Book review: The 4-hour work week by Tim Ferriss (buy!)

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Please note that I am not paid to review books. 

I haven’t reviewed any book on the blog for some time.

I recently came across the 4-hour work week by Tim Ferriss. Although this book was initially released 12 years ago, it has been recently updated.

the title sounds like a scam

To be honest, this was my first thought. I guess the author wanted to be provocative…well done.

This book is anything but a scam. The premise of the book is that there are options beyond the traditional 9 to 5 job, and there are also options beyond the traditional F.I.R.E. movement.

This really resonated with me. I know I will never retire with $1 million in the next 2 or 3 years. To be honest, I don’t think I will retire with $1 million. Tim, however, introduces the concept of mini-retirements, which is something I recently experienced when I went to Malaysia for 4 months.

This concept definitely appeals and talks to me. I want to do more of these in the future.

the book is a lot about time-management

Whether you are pro at it, or not, you will find sound advice and new ideas. I personally found the section on “elimination” very helpful. There is also a whole section on “automation” which I liked. In the PF community, we tend to emphasize a lot on “doing everything ourselves” as a way to save money. Sometimes, outsourcing is definitely more efficient.

the book will get you thinking (outside the box)

I think it is definitely the goal of this book. It helped me come-up with a few ideas and options for myself.

The book has something for everyone.

but there is no magic formula

It is not a get-rich-quick scheme. In order to enjoy the life of the “rich and famous”, money still needs to be earned at some point…..

Book review: Stock Investing for Canadian for Dummies


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My first introduction to investing was horrendous, to say the least. It took me many years to finally take the plunge -into the stock market- and become a DIY investor. I certainly regret taking so much time to do so, as I have missed on, on one of the longest bull market in history.

When I decided to educate myself on stock investing, I bought the above-mentioned book, written by Andrew Dagys and Paul Mladjenovic. Dagys is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) and Mladjenovic is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP). I can safely write these two know what they are talking about!

the “dummies series” REGULARLY gets updated

This is one of the reasons I bought this book. It is currently at its 5th edition so you do have up-to-date information.

the book uses plain and simple language

Another good reason to read this book is that it does not confuse you more, quite the contrary.

The book uses plain language and gives a lot of tips, examples, references and resources.

the canadian twist is nice

There aren’t that many personal finance books for Canadians. It is good to read a book that talks about the Canadian Financial landscape. Although stock markets operate the same way everywhere, the tax implications and investment vehicles vary from country to country.

 if you are not a novice, this book is not for you

If you already know the basics of investing, you won’t learn anything new here.

final word: buy

I give this book a definite buy. It is the perfect and easiest way to get started with stock investing!












Book review: The Wealthy Renter by Alex Avery

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Please note I did not receive compensation to review this book.

The home ownership dream is very alive and well in Canada. The Federal government estimates about 70% of Canadians own their homes. It seems like the remaining 30% is obsessed with joining-in.

If you do some internet search, there aren’t that many articles, posts or books advocating for renting. This book does exactly that and it is geared towards Canada.

Alex Avery is a CFA® and holds an MBA in Finance. He currently is the Managing Director of Institutional Equities at CIBC. This division provides research and analysis on real-estate companies.

the wealthy renter definitely presents a different point of view….

I like that Avery dispels a few common myths surrounding home ownership and tries to best address the unhealthy obsession Canadians have with it.

There absolutely are benefits to renting, particularly in Canada when tenants are not responsible for home maintenance and repairs. Renting is overall, more flexible….but don’t we all know this already?!

The biggest financial benefit of renting presented in the book is when the tenant actually invests the difference between the cost renting and the cost of owning. I wholeheartedly agree with this…provided renting is cheaper than owning.

….but is overall too pushy

The whole point of this book is to advocate for renting, so I get that Avery would really push for it. Unfortunately, at times, his arguments do not make sense. One of his biggest points is that home owners do not know about the actual costs of their properties. He gives the impression owners are naive and think the only cost is their mortgage….unreal.

