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The Suburbanite
  • Common sense not so common ... when it comes to personal finances

  • Common sense is uncommon when it comes to money, says Gary Sirak of Canton. That’s what prompted him to write the new book, “If Your Money Talked, What Secrets Would It Tell?”

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  • Gary Sirak remembers with chagrin falling for the pitch of a scam artist claiming to be raising money to send underprivileged children to a nonprofit, NFL-sponsored camp.
    That experience became “Money Secret #4” in Sirak’s new book, “If Your Money Talked...What Secrets Would It Tell?”
    “Check the facts before you write the check,” said Sirak. “My book is stories, including ones about me. I’ve made mistakes — that’s how you learn.”
    Sirak is president of Sirak Financial Services in Jackson Township, started by his father in 1957 and currently employing about 50 people. He published “If Your Money Talked” earlier this year, and is working on his second book.
    Q. Can you describe your book in a couple of sentences?
    A. It’s a personal finance book and it’s motivational. A good teaching tool for people trying to figure out what to do with their money and not suffer financial disasters.
    Q. What prompted you to write it?
    A. A couple things. I was an English major in college. I’d go into Border’s and wander around and see all those books and wonder if I could actually write one. And second, I got irritated with how badly people were handling money and how little they knew about money. It’s so wrong.
    Q. Isn’t a lot of the advice in your book just common sense?
    A. Yes, but common sense has become incredibly uncommon. When I say things like, “Don’t spend more than you make,” clients will say, “I know all that,” and I’ll say, “Then why aren’t you doing it?”
    Q. Are these problems, like spending more than you make, or credit card debt, a particular problem for a particular age group?
    A. I used to think it was, but I don’t anymore. It’s across the board. Everyone seems to need to be reminded that you can’t spend $60,000 if you only make $59,000.
    Q. What prompts that kind of behavior?
    A. It’s kind of incredible, the entitlement, and zero patience to wait for anything. Instant gratification. And they think they have to have it to impress people, that people are impressed by what they drive or what they wear.
    Q. When someone says, “I don’t make enough money to save anything,” what is your advice?
    A. I ask, “How much do you make?” and “Where does your money go?” They don’t know, have no clue, don’t have a budget. The first thing is to start paying for everything with cash. It’s easy to slap down a piece of plastic, but it’s harder to part with cash.
    Page 2 of 2 - Q. Since publishing the book, have you been out promoting it?
    A. I’ve had a really good time, been on radio 40 times across the country. I get regular calls from Relevant Radio, that’s a Christian broadcast. I’ve done a number of speaking engagements. It’s been a blast.
    Q. Was self publishing difficult?
    A. We spent a year figuring it out, reading about it, talking to other authors. And I had an ace in the hole— my wife, Linda, has been an editor and worked with magazines and newspapers, so she took what I wrote and made it good. It wouldn’t have happened without her.
    Q. Will you write another one?
    A. Absolutely. The working title is “The American Dream — Alive and Well.” I’m frustrated by rumors that Americans have given up, that we’re not creating. I am talking to cool people doing amazing things and asking how they became successful.
    For more information, see www.ifyourmoneytalked.com. Amazon has the slim, hardback book for $14.95, and the Kindle or Nook version for $9.99.