Book Review: Making Money Made Simple!

Making Money Made Simple! Please note that the title of this book is not “Making Money Made Easy!” This book is really about money basics like budgeting, saving and setting goals.

Noel Whittaker is a Brisbane based financial planner who originally wrote “Making Money Made Simple!” in 1987. Since then it has sold more than a million copies and been through 29 reprints and 16 editions. The copy I bought from Angus & Robertson was © 2001 and cost $21.95.

The “Secret Rule” of wealth, according to Whittaker, is to save money on a regular basis. Spend less each month than you earn, using the extra to pay off your borrowings, or invest the extra money where it will gain in value. Saving your entire pay packet this month, or frittering it all away, will make very little difference, but the habit of saving a little each month will.

Our financial future will not be guaranteed by a pay increase, or lotto win: we will always find things that come along and steal away our wage rises. But by putting a little aside each month, allowing small additions and compound interest to build over time, in time a great “money tree” will provide for your retirement, family and feeling of security.

The book details the 3 main areas to invest in — cash, property and shares — and gives a brief introduction to each. Personally I felt this part of the book was a little shallow, but if you view the book as an introduction to money management, rather than an investment and taxation howto guide, it is adequate.

I was encouraged to purchase this book after reading this post on Money Manager:

Q. I am a 20 year old university student with $15,000 in savings and no debt. I am thinking of investing some or all of my money. To be honest I know nothing. Any advice at all?
A. Congratulations on your proactive approach to finance. You should invest in two books – The Richest Man in Babylon by George Clason and my book Making Money Made Simple! This will put you on the right path. Meanwhile, keep your savings in one of the high interest rate online accounts offered by organisations like ING.

This book explains money matters in a simple manner to those who haven’t really thought things through before. Like most people, I have areas of expertise and areas of ignorance, and this book gives a good grounding across the whole area of personal finance.

I found the book to be a little dry in writing style, but the chapters are relatively short. Priscilla thought the most annoying thing was the low prices Whittaker quotes for houses – regular houses for $80,000 or $100,000 or “executive” houses for $250,000. Numbers like that seem to mock the Sydney housing market at it’s current levels, but I wonder what will they think of a $500,000 median house price in 2026.

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