Reviewed by L.D.Y.
Trade, 208 pages, 2002
Reason for Reading: That nagging feeling at the back of my mind that money doesn’t take care of itself.
Synopsis: Cork walks his readers through the basics of personal finance, from making a budget to saving and investing right up to making a will, looking at the main circumstances people (specifically, Canadians) under 35 face, such as buying their first home, having their first children, and other issues.
Why you should read this book: If you don’t know the basics of personal finance, this book will start you off nicely. There’s also a solid reference section at the end of the book with a glossary and websites to visit for more information, something not capitalized on enough by authors.
Why you should avoid this book: If you’re a student coming out of university with massive debts, this book isn’t the answer to your prayers. It’s good for the budgeting section, but a lot of the information is simply out of your range money-wise if you’re dealing with huge debts. Instead of making the subject less dry, Cork’s goofy sense of humour is often distracting.
Ah ha, skimming, are you? Looking for some advice without having to actually pay for anything, is that it? Good for you. If you want my opinion, you should just steal the book. That way you don’t have to go to one of those big-box retailers, buy a very expensive coffee and share your reading space with some misinformed foreign exchange student who thinks she’s in a library and actually ‘shushes’ the sales clerks as they walk by.
Maybe it would be easier if you didn’t think of financial planning as a single intense ‘event,’ like a six-second drag race. Planning for the financial future is really more of a marathon, or a rally. Let’s call it the Rat Race, or, even better, the Human Race. Winning requires the same sort of planning as any other race. You have to know where the finish line is (retirement, for example), and you have to know how far away from it you are right now (your current net worth, age, etc). Before you set off, you’ll want to ensure that you know the history of the track and that you’re chosen the right car for the race. You could choose one of several vehicles (GICs, stocks, mutual funds), but you should know that the faster you go, the bumpier the ride will be.
Talking to Car Dealers: Shut up. Don’t agree with the salesperson’s assessment of the great ride, the hot colour or the spectacular vanity mirrors. Make noncommittal noises or just ignore the babbling. Whoever talks the least ‘wins.’
Also recommended: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Personal Finance in Your 20s and 30s for Canadians by Sarah Young Fisher, Susan Shelly & James Gravelle.
Also by this author: The Investment Book: The Screaming Capitalist is Back.
Author’s website: screamingcapitalist.com
Â© Lisa Yanaky 2003-2007