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.
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.”