The basic financial literacy lessons underlying Findependence Day

ipad-3-concept.pngWhile Findependence Day is at one level a “novel,” complete with a multi-layered plot, characters, setting etc., it’s a hybrid creation that also attempts to weave the basic lessons of financial literacy into the story.

As indicated last post, the new US edition, including the e-books, includes a feature not present in the original North American (i.e. Canadian) edition: end-of-chapter lessons of the basic concepts learned.

In retrospect, I should have done this from the get-go since the book is first and foremost a financial literacy primer.

As I create a backgrounder for the press, I’ve gone through the exercise of extracting the 18 end-of-chapter summaries (“What Jamie & Sheena learned this chapter”) into a single document. It reinforces that if you toss out the story, there’s plenty of useful material there, so much so that I sincerely believe that if anyone took every lesson to heart, they would indeed “achieve financial independence while they’re still young enough to enjoy it.”

Those who have only the Canadian edition can view the new foreword and an example of the end-of-chapter summaries by previewing the free Amazon Kindle version here. And you can get the e-book version for $3.99 or less in most tablet and e-reader formats by clicking through the Trafford link here.

But for those who would rather not, I’ve decided I’m going to roll out the 18 summaries in this blog perhaps on a weekly basis. We’ll start with chapter 1, even though that’s already available in the sneak preview:

Chapter 1 Summary: Take it to the Limit 

Topic: Credit cards and other forms of bad debt

• You can’t start building wealth until you’ve eliminated debt.

• To save, you must stop spending.

• To stop spending, you must embrace “guerrilla frugality” and be willing to make small sacrifices.

• The foundation of Financial Independence is a paid-for home.

Findependence Day is simply a contraction of Financial Independence Day.

• The key to manifesting your Findependence Day is to pick an actual date in the future and visualize it happening.

• To reinforce the idea that saving is more important than spending, take to heart the motto “Freedom, Not Stuff!”

The Kids are not alright: Fee-only planner and FP columnist on Findependence Day

This weekend’s Financial Post featured a column on financial literacy for young people and writer Jason Heath closed with a nod to Findependence Day. Titled The Kids are Not All Right, here is the full article and below is the reference to the book.

Jonathan Chevreau’s Findependence Day is another book that focuses on different stages of a young person’s financial development. While Taub’s book has chapters directed towards parents with children ranging from five to 21, Chevreau’s is aimed more specifically at young people aged 20-40. Findependence Day follows a young couple’s financial planning journey from their 20s to their 40s.

I should add that Jason is one of several fee-only financial planners with whom I vetted the manuscript when it was written in 2008. At the time, Jason was with one of Canada’s largest fee-only shops: EES Financial. The firm had created a concept it called Dream Day, which was very similar conceptually to what I call Findependence Day. Jason and a partner recently went out on their own to create their own fee-only financial planning shop, Objective Financial Partners Inc., based in Toronto.

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Credit Counselling Society buys Findependence Day

The Credit Counselling Society (www.nomoredebts.org) recently purchased a bulk order of Findependence Day for its offices in Westminster, B.C., which is being distributed to various Counselling Team leaders across the country.

For instance, on Twitter Winnipeg-based Counselling Team Lead Christi Postner (www.moneycoach.ca) today posted a mention of this on Twitter. Thanks to Christi, Scott Hannah, and others for helping to spread the word.

As long-time readers of this blog may know, Toronto-based Credit Canada is also distributing the book to clients.

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A financial literacy fable

TalkingFinLit.org

Thursday’s Financial Post and subsequently on my Wealthy Boomer blog, a controversy arose over articles I’ve written about the financial industry’s true commitment to financial literacy, or what some call FinLit.

In the course of revisiting this topic, I linked back to a little “fable” I wrote about a year ago after the Investment Funds Institute of Canada (IFIC) announced what it was doing to “promote” financial literacy.

I was skeptical then, just as I’m currently skeptical about Investors Group’s wrapping itself in the FinLit flag even while its fees remain near the highest in the country that studies have shown have pretty much the highest MERs (Management Expense Ratios) in the world.

For those who missed it first time, here is the fable about FinLit Frank and his efforts to instill financial literacy in his daughter, MERry. Who knows, maybe Frank is an Investors Group executive?

