Book Giveaway: Findependence Day by Jonathan Chevreau

There are going to be four book giveaways this week, and I’m happy to kick things off by reviewing/giving away a copy of Findependence Day by Jonathan Chevreau, personal finance columnist with the National Post.

This book is different from most personal finance books. Different in a good way. One thing that I’ve been struggling with has been the somewhat narrow scope I’ve taken with my writing on this blog. For the most part, I assume readers have a basic grasp of the fundamentals so I have often times written about some pretty technical aspects of finance that, quite frankly, 99% of the population couldn’t give a hoot about. (I’ve always wanted to use the word “hoot” without talking about owls!).

Sporadically you’ll see me try to connect with a larger audience (witness last week’s posts on cars and coffee!), and not surprisingly the traffic to this blog grows faster when I do that.

This is why I found this book to be so valuable. It does a great job of broaching a lot of personal finance topics while at the same time remaining engaging for a very large audience – including those who need to learn the most: people less inclined to read a book about just personal finance. This is a story that happens to teach a lot of valuable lessons, and challenge some long-held beliefs, all the while being an engaging read.

“Guerilla Frugality” is a concept mentioned in the book which is worth the price of admission alone. This term may gain much traction in the coming years – not only because its necessary, but partly because I see a new trend of “frugal being the new cool” – in other words, it’s very timely.

The book starts with a young couple being berated about their spending habits on a TV show about personal finance. Oh, didn’t I mention? This book is a fictional story! The reader learns a lifetime of knowledge about managing money and finances vicariously through a couple named Jamie and Sheena who experience a roller coaster of both financial and emotional highs and lows. The book spans a few decades of their lives and the characters’ every triumph and failure are well discussed – and you almost forget that you are learning more about what mistakes to avoid with your own finances as the book is written as a story that is both easy to follow and emotionally engaging.

I recommend buying a copy for yourself, and perhaps a few more copies for friends and family – the purchase price is a small price to pay for the financial lessons sure to be learned – especially for those who find personal finance intimidating. Click here to order the book directly from the publisher – but you may want to wait until the weekend to see if you’ve won a free copy first!

Win a Free Copy!

Rules and Regulations:

  1. To enter, just leave one comment at the end of this post indicating a topic suggestion for me to write about in the future. Your suggestion can be detailed (like, what is convexity as it relates to bonds?) or it can be broad (like, what is a bond?). Sky’s the limit as long as it’s related to money, investing or the economy (or cars, I guess). :)
  2. Entries must be made by Friday, January 30th, 2009 at 11:59pm Eastern Standard Time.
  3. Winners will be announced on Sunday.
  4. Good luck!
Preet Banerjee
Preet Banerjee
...is an independent consultant to the financial services industry and a personal finance commentator. You can learn more about Preet at his personal website and you can click here to follow him on Twitter.
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Showing 52 comments
  • Mike

    A detailed thread on hyper-inflation and what things can be the biggest causes of it happening in North America. Including tips/suggestions on what we as investors can do to combat/prepare for this possibility.

    That’d be a great post imo.

  • Fernando

    Hi,

    Thanks for the site/blog content and the contest. I’d love to see your opinion on the impact of the current market dynamics on the “fundamental” indexing approach. When the “Dividend Aristocrats” dwindle in number because of dividend cuts, what are we to expect from the ETFs that rely on them?

    Thanks!

  • DJ

    do you have a rule of thumb for how much of an RESP should be invested in fixed income?

  • Mark Wolfinger

    Preet,

    Why don’t financial advisors take advantage of all investment tools available to them?

    Specifically, why don’t they recommend conservation option strategies that offer reduced risk and portfolio protection?

    That’s something I just cannot understand. Don’t they want to do a good job for their clients?

    Mark

  • TJ Everet

    Where do you recommend the average investor contribute Fixed Income and Equities when looking at the new TFSA vs. their RRSP.

  • H

    Hi Preet,

    Thanks again for a contest. I’d also like a post in regards to hyper-inflation. The Fed and BoC have both aggressively reduced interest rates in the past year to “fix” the short term problem. How do you think they would remove money from the system? How would investors deal with this problem (do we buy a bond index and hope that interest rates rise like Bogle?).

    Thanks a plenty!

    H

  • Mark Alev

    Hi Preet,
    My question is a follow up on H’s question – are there any similarities in today’s market conditions and the high (or even hiper) inflation days of Canada? Obviously rates will swing back at some point but what is the hedge?
    Thanks
    MA

  • Deb

    Is it over for buy and hold?

  • Paul

    How about a series of articles on Equity Income Investing. What quants [dividend coverage ratio, rising gross sales, etc] to monitor on existing holdings [and how often to review: monthly, quarterly?] and what quants to look for when adding to the portfolio.
    How much of the portfolio income should be ploughed back in, or is this even necessay?