Avery also claims repairs costs are not known in advance, which is not exactly true either. A home owner can ask for estimates on various items; a strata corporation can obtain a depreciation report.

unfortunately, the answer to renting vs buying is not so clear cut

And even more so if you live in Vancouver or Toronto, where rents are extraordinary high, including in the suburbs.

Anyone contemplating buying a home must do some serious calculations and look at their personal circumstances as well. Renting is more than OK too!

final verdict: pass

Although the book has the merit of presenting a different point of view, it does not do a good job at it.

Instead of aligning numbers and somewhat confusing analysis, it should have focused more on addressing the stigma around renting.

Book review: Pound Foolish by Helaine Olen

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Please note I did not receive any compensation for reviewing this book.

As a personal finance aficionado, I always enjoy reading blogs and books on the subject.

this week, I will review Pound Foolish by Helaine olen

Helaine Olen is a journalist, writer and columnist. As she admitted in her book, she did not know anything about personal finances when she started writing about the subject. She does not have academic qualifications in Finance, nor is she a CFP®.

pound foolish does not give financial advice

And it is refreshing. Olen actually challenges some of the conventional, financial wisdom we have been reading and hearing for decades such as the Latte factor or the fact that owning a house is automatically a sound financial plan.

Most of all she challenges the concept of financial literacy, particularly when those who wants to teach it are banks, credit card companies and other financial entities making profits on our hard earned money.

the book was written just after the 2008 economic downturn

It makes its content even more relevant, as it is backed-up by actual events and facts.

even if it is primarily geared towards the US, you can still relate to it

Helaine Olen primarily focuses on the personal finance industry in the US. That being said, some of the concepts she talks about are fairly common in many countries, such as gender inequality, wages stagnation, rising costs of housing, education and healthcare.

final verdict: buy

I gave this book a definite buy. I really like the way Olen challenges and shakes up the personal finance world. Not too mention what she writes is very true.


Book review: Burn your mortgage by Sean Cooper

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Please note I did not receive any compensation for reviewing this book.

As a personal finance aficionado, I always enjoy reading blogs and books on the subject. I decided to start reviewing what I read.

This post will talk about “Burn your mortgage” by Sean Cooper

Let’s start by briefly telling who Sean Cooper is. He is a pension analyst and freelance writer based in Toronto. Most of all, he is an expert at personal branding and self-marketing.

A couple of years ago (2015), he made the last payment on a mortgage he had taken 3 years before.  Cooper managed to grab the attention of a few medias in North America and one in England, after massive campaigns on social medias. He, of course, also caused quite a commotion in the Personal Finance blogosphere.

Since then, he has been surfing the (media) wave and cashing in by writing the above-mentioned book. He also provides fee-only financial advice, without being a CFP® or having any formal qualifications in Finance, at least according his LinkedIn profile and Google search.

his book should have been titled “getting ready for your mortgage” instead

It really is all there is to it, quite frankly. Chapters after chapters of very basic, rehashed financial advice such as how to budget, use a credit card, save for a down-payment, packing your lunch and use public transit whenever possible….!

Some of the advice presented is actually not that great, such as making a free-subject offer on a property. This could end-up being very costly, if things don’t go as planned. Also, being “pre-approved” for a mortgage does not mean being “fully approved”.

there is only one chapter on how to actually “burn your mortgage”

To save you time and money, it all boils down to:

  • Making accelerated payments
  • Using prepayment privileges to the maximum
  • Taking a shorter amortization period
  • Refinancing if interest rates are too high
  • Becoming a landlord if possible


final verdict: pass

Don’t waste your money on this book. If your knowledge of Personal Finance is intermediate or advanced, you won’t learn anything new.

If you are a total beginner, you can find all the information presented in the book online for free, including on this blog.

I personally found this book to be very boring. A definite pass!