I hardly ever review products (forget books!). Having just finished David Chilton's The Wealthy Barber Returns and as someone who has a hard time finishing books or anything for that matter, it comes as a surprise for me to write this review but here goes.
As someone having just finished school and earning a decent steady income, I was looking for some personal finance books to well, figure what to do with all this money in a sensible matter. A few months ago, I had literally next to no knowledge of personal finance. I tried taking a beginner's course after work to add to my ever so little knowledge but even that was deemed challenging as I had no background knowledge in the matter. Granted, I probably would have benefited from it had I done some background reading/research prior but oh well! The first personal finance book that I'd read this year (or ever) was The Value of Simple by John Robertson. To me, that was a "guide for literal dummies in personal finance," which was very helpful for someone like me (nope, haven't written a review for that one yet). Anyway, after reading that I felt I was more prepared for some of the things in David's book. This is not to say that his book was difficult to read by any means. Also, I haven't read his first book as some reviewers had pointed out that since it was written a while ago, some of the works are not as applicable now and would be re-iterated in this sequel anyway. Here is a list of thoughts I had while going through this book:
1. Not a step-by-step guide for the dummies of dummies in personal finance. David assumes that you have some prior knowledge of terms and items under personal finance (as most people do) but he does delve into the basics in easy-to-understand language for the layman as well so I was happy. For those, who have no knowledge of any personal finance terms, I would recommend the book I mentioned above as a first read (for Canadians).
2. Chapter organization - by the far one of the easiest to read book I've read. Chapters are very short but offer good advice. He also throws in a tiny bit of math that anyone (or most people) would understand and powerfully uses this simple math to point out flaws and counter the ever-so-often financial opinions in the media. Albeit he does tend to ramble at times and you don't feel like you get the biggest bang for the buck in some chapters but entertaining to read - which brings me to my next point.
3. Entertaining to read! As someone who gets bored quickly and a bad habit of not finishing books, I found this was a page-turner, like a suspense novel. I was excited to hear what ideas and quirky analogies who would bring in the next chapter. His personality shines through which made the experience more personable and less textbook-like, which is a huge plus for the topic of personal finance.
4. Second half of the book more useful (in my opinion). The first half of the book (literally first 100 pages out of the 200 pages) were more geared towards the mentality of saving and the reasons why we as a society are pressured into spending beyond our means. He basically says the mentality of saving is a skill that can be learned, developed, and harnessed. In addition, he picks out the underlying reasons for overspending so that we can address them - the first step to a solution is identifying the problem. David does not suggest frugality but instead a more disciplined and fresh perspective of what it means to live within your means and that enjoying the now and saving for the future are not a dichotomy or opposing forces. As someone who had lived in poor financial circumstances from a young age and being forced to think about savings at an early age, I didn't find the first half of the book that useful (but may be for others who aren't so called "good savers"). So if you're a "good saver", bear through the first chapter (still entertaining and contains useful ideas and tips) and the second half will be more worth it. Most of the material presented in this first half was pretty much common sense. But David made a very key point that common sense sometimes isn't common sense to a lot of people.
5. I found the last bit of the book quite useful in the practical sense. David targets common questions and concerns most people have eg. TFSA vs RRSP, RRSP vs RESP vs paying down mortgage/debt. I think he does a great job explaining this in layman's terms for those new to investing and the world of personal finance. He does this was humorous analogies of fictional characters, simple math, and his own little tid bits. He also points out some flawed financial plans - example: paying off your mortgage faster with your funds that would have gone to your TFSA but forgetting to add those funds to your TFSA once you've paid off your mortgage.
6. Excellent for beginners or those looking into investing. The chapter on index funds was very easy to understand and the examples that he offers strongly backs up his opinion why index funds are the smarter investment than other mutual funds or stocks - especially for beginners. It's a good book to refer back to from time to time and refresh your memory on some of his smart investing or smart redirecting ideas.
All in all, I was very happy with this book.
- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: Financial Awareness Corp.; 1st edition (Aug. 15 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0968394744
- ISBN-13: 978-0968394748
- Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 1.9 x 22.4 cm
- Shipping Weight: 322 g
- Average Customer Review: 250 customer reviews
Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
#399 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #36 in Personal Finance (Books)