Ok everyone, I have a confession to make: before today I had never read a personal finance book all the way through. Believe me, I’ve tried, but it just hasn’t happened. The books I’ve tried to read have been too dense, too boring, too repetitive, or too snooze-worthy for me to get through them. I had actually mostly written off personal finance books in favour of the blogs I read online.
However, Jordan and I were browsing in a bookstore recently and this book – Wealthing Like Rabbits by Robert. R. Brown – caught my eye. Mostly because of the interesting title. The endorsements on the cover made it sound not bad, so I thought I would give it a try. I put it on hold at my library, and actually picked it up once it came in.
Overall, I have been very pleasantly surprised by this book. It’s fun, humorous, and uses pop culture concepts to explain the basics of personal finance. It’s the first personal finance book that I have read cover to cover and I didn’t even fall asleep in the middle! Even though I know a fair bit about personal finances already, Robert managed to explain things in a way that was informative and entertaining enough that I read the entire book. I also really appreciated that book is Canadian, current, and targeted at people in my age group. (Bonus points: Robert is not condescending nor does he mention how awful millennials are as a generation, unlike so many other writers his age!)
So, what did I learn? A lot about mortgages and other types of debt. I am not anywhere near close to being ready to buy a house, so I haven’t started to research mortgages yet. The mortgage chapter was very informative. Robert talks you through the pros and cons of different mortgage decisions by using a great Mario vs. Luigi example and explains mortgage default insurance (which I knew existed but knew nothing about). It definitely gave me some very good information and I will pick this chapter up again once J. and I are closer to being homeowners. Robert also does a good job of explaining how different types of debts work – credit cards vs. bank loans vs. lines of credit, etc. This was good learning for me, since my strategy around debts is to avoid them like the plague, so I actually had no idea how these worked. Now that I know how they work, I still plan to avoid them like the plague.
I think the chapter that I enjoyed the most though was the chapter on opportunity cost. Robert boils opportunity cost down to asking yourself “What could I do with this money instead of spending it on ___?” This chapter gave me some good pause for thought, as this is a concept I intuitively understood but had not considered very well before. I also realized that I haven’t really talked about opportunity cost here at all, and I think I need to. To me, frugality is about maximizing the opportunity costs of my financial decisions. By choosing to spend less or nothing on certain things (like putting my clothes in the dryer or a large apartment) I’m not making horrible sacrifices or being miserly. I’m choosing to live a different lifestyle, which I enjoy more and is more in line with my financial goals (win-win!). This maximizes my opportunity cost. Spending less money on rent = spending more money on index funds.
So, would I recommend this book? Absolutely! (And I didn’t even get paid to say that!) It gives a great overview of personal finances concepts in an entertaining way. It would be an excellent read for people who are just starting to learn about managing their finances. It’s also good for people who know more but want to increase and/or refresh their knowledge. You should check it out! (Literally, from the library. EPL is great.)
PS – I was not paid or given any products to write this review. But hey, Robert, if you’re reading this and think I should be, I won’t say no! 😉 Update – Robert Brown actually read my review and was kind enough to mail me a copy of his book. So while I was not given anything to write this review, I did end up getting a book out of it. Thanks Robert!