teach Me This in School By Cary Siegel

Summary: Why Didn’t They Teach Me This in School By Cary Siegel

Unlike many of the personal money management books out there, this book is a quick, easily digested read that focuses more on the qualitative side than the quantitative side of personal money management. The principles are not from a text book. Rather, they are practical principles learned by the author as he navigated through his financial life. Many are unorthodox in order to be memorable and provoke deeper thought by the reader.



1:    Marry the “financially right” person

2:    Stay married to the “financially right” person

3:    Having and raising children costs lots of money

4:    Always live below your means

5:    Take care of your “stuff”

6:    Expand your circle of friends/associates and keep in touch with them

7:    You take away more from your first couple of jobs than you give

8:    Spend just one hour each week learning about personal finance

9:    Get rich slowly

10:  Set (realistic) short-term financial goals

11:  Set (realistic) long-term financial goals

12:  Always know the score—your net worth


13:  Develop a written budget and evaluate it every single month

14:  Give yourself an annual financial physical

15:  Save/invest 50 percent of every salary increase

16:  Save 90 percent every bonus (or nonplanned income)

17:  Understand your employee benefits; they are worth significant dollars

18:  Always have an emergency fund

19:  Have an emergency month every January

20:  Coupons make $ense

21:  Shop around for discounts on all products and services

22:  Make sure you mail in your rebate offers right after your purchase

23:  Have a saving versus a spending mind-set



24:  Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses; they’re going bankrupt

25:  Don’t underestimate the cost of ownership

26:  Prioritize your spending

27:  Stay away from “great deals” that really aren’t

28:  Stay away from “small bargains” that really aren’t

29:  Determine what everyday products and services are important to YOU

30:  Make sure the luxuries you afford yourself are truly important to YOU

31:  Before you buy anything expensive, STOP and think about whether you really need it

32:  Drop “unhealthy” spending habits

33:  Know what your monthly bills are, and take action when they are increased

34:  Pay all your bills ON TIME every single month

35:  Don’t forget to pay the government—on time

36:  It’s OK to overpay the IRS (by a little) over the course of a year

37:  Check every bill you get, especially those for health care

38:  Review and keep all your receipts

39:  Buy a car that fits in your current budget

40:  Purchase last year’s model on high-ticket items

41:  Negotiate everything

42:  Spend now to save later



43:  Debt is bad

44:  If you are in debt, get out of it quickly

45:  Just say no to credit cards; do not get a credit card in college

46:  After college, have a maximum of only one credit card

47:  If you have to have one credit card, pay the balance every month

48:  Develop and maintain a good credit rating

49:  Maintain a good FICO score

50:  Understand the time value of money



51:  Manage your own money

52:  Don’t fall for “get rich quick” schemes

53:  Don’t look for the financial home run; singles and doubles result in the long-term win

54:  Don’t invest in just a few stocks (or investments)

55:  Don’t play “hunches” in the stock market and don’t invest in a friend’s “can’t miss” tip

56:  Easy investment management at a young age: purchase three or four stock index mutual funds

57:  Always buy no-load rather than load mutual funds

58:  Invest in your 401K—at least to the company match

59:  Don’t invest with family and friends (or loan them money)



60:  Renting—Rent, don’t buy (until you’re settled)

61:  Renting—Budget 25 percent of your gross salary (maximum of 30 percent)

62:  Renting—If you have paid one month’s security deposit, don’t pay your last month’s rent

63:  Buying a house—Buy less house than you can afford

64:  Buying a house—The top two considerations are location and price

65:  Buying a house—Evaluate the house using specific criteria

66:  Mortgage—Make sure your down payment is at least 20 percent of the purchase price

67:  Mortgage—Make sure your monthly payment doesn’t exceed 28 percent of your gross salary

68:  Mortgage—Shop around for interest rates

69:  Mortgage—Get a fifteen-year mortgage



70:  Always choose the highest deductible for home and automobile insurance

71:  Renter’s insurance—Don’t forget to get it

72:  You must have health insurance

73:  Term life insurance works best for young adults



74:  If it’s offered, take the house down payment (or the big check) versus the big wedding

75:  Don’t invest your time and money in multi-level marketing programs

76:  Drive your car until it drops

77:  Read your automobile manual cover to cover

78:  Don’t purchase extended warranties on cars, electronics, appliances, and televisions

79:  Don’t buy premium gas for your car—it’s just not worth it

80:  Don’t ever do “rent-to-own”

81:  It’s OK to buy grocery/drug generic products, and doing so saves you lots of money

Principal 82:  Bring your lunch to work as often as possible

83:  Don’t purchase the first generation of a product; wait until the second, third, or fourth

84:  Invest in surge protectors for your expensive electronics

85:  Invest in a fireproof safe

86:  Set up a home filing system to keep track of all your financial records

87:  Manage your electric bill

88:  Learn how to fix “things”

89:  Read every line of every contract you sign

90:  Avoid lawsuits unless absolutely necessary

91:  Make no oral agreements for any significant purchase or sales

92:  Get your books at the library

93:  Reconcile your checking account every month, don’t bounce your checks, and use only your bank’s ATM

94:  Set up both a checking and a savings account

95:  There is no such thing as free checking

96:  Get a good accountant (whom you can trust)

97:  Use cash as often as possible

98:  Approach your job following the three P’s: passion, politeness, and persistence

99:  Successful personal money management is all up to you