Over the years I have tried to read as many personal finance books as I could get my hands on.  None had as big an impact on my life as David Chilton’s, The Wealthy Barber.  Now, more than two decades later, Chilton is back with The Wealthy Barber Returns.

The author claims to be significantly older and only marginally wiser than when he wrote the first book, but he’s fired-up about the state of our finances and offers his unique perspectives on the world of money.

About The Author

David Chilton wrote The Wealthy Barber in 1989, which went on to sell two million copies in Canada.  Since then, the mantra of “pay yourself first” has been preached by financial experts around the world.  David’s passion is personal finance, and he tries to mix humour and common sense to help people handle their money more wisely.  A frequent guest on national TV and radio shows, and a much sought-after speaker, David lives just outside Waterloo, Ontario.  For some inexplicable reason he loves the Detroit Red Wings and the Detroit Tigers.

About The Book

I enjoyed reading The Wealthy Barber Returns even more than the original.  Gone is the novel format of its predecessor.  This book is more about David writing about the state of Canadian finances while offering his own unique words of wisdom about our savings rates, debt levels and investment returns.  In the author’s own words, “Essentially it’s just me chatting casually about the world of money.  It’s almost as though I’m in your living room except better because, well, I’m not.”

The book is slightly over 200 pages long, but consists of more than 50 short chapters within 2 sections:

  1. Insights into Savings, Spending and Borrowing
  2. Random Thoughts on Personal Finance

What I Liked

The author is quick to admit where he got some things wrong in the first book; for example advocating using a Line of Credit for an emergency fund, and foregoing a detailed tracking of your spending as long as you pay yourself first.  Chilton readily admits that with our increasing debt-loads and infatuation with “stuff”, not only is a Line of Credit a bad idea, but not tracking our spending is leading to over-consumption and we’re now carrying debt along side of our savings.

I also like Chilton’s take on investing, given that The Wealthy Barber’s focus on mutual funds returning 12-15% was a bit far-fetched (maybe not at the time).  Chilton is a big proponent of indexing your portfolio rather than chasing returns through individual stock picking or actively managed mutual funds with high fees.

He does throw us dividend investors a bone by stating, “If you insist on building your own equity portfolio instead of using a mutual fund or ETF, it’s probably wise to emphasize companies that consistently pay a healthy dividend.”

What I Didn’t Like

What’s not to like?  Chilton doesn’t pull any punches when discussing the harsh realities of savings, spending and debt.  That’s fine with me, most Canadian’s need a dose of reality when it comes to handling their finances.  There were a few minor points where I disagreed with the author’s views.

One was Chilton’s absolute detest for using credit cards for everyday spending.  I understand his point, that people are probably inclined to spend more if they believe they are getting travel rewards like Air Miles or Aeroplan.  But when used responsibly I believe that rewards cards can save most people a few hundred dollars a year.

Final Thoughts

If you enjoyed The Wealthy Barber you will absolutely love The Wealthy Barber Returns.  Chilton’s writing style is very unique; his humour and easy-to-understand financial concepts will appeal to beginner’s, and he still offers up enough substance and new ideas to keep the more financially savvy readers engaged.

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35 Comments

  1. SophieW on September 19, 2011 at 5:17 am

    Really? I’m the first to comment so I could win the book? Wow! 🙂 I subscribe through email already…

    It has been almost 2 years since I became serious about getting out of debt and building up my retirement portfolio. I remember finding Gail Vaz-Oxlade’s blog over Christmas 2009 and spending all my free time reading her old posts. It was eye opening and since then I have paid off all my debt and have a positive net worth for the first time ever! 🙂

  2. schultzter on September 19, 2011 at 6:03 am

    Twitter, RSS, and Farcebook are done! Now the comment and I’m a shoo-in to win – right!?

    The original Wealthy Barber was the first personal finance book I read, and one of my dad’s favourites. So since The Wealthy Barber Returns was announced I’ve been waiting for it to hit the shelves.

    Are you on Google+ yet?

  3. Jane on September 19, 2011 at 6:21 am

    Simple: I became interested in personal finance when I decided I wanted to own a house.

