Press Kits bird

Complete Reviews for Enjoy Your Money! How to Make It, Save It, Invest It and Give It

(For shorter reviews, see the press kit, which pulls out brief statements from longer reviews. This page gives those truncated reviews in their entirety.)


Cliff Pletschet, financial columnist for 30+ years with The Oakland (California) Tribune


Improving Finances takes Discipline

Fictional financial mentor "Kramer" talks about her life experiences in moving up the ladder of life from despair to a $500,000 retirement nest egg.

Her husband died of cancer at age 30, leaving Kramer without life insurance and with funeral expenses and $20,000 in credit-card debt. The monthly payments on the debt were killing her and her heart sank every time the phone rang. Was it another collector hounding her?

What was she to do? Well, she sold her house and moved into a condo to pay down her debt and reduce her expenses. She took an extra job, this one on weekends, which, if nothing else, took her mind off her grief. In a little more than four years she paid off the debt. She kept the extra job until she paid off the $15,000 she owned on the condo. "With very few expenses, I quit my weekend job and divided the money I used to make payments into investments, travel and giving to worthy causes. So far, I have saved up about $500,000 toward an early retirement," she said.

Kramer is not a real person, has no first name, but a fictitious creation of educator/investor J. Steve Miller and the central character in his book "Enjoy Your Money! How to Make It, Save It, Invest It and Give It'' (Wisdom Creek Press, $15.99) written in reader-friendly conversational style, meaning it's a departure from the usual drab encyclopedic makeup of most investment books.

Since Kramer is not a real person, can we to buy her life story? It may be hard for the average person because how many people base their life on acute planning, hard work, patience and adversity to debt. We can believe her, but can we follow her example? Yes, but improving your financial life takes dedication.

Kramer delivers her common-sense message to four unusually inquisitive young followers, members of her Counterculture Club, who ask basic questions, some of them one could brand as "stupid.'' But, of course, Kramer, ever patient, implies there's no such thing as a stupid question.

But the world is full of stupid people, as Miller indicates with some survey results. Ninety-seven percent of workers over 45 regret how they spent their money, in light of how much they could have saved. Almost one in four adults live paycheck-to-paycheck. Fifty-nine percent of Americans don't save regularly. By 2005, for the first time since the Great Depression, we spent more than we earned. About 1.5 million Americans declare personal bankruptcy each year. The average college student graduates with more than $20,000 in debt. Most Americans haven't even calculated how much money they need to retire. Personal debt is reaching record highs and personal savings is reaching record lows. Do you see yourself in there somewhere?

Kramer tells her followers the life-story of Warren Buffett. He was born in the midst of the Great Depression, which stripped his father of his job and savings. They had food to eat, but that was about all. He decided that he wanted to be rich some day. At age 5, he set up a stand in front of his house and sold Chichlets, tiny candy-coated pieces of chewing gum, Then he progressed to lemonade, finding a better location at a friend's house on a busier street.

On vacation at age 6, he bought a six-pack of Cokes and sold them at a profit of five cents per Coke. Before age 11, he hired neighborhood kids to find golf balls and paid others to sell them, taking his cut. He caddied at a golf course for $3 a day. He started to weigh investing and at age 11, buying three shares of Cities Services preferred stock for $114 (more than $1,500 in 2008 dollars) and selling them at a profit. He read everything he could find about business and finance. He grew a paper route into a profitable business, so that at age 14, he invested $1,200 (more than $12,000 in today's money) in 40 acres of Nebraska farmland.

Buffett and a friend bought a used pinball machine and put it in a barber shop, splitting the profits with the barber. By high school graduation, he had read more than 100 business books and earned more than $5,000 ($47,000 in today's money) and in college he studied under respected investor Benjamin Graham. By age 31, he had multiplied his savings to $1 million. He never spent money on extravagant living. Today, he's a billionaire.

The lessons from Buffett's life, Kramer points out, were: Have long-range goals, work hard, gain wisdom through reading, live cheaply, invest regularly and help make others happy.

An important entry in Miller's book is a list of 10 ways to lose money: Doing drugs and alcohol, acquiring debt and not taking it seriously, abusing credit cards, avoiding wise counsel, trusting the wrong counsel, gambling, living beyond your means, trying to get rich quick, making risky investments and keeping inadequate insurance.

Whether you are a beginner or advanced investor, do yourself a favor and absorb Miller's advice, filtered engagingly through rapport between a skillful mentor and her inquisitive followers.


Reviewed by Muhammed Hassanali

Books on financial planning are generally either so broad that they don’t really help provide a plan of action or are so detailed and complex that they can be used to cure one’s nights of insomnia. Enjoy Your Money is different in that it is written as a novel (and reads like one) while simultaneously providing sound financial planning advice.

