Thursday, March 26, 2009

Book Review : Top Money Tips - by KC Lau

One of the biggest achievements of this blog is to receive an invitation from KC Lau to review his book released late last year. The sense of being noticed is quite ... rewarding indeed.

I highlighted before the most interesting point in the book is How To Get Your First Car For FREE ! Most people like it a lot but soon there are also a few other not so positive comments about this particular tip. Which is rather important actually because it brings out TWO very important fundamental in personal finance planning - "its all about what you think" and "Personal Finance is boring".
If you think a tip is interesting, then most probably it will be useful to you.
If you think its a lousy tip, then most probably it will bring you nothing.
You can buy the book in most national book stores like Borders, MPH, Popular etc. I had documented my first hand experience with MPH. Very soon, the books were sold out and went into subsequent prints.

Most reviewers have already listed down the content outline of the book so I wouldn't repeat that.

What I would discuss is Why do you want to buy physical book ? Especially when there are alternatives like eBook and Blog on Internet for FREE ? Other than reasons of branding and that you are a fan of KC Lau then ofcourse you would buy his products to know him and his ideas better. There is still a very important factor that we buy books because of the information in it. Which may raise doubts in value for money comparing to other FREE sources.
  1. Physical books are tax deductable up to MYR 1,000. Sometimes after I read a book, I resell it out getting back half the price. So I am claiming $2X from my income tax while actually paying out $X only. ( Sometimes I resell at higher price and earn a profit there too )
  2. I like the convinience that I can pick up any book when I go to toilet, waiting for lover to finish shopping, queueing in hospital etc. By the time my smallest NetBook boot up and connect to Internet, I already finished reading half chapter in the book. When my turn is up, I can just flip the book and go immediately. Even if I put my notebook to standby mode for that extra split seconds only, the nurse, lover usually will change their mood from normal to complaint mode - "we thought you are waiting for us, not us waiting for you !"
  3. Be it with Google or Yahoo, sometimes I find the info I want, sometimes I don't. Sometimes the info I found was there but quickly disappear the next time I look for it. Sometimes I remembered putting a bookmark but just couldn't seem to find it. Very often I am directed to pay for something anyway. With a book, I always know where to find the info once I get in touch with it, and I can start stop at any part of the book the way I like it. Its always there when I want to refer it ...
So fundamentally
  1. The information on physical book is usually different than those available FREEly on Internet. Quite frequently information printed on book is more reliable too, proof read by proffesionals.
  2. Even if the information is the same, book better organizes the info in a pre-determine way. The format could be better or worse but its consistency on where info is, ease us looking for it now and later.
Now back to the book "Top Money Tips for Malaysians".

What first attracted me is the reflection of this book on the author. Honestly till today I do not know who KC Lau is and has no personal relationship whatsover. But I can sense that the intention of the author of this book is PURELY wanting to share all he knows. Suddenly what he knows and what the book says become less important. It is very hard to find a person who are willingly share all he knows in personal finance world today, not to mention for the good for the community. ( rather than like what most of us do - keeps complaining only ).

I waited long enough to write this review just to make sure what I wanted to share was not already shared by other reviewers. And I hope some of you who has read other reviews can comment on this.

Frequestly after I read a book, I do not remember what the book says. But I can firmly share what I get out of it.

  1. I pay more attention to car insurance, saving there could be significant enough as time goes
  2. I make more money from Internet, perhaps thru some of the links the book suggested ...
  3. I came up with the idea to resell the books I have read and no longer need to keep
  4. I reminded myself not to be too self center in finance matters as many other approaches are possible too
  5. ...
Would I buy this book ? Well yes and for the first reason I mentioned as my appreciation to someone who is so dedicated to share in personal finance matters.

Should you buy this book ? Well, if you agree with my reasoning why buying physical book is still a good thing then yes you should.

Would I recommend this book ? Now that is a question required scale answer. From 0 to 10 where 0 is Strongly NO and 10 is Strongly recommended, I would give this book a 7 - also a heavenly number :)

Where does the other 3 go ? Hmm ...
  1. The writting skill can be more balance. Some chapters are exceptionally shorter ...
  2. A small part of the book has too many numbers even though that was meant to be a quick mental exercise.
  3. I personally could not fully agree with certain part of insurance concepts ...
It is also from the 1) and 2) that I got the impression on Author's sincerity. As for number 3), most of my insurance concepts may not be suitable for today's general public yet. Especially if you are not that well verse in insurance industry yet, then this book's explaination on insurance is much more suitable for you. You will have to understand the basics rule of thumbs first and then only come to me for some potential myth or paradox and fun discussion. Else that may lead to more damage and destruction.

Lastly, for people who read this review until here. You must be a very patient person. If you haven't bought this book yet and feel like getting one now, then I will add another reason to it both to thanks for your patient and see if my review is effective or not. For the next 5 books people buy through this article, they can get this book at MYR 21 only !! Instead of the normal price at MYR 29.90

Click here to buy "Top Money Tips For Malaysian" for RM 21 ONLY !!

Thank you to those who have taken above offers, surprisingly quite a few buyers actually didn't even realize the existence of malpf blog at all.  Seems like the 'cheap' price is more an attractive point than the review writen here.

I hope this does not violate any regulation ...