December 8, 2016

Personal Finance with a Smile


This is a very entertaining and easy read. With a good dash of humour, Robert Brown presents valuable information on planning for retirement and how to accumulate the wealth needed. This book is primarily aimed at the under-thirty age group, so while this may not be the book for the retiree it is certainly the book that a retiree would want to recommend to a child or younger friend. Brown stresses the importance of starting early in your planning. The RRSP and TFSA are the two assets that he urges you to invest in and he explains the pros and cons of each. He also spends some time pointing out the importance of being realistic in our desires, the difference between ‘needs’ and ‘wants,’ and the danger of easy credit. He gives lots of good advice on making financially realistic decisions in our day-to-day life.

There are quite a few pages dealing with home ownership, illustrated by two brothers in one example and Toronto’s Casa Loma as another. In the first, Brown shows how a choice between houses can mean much in mortgage interest. In the second example, he illustrates just how factors like operating costs, changes in the world and property taxes can all add up to unexpected costs, sometimes beyond what can be afforded.

Credit cards are another hidden financial trap that the author points out. He explains that you do not pay for anything with a credit card but rather borrow the money from a bank to pay for it. You then pay the bank a high-interest rate for the privilege of borrowing that money. Even ‘bonuses’ like loyalty programs are really there so you will be encouraged to borrow more.

Brown also demonstrates that we should be aware of how the ‘small things’ (under $50.00) can add up. In his words, “Finding something that you need on sale is cool. Finding something cool on sale doesn’t mean that you need it.”

Wealthing like Rabbits: An Original Introduction to Personal Finance
By Robert R. Brown
Redford Enterprises, 2014
Paperback, 214 pp.
Available for Kindle and Kobo