The book is divided into four parts. The first is titled Investing Money and consists of six chapters. Each chapter explores the various investing vehicles available to the individual investor. The second part is titled Saving Money and focuses on how to spot and avoid high priced items. More important is that this section also provides a means for asking questions to help us find put for ourselves what we are buying. The third section is titled Making Money and is about finding the job you love and working at improving your skills. The last section s a one-chapter section titled Enjoying Money and really gets to the crux of the question as to why we want to have money in the first place.

While the book is clearly written for young professionals just getting started in their careers, it is useful for anyone. The presentation style and narration is easy enough for even high school or college aged readers. The information is valuable for them as well.


The Midwest Book Review


"Money can't buy happiness, but it sure can help. "Enjoy Your Money! How to Make It, Save It, Invest It, and Give It" is a guide for the early twenty something just now becoming aware of the real word where money management is the key to success and happiness. Author J. Steve Miller seeks to inspire young people to pull themselves out of debt, and find their niche to make their keep and have something for themselves and the future. "Enjoy Your Money" is a solid and recommended read for those who want to plan well now so they don't have to live in debt later."


Particularly supportive for those who may have modest to no appreciative perception of personal finance; J. Steve Miller’s Enjoy Your Money!: How to Make It, Save It, Invest It and Give It can leverage as a jumping off point, or a road map to direct the neophyte toward proficiency when it comes to understanding money, and what can be done with it in order to give surety toward a more advantageous future.

Forward Review (From Foreword Magazine)

One can imagine that, if every young adult would read a copy of Enjoy Your Money!, there would be a lot more saving, a lot less spending, and fewer personal bankruptcies in American society.

This book clearly targets a twenty-something audience, offering sound, basic financial advice intended for them, but its content is broadly applicable. Anyone who needs a primer in investing in stocks and mutual funds, understanding the implications of owning real estate, or figuring out ways to save money will find Enjoy Your Money! of value.

Perhaps the most engaging aspect of the book is the manner in which the information is packaged. Too many financial advice books treat the subject in a dry, humorless way or, alternatively, in a breathless “You can be a millionaire” style that dumbs down the content. But here, author Miller follows a storytelling path that brings a new life and energy to the topic. He recounts the story of a group of high school students who have regular breakfast meetings with a teacher to learn the ins and outs of personal finance. The teacher, herself a nonconformist, says the group needs to "break loose from a culture that’s gone crazy with its finances," so she labels them “the Counterculture Club.”

The book presents an overview of the fifteen breakfast meetings the club holds, replete with snappy dialogue, jokes, and shenanigans. Within the entertaining patter, however, are serious lessons about managing money. “Old widow Kramer,” the social studies teacher who advises the “club,” guides the discussions. On occasion, the owner of the restaurant where the breakfasts take place joins in the discussions to provide another perspective. The chapters, each of which essentially covers one breakfast meeting, are easy to consume. The members of the club always ask questions that seem likely to anticipate the reader’s own inquiries.

Miller conveys a lot of information, offering a “penny saved, penny earned” kind of philosophy, but with contemporary flair. A nice touch is the additional information he provides after each breakfast lesson: a section called “Hmmmmm…” with thought-provoking questions, an “Assignment Between Breakfasts” that includes some added fact-finding exercises, and “Resources to Take You Deeper,” a useful section of websites and publications for further study.

Enjoy Your Money! takes what could have been a fear-inducing subject and sheds new light on it in a positive, non-threatening way. All in all, it is simply a joy to read.

 Reviewed for Foreword by Barry Silverstein

When J. Steve Miller contacted me about reviewing his book, I was unbelievably excited. That might seem like an odd response for a personal finance book, but I had just heard about Enjoy Your Money from a couple Yakezie friends. Debt Ninja & Enemy of Debt were talking about how interesting the book is and how totally different from typical non-fiction books.

I couldn’t wait to read it, since I’m a non-fiction fan already. Wait, let me rephrase. I enjoy learning from non-fiction books, but they’re often tedious and, let’s be honest, a little dry & boring. This book was far from boring! While it is a non-fiction, personal finance book, it is set up as a story, with characters whose diverse backgrounds & personalities come together in an effort to achieve the financial peace their parents lack.

You’ll learn valuable lessons on earning, saving, investing and being charitable through the stories & lives of the Counter Culture Club—4 high school kids who learn from their financially savvy teacher, Mrs. Kramer. The book—and her lesson plan—is divided into 4 sections. The book opens with lessons on investing, including compounding interest, showing the students how quickly money can double when invested safely & smart.

