Is Debt-Free Living Just an Fantastical Dream?

Book Review of “Debt-Free Living”.

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I don’t normally read many books. It’s something that I’ve been trying to change. I used to read all the time when I was . . . younger. Maybe it’s a time thing? – that’s probably just an excuse. Baby steps – right? Seriously, reading is a good thing. You can learn a lot by reading books . . . of all kinds.

Reading non-fiction books is touted as a habit of the wealthy. Check out this story from Business Insider! So I’m more than willing to add a few books to my to-do-list, especially if it will help my bank account somehow.

So . . . I recently read the book by the late Larry Burkett entitled, Debt-free Living: Eliminating Debt in a New Economy. (affiliate link)

I thought I would give you some of my thoughts about some of the money principles that Mr. Burkett puts forth in this book. It’s been edited to add more relevant information for today’s economic climate (the book was first published in 1989). However, the principles of budgeting, paying down debt, and financial planning are still as relevant today as they were decades ago.

Synopsis and Positives:

The book starts out with several chilling real-life situations. I wonder how many of you could relate with some of the families in this book? While it was never as bad for me and my family as the stories in the book, I can easily envision these scenarios happening to those who are naïve or simply unaware.debt-free living book

He describes in detail several couples who made some common money mistakes. Like purchasing a house before they were ready. Getting in some sticky investment situations, and simply not understanding how credit, debt, and money works. Some just failed to plan, and we know what that leads to – planning to fail. All of these problems are far too common today.

I found myself wanting to reach into the pages and scream, “No, don’t do it!” as these couples made one predictable mistake after another. It was certainly heart-wrenching to know the consequences that would surely follow.

But in each of the situations, there was hope. There is hope. Remember, there is always hope.

The common denominator for each story was the “aha” moment. It didn’t come for all the couples at the same time or in the same way, but eventually they realized that they had a problem, and sought help. The solutions were never quick, and while each resolution took work, they were rewarding.

Related: What was Your Aha Moment? Financial Bloggers Speak Out.

Debt-free Living BookI love reading stories of real people who were able to turn their financial messes into successes. It’s inspiring. It’s one of the reasons we love personal finance blogs so much. And Larry Burkett is able to take these horrible situations and difficult solutions and offer inspiration for us.

How often do you look at your life and see broken pieces of a financial nightmare? Do you wish you could be a testimony of a beautiful success story? Larry Burkett can show you how.

Mr. Burkett also goes through some of the history of debt in this country and the role it has played in the lives of the average consumer. Whether you are rich or poor, debt has likely played some role in your story. But living without debt is possible. I would even venture to say that it is probable for those that work hard and make wise money choices. This book can help to guide those money decisions, and be a catalyst in turning your nightmare into a wonderful dream.

Minor Drawback:

I wish he would not have waited so long into the book to show us the hope that exists for us all. He presents each situation right up till the breaking point, and then he switches to the next couple’s story.

In my opinion, this creates (at least initially) a depressing world where everyone is living on the precipice of financial ruin.

Once all the stories were started and the gory details disclosed, then Mr Burkett presents the satisfying conclusions for each couple. He details the solutions and the processes to financial success for each couple towards the end of the book. I would have preferred to re-arrange the chapters to have the solutions closer in the book to each actual disparaging scenario.

This is a minor drawback, and perhaps even more of a preference.


Despite the order of each story and solution in the book, the information presented in Debt-free Living is great advice for all situations and every walk of life. All of us can benefit from Larry Burkett’s book, “Debt-free Living”.

So if you’re looking for books to supplement your non-fiction reading habit, why not add this book to your list, and read it!!

Debt-free Living by Larry Burkett (affiliate link)

Already have it or read it? Let me know what you think in the comments below.


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  1. Thanks for sharing this book review. I have not heard of this book. It sounds helpful based on your review. I will add it to my growing list of must reads.

    • Thanks, Dave. I think a lot of us like to compare ourselves and our situation to theirs, and this book gives you an opportunity to do so. There’s some other tibits in it too. I actually did like it.

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