Bill and Mary Toohey, authors of The average family’s guide to financial freedom, make middle class average wages. Mary works as an office manager and Bill as a vocational rehabilitation counselor for the state. With modest incomes, they achieved financial freedom and ensured that their needs are met in retirement. His book is a guide for others who want to achieve financial security despite the challenges of today’s economy. It is my favorite how-to guide from my vast collection of books on 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 it. That savings figure is based on gross income, not net income. It’s really impressive given that they’re not making a huge income.

How did the Tooheys do it? This book tells his 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 large part of the Tooheys’ success is their choice to live in a modest home. Many of us struggle to buy a house or condo that we can barely afford and then go into debt to furnish, decorate, and update our big new house. The Tooheys, on the other hand, bought a house that was smaller than they could afford. Instead of using it as a stepping stone to a bigger house, they stayed 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 tiny home. A smaller home means you spend less on utilities, maintenance, interest, taxes, and furniture.

The authors look at small expenses and big ones in their efforts to spend less. There is no question about it, they are careful spenders. In their book they share tips for buying cars and groceries and spending on entertainment and education. Learning is important to their family and they share their tips for going to college without getting into debt.

A lot of Guide to Financial Freedom is dedicated to how to spend wisely and avoid financial mistakes in your everyday life. There’s also a ton of solid, friendly advice on raising responsible kids, maintaining your possessions, and setting up a home office that will keep your family organized. There’s even a chapter on how to live happily in a one bath house, something many people think is impossible.

The Tooheys also devote several chapters to investing and retirement. There is advice and information on where to invest and on the various forms of retirement plans. They freely share their own mistakes and what they have learned about investing.

You can’t help but like Bill and Mary Toohey while reading this book. They seem like people you would want as friends or family members. There is nothing fancy or complicated about his advice. It’s solid, direct guidance from someone 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 read Bill and Mary Toohey’s book, The average family’s guide to financial freedom.

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