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The Wealthy Barber: The Common Sense Guide to Successful Financial Planning [Paperback]

David Chilton
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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David Chilton's popular The Wealthy Barber is a good starting point for anyone who wants to construct a personal financial plan. Many people are so scared of dealing with their money that they don't do anything at all--only to suffer for it over the long haul. Chilton shows that planning is simple and you don’t have be a whiz kid to set yourself on the route to financial security. "When I finally learned the basics of financial planning, I couldn't believe how straightforward they were. It's just common sense," is the overarching message.

The Wealthy Barber takes the form of a novel, though it wouldn't win many awards for plot, setting, or characterization. The narrator, Dave, a 28-year-old school teacher and expectant father, his 30-year-old sister, Cathy, who runs a small business, and his buddy, Tom, who works in a refinery, sit around a barber shop in Sarnia, Ontario, and listen as Ray Miller, the well-to-do barber, teaches them how to get rich. The friends are at the age when most people start thinking about their future stability; among the three of them, they face almost every broad situation that can influence a financial plan. Ray, the Socrates of personal finance, isn't a pin-striped Bay Street wizard. He is a simple, down-to-earth barber dispensing homespun wisdom while he lops a little off the top. Ray's barbershop isn't the place to learn strategies for trading options and commodities. Instead, his advice covers the basics of RRSPs, mutual funds, real estate, insurance, and the like. His first and most important rule is "pay yourself first." Take 10 per cent off every pay cheque as it comes in and invest it in safe interest-bearing instruments. Through the magic of compound interest, this 10 per cent will turn into a substantial nest egg over time. This book isn't about how to get rich quick. It's about how to get rich slowly and stay that way.

Chilton's common-sense approach has obviously hit home since his book first appeared; with more than 1.5 million copies sold to date, The Wealthy Barber is the best-selling book ever of any kind in Canada. Some of the financial details have been updated in recent editions, but the story and fundamental advice are timeless. It's probably not the last book you'll want to read on the subject, but it's a good starting point for learning about financial planning. --Edward Trapunski

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Chilton's book is well-written and an enjoyable read. I went through the entire book on my day off because I couldn't put it down. The author has devised a very simple investment plan that is both conservative and almost sure to pay off, except he doesn't guarantee exorbitant returns -- only long-term security. Most notable are the "pay your self first" concepts and a "a dollar saved is two dollars earned."

The author covers a wide array of essential topics covering mutual funds, wills, insurance, RRSPs, home ownership, and a little bit on additional savings. It's a great primer and the author makes sure to discuss some of the complexities involved in investing and dispels a few common myths (e.g. that buying a home is ALWAYS better than renting). Just following the lessons in this book, the average person could profit greatly in the long run.

That said, there are some problems with the book. First the book is filled with overly optimistic calculations, using average returns of 12% -- which is actually considered very high in today's standard and by long-term historical returns. Even TD give averages of 8% for international mutual funds and less for domestic. Also for popularity, the author tries to minimize discussion of developing a strong budget and cutting back expenses, and fails to illustrate how much this could add to savings over a lifetime. Finally, he doesn't discuss that it may be appropriate to consider the probability of risk and how this influences insurance decisions, and that it is logical for people to consider waiving insurance depending on their personal situations, even when some liabilities exist.

Overall, the book is a pleasurable read and provides valuable principles for investing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I am a former banker who now as a financial coach work with Canadians coast to coast to help them improve their finances by eliminating debt. As a professional with 32 years experience I could not find anything in this book that I disagree with. Believe me when I say that this book is a MUST READ if you are serious in getting ahead with your personal finances so you can achieve your goals. David's writing style is easy to read and the book is full of great tips and pearls of wisdom. This book should be given to our kids in high school before they get their 1st credit cards. Well done David! Eric Putnam, Managing Director, Debt Coach Canada
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Common Sense Financial Info July 27 2005
By "nangi"
This book is an easy read for anyone who is willing to take an initial interest in their financial picture. It is straight forward, easy to read and very uncomplicated. Many people I know get all confused about financial matters. This book will not confuse you, rather, it will entertain you and get you started along the lines of financial planning. I bought 4 copies so I can lend them out to my friends!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars skip this one and buy the sequel April 18 2013
By Chris TOP 1000 REVIEWER
First off, I should point out that I'm a big fan of David Chilton. He "gets it."

