You’re Broke Because You Want to Be – Book Review

by Ryan Guina

youre-broke.jpgYou’re Broke Because You Want to Be. What a bold statement to make – and it doesn’t stop there! For those of you who have not seen his reality television show, Big Spender, Larry Winget is just as bold as that statement. He is the self-proclaimed Pitbull of Personal Development, and he is direct, in your face, and brutally honest. But he is also humorous and caring. He wants to help, and in many cases, his interaction with people is the wakeup call they need to make life altering financial changes.

What this book is

The full title of this book is You’re Broke Because you Want to Be: How to Stop Getting By and Start Getting Ahead. This is a self improvement book designed to make you take a hard look at your spending habits and your financial goals.

This is a book that you not only read, but use. There are several worksheets spread throughout the book to fill out as you read along. This is designed to make you think about your dreams, needs, expenses, feelings, goals, budget, etc. By the time you finish this book you should have a good idea of how much money you earn, what your expenses are, you should have defined your financial goals, and designed a plan to reach them.

What this book is not

This book is not a get rich quick book. This book will not solve all of your money problems and Larry tells you this upfront. This book will only serve to motivate and guide you, but it will not change your life. You must change your life.

In addition, Larry makes a clear distinction between being poor and being broke. He acknowledges there is a difference between the two, the main difference is that being poor is a sad, but inevitable part of society; being broke is controllable. This book is not designed to fix the world. It was written to help people who have the power to change their situation by changing their priorities.

Who should read this book?

If you are in debt and haven’t thought much about why you are in debt, this is a good book to read. If you constantly feel like you are struggling to make ends meet even though you make a decent income, this may be the book for you. If you are surrounded by expensive toys, wear expensive designer clothing, and drive around a huge car payment (yes, I wrote drive a huge car payment), this book is definitely for you. There are ways to improve your financial situation; you just need to recognize opportunities and change the way you think.

Buy or don’t buy?

You’re Broke Because You Want to Be was entertaining for me to read, but I do not feel like I am the target audience. But that is because my wife and I are not broke. We have done a good job at reigning in our expenses and we spend less than we earn. However, if you are just starting to think about getting rid of your debt and don’t know where to start, or you have been working on getting out of debt and need a different perspective, You’re Broke Because You Want to Be is a worthy book to buy.

If you don’t want to spend money because you are trying to get out of debt, then use the library (just use a separate piece of paper for the worksheets so others can use this resource!).

Want a free signed copy of this book?

Larry and his marketing team were kind enough to send me a signed copy of this book to review. Now that I have read it (no I didn’t fill out the worksheets!), I want to give it to one of my readers. The process is easy, all you have to do is subscribe to my website (it’s free!). In the footer of the subscription is a secret phrase that you need to send me via e-mail. Please note, I am sending this on my own dime, so I will only ship to the US, Canada, and the UK. Thanks, and good luck!

Note: The book has been given away! But all is not lost – I have monthly book giveaways, so stay tuned! The best way to do that is to subscribe to my site! 🙂

Published or updated May 18, 2011.
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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

1 deepali

Two years ago, I would definitely have been the target audience. In fact, I’d say most of my friends are. The problem is, I can’t give a book with that title to anyone I know, because it would put them on the defensive. Which is too bad, because sometimes a little tough love is what we all need.


2 Ryan

deepali, This book is exactly that – tough love. Larry doesn’t mince words and he is brutally honest. But he is also engaging and supportive. I agree, there is the possibility this book could put people on the defensive. But let’s be honest – people aren’t going to make any changes unless they want to. One of the big points about this book is that it forces you to make that decision on page 1. It doesn’t say “read me for a few pages then decide.”


3 Mrs. Micah

I suppose we’re broke because we want to be. After all, Micah doesn’t need a doctorate. But in another way, I think he does need it and so the debt isn’t so depressing after all.


4 Ryan

Mrs. Micah, I think you bring up a good point that I didn’t mention. This book is mostly focused on changing spending habits and the way you think about money and spending. I think there is a huge difference between investing in your future through education and living beyong your means by just buying junk. Thanks for bringing that up.


5 deepali

It definitely sounds like the kind of book I’d like (I’m a big fan of tough love!). But I know too many people who just wouldn’t get past the title, and would probably be offended if I suggested they read it.
On the other hand, once they got past the title, they’d probably really enjoy it. Perhaps I’ll give copies to people without the book jacket. 🙂

By the way, I love the title – don’t mean to disparage it. I’m just thinking of how it comes across in our society, where we like to blame everyone else for things going wrong.


6 Ryan

deepali, I’m a big fan of laying it on the line as well. I thought about giving this copy to someone I know that could use something like this, but I have a strong suspicion they would never read it. So, I chose to give it away instead. It is more fun to know that the book will go to someone who is actively seeking to make a change vs. going to someone that will likely just say thanks, and put it on a shelf somewhere.

(I also agree that too many people shift blame instead of owning up to their mistakes or bad habits. I mean, c’mon… sue McDonald’s because you’re fat? Exercise and eat well and you will notice a change). 🙂


7 Debt free Revolution

Hmm, sounds a lot like Dave Ramsey…which means I’ll probably enjoy it even though I am no longer broke 🙂 I’ll have to check this one out.


8 Minimum Wage

I’nm trying to imagine an older person, no longer able to work, living on a pittance of Social Security.

This person is broke because they want to be?


9 Ryan

Hi Minimum Wage,

No, that is not the case at all. As I mentioned in the earlier comments, this book is geared toward people who earn a decent income but are broke because they overspend. This is meant to get people to realize what their financial priorities are and to work on improving their spending habits to work toward a financial goal. The premise of the book is: You wouldn’t have these large credit card debts, auto loans, or mortgages unless you made a conscious decision to purchase the item.

I know there are people who are in debt that had no choice – an emergency, hospital or medical problem, forced layoff, and many other situations. This book is not aimed toward those people, but to people who are broke because they overspend on consumer items. There is no one size fits all book to cover every situation.

Thank you for the comment and allowing me to clear that up.


10 Eden

I have seen Larry’s TV show and I think he has some good advice. I like the in-your-face approach. For those of us willing to accept responsibility for our choices, the message rings true. For others…they will just continue to sit back and wonder why the world is against them.


11 Ryan

Eden, I agree on all accounts. Some people need the in-your-face approach in order to wake up to reality. I hope the book I am giving away will go to someone who can really use it to improve their situation! Thanks for the comment. 🙂


12 Mrs. Micah

The question is when do we find out who won it? Am I too impatient? 🙁


13 Ryan

Next Saturday in my weekly round-up. That gives everyone a chance to sign up, and more importantly, me a chance to relax a little during the week. 😉


14 karen schulte

I was curious if the author touches on people who are broke because they maybe don’t think they deserve to be successful…some people sabotage themselves…in all areas of their lives…relationships, finances etc…I know someone who I think has this problem…thx


15 Jean

So, if you are “poor” due to the circumstances-tack, how do you find your way out of the wet paper bag???? That’s the $6,000,000 question!


16 Ryan


That is indeed the $6,000,000 question. Unfortunately, it is also one I don’t have the answer for.


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