If you're familiar with the glam-rock band KISS -- and who isn't? -- then you probably know the man behind the demon make-up, Gene Simmons. He's the bassist with the long tongue and a penchant for breathing fire.
Did you know he's a big Fool, too?
Trust me, he is -- at least if his book Sex, Money, KISS is any indication. In it, Simmons divulges some interesting factoids on the business behind KISS, as well as a bit of autobiography. He also talks about his feelings on sex and marriage -- he's adamantly in favor of the former and unabashedly against the latter. Throw in some controversial views about religion, and you've got one hell of a read.
Since this is a Foolish book review, I'm not going to spend any time discussing his belief that marriage, especially for men, is for small-f fools, or his delineation of the differences between women and men. I'm more interested in Simmons' thoughts on money: He believes it's the most important thing in the world.
That may sound awful, but it's the truth. You must believe that statement, too, at least partially, since you presumably got to this article by surfing the Net for financial information.
Simmons calls money the key to happiness. If you want to cure a family member of an ailment, you need money to pay for the doctor bill. If you want to eat, you need funds to acquire food. Want to impress that beauty queen in the corner of the bar? Get a Mercedes.
So, how does one get money? Save till it hurts, Simmons says. Throughout the book, he advises people to forget about buying nonsensical items and not to waste valuable time taking too many days off. Work, work, and more work is his motto; in one part, he describes how people can -- and should -- add as many hours as possible to their work week to pad their paychecks. He then admonishes people against buying expensive items now, such as a house or a new vehicle. "Do it later" is his motto, when you have the cash to buy outright.
Simmons is in basic agreement with the Gardner brothers -- live below your means and save. If that's not the path to outright riches, it'll lead to a very comfortable existence and, eventually, a thriving retirement. Money may not buy happiness, necessarily, but it does offer a heck of a sense of security.
Simmons also outlines how destructive habits are not only stupid and bad for your health, but also bad for your wallet or pocketbook. If you insist on intoxicating yourself, you'll end up losing days at work, which will diminish your earning power. Plus, there's the cost of all those aspirin tablets to cure your hangover migraine. (Yes, he actually mentions the financial expenditure of aspirin.)
Drugs are even worse. And if you know alcoholics or drug addicts -- ditch 'em. Treat them like the plague. Not just because it's the right thing to do, but because, again, if money is the most important thing in the world, those goofballs will only cost you money in the bank. You may find yourself losing a lot of friends, he counsels, but that's the tough choice you've got to make. I've personally alienated a lot of my cronies by constantly talking stocks. People may dislike others with such an intense interest in money, but if you want to make more of that money, you've got to find new friends, apparently.
Simmons also urges his readers to be confident, insisting that you don't necessarily need qualifications to try new things. How many people out there thought they could never invest in equities, or that they had to go to business school just to learn what the heck a stock is? You don't need any of that; Simmons would tell you that it's perfectly acceptable to believe in yourself, and to acquire as much knowledge as you can to get going. In the end, an inviolable work ethic is the key to money (which is the key to you-know-what).
I highly recommend that all Fools read Gene Simmons' Sex, Money, KISS. I can't vouch for his social philosophy, but I think his musings on money, work, and saving will be immensely valuable. Once you get the kick in the pants from Simmons, and earn more money by either working more hours at your job or engaging in some entrepreneurial endeavor, you may want to do something even more Foolish. Consider starting an IRA, scoring at the high-yield casino, or breaking a few rules on your way to wealth.
In the end, Gene Simmons is one of us. I don't mean to say that we Fools are bizarre rock 'n roll demons (not that there's anything wrong with that). But we're into saving and investing, and so is Simmons. His book will put you into Foolish overdrive.
Both Shannon Zimmerman and Dayana Yochim wish they could "rock and roll all night and party every day." Instead, they devote most of their time to GreenLight, our new personal finance service. Click here for a free trial.