On the topic of basic money management, there is some good advice in this book (pay yourself first, the 10% rule). For anyone struggling to pay down debt, or avoid living beyond their means, they may need more specific guidance and encouragement found elsewhere, perhaps in a Dave Ramsey book.

There's at least one critical flaw in this book, however. When it was written in the late 1980s, Canadians didn't have many options for low cost investment vehicles. Through the narrative of this book, Mr. Chilton advises readers to "pick a mutual fund with a good manager." The author himself has debunked this fallacy in the intervening years. Mr. Chilton does an excellent job explaining this in an interview with the Globe and Mail's Rob Carrick: [...]

Mr. Chilton fights the good fight, going toe to toe with Kevin O'Leary on CBC in an entertaining video here: [...]
I would advise potential readers to pick up a copy of this book's sequel titled "The Wealthy Barber Returns" rather than the original. Here's a link to that: The Wealthy Barber Returns : Dramatically Older and Marginally Wiser, David Chilton Offers His Unique Perspectives on the World of Money

Another book to consider would be Andrew Hallam's "Millionaire Teacher." For more advanced reading, the Canadian Financial Wiki "Finiki" and it's associated "Financial Webring Forum" will steer users toward sound investment strategies.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great book but ... Aug. 8 2009
By JDub
I thought that this book was fantastic and I have bought it for my fiancee to read; however, that being said, given that this is 2009 and the book was originally written in 1989 there are a few of the points that, while still helpful are a little out-dated. With respect to buying a home and mortgages the book references mortgages that are so low they are laughable to most Canadians now. I think that if the book were edited to take into consideration the new costs of mortgages and such, this book would, no doubt have been a 5 star book for me
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5.0 out of 5 stars Simple and to the point... Jan. 11 2008
Verified Purchase
I have been researching the fiancial world for quite some time and giving advice to friends based on my experience and acquired knowledge. What was not my surprise when I found that most of my tricks are written down in this book and in a format easily understandable even for the most financially-ignorant person. I could not recommend this book enough!
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Humerous and Informative!
I couldn't put it down! This was one of the best books I ever read! Every person, Canadian or not, should get a copy and read it!
Published 15 days ago by Kevin Young
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone should read this book
This book is amazing. You think that you know what your doing with your money and future but chances are you really don't. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Susan Detheridge
1.0 out of 5 stars A needlessly long book based around 1 principle
Investment books are boring. they are long, full of confusing terminology and math, and leave you feeling puzzled. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Hudson
5.0 out of 5 stars good!!
good product in excellent condition. i received within a few days. Thanks! Good for anyone who wants to know a little more about personnal financial planning.
Published 8 months ago by Miguel
5.0 out of 5 stars Exactly what I expected
Quick shipping and packaging was just fine. This is a used book, but is in very good condition which is what they promised. Read more
Published on Feb. 22 2012 by sherrid
5.0 out of 5 stars Great service, great book
The book was taking a few more days than expected to arrive.. So I contacted the seller.. he replied within a couple hours, asking me to confirm my mailing address in order to send... Read more
Published on July 9 2010 by Alex Turcot
5.0 out of 5 stars Basic, yet insightful
I first read this book in high school and it provided a wealth of exposure to common sense investing and wealth accumulation.
Published on Dec 27 2009 by S. Ghavami
5.0 out of 5 stars The Wealthy Barber: The Common Sense Guide to Successful Financial...
I love this book, it is wonderful source of information for anyone new to financial planning. Book is written in a simple and interesting way that you don't feel bored and at the... Read more
Published on Oct. 26 2009 by Ehsan
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
This is a great book for anyone who would like to get their financial affairs in order. It covers investments, savings, RRSPs, wills, insurance, and real estate. Read more
Published on July 2 2009 by D. Hudson
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