Brothers Derek and Steve Avdul had successful Wall Street careers, operating from the powerful world of high finance to the glamorous Hollywood entertainment industry. It seemed like the most fitting course for both to take, after each having earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration, and later on an MBA in finance.
But one day, the Avduls turned their backs on promising careers to embark on a journey to work on the stuff that really matters to them.
Two years later, a new guidebook is born: Real Life 101: A Guide to Stuff that Actually Matters, written by Derek and Steve and published by Galt Industries LLC, a company formed by the brothers.
The book talks about matters that young adults in America have to deal with right after high school or college. Within its 164 pages, readers can find practical tips on budgeting; renting an apartment; buying vs. leasing a car; understanding health insurance; managing finances and even doing taxes; among others.
"When I was making the transition from college to living completely on my own, I made so many mistakes in the areas covered in the book – home, car, health and finances," Steve recalled. "I vowed that once I solved these problems for myself, I would write a book filled with helpful hints and time-and money-saving suggestions so others could benefit from my mistakes."
Although neither of them had any formal training in writing, the brothers were not discouraged. To come up with a no-nonsense book that cuts to the chase and gets the facts and information needed by twentysomethings entering the "real world," the Avduls capitalized on their life experiences that have brought them practical know-how on the topics discussed in Real Life 101.
Collectively, Derek, 36, and Steve, 33, have rented 20 different apartments and houses. They’ve lived in 10 different cities separately. Derek, having lived in Los Angeles for a significant amount of time, has leased or bought a number of different cars over the last decade.
The authors have owned dozens of credit cards and store charge cards. Over the years, they have also had 15 different bank accounts. Both have been through four or five employers each and had different health care programs under those companies.
"The collective life experience of living in so many different cities and going through the many aspects of all these topics is what makes us qualified to write this [book]," Derek said.
"We both have MBAs and worked on Wall Street and in Corporate America and have a strong financial background to ensure that our reader is receiving sound financial advice as it pertains to the decision-making necessary for all topics covered in the book," Steve added.
Real Life 101 also comes with a workbook complete with templates, worksheets and useful checklists drawn up by the authors to aid their readers. Since its publication in June, the book has been earning rave reviews from its readers.
"Real Life 101 is the most important book I own right now," wrote Josh Osswald of Venice, Calif., in his review of the book on Amazon.com. "I just rented an apartment and I’m getting health insurance for the first time. This book, along with the course should be standard curriculum in high schools and colleges across the country," he suggested.
What was originally intended for high school and college graduates is also attracting parents and other adults who know that the twentysomethings don’t know everything in this world, although they may think they do. In fact, at a glance, the topics discussed in the book may seem simple and common sense. But surprisingly, people still stumble on the hurdles when faced with the "real deal."
"Remember, it’s only common sense once you’ve been through the process a few times and are familiar with how things work. If you’ve never been through it, then it’s not common to you," Derek stressed.
The brothers are now working on Real Life 201, which will focus on debt management tips for twentysomethings, in response to a new study by college lender Nellie Mae that says recent graduates carry an average of $19,000 in student loans and more than $3,200 in credit card debt.
"We realize that these things are not what really matter in life. But by making better decisions and simplifying your life in these areas, people will be able to concentrate their efforts and time on what really does matter in life," Steve said.
© 2008, Young Money Media, LLC. All rights reserved.