  • George

    I’d like to see a detailed comparison of investment vehicles (TFSA, RRSP, RESP) with suggestions for ideal usage depending on one’s stage in life (early career, late career, retiree) and one’s tax bracket.

  • Drago Samsa

    asset allocation

  • Marianne O

    I’d like to see more “case studies” of common situations, e.g. paying off student loans, deciding whether to opt for 1 income (with kids at home) or 2 incomes + daycare, etc.

    For example, last year I consolidated my 3 government student loans (at prime +2.5%) into a single loan with my big five bank, at prime +2%. I thought that would save a little interest. Whoops… turns out the loan’s no longer tax-deductible, and I’m the loser in this deal. Your blog could highlight this and other traps that can befall student (or ex-student) borrowers.

    As a parent of 2 preschoolers, I’m also very interested in the daycare vs. stay-at-home parent question… especially as I’m about to lose my job in 6 weeks. It would be interesting to crunch the numbers a little more.

    Thanks for a great blog.

  • bill

    Excellant article and would like to see
    comments on what to invest in the new
    TFSA

  • Tim Y

    Great prize – An analysis on rental real estate investing looking at the impact of falling real estate prices, interest rates on how to invest or not.

  • Lance

    You could talk about some of the results of Danbar’s studies on individual mutual fund returns vs the returns of Mutual funds themselves. Very interesting to see the stark difference between the two.

  • Millionaireby45

    Why the price of oil varies so much depending on the futures month? (e.g. a week ago the Feb futures price was ~$35/bbl, while at the same time the March futures price was ~$42/bbl.)

  • Tim

    Hi Preet,
    There was a lot of talk during the last 5-6 months about how it would be better to keep driving your old gas-guzzler (ie) a 15 year old van rather than buying a small fuel efficient car. This was when oil prices are high. Seems to me the issue is now flipped around – oil prices are low and car manufacturers are struggled. Perhaps an examination of possible issues ahead?

  • brandon

    I understand that broadly based bond index funds such as XBB and XSB provide excellent diversification in that they contain a wide array of maturities, sectors, qualities, etc. But, is it as important to diversify internationally within the fixed-income portion of your portfolio as one would normally do with their equity allocation?

    I would also like to hear your opinion on real return bonds and maple bonds.

    Thanks

  • Susan

    As a retired mostly “buy and holder”, I would really like to see something about the Big Picture. That is, how do changes in the Canadian economy affect various investments? Given the growing correlation of global markets, does it make sense to hold international investments and if so what is a reasonable percentage (given usual age and income parameters).
    Thanks for a great blog!

  • Patrick

    I for one hope you don’t shy away too much from the propellerhead stuff. It’s what makes this blog different, and it’s why I keep coming back.

  • Peter

    Thanks for the contest. How about an article on dvidend capture investing, either directly, or through some of the available funds out there (evergreen for one). Also, the concept of ‘this time really is different’ – given the demographic reality and the fact that aging / retiring boomers are going to be in ‘replacement mode’ of all their stuff, versus accumulation mode, and the effect on growth (or lack of) in the economy.

    Thanks.

  • Erick

    How about a post that weighs the pros & cons of using bond indexes versus building your own bond ladder?

  • Jordan

    I’d like to hear about how options work in a TFSA. I know you can write covered calls, but does it have to cover assets in the TFSA? What about writing puts? And can you buy both puts and calls?

  • Canadianstockstrader

    Preet,

    Please count me in for the contest.

    If you can post your thoughts on market for short term , i.e. weekly forecast or study of indexes, potential stocks, metals etc. It would be good to learn from the market genious like you. Thank you.

  • marc

    Comparing (pros and cons) the different online tools for tracking spending (wesabe.com, spendingprofile.com, mint.com)

  • Julie

    Hi – I’d like to know more about hedging currency risk when buying US and International equities. Falling prices aside for the moment, if the loonie is now $.70 to the US dollar, I’m paying 30% more for stocks than I would be if the loonie were on par. I don’t care to speculate on currency – how do I hedge that out??
    Thanks – and I’d love to win the book too!

  • Brian

    Count me in!

    As for a blog topic:
    Since we are getting closer to tax time, how about a basic post on how contributing to an RRSP reduces taxable income. E.g. “RRSP’s: An instant return on your money”. The challenge would be to find an investment which would return the same amount as a tax refund would.

    Then you can also talk about why reinvesting your tax refund is also a good idea.

  • Sean

    Hey Preet, another great giveaway as usual!

    I’d love to read a piece on your opinon of dividend investing vs. index investing, and where/when one strategy might be better than the other.

  • Wayne

    Would love to see a good article on Behavioral Finance.