It was fascinating and very motivating, but it is followed quickly by a lesson on saving that discourages early investing. Emergency fund of 4-6 months salary first. Period. There are also money saving tips, most of which I already knew, but it was cool to learn that even Warren Buffet uses coupons! The section on enjoying your money fits right in line with Inexpensively’s philosophy—just because you want to save money, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your life along the way.

I truly enjoyed reading this book, and I’ve passed it on to the hubby to read next. I wish I’d had a book like this—or a teacher like Mrs. Kramer—15 years ago. My entire life would have been different. Alas, we’ll have to jump in where we are. I think this book would make a fabulous gift for a graduate or a newlywed couple. I may just have to buy it for my sister & her fiance. If you can begin your life with lessons like these (in a format that is fun to read)


Review by Molly Martin, 20+ Year Classroom Teacher, for The Compulsive Reader. Also published in "Reviewer's Bookwatch," a book review magazine by The Midwest Book Review.

Enjoy Your Money!: How to Make It, Save It, Invest It and Give It
J. Steve Miller's
Wisdom Creek Press, LLC
5814 Sailboat Pointe, NW, Acworth, GA 30101
9780981875675 $15.99

J. Steve Miller's - Enjoy Your Money!: How to Make It, Save It, Invest It and Give It presents readers occasion for learning to Invest, Save, Make and Enjoy Money.

One of the first declarations set down in the work caught my eye, Miller wrote: I strove to be one of those exceptions by basing my advice not just upon years of personal experience, but upon the knowledge and experiences of well over one hundred wise people.

Now THAT sounds hard to beat.

Attaining acumen, learning, knowledge, living below ones means, investing habitually and serving others all are keys to triumph.

Miller tenders a manuscript penned in an stirring and satisfying arrangement proposed to keep the reader occupied and turning the page. Each sheet is overflowing with appealing and agreeably structured information existing as coursework, conversation materials and motivation packed notations.

Particularly supportive for those who may have modest to no appreciative perception of personal finance; J. Steve Miller's - Enjoy Your Money!: How to Make It, Save It, Invest It and Give It can leverage as a jumping off point, or a road map to direct the neophyte toward proficiency when it comes to understanding money, and what can be done with it in order to give surety toward a more advantageous future.

Part One: Investing Money presents readers with important information for discovering the basics, catching the vision and how to not lose money in stocks. Miller furnishes information for how to go about making money in Mutual Funds, along with advice for how to diversify with Real Estate. Scattered throughout this section are sidebars, set apart boxes, colored headings and lots of information.

I found a note down on page 76 which seems to hold a wealth of well thought out realism and is it timely: Preparing for Hard Times in Case of Another Depression, Work: jobs will be scarce, so work hard and smart now. Make yourself indispensable by knowing more about your job than anyone else and getting along with everyone. I need to be the last mechanic my boss would ever let go.

Life Style:

1 GET OUT OF DEBT; try to pay off your mortgage as quickly as possible. Even if you hold onto your employment during a dire market; it is likely you will earn less money for the reason that companies will be hurting. Ask yourself, -if my income were cut in half, could I still make my payments?

2 LIVE WAY BENEATH YOUR MEANS. Those living beyond their means will be in financial disarray. Lots of money will be lost should need arise forcing the selling of cars and houses at a massive loss.

3 Put more funds into your emergency account. In some locales, half the population were without work during the Great Depression. Consider how long could you last without an income?

Miller changes course in Part Two: SAVING MONEY and the writer yet again points out Live Way Beneath Your Means. He suggests ideas for how to save on food and clothes cost, on purchase of cars as well as how to save when buying houses. I found stimulating Miller's list of ten ways to lose a lot of money. He calls them Ten Popular Ways, meaning these are the ways many people bring into play to shoot themselves in the foot so to say when it comes to money.

Part Three: Making Money is concise and to the point filled with notes for how to locate those dream jobs, how to go about to do extremely well at your job and how to empower in your mind. Seems trouble-free enough, however, most of us have heard many co workers, or others bemoaning the job they have, and don't want, while doing little to nothing to change the situation.

Part four Enjoying Money makes available sagacious matter-of-fact suggestions for how to go about looking for happiness in the right places which Miller notes necessitates some learning, includes some philanthropic giving of self to others, and considering religion and other centered activity.

Appendices incorporate an adult spending sheet or budget as well as one for 17 year olds.

Writer Miller has created a nicely penned, well-ordered manuscript intended to assist anyone at any phase of earning, saving, investing and enjoying their money.

