Famed and worshipped by many, Scott Pape’s the Barefoot Investor has formed a cult-like following, with many Australians swearing by it as their bible for financial success. You have probably met them, bucket-talking fans – maybe even friends – raving about the book, praising Pape’s easy-to-understand nature and of course, boasting about their financial wins.
Everyone wants to secure their financial future and the Barefoot Investor makes it looks easy. With wallets adorned in orange cards, the ‘Barefoot’ army appears to be getting bigger every day, with over 1.3 million copies sold to date.
Despite being colloquially labelled a cult and the book’s insane popularity, it begs the question: is it worth the hype?
David Currie, Financial Advisor at Wealthy Self
A financial advisor for Generation Y and millennials, David is well positioned to understand the needs and requirements of young Australians, and although he does not strictly dislike the book, he is critical.
David believes that while the book’s advice is a “good source of general information”, he worries that everyone will think that it’s suitable for them when it might not be.
Instead of blindly trusting Pape’s advice, David warns that readers should take care to “read between the lines” – as well as read widely – using the book as another source to improve their own financial literacy.
Ordinary Australians: Sarah and Laura
After receiving the book as a Christmas gift, Sarah and her partner Laura say the book has been a “game-changer”, attributing their new-found financial success to Pape’s steps.
Despite being on an income of $55,000 each, which many would regard as the lower-end of the spectrum, Sarah says that they have been able to make a lot of the steps really work for them, proving that even those on lower incomes have been able to use the advice to find financial success.
Since employing the strategies, Sarah and her partner are happy to report they have:
- Built a stock portfolio of $21,000 in under 12 months
- Reduced their home loan rate (within a five-minute phone call) from 4.15% to 3.62% (leading to an immediate $30,000 saving off the life of the loan)
- Saved $15,000 in cash to pay for their November wedding
- Managed to contribute 50% of their income to savings
Semi-retirees: Katrina and hubby
After cutting up their credit cards, one of the many pieces of advice offered by Pape, Katrina says she and her partner are now looking forward to a “financially stress-free retirement”.
Unlike some who read Pape’s book and claim it ‘saved their lives’ financially, Katrina says that before the book came along they were not in a bad financial position, although they were looking at ways to stop working so much and semi-retire.
After being recommended the book by a friend, the couple decided to give it a read – and they loved it. Now, Katrina says the book has given them the confidence to just ‘go for it’, claiming it has taught them about a lot of the ins and outs of investment properties and superannuation, key financial literacy which their accountant never told them about.
“We’ve cut up our credit card and set up the bank accounts as he recommends and we’re looking forward to a financially stress-free retirement!” Says Katrina.
“Financially enlightened”: Vanessa
Vanessa is undoubtedly a Barefoot fan, saying that it’s given her “a sense of financial clarity”, enabling her to stop living paycheck to paycheck.
Out of all the Barefoot tactics, Vanessa is a big fan of ‘domino-ing’ – a Barefoot strategy for taking care of debt. Using Pape’s steps, Vanessa has managed to pay back the money she owed to the Australian Taxation Office and in addition, she has been able to make big strides towards paying off her car loan.
Words by Kathryn Lee.
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