Monday, April 6, 2009

Book Review: The Wealthy Barber

I recently finished The Wealthy Barber by David Chilton. I have to say this was a really good book. This is a financial book for someone who isn't really into finances. Although I love reading financial books I have to admit they can be kind of dry at times. There usually isn't a story binding everything together. That's different with this book.

This book is set in Michigan, mainly in the Ann Arbor and Port Huron areas. It is written from the point of view of Dave, a teacher in the Ann Arbor area. He travels to Port Huron on occasion to see his family, taking several weeks to spend with family over the summer. He and his wife Cathy are newly pregnant and he's just realizing that he doesn't know much about planning for the future or how he should be handling finances. He decides to broach the subject with his father the next time they are in Port Huron, and his father tells him to go see the local barber Roy. Although he is a little taken back, he decides to follow through on the advice even though it sounds ridiculous.

The morning before he goes to see the barber, he tells his plans to his sister, Cathy and his friend, Tom. They decide they too could use some financial advice and tag along for the ride. What follows is a series of visits with Roy the Wealthy Barber and a couple other colorful characters from the barbershop. Each "visit" comprises one chapter of the book where one or more subjects are covered.

This book covers the basics beautifully. It dives into the reasons behind savings, how to set it up, and how much to save. It covers retirement savings, life insurance, setting up college funds, and many other areas. This is a great refresher for those of us who have been reading about finances for a while and a really easy read for beginners in financial learning.

Although I don't agree with all the advice given in this book I don't think it leads you in the "wrong" way of doing things. It's just a personal preference. For example, there is a suggestion that you take all of your debts and roll them into a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) so that you can deduct the interest. I tend to disagree with this but I also understand where he's coming from. If you have the ability to roll your current debt into a HELOC WITHOUT getting back into debt, then it may be a good choice. Unfortunately, many people roll their debt into a HELOC and then start charging up their credit cards again, which of course defeats the purpose.

All in all it's a quick and easy read!



I dont think consolidating is bad, I also wouldn't suggest a Heloc, but maybe a loan with a great interest rate.

If you do this, you should be cutting up any plastic used, with the exception of a debit card.

This would still be based off an existing plan to keep out of debt. Any and all resources used to pay off the debt that was consolidated should ALL be put towards the new loan, no exceptions.

No big purchases should be made, and I like the Ramsey idea of a $1k emergency acct.

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