Text is chatty, filled with witticisms and packed with plenty of practical and constructive data. Coursework and assignments are designed to give support to the reader toward making constructive changes toward, or continuing good money management.

Happy to recommend J. Steve Miller's - Enjoy Your Money!: How to Make It, Save It, Invest It and Give It.


R.J. Medak for Allbooks Review


The title and subtitle of this book is “Enjoy Your Money! How to Make It, Save It, Invest It and Give It. (The Adventures of The Counterculture Club).” The book spends time with people in a dinner as they discuss investing and anecdotes about people that managed to save, and give away money for the express purpose of helping others, even though they had little to live on, on a daily basis.

We start with four High School students in detention and how they grow and what they learn about investing, saving, and helping others with their money. It is not hard to save money following the simple and basic rules found in this book. The only thing it takes is dedication to have money, even in a down economy. While it is easier to begin when you are young, any age can do it, 50+  readers can have something for retirement if they follow some basic principles. It is also possible to invest and make money. It is by investing that one might be able to keep ahead of inflation, according to the author.

J. Steve Miller is an investor as well as entrepreneur, and speaker. He has taught from Atlanta to Moscow. He is known for turning research and practical wisdom into information, and imparting it in an accessible and unforgettable way. Mr. Miller and his wife Cherie have seven sons.

If you are any age and wondering about money, this is a book for you to read and learn a new way of thinking about money and how to use it to your advantage over the long haul. We should all have something for retirement. This book might be one way for you to accomplish this. On this point, you will have to make your own decision. This reviewer found the premises to be compelling and to the point. If you wish to learn more about personal finance, and possibly be ahead of the game, you need to read this book. This book receives a four star rating. Highly recommended by RJ Medak, Allbooks Reviewer.

One of the best books on money management that I read, August 31, 2009
By  S V SWAMY "swamy-reviews" (Hyderabad, India)
Many years ago, working as a Quality Control Engineer, I read "The Goal" by Eliyahu Goldratt & Michael C.Gray. I loved their approach - teaching complicated management concepts in a novel format. Later, I reviewed a similar business novel on Lean Manufacturing. It did a great job of explaining the concepts of "lean" and the benefits of "lean" to business enterprises. So, when an opportunity arose to review the present book, I was quite enthusiastic. I am happy to report that my enthusiasm was not misplaced!

I have been a lazy investor and thus in a way protected myself from the bull and bear cycles of Indian Stock Market over the years and thus felt somewhat vindicated by the strategies that Miller recommends. If I could go back and relive my life, I would follow many of Millers' recommendations beautifully brought out by his main character, an older school teacher named Mrs. Kramer. Her wisdom applies across borders and across cultures.

Enjoy Your Money is one of the best and most complete resources for money management at the personal level. Yet, the concepts are equally applicable to any business of any scale. The book is divided into four parts: Investing Money, Saving Money, Making Money and Enjoying Money (including giving it away to causes that you believe in). You need to make money, save money and invest today's money for a secure future. Then, you need to find the right value systems in life (money is not the end; it is a means for the end). That message comes through quite lucidly.

I loved the movie script or play format! It worked for this book, transforming a large amount of research into an entertaining and easy read. The characterization of the participants is quite good and the style is very good, holding the reader's attention quite well. The book is well edited and nicely printed with just a couple of errors that won't affect your enjoyment or understanding. The Epilogue is quite surprising! I won't spoil your own enjoyment by revealing it.

The book gives many other useful resources (websites, other books etc.) and thus points you in the right direction if you want to explore further. The biographical sketches (from Warren Buffett to Sam Walton to Led Zeppelin) are informative and inspiring.

In summary, this is one of the best books on money management that I've ever read. I strongly recommend it to one and all.

VOYA Magazine, Voice of Youth Advocates, "The Library Magazine Serving Those Who Serve Young Adults" "VOYA is the only magazine that matters for librarians working with young adults. . . . Simply the best there is."—Patrick Jones, public librarian and author of Connecting Young Adults and Libraries, 2nd Ed. (Neal-Schuman, 1998).

Miller, J. Steve. Enjoy Your Money! How to Make It, Save It, Invest It, and Give It. Wisdom Creek Press, 2009. 270p. $15.99. 978-0-9818756-7-5. Index. Illus. Charts. Source Notes. Further Reading. Appendix.

Miller’s practical approach to saving, investing, and paying cash emphasizes that managing is as important as making money and allows each person to set priorities for life goals within a context of honesty, integrity, and generosity. Four students of Asian, African American, Caucasian, and Hispanic ethnicity, are assigned In-School Suspension and eventually, with the help of Mrs. Kramer, a teacher and money-management wizard, form The Counter-Culture Club, a kind of financial Breakfast Club. In four parts divided into breakfasts, the five plus Mrs. Kramer’s guests sort out financial challenges and ways to meet them.

