Stanley Riggs’s finance book Build Wealth & Spend It All contains well-written advice about building wealth, but it’s the final chapter, where Riggs explains how he intends to fulfill his personal plan to spend everything before he dies (and recommends the same for others), that makes his book unique.
To be clear, Riggs is no hedonist; Riggs writes, and compiles others’ writings, to make clear the ways to build assets, not liabilities. But Riggs also keeps the end of life in mind, and asks the obvious question that many finance books leave unexamined: Why save all this money in the first place?
The book is for a specific audience: those who will comfortably fund their own retirement through savings. Riggs reveals that his mother’s death, after years in a nursing home that devoured her financial assets, was the cause of his re-examination of the true value of money. Money, for Riggs, is a kind of “earned I.O.U.” that needs to be exchanged for value, or it becomes worthless. Thus, rather than continue to accumulate wealth at an increasing pace in retirement, he recommends using the money for gifts or spending while you’re still alive to enjoy the benefits of your labor, and lays out a system to manage that task effectively.
Riggs is guilty of some blind spots: He harbors what some might consider a paranoid expectation that the U.S. government will dramatically increase taxes on 401(k)s and IRAs to fulfill obligations, but does not consider the possibility of negative tax changes regarding real estate investments. Still, he makes his point, listing other instances in which citizens with money in banks and institutions saw the value of their savings reduced, often substantially.
Riggs’s opinions might not resonate for every reader, but the writing is enjoyable, with carefully selected quotations and fun turns of phrase throughout, plus a detailed list of references. His book is well worth a look.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.