  • Michael

    It would be interesting if you could analyze investment strategies for investors who have large capital losses to use to offset future gains. Does this ‘tax advantage’ change your choice of investments?

  • Sylvain

    It would be interesting to see an analysis of investing in rental properties to build up an income stream for retirement as opposed to investing in the stock market.

  • Lise

    At 55, 85% of my portfolio is in blue chip dividend paying stocks… about 1/3 of that in US stocks.

    I have 2 questions:

    1. Given that the TSX is shrinking and is so concentrated in a few sectors, I feel I have to invest in the US market to achieve true diversification. How do I protect myself from dollar fluctations?

    2. Ditto the question from Brandon — How important is international bonds in a well-balanced portfolio and, given that we may not be as aware of other countries’ economy and fiscal solidity, how do you select a international bond index fund?

  • Bernie

    After many years of poor performance I took back control of my RRSP from my financial planner a few months ago and have been quite happy to do so. I’m now committed to a dividend income growth philosophy which makes me feel more at ease than building with capital gains. I plan to retire in a couple of years.

    I do have a bond in my portfolio than I retained as it pays me 7% interest. This is one area (bonds) that I know little of. Could you please explain to me a little more of what this bond is about and your opinion on if I should retain it. Its content is about 15% of my holdings. The bond’s info is shown below:

    MANULIFE FINCL CAP SEC TR A (MFT.M: Toronto)
    MANULIFE FINANCIAL C 7%31DEC51

  • RF

    I would like to hear your thoughts on the ‘economic stimulus’ packages
    being put forward by most governments. What is the downside ? Are there any other options ? Is it too much or too little ?

    Thanks

  • Rajesh

    Keep up the great work (and the racing videos:)

    Would love to see a post on rebalancing strategies and options

  • Derek

    Thanks!

    What I’d love to see is an article about housing affordability. Typically they say you need shouldn’t spend more than 2.5 times your household income on a house. That doesn’t buy much of a house in K-W even if you’re combined income is $100K. I’m sure that Toronto and places in Vancouver are much worse. How do people do it?

  • Tom

    entertaining and insightful review! worth 5 mins of my day

  • Rob

    This is a great opportunity–thanks Preet! My question is if you are not one of those fortunate individuals who can do your maximum RRSP contribution and TFSA contribution, would you suggest one over the other for what money you have available, or would you split it between the two? Your thoughts on this would make for a great read!

  • Finance Matters

    Love free stuff.

  • Lorenzo

    What is an ETF and how it compares to mutual funds. What are the PROs and CONs of each (ETF & Mutual Funds?

  • mindy

    i would be interested in your insight on rental properties thanks for the giveaway

  • jaspina

    I’m a new reader…also new to learning how to be assertive and mindful of how i manage my finances. Id love to see articles that provide information and links to personal finance for women and families…

  • russ

    Preet, how about some advice on positioning one’s assets and investments to take full advantage of the coming inflationary period that (in my opinion) cannot be avoided, due to the unrestrained printing of massive amounts of money in the U.S. and abroad to battle this “recession”.

  • kim v

    What place do bonds have in portfoilios in light of the recent bankruptcies (corporate and government)

  • PR

    When is leveraging to invest appropriate, if ever? In other words, taking out a loc on home to buy bargain stocks with juicy yields? Is it a no-brainer with BMO, for example, yielding over 9 pc?

    Love the blog, thank you!

  • Finance Matters

    Put me in Preet. Kim, I’d keep bond holdings to short terms or even go with a GIC ladder!

  • Bruce Irving

    Which investment class would be ideal for TFSA?

    Bond, Income trust, Equity, Cash, Preferred share??

  • the Wealthy Canadian

    Preet, since you have a DMS designation, I am curious on some of your ideas regarding things like hedge strategies or how the average investor can get involved in commodities plays.

  • Philip S

    Blog topic (suggestion):
    if you had $10,000 to invest, what vehicles would you invest it in and in what order? RESP, RRSP, TFSA, or self-directed fund? Let’s assume $2,400 RRSP room, $5,000 TFSA, $5,000 for RESP (for full CESG), and unlimited in self-directed.

    Also enter me into the draw. THanks.

  • Mourad

    Hi,
    I am a newcomer to Canada and I want to start investing. I can start with C$5000 to C$7000 right away but I need directions. Let’s say “optimal investment channels with lowest fees for dummies” would be a good topic knowing how many newcomers land everyday.

    Thank you.

  • Vince

    Why is buy and hold still being promoted by financial advisors?

    Why is capital investments inside a TFSA frowned upon in favour of income based securities even though the potential return can still be much greater by doing the former.

    Will and Estate planning and the differences between provinces in probate fees.

    A list of top 10 to 25 websites relating to investment education and news.

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