Although the situations and conversations sometimes seem forced, the overall content will persuade readers that anyone can realize stability and personal satisfaction with thoughtful resource planning. Each breakfast contains a flashback and review, a new topic discussion, a preview of and preparation for the next session, a self-questioning, and suggestions for further information. Several sessions include instructive and entertaining personal money management stories. As with Teenvestor (Perigree/Berkley, 2002/VOYA June 2002), the excellent complementary Web site ( contains stand-alone advice and free instructional materials that expand the book’s content and purpose.

Miller’s message is that financial responsibility gives personal freedom and the power to contribute to something larger than oneself. Short, easy-to-read sections facilitate individual self-improvement or collaboration. Miller offers great support for junior or senior high students faced with their own or their parents’ financial challenges and provides teachers and support groups a wealth of information and direction.—Lucy Schall.

Darwin's Finance Blog

Enjoy Your Money by Steve Miller is a pretty neat book targeted especially toward the young and inexperienced when it comes to personal finances, investing and basically, life management.  While many blogs and books cater to either people with broader experience or those who think they’re more sophisticated when perhaps they’re not, this book does a nice job of laying out all the ground rules for a successful financial life.  I’d recommend giving it to any teen, college student or recent entrant to the workforce to start them off on the right path.  Some of the facts, stories and methods will get them psyched to invest, save money, cut expenses and do things right, as opposed to what most of the country is doing.  Here are some examples:

  • Personal Finances in America: The book shares some well-placed and shocking statistics to put things into perspective – i.e. 1 in 4 adults lives paycheck to paycheck; in 2005 for the first time since the Great Depression the average American spent more than they earned; 1.5 Million Americans declare bankruptcy each year and so on.
  • The Laws of 10s and 7s: Via the rule of 72 (approximately), if earning 10% on an investment like stocks over the long run, you’ll double your money every 7 years.  If earning 7% on say, a more conservative stock outlook or a mix of stocks and bonds, you’ll double it every 10 years.  While many experienced finance readers are familiar with this concept, it’s a neat thing to teach starting investors, especially when they consider how young they are and see how $5000 invested at age 20 can turn into $640,000 at age 69 in retirement.
  • Sound Stock Investing Advice: Stocks are long term investments. Don’t start investing in them until you’ve already built an emergency fund…”If the odds of having an expensive emergency in any given year are 1 out of 10, the odds of it occurring during a bear market are almost certain“…sound familiar?
  • Benefits of tax-deferral in an IRA account
  • Ritzy Neighborhoods = Expensive Lifestyles
  • The envelope method
  • Loss Leaders when shopping

…the list goes on. Basically, it’s a compact guide of all the basic concepts and strategies that young people should be familiar with (pounded into their heads actually) and I can’t say I disagree with anything I read.  I actually learned a thing or two even though I consider myself to be relatively versed in personal finance and investing topics.  If you know someone 15-30, pick up Enjoy Your Money!: How to Make It, Save It, Invest It and Give It for them, it may very well change their lives!

Redeeming Riches Blog

April is Financial Literacy Month and graduation season will soon be in full swing.

If you’re looking for gifts for grads that will be a valuable resource for them for years to come then you  may want to check out Enjoy Your Money! How to Make It, Save It, Invest It and Give It by J. Steve Miller.

J. Steve Miller is a former missionary, current president of Legacy Educational Resources and father of seven boys! Yes, seven!

Miller did tons of research on successful money practices, then wrote the book in story form.

This book starts off with the basic premise that it will help you:

  • Get out of debt and accumulate wealth
  • Get ahead, even when the work you love doesn’t produce big bucks
  • Find your strengths and passions and make a living with them
  • Live a more fulfilled life

Miller discusses many of the things I talk about in my blog like saving money, frugality and happiness. 

The last chapter particularly struck me about enjoying money.

He says:

“People who strive most for wealth tend to be less happy than others.  Those who strives for ‘intimacy, personal growth and contribution to community’ have a better quality of life”

I love that – and happiness and wealth is something I try to talk regularly about on this blog!

I wished Miller would have started the book with that chapter because in my opinion, understanding that accumulating wealth beyond a certain comfort level will not lead to more happiness is a foundational part to dealing with all other areas of our financial lives.

I like Miller’s use of personal stories and quotes from real folks, but at times the use of the non-fiction stories can get a little cheesy in parts.

All in all though, this is a very solid book for graduates looking to get a good grasp on personal finance without getting so bogged down with jargon!