Personal finance book by couple with 14 children offering smart money advice
If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.
- Rob and Sam Fatzinger are the authors of a new book on Debt Free Living with 14 Children.
- They share smart strategies for budgeting, saving and paying off debt, regardless of family size.
- The children range from 4 to 31 years old, and many share their own ideas in the book.
- Compare the prices and offers of savings accounts in your area »
Sam and Rob Fatzinger are a lot like the average American couple.
In their new book, “A Catholic guide to spend less and live more, “Sam, 53, describes herself as the outgoing housewife and her husband Rob, 55, as the introverted breadwinner.
During their 30-plus-year marriage, the Fatzingers have been broke entrepreneurs, savvy budgets, and DIY repairmen.
Their most important title, however, is not so average: Mom and Dad up to 14 kids.
For almost everyone, parent or not, raising 14 children is a fantasy. That fact alone would make the Fatzingers, who paid off their final debt, a mortgage, nine years ago, qualified to publish their money management advice.
But by detailing their own budgeting strategies, avoiding high interest debt, saving for big expenses, and raising financially responsible adults – all of which are based on lived experience and most are empowered by the lessons of their faith. Catholic – the couple earnestly earn their soapbox.
“As you’ll find out in our story, you don’t have to be a Warren Buffett and have a net worth measured in billions to live well – or to be financially secure,” Sam writes in the introduction to the. delivered.
Catholicism plays a clear role in the Fatzingers’ money philosophy, but the practical advice they offer for living well is really for everyone. With good humor and self-awareness, Fatzingers pull back the curtain on their unique home life to show how getting ahead financially begins with a few simple strategies.
You’ll find the book worth reading if you’re willing to make the small sacrifices to spend better, save more, parent smarter, and plan well.
In just over 150 pages of lessons from personal stories and scriptures, Fatzingers make it clear how to spend with self-control, avoid unnecessary debt, budget with modest income, teach children skills and mindsets. to be self-reliant, and ultimately, cultivate the discipline to achieve big financial goals, like prepaying your mortgage or retiring, when you feel like you’re being pulled in a dozen different directions.
Frugal habits helped build a solid foundation, but eventually the family got past them.
The book is divided into two parts: Big Ideas and Essential Skills. The first covers the mentalities, the Catholic teachings and the frameworks used by the Fatzingers which more or less paved the way for the strategies implemented later. Each chapter ends with a list of homework assignments, ranging from food for thought and conversation starters to specific and achievable tasks.
If the heart of the book is in part one, the head is in part two, “Four Essential Skills: Making it Practical”. Here Rob and Sam dig in the How? ‘Or’ What to manage your money well.
They stick to the basics like setting and prioritizing goals, saving as much as you can, and using credit cards responsibly (they appreciate a good rewards card). They share how they save for retirement, an almost identical match to what financial planners recommend and how they invest that money. They also cover automatic bill payment, credit scores, and ways to make money on the side.
A large brood was still part of the Fatzingers’ life plan. So, as newlyweds and new business owners, they realized that they had no choice but to be frugal.
“That was our vision in a nutshell: not to spend money unless it is necessary so that we can afford to be open about life and stay at home with our children,” writes Sam, who homeschooled children for two decades. Washington, DC, suburbs while Rob works in information technology.
Eventually, inertia took over, and family frugal habits – from month-long fasts to avoiding dinners out of the house – became second nature.
“There was a time when we rarely spent money on anything that wasn’t a need. And we’ve found that being too much like Scrooge leads to a dull life, ”writes Rob.
The Fatzingers do not claim to have had no financial aid along the way. The generosity of worshipers, neighbors, family and friends carried them through desperate times, they said. But now they’re able to pay up front – and splurge on themselves a bit.
“Heck, we’re even getting extra guacamole at Chipotle now,” writes Rob. “Our older kids think we’re millionaires because we buy paper towels now, but only if they’re on sale!”
The experience was their greatest teacher
Fatzinger children, ages 4-31, find jobs as tweens and start earning money to buy new toys, cell phones, etc. (no allowances in the Fatzinger household). When they are licensed to drive, they can buy a cheap used car in cash.
When their eldest child got financial aid and scholarships to attend community college, then moved to a traditional four-year school on their own, this method became the MO family Although parents prefer to avoid student loans, some of the children used them to pursue higher education. (They describe their exact strategy and the current status of each child in “College: The Fatzinger Way, “a free digital download available on their book publisher’s website).
Not paying for college is perhaps the most controversial financial decision detailed in the book – Rob bluntly admits that they are “bad” parents. For “nice parents,” he briefly explains the 529 plan recommended by the experts.
Eight of the children are now out of the house, and many of them are cited in the book extolling the virtues and hard-learned lessons they learned growing up a Fatzinger. Their anecdotes add valuable perspective, I only wish they were longer.
But of course, writes Rob, “no all our children are financial freaks. “Their natural abilities and temperaments differ considerably,” he says. “One child filled out his own tax return at 16, while another 19 politely declined to give advice for the book because he was busy doing things as a teenager.
“And so,” the two reasons, “you need to help your kids set goals the same way you set goals for yourself: figure out what’s most important, create a plan, and invest resources accordingly.”
Tanza Loudenback is a Personal Finance Correspondent at Insider and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER ™.