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The Right Book at the Right Time
on November 27, 2011
I'm a personal finance author ("The Friendly Banker"). I've never met Dave and I know him only as most other Canadians do, as the author of an iconic masterpiece.
While I love to write, to sit down and actually read a book is a chore for me. Few books do a good enough job at capturing my interest to get me past the first few pages, let alone the first chapter. I`m a lousy reader. Yet, I read this book, cover to cover, in three nights with the television on and the sound muted, a miracle for me. I even missed a good portion of Monday Night Football. Need I say more? Well, I`m going to anyway.
The "The Wealthy Barber Returns" is written in a relaxed, humorous, conversational style that I found very appealing. It begins with some sage advice on the pitfalls of over-borrowing, describing the forces that draw us into debt traps and the basic human weaknesses that drive us to keep up with others in the quest to accumulate things that, in the end, are of little enduring value. I agree that the false sense of security provided by an abundance of available credit forms a dangerous mindset that can lead to disaster, especially when that credit line is represented by a mortgage on the home. For most people the concept of a Home Equity Line of Credit is too much of a temptation, leading to the illusion of short term gain followed by the reality of long term pain. Dave even takes a couple of refreshing swings at the banks for their tendency to want to lend us up to our rooftops. He recounts one story where a woman he sent to the bank to get a very modest secured line of credit was immediately up sold to the max despite her history of debt accumulation. I'm sorry to report that this is not uncommon. I was a consumer lender for 25 years and it was my job to maximize profit within a consumer loan portfolio. I was paid to lend as much as possible at the highest possible rate without causing losses and not to share that philosophy with my customers. My paycheque depended on it.
Once the notion that we must curtail spending in order to have any hope of saving is successfully driven home, Dave very effectively shows us how we can best turn that 10-15% of gross income (or more if we've started late) into a comfortable lifestyle in retirement. He delivers investment advice in a manner that is easy for most anyone to understand and his command of the subject truly inspires confidence.
Throughout this book I was struck by its honesty. Time and time again I was stopped in my tracks by things such as Dave`s description of his own lifestyle as well as his many insights into The Wealthy Barber and some of the experiences that came his way as a result of it. It takes an honest author to take a look at his own work years later and admit to a change of heart about certain things, especially when that work impacted so positively and so significantly on more than two million Canadians.
We live in difficult times. In my view, Dave has always expressed a deep and abiding concern about the financial well being of Canadians and the consequences that could follow if we do not change our habits. Thus, he`s given us another book, just at the right time, that will help us all reflect on the changes we need to make to secure a decent financial future.
Jim Rohn once said that we must all suffer one of two pains; the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. I prefer the former. It's a choice. What's your choice? Whatever it is it should be a conscious one and I`m confident that "The Wealthy Barber Returns" will help you make it.