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Great Primer for Financial Planning -- Simple and Effective lessons for even the least savvy investor
on July 7, 2010
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. It is a bit simplistic, but even an intermediate investor will learn a trick or two, and it serves as a valuable reminder for the simple things you may forget. Most importantly, these basic lessons are logical and will help even the least savvy investor earn their way to prosperity. In a time of financial illiteracy, this book is a great resource.