Book Reviews

Anne Arundel County, Maryland

Gotcha Capitalism - How Hidden Fees Rip You Off Every Day and What You Can Do About It
By Bob Sullivan, Copyright 2007
345 pages in paperback
Published by Ballantine Books

Book Reviewed by Brent Herrick - May 2, 2008

This book is a great resource for retirees or those working towards retirement for the simple reason that much of what you earn can be siphoned off by unscrupulous businesses.

Bob Sullivan makes a convincing case that these hidden charges are insidious and ever present in day-to-day transactions. His first effort is to make you aware of where these charges are slipped past you, and since knowledge of these is the first step towards combating them, you can then set about limiting the damage.

One of the best examples of the information relating to retirement concerns is the hidden expense fees on many mutual funds and 401k funds. The outcome that he presents in plain language shows that most you your retirement will go to Wall Street, as much as 80% simply by participating in the most readily available retirement plans. That is bad news for all of us, and of course is never pointed out in those rosy descriptions of mutual fund brochures with their rate of return numbers enticing us into investing.

This is a great read in the sense that you look at what interests you, rather than having to read the whole book in one sitting. I imagine using it as a fallback resource when I am about to go ballistic about another rip-off charge added to my monthly statement of whatever company is trying to get in my pocket this month.

His most valuable contribution to consumer protection is that he identifies the new mode of doing business for most of the companies out there today. Rather than compete on a level playing field, it is necessary for most of them to nickel and dime us with fees in order to appear competitive.

As most of us already know, when the price of anything is advertised, it is rarely the out-the-door price and often doubles when the contract is signed.

I recommend this book as a valuable source of information in saving money, especially for those of us on fixed incomes or limited future gains. Those of us planning a retirement will be disgusted to see where most of the money goes in their mutual funds.

Disclaimer: Please consult a financial professional for your specific retirement objectives. The ideas presented here are for informational purposes only and do not represent legal or professional advice. Make any financial decisions at your own risk.

Reprinted with permission given by the reviewer: Brent Herrick

Copyright 2008 –