  4. My University Money on September 19, 2011 at 6:29 am

    I’m waiting for my copy in the mail so I can review it myself!

  5. RossTaylorMoney on September 19, 2011 at 7:20 am

    I knew of Dave even before he published the Wealth Barber – and I always admired (and perhaps was jealous) that he had taken an age old saw and made it into a million selling book 🙂

    It was perfect for the times, because the mutual fund industry at that time was relatively nascent, and the banks were about to step in and get involved, and returns of 12 to 15% were in fact ‘the norm’ back then.

    The book was a great stocking stuffer, and I suspect more copies were given away by financial industry folks than were actually sold to individuals – but no matter – it was great and full marks to Dave.

    From time to time I have gone back and read the book again, as I am sure Dave has, and perhaps he winces at the folksy narrative – but back then it worked and worked really well. (Lots of references to the Blue Jays who were very relevant culturally at the time)

    That said, the new book is hands down a better book than the first. Dave has really grown into his skin as a personal finance expert, while losing none of his razor sharp insight or wit.

    He is assured another best seller, just by virtue of who he is, and the phenomenal success of his first book. (Does anyone actually recall the name of the follow up book to The DaVinci Code written by Dan Brown?)

    But in this case, although it is well nigh impossible, Dave’s new book deserves greater glory and sales than his first. Well done!

  6. Sustainable PF on September 19, 2011 at 7:33 am

    I can’t wait to get my hands on this book. I would have loved to do a review for it as well but our site didn’t get selected it seems.

    The Wealthy Barber was my first experience w/ PF – that’s why I look forward to reading this latest version.

    I follow you on twitter, and in my RSS reader. I’ll check on the Facebook this evening.

  7. krantcents on September 19, 2011 at 7:44 am

    I always find it intriguing how people with ordinary careers are able to extraordinary things. I is a fine example of achieving anything you set your mind to accomplish.

  8. Gary on September 19, 2011 at 8:00 am

    I think it was Chilton who got me interested in personal finance. Thanks to the advice in his book we retired at 60. The book was required reading for both our kids. I can’t wait to get my copy of his new book.

  9. Zee on September 19, 2011 at 8:16 am

    Came accross your site in Moneyville’s Twitter feeds. And really started to think about my own personal finance situation. The rest is history.

  10. Canadian Personal Finance on September 19, 2011 at 8:39 am

    Subscribe via RSS and follower on Twitter.

    What got me started in personal finance was reading Rob Carrick’s columns and first book. SInce then I try to read as much Canadian personal finance information as possible. I am glad that he has an update on his first book, some things have changed (more emphasis on capital preservation).

  11. Eric Putnam on September 19, 2011 at 8:48 am

    Good review on the book. I read it the 1st week it was in Chapters and found it full of useful insight and tips. Highly recommend it as a MUST READ by all Canadians who are serious about improving their finances and achieving their finacial goals.

  12. Jean on September 19, 2011 at 9:52 am

    Awesome opportunity here! I went ahead and subscribed to the email list.

    “Email Subscription Request”

    “Your request has been accepted!”

  13. Eric Putnam on September 19, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    20 common myths about debt that many Canadians have and the truths that are reality http://bit.ly/praegD

  14. Steve on September 19, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    Chilton’s original Wealthy Barber is still on my bookshelf over a decade after I first read it. Love his simple lessons and have been fortunate enough to put many of them into practice. Would love to re-acquaint myself with the new book!

  15. Stephen Luong on September 19, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    I first got interested in personal finance because of my iPhone. I installed the national post app and stumbled upon an article about ING’s mutual funds. Since I was with the bank, I decided to read it. That led to looking up information on the Internet which led to reading blogs like this one which in turn had me devouring books on finances in general. Kind of funny that playing on my phone one day led to me realizing that Im paying way too much for said phone and finding ways to cut costs and save more.

