Who doesn’t want to be rich someday? Who doesn’t dream of savings money or investing wisely and having a prosperous financial future? In the late 80s/early 90s, people were captivated by the teachings of Charles Givens, a self-professed financial Guru who wrote several books designed to help people make the best financial decisions towards their future. I can recall from memory two of his books, Wealth Without Risk and More Wealth Without Risk. I remember many discussions in the books about life insurance, investing, basically how to have a million dollars when you retire. He would host numerous seminars and ran a multilevel marketing type business that sold his tapes and books for profit. People could come in and join his organization to sell his programs or take part in teaching people how to become wealthy with their own money.
According to a brief biographical sketch:
Charles J. Givens (February 5, 1941 – July 12, 1998) was a bestselling author of two books, Wealth Without Risk and Financial Self Defense. Givens founded the Charles J. Givens Organization that grew to over 450,000 members. He frequently appeared on nationally syndicated daytime television shows to promote his “financial strategies” and hosted a weekly radio program with self-named “Christian Financial Planner” James L. Paris. At his peak Givens’ extravagant lifestyle was profiled on the popular television program Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. His organization collapsed after a number of lawsuits, and regulatory investigations of investments sold by Paris, central Florida radio personality Jack Dicks, and real estate developer Charles C Smith Jr. Personal history Givens was born and raised in Decatur, Illinois. His father, a construction company owner, deserted the family and left them poor. This situation made things tough around the house, and it affected the Givens mentally. In a 1989 interview, Givens said he once considered himself a “loser”, and at 16 wrote a suicide note. According to some sources, he wrote the 1960s hit song Hang on Sloopy. Givens slowly built a multimillion-dollar empire in the late 1980s, writing such books as the best-selling Wealth Without Risk and Financial Self-Defense. He became a bestselling author, with two books in the Bestsellers list during the 1990s. Also during his financial peak, he owned the Charles J. Givens Organization, which counted at more than 450,000 members. The company provided financial education, and brought in $104 million of revenue. Over his career, Givens was the target of dozens of lawsuits and two court cases for defrauding customers, one in California and one in Florida. The California fraud case found that he had misled his customers by claiming that he had made his money using his financial strategies, rather than by selling his financial strategies, and he was ordered to refund $14.1 million to his customers. Givens settled the Florida fraud case.
Now you too can review some money-saving, get rich, wealth building strategies but instead of investing the thousands of dollars’ people would invest in the program—it is yours FOR FREE! Obviously, some of the material in the program is very well dated; however, there are still some great tips in the program document. You can find the entire program at: https://archive.org/details/Financial_Library_Charles_Givens
I would recommend you download the PDF document first, but his audio tapes are also downloadable as MP3’s. If you have a USB port in your car audio, these would make a great sound-bite to listen to on your way into work.
So, in getting back to the PDF document, here are a couple objectives from the “course” that they teach:
Use the Financial Library to achieve specific objectives and answer specific questions.
By going to a specific section and reviewing the strategies and explanations you will, in the shortest time, know how to:
- Begin a new strategy. Examples: Refinance a home, send your kids to college free, increase your take-home pay.
- Correct financial errors you have made in the past. Examples: Re-establish your credit, use more advantageous methods of taking tax deductions, move your money from banks to better investments.
- Answer a specific question. Examples: “Why shouldn’t I buy Universal Life Insurance?”, “What tax rule replaces the Capital Gains Rule?”, ‘How do I get a good investment plan started?”
Page 33 of the program (actually page 33 of the PDF document as it states it is actually page 1 for the program), the Givens team open with a list of strategies that will get you on the road to financial prosperity. Some of these ideas hold solid today, such as writing down a list of goals, keeping receipts of expenses, and keeping an assets list for insurance. There are some EXTREMELY value tips that some people found egregious such as “Never file an insurance claim for under $500,” which I sure wish I knew when someone hit me from behind. By asking to have the person’s insurance fix my $156 scratch the value of my car dropped by over $5,000 when I went to go trade it in. True story!
Page 55 (again, referring to the page in the PDF, not the document itself) shows a chart, their 4-step Financial Blueprint process that goes from your dreams, your values, your goals, and ultimately the strategies to tie those altogether. Great stuff for setting goals for sure!
There is some phenomenal tax savings information…basically how to declare maximum deductions using your home equipment that you’ve already purchased (even though VCRs pretty much no longer exist, just use your imagination and apply it to modern day stuff). There’s information about investing in mutual funds, which seemed to earn a whopping 13%+ back in the day.
I would be curious to see how much of his information is ACTUALLY doable today. I would guess the majority of it is still GREAT info that you wouldn’t ordinarily think about, but either way…you should take this classic course workbook and get inspired to do something better with your finances! In a way, the Charles Givens industry turned most of America away from Whole and Universal life insurance and redirected everyone towards the lower cost term-life. At least that’s the way I remember it.
Regarding investment information however, there are some really interesting tips. Take for instance this little tidbit on page 392:
“IF YOU INVEST $2,000 IN A TAX-DEFERRED RETIREMENT ACCOUNT EACH YEAR BETWEEN THE AGES OF 20 AND 26, AND NEVER INVEST ANOTHER CENT, YOU WILL HAVE MORE MONEY WHEN YOU REACH AGE 65 THAN IF YOU WAIT UNTIL YOU ARE 26 AND INVEST $2,000 EVERY YEAR FOR THE NEXT 40 YEARS WITHOUT RETIREMENT ACCOUNT TAX PROTECTION.”
I’m thinking that the interest rates were probably around 20% back then; however, if you do the math, you can apply this same statement to a conservative 8% return for $1,379,073. I used the bankrate.com calculator you can play with to come up with some similar scenarios: http://www.bankrate.com/calculators/retirement/retirement-plan-calculator.aspx
The bottom line of this review is this is a DEFINITE MUST-HAVE for your beginning archive collection. Create an account and add it to your favorites and start downloading today. I downloaded the Charles Givens’ mp3 files and loaded them to a USB thumb drive to try out in my car. I’ll let you all know how it turned out and if it’s worth it to listen to.