On June 17, the Library hosted C-SPAN and Chancellor Robertson for a book discussion of his latest (19th) book, Right on the Money: Financial Advice for Tough Times. About 160 people came to hear Dr. Robertson explain the roots of the global recession and the practical steps everyone can take to protect their finances in good and lean years.
Dr. Robertson began his talk with an overview of the events leading the near-collapse of the banking system last fall. The roots of the crisis lay in greed-the lust to have it now. It is this definition that explains equally the high-risk behavior of formerly conservative investment houses and average Americans who bought houses they could not afford.
Americans, Dr. Robertson writes in the book’s introduction, need a refresher course in planning for the future instead of living for the moment. As the Book of Proverbs puts it, “The plans of the diligent surely lead to advantage. But everyone who is hasty comes assuredly to poverty.” It is for readers who desire put this timeless wisdom into practice that Dr. Robertson wrote his book.
According to one study, money is responsible for 50 percent of marital discord, making it all the more imperative for couples to put their financial house in order. In his prepared remarks and in the Q & A session that followed Dr. Robertson outlined some of the fundamental lessons of his book, including:
- The necessity of making and sticking to a household budget.
- Holding no more than two credit cards and paying off the principal(s) each month.
- The advantages of husbands and wives holding separate bank and investment accounts.
- Investing in a balanced portfolio and purchasing the right kind of life and property insurance.
- Understanding the power of compound interest-“the eighth wonder of the world.”
While massive levels of federal spending will almost assuredly bring on high inflation, Dr. Robertson said that including assets like commodities and gold (five to ten percent) in a diversified portfolio can help protect one’s wealth from the cruelest tax. (Chapter 10 of Right on the Money gives more advice for inflation-era investing.)
Finally, Dr. Robertson emphasized the importance of making generous giving a fixed monthly expense in order to have for oneself God’s promise in the book of Deuteronomy: “Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each…so that the Lord may bless you in all the works of your hands.”
Dr. Robertson’s book talk aired on C-SPAN’s BookTV over the weekend. The first part can now be viewed on BookTV’s channel on YouTube.