  16. Mike on September 19, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    I first became interested in personal finance when I became the local paperboy! All that change in my waistbelt was fantastic…the heavier it became the richer I felt. I was 11 years old and would become excited at rolling my coins and watching my bank account grow! Not long after, my Dad gave me a copy of The Wealthy Barber, and 15 years later it still site on my bookshelf and I still lend it to friends who come to me for advice or need help with their personal finances. It would be interesting to hear how Chilton’s life turned out following the success of this book.
    Mike

  17. shirley on September 19, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    I’m interested in my personal finance because it is starting to become unmanageable for me. I need to find a solution and first need to educate myself about money.

  18. Sharon on September 19, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    I became interested in personal finance when I had to put my mother into a nursing facility. I saw so many people in their senior years with no money. I also saw that a little extra money gave people what the system had stripped away; independence and self esteem. I got my mutual fund & life licence to help people before they got to that stage. I have since taken on a further aspect of getting people out of debt first so they have the money to invest properly. I have read the Wealthy Barber (loved the simple approach) and passed it on to my son.

  19. Be'en on September 19, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    Liked on the Facebook, Tweeted and subscribed to the RSS feed. Already subscribed to via email.)

    I got interested in personal financing when I was forced to budget when my wife and I had to survive on one income and our daughter was on her way.. first thing I had to do was to give up smoking.. other benefits followed. However made several mistakes in investments (mutual funds, wrong asset allocations etc) and am now educating my self on as many aspects of personal financial management. One of the most important goals is to educate my kids on matters of personal finance. Chilton’s book will no doubt help!

  20. Kevin on September 20, 2011 at 9:03 am

    It may sound like I’m just pumping smoke but it was the first Wealthy Barber that got me interested. The other book I read around the same time was The Richest Man in Babylon.

  21. petra on September 20, 2011 at 9:51 am

    I have always been a good saver and a steady investor. I became more interested in personal finance as I began to read more and more — magazines, books, blogs. Now I want to understand more about investing and the economy and how to put my money to work for me.

  22. petra on September 20, 2011 at 9:52 am

    I subscribe via RSS.

  23. petra on September 20, 2011 at 9:53 am

    I follow on twitter (moeyshay).

  24. petra on September 20, 2011 at 9:56 am

    I liked Boomer and Echo on facebook (Moey Shay).

  25. rq on September 20, 2011 at 10:24 am

    I became interested in personal finance when my SO and I moved in together and had to merge our finances. Never a better time to get organized and plan for the future!

  26. Pedro on September 20, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    I first became interested in personal finance when I started a family. Budgeting, paying bills, getting a mortgage, saving for retirement, paying for higher education,… I ‘m learning as I go along.

  27. David @ solar blog on September 20, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    I remember reading the book when I was very young. I have completely forgotten the content, but I am pretty sure that a number of the lessons live on. The second book would probably be quite interesting to read.

  28. Kristi on September 20, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    I subscribe to your blog via RSS and I follow you on twitter!

  29. Michael C on September 22, 2011 at 6:29 am

    The Wealthy Barber was the first finance book I ever read and still a top favorite over most other books I have read since.

    Pick me!

  30. Deeno on September 22, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    Just finished Wealthy Barber today! Very interesting. Hearing about 12% rate for mortgage sounded like “greek” to me, but I guess that was “once upon a time”. When people read about 2-3% rate in the future, they may flush with envy for such a low rate. I have been on the education train for up to 3 years now (having came from a financially illiterate background and culture). My journey so far has been enlightening, thanks to books like the Wealthy Barber. It would be interesting to see the changes he made in the new book, also, his style of writing was excellent to me!

  31. Obsessive Compulsive Daniela on September 23, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    I’ve been interested in PF for as long as I can remember. There’s something about counting/organizing money that is very alluring. When I had to start saving for university near the end of high school, this is when I probably started focusing on PF on a more detailed level.

  32. jess on September 24, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    I already subscribed via rss. I became interested in personal finance after reading the first Wealthy Barber book a few years ago

  33. Cole Lepine on September 25, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    I became interested in PF because I started earning money. Then I realized how important it is to keep aware of money and its uses (it’s not just for buying stuff!).

  34. Tony on September 25, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    Became interested in PF a while ago when trying to figure out whether to rent or buy a place.

  35. Nicole C. on September 26, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    I first got interested in personal finance when I was trying to pay off my student loans. Thanks for the great give away!

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