Bill and Mary Toohey, authors of The Average Family’s Guide to Financial Freedom, make average middle-class salaries. Mary works as an office manager and Bill as a vocational rehabilitation counselor for the state. With modest incomes, they have achieved financial freedom and assured that their needs will be met until retirement. Their book is a guide for those who want to achieve financial security despite today’s tough economy. This is my favorite how-to guide in my large collection of personal finance books.
The Tooheys achieved financial security by spending less and therefore saving more. In fact, they save 46% of their gross income. Think about it. This savings figure is based on gross income, not net. That’s really impressive considering they don’t earn huge incomes.
How did the Tooheys do it? This book tells their story. They foster an attitude of gratitude and contentment. They don’t focus on what they don’t have. Bill and Mary describe their motivation as “building a money-saving mindset.”
A big part of the Tooheys’ success is their choice to live in a modest home. Too many of us struggle to buy a house or condominium that we can barely afford, then go into debt to furnish, decorate and update our big new home. The Tooheys, meanwhile, bought a house that was smaller than they could afford. Rather than using it as a stepping stone to a bigger home, they stayed put and paid off their mortgage in just ten years. They estimate that they have saved over $100,000 over the years by choosing their tiny home. A smaller home means you spend less on utilities, maintenance, interest charges, taxes and furnishings.
The authors look at the small expenses and the big ones in their efforts to spend less. No doubt about it, they are careful spenders. In their book, they share tips for buying cars and groceries and for spending on entertainment and education. Learning is important to their family and they share their tips for going to college without going into debt.
A large part of the Guide to financial freedom is dedicated to how to spend wisely and how to avoid financial mistakes in your daily life. There’s also plenty of solid, friendly advice on how to raise responsible children, how to maintain your possessions, and how to set up a home office that will keep your family organized. There’s even a chapter on how to live happily in a house with just one bathroom – something too many people today think is impossible.
The Tooheys also devote several chapters to investments and retirement. There is advice and information on where to invest and on the different forms of retirement plans. They freely share their own mistakes and what they have learned about investing.
You can’t help but really love Bill and Mary Toohey reading this book. They look like people you would want as friends or family members. There is nothing fancy or convoluted about their advice. This is solid, straightforward advice from someone you really want on your team. If you’re looking for financial advice and want to learn how to navigate today’s tough economy, you might want to pick up Bill and Mary Toohey’s book, The average family’s guide to financial freedom.