Readability: Easy to read, lots of stories.
Technicality: Not technical.
Provides Knowledge On: Rearrange your current savings and spending habits to use a very specific form of dividend paying whole life insurance to create an available pool of money you can use to finance purchases throughout your life while also accumulating retirement funds.
Summary: Bank On Yourself is a book written primarily in story format, with lots of personal stories/examples of how various couples have used a specific financial tool, a form of dividend paying whole life insurance that offers a very flexible form of a "paid up additions" rider. Although the book itself is designed primarily as a marketing tool, the concept is solid and would work for a lot of families if it was structured correctly.
The concept described in Bank On Yourself is that this form of whole life policy allows you to accumulate cash value quickly, and then have access to it through a policy loan, allowing you to borrow and repay your own money over and over again (rather than the bank's money) for major purchases throughout your life. You become your own bank.
Does the concept work? Actually, it does. However, you have to keep in mind, there is a cost. Within the life insurance policy you are paying for life insurance. For most families, this feature is a good one. For people who don't need life insurance, you would have to compare the internal costs of the insurance to a strategy of saving and using your own money out of a bank account. Since the book provides no technical illustrations, it is difficult to run this type of analysis.
I contacted Pamela Yellen, the author of Bank On Yourself, and she sent me a copy of the book for review (much appreciated), however, as I'm a financial advisor, she seemed reluctant to use one of her agent's time to run an illustration for me. I understand they are busy.
I know many agent's, and will work on finding a policy illustration such as described in the book so I can provide a more technical comparison. Meanwhile, if anyone out there has worked with an authorized Bank On Yourself® advisor, I'd love to take a look at your policy and results, for free.
Downside: The book is filled with stories, but provides no hard data that would allow an analytical thinker such as myself to compare the strategy to alternatives. In my blog What I've Come to Believe About Retirement Planning I quote an advisor who says "The answer doesn't (and will never) rely on one simple solution or product." I agree. The book promotes the Bank On Yourself® strategy as if it is the only investment one ever need to use. I find that a bit hard to believe.