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 rehab counselor for the state. On modest incomes, they have attained financial freedom and ensured that their needs will be met through retirement. Their book is a guide for others who want to achieve financial security despite today’s challenging economy. It’s my favorite how-to guide in my large collection of books about personal finance..
The Tooheys have achieved financial security by spending less and therefore saving more. In fact, they save 46 percent of their gross income. Think about that. That savings figure is based on gross income, not net. It is truly impressive given that they’re not making 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 stretch to buy a house or condominium we can barely afford and then go into debt to furnish, decorate and update our big new home. The Tooheys, on the other hand, bought a smaller house than they could afford. Rather than using it as a stepping stone to a larger home, they have stayed put and paid off their mortgage in just ten years. They estimate that they have saved more than $100,000 over the years by choosing their small house. A smaller house means that you spend less on utilities, maintenance, interest costs, taxes, and furnishings.
The authors look at the small expenses and the large in their efforts to spend less. No question 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.
Much of the Guide to Financial Freedom is devoted to how to be a careful spender and avoid financial mistakes in your day-to-day life. There’s also a great deal of solid, friendly advice about how to raise responsible kids, 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 one-bathroom house — something that too many people today think is impossible.
The Tooheys also devote several chapters to investments and to retirement. There is advice and information about where to invest and about the various forms of retirement plans. They freely share their own mistakes and what they’ve learned about investing.
You can’t help but really like Bill and Mary Toohey as you read this book. They seem like people you would want as friends or members of your family. There’s nothing fancy or convoluted about their advice. It’s solid, straightforward guidance from somebody you’d really want on your team. If you’re looking for financial advice and want to learn how to navigate today’s challenging economy you’ll want to pick up Bill and Mary Toohey’s book, The Average Family’s Guide to Financial Freedom.