Catherine S. McBreen and George H. Walper Jr.’s book may be misleading
Every now and again, publishers sense me books to read. More often than not it takes me a long time to read them. I was sent Get Rich, Stay Rich, Pass It On: The Wealth-Accumulation Secrets of America’s Richest Families in May of 2007.
The last couple of days, I carved out a few minutes to look at the book. As I write this I’ve completed on the first 28 pages. This is why I call it a mini review. I wouldn’t normally try to review a book after reading a little more than 15% of it, but this is an exception. The authors have repeated pelted me over the head a hundred times with the same concept… lasting wealth is built through real estate and owning a business that reinvents itself.
Building Wealth Through Real Estate: Is It Really the Answer?
The book takes a historical look at what has worked for the richest families in the past. In just the 28 pages I’ve read, there have been numerous stories about people who have either gotten rich or protected their wealth through real estate. Did we forget about Casey Serin and how he had 8 houses that all foreclosed on him?
I have my own real estate story. I bought a home in the summer of 2004. It’s valued at less 10% of what I paid for it. At the time, I bought it a little below market value – not a great deal, but not the worst one. I don’t mind that it’s valued at less since I continue to rent it out at break even costs. It’s worth noting that it isn’t building me lasting wealth. Perhaps in 30 years when it’s paid off largely through my tenant’s rent it will be worth something. I’ll have spent a good deal of money renovating it though.
I’m not going to say that real estate doesn’t work to build wealth. I think it can, but I’m not necessarily convinced that the historic performance is going to be indicative of future performance. I don’t believe it’s a given that real estate is the key.
I do have to agree on the second point. Constantly reevaluating your business is key. I don’t see this as a big secret. Perhaps reading the rest of the book will flesh out the ideas in this area. If so, it might be worth the $7.00 that Amazon is currently charging for the hardcover version of the book.