As I mentioned in an earlier post (See The Wealthy Barber is Returning Soon, July 6, 2011), I thoroughly enjoyed David Chilton’s The Wealthy Barber Returns (listed at $19.95 and available from Chapters). Instead of a regular review, I’m just going to list the ten reasons why I really liked this book:

#10. Dave ditches the “novel” format and goes with the pick-any-chapter-and-you’ll-be-done-in-20-minutes format.

#9. Stories such as the one in which race horses star in an investment plan or how two cookbook authors stalked Dave into making an investment in their venture. Facts are sometimes stranger than fiction.

#8. The Conclusion. A farmer tells Dave his financial plan: live below the means, save a lot, invest it wisely. That’s all there is to it, really.

#7. If it’s so simple, why can’t everyone do it? The answer, Dave explains, is in our minds. And he offers a number of tips on how to “nudge” ourselves into becoming more financially responsible.

#6. Lest you think this is yet another tome that repeatedly hammers the “save more” theme, Dave has some insights into how to spend more meaningfully too.

#5. Quality Control. Dave’s PF hacks are all extensively tested in the field. They may not all work for you but you are certain to find some that will.

#4. It’s hard to change one’s mind even in the face of overwhelming evidence but Dave has no such problem. What about the advice in the earlier book about picking a mutual fund with a good long-term record and successful management team, eh? Nope, doesn’t work, says Dave.

#3. Dave’s endorsement of low-cost, broad-market index funds will help in spreading the message among every-day Canadians. He’s even coined some slogans: “Average is the new fantastic!”, “Be the most average you can be!” and “Average is its own reward.”

#2. Personal finance is often, well, personal. Dave explains the nuances of perennial PF questions such as “pay down debt or RRSP” or “RRSP or TFSA” or “how much should I save?” brilliantly.

#1. Humour. The book has some really funny parts. One example: Dave explains how one a trip to cancun, a hot tub purchase or a finished basement can all be rationalized as “emergencies”. Yeah, I’ve done that too.

Other reviews:
Larry MacDonald praised the book for making “personal finance less intimidating for the average Canadian and may get many of them to save instead of borrow and spend”.

Ellen Roseman liked Dave’s “psychological insights and humour”.

Dave was kind enough to include my quote in the book: “Brilliant! I liked it even better than The Wealthy Barber. If we incorporate even a couple of Dave’s ideas into our financial lives, we’ll be much richer for it and not merely in monetary terms.”

This article has 19 comments

  1. What?! No book giveaway? ;-)

  2. Oddly, I find myself interested in #6 – spending money meaningfully. On a scale of 1-10 of how tight I am with money (1 being doesn’t spend beyond the survivals, and 10 being completely wreckless), I’d say I’m about a 3. I could learn a thing or two on relaxing monetary control. :P

    Looking forward to reading his acquired knowledge since the original.

  3. AND… I hope this starts shifting more and more people to index/ETFs… maybe that will be a wakeup call for the mutual fund managers to smarten the eff up, and start lowering their MER gouging – even on indexes.

  4. @Jon D.: It’s been a while since the previous giveaway. Perhaps, it is time for another one… :)

    @EZ: Dave’s main tip is to spend money on experiences rather than things. I’d rate myself a 5 on your scale of spending but to be honest, only a minority of Canadians have a saving problem. The rest have a rather big spending problem.

  5. Nice reasons and summary CC!

    I plan on getting the book soon, probably this weekend. I learned a lot from David’s first book and hopefully this one will teach me a few more tips while reinforcing many others.

  6. I like the tip by Dave that spending money on experiences beats spending on things. Think carefully – on your deathbed or close to that stage, will you say to yourself ” Boy, I wish I had bought a bigger TV or a fancier car”? Or will you be content that you spent your money building memories for yourself and those close to you? My dear old dad who recently passed away spent his last few weeks in and out of reality and during most of his lucid moments he would talk passionately of the wonderful times he had spent with family members and friends. I say, use your funds to make memories that become deposits in your Memory Bank.

  7. Writers are the ones that become the millionaires, not the buyers of their books.

  8. I like that idea of spending money wisely too. Good review

  9. @EZ/CC. Sometimes it’s a result of our lifestyle. For myself personally, I’ve had to relocate (move) for work about 12 times in the last 20 years. As a result, I simply stopped buying anything which isn’t going to make the cut in my next relocation (or move), as it would go straight into the dumpster.

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  14. I’m now 216th in line for this book at the library! So I look forward to reading it …. in about 8 months ;) Good review CC.

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  16. A clever way to do a book review by listing 10 things you liked about the book.

    My copy of Chilton’s sequel arrived in the mail a few days back and I’m looking forward to the read. Based on my first impressions and skimming through it, I have to say that I was pleased to see the lack of a narrative or story telling approach (#10) that we saw in his first book.

    I also like the fact that he’s a funny cat (#1) and I’ve already had a few chuckles by skimming through.

    Thanks for the review; I’m looking forward to the read.

    Cheers,
    TWC

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  18. I am always bemused by those people who spend years at school to get a good job, work sixty plus hours a week to make good money, but are content to hand over responsibilities for their monies to some one they had just met, and can’t be bothered to take the time to read a little.
    Today’s Kids learn by video games, make the book into a video game, allow interaction, that is the best way to get the message across,,

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