ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Book Review: 'Clark Howard’s Living Large in Lean Times'

Updated on January 25, 2018
tamarawilhite profile image

Tamara Wilhite is a technical writer, industrial engineer, mother of 2, and a published sci-fi and horror author.

Introduction

This article reviews Clark Howard’s Living Large in Lean Times, the 2011 edition. There is an earlier version of “Living Large in Lean Times”, but this review is for the latest version of the book.

What are the strengths and weaknesses of “Clark Howard's Living Large for the Lean Times”?

The Book Cover for "Clark Howard's Living Large in Lean Times"
The Book Cover for "Clark Howard's Living Large in Lean Times" | Source

Pros of Clark Howard's Lean Times Book

The book has the sense to point out the danger of time shares, and the common scams of a free weekend at a destination dependent upon spending a day in their high pressure sales pitch to buy a time share. This is one of the few frugal living books with information on how to get out of a time share if you already have it.

“Living Large in Lean Times” has the standard good advice like raising your deductible on your insurance (as long as you save up that deductible amount if you’re in an accident), setting up your own appliance repair fund in lieu of an extended warranty and adjusting withholding on your taxes (neglecting to mention that too many people overpay taxes and then spend the refund like a surprise windfall instead of saving it or paying down debt).

There is some balanced advice such as skipping bottled water followed by information on how to get your tap water tested on the cheap.

There is decent advice that can seriously save someone money, like shopping for an apartment two months before your lease is going to expire. This gives you time to find a good deal on the lease instead of having to sign up with whomever is available or else you don’t have a home to live in at the end of the month.

This is one of the few books I’ve seen warning about viaticals and life estates, the practice of selling your life insurance policy for cash while the payer gets the life insurance proceeds when you die. If you had a life insurance policy to pay off your family’s debts when you died or provide for those left behind, a viatical is the equivalent to a pawn shop, preying on the desperate while risking massive costs to those left behind if you skip out.

One strength of this book is the strong warning against currency trading (Forex) and the risks of buying gold. After all, if you’re worried the government might confiscate your retirement account or money, you should be just as worried about someone stealing your gold from the house safe. If you’re afraid the economy is going to collapse, you shouldn’t be buying gold but lead (bullets), beans, bottled water, gas and generators.

Living Large in Lean Times tries to give financial advice on big ticket items, though some advice helps you save day to day, too.
Living Large in Lean Times tries to give financial advice on big ticket items, though some advice helps you save day to day, too. | Source

Cons of Clark Howard's Lean Times Book

The author touts credit card rewards and credit cards with low interest rates and lots of points. The author ignores the fact that when you pay with plastic, you tend to spend 20-30% more and risk paying a 10% to 20% interest rate on that inflated purchase amount. Spending an extra $20 up front and $5 in interest on a $100 purchase to get $2.10 back is not a good deal.

Way more space is dedicated to discount travel than most people trying to cut day to day expenses care about. This is part of “living large”, but travel is disproportionately covered relative to other sections.

The book recommends a number of legitimate at home jobs and gives some advice on identifying scams, but it makes the mistake of describing scams to avoid much later in the book, not in the next section after “work in at home jobs to make extra income” section where it is more appropriate.

Observations About Living Large in Lean Times

The 2011 edition of "Living Large in Lean Times" lists sites the prior version of the Living Large book recommended but no longer exists, such as saysme.tv, JetAmercia.com, Spiralfrog.com and Zoots. Yet the heavy reliance on various deal websites and online tools in this book means a number of online crowd-sourcing sites the author recommends have already disappeared, while the existing list is dated because new sites have shown up in its place.

“Living Large in Lean Times” gives decent advice on determining whether something is a good deal as well as a good value, such as checking Consumer Reports, determining the total cost of ownership instead of only looking at the purchase price, and not using no-name websites to buy something where the listing may be a scam. The downside of this advice is that the author engages in frequent name-dropping of no-name deal websites, travel sites, deal of the day sites and so forth. The book is practically littered with lesser known and no-name sites, despite the advice not to use sites like that.

Is There An Updated Version Of This Book?

As of this writing, there wasn’t subsequent edition of “Living Large in Lean Times” though he published a similar book, “Clark Howard's Living Large for the Long Haul”, in 2013.

Comments

Submit a Comment

No comments yet.

working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)