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Talk for Credit Canada’s Credit Education Week

In addition to November being Financial Literacy Month, this week is also Credit Education Week. On Tuesday at the YMCA in Toronto, as part of the launch of Credit Education Week,  I gave the following talk which touched on all of credit, financial literacy, the sandwich generation and of course financial independence. All recipients at the talk received copies of Findependence Day courtesy of Capital One.

Here’s the text of the talk:

Dreamfilm.ca

Laurie had asked me to talk today about the Sandwich Generation. I’ll do that and also talk about life cycle financial planning and the concepts behind “findependence” or financial independence.

Some of you may remember around the turn of the millennium, the National Post distributed four issues of a glossy magazine I helped create, called The Wealthy Boomer.

Well, it just so happens that the final issue featured a cover story on the Sandwich Generation.

We’d commissioned a nice if predictable cover that depicted a frazzled middle-aged baby boomer tearing out her hair as she attempted to grapple with the conflicting demands of an aging parent and screaming children.

I could relate to that at the time because in 2000, we had a nine-year old daughter, four parents and two busy careers. Today, however, daughter is 20 and away at college, and all four grandparents have passed away.

From Sandwiched to Empty Nester

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It’s Financial Literacy Month

As noted on my Wealthy Boomer blog earlier this week and in my Wednesday column in the Post, the month of November is now being dubbed Financial Literacy Month. Check my recent blog entry here to review an excellent 1.5-hour web presentation on financial literacy hosted by ABC Life Literacy Canada. It’s interesting because it takes a life cycle approach to investing: with experts focusing first on young children, them moving along the life cycle to university, entering the work force, family formation, mid life and finally retirement.

Findependence Day takes the same life-cycle approach, which is why celebrated finance professor and author Moshe Milevsky described it as “a financial voyage through the human lifecycle, introducing the reader to important concepts in portfolio theory, investment analysis and retirement planning.”

Or why the advisor’s advisor, Bob Veres, called it a “financial pilgrim’s progress.”

Get rich slowly
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Improvements to this site

While this site was only launched in early September, this week we’ve made several changes, hopefully all for the better.

At the bottom right corner you can now see rolling feeds from my Twitter and Facebook accounts. This is in addition to the latest columns I write at the Financial Post and current entries at the Wealthy Boomer blog, which is housed at FinancialPost.com.

While we’ve not yet added feeds from the other two social media I participate in, you can also find me at Linked In and Google Plus (which I described here).

Cosmetically, we’ve added a bigger more visible button for those who want to order the book via PayPal. We’ve added some links under the Reviews & Media tab, including a fabulous new endorsement from none other than the Wealthy Barber himself: David Chilton.

We’ve also revised and expanded the entry describing the book: never easy in this hybrid category of financial primer/ fictional novel. (yes, the “financial novel” genre pioneered by the same David Chilton but see this entry for how Findependence Day has pushed the envelope on this genre.)

For those who have enjoyed the book but have trouble summarizing it to friends you think may be interested, my shorthand description is “a financial love story.” That’s how it’s described in one set of targeted Facebook ads that are currently running.

Findependence Day and Financial Literacy

With Financial Literacy Month coming up and then Christmas, I’d hope those who have enjoyed the book will spread the word.  Tell friends, neighbours and even local libraries about this unique book that helps raise the financial literacy of young people who are just entering the workforce and starting to form their own families.

Cartons of 36 are available at greatly reduced prices and you’d be surprised at who are buying entire cases: NOT the giants of the financial industry but everyday working people and parents. One dentist bought a case for his patients in British Columbia. Real estate agents are buying them, credit counselling groups, even business people from church.

Of course, the full-carton deal is also popular with individual fee-only and fee-based financial advisors: those I naturally consider the “good guys.” (and gals: the first to buy a case was a top-knotch Oakville advisor I first “met” on Twitter!) With Christmas coming, I’d remind financial professionals that if purchased in quantity, the book makes a less-costly client gift than a box of chocolates but will be timelier and longer-lasting.

U.S. e-book edition coming

One exciting development is that Findependence Day will soon be available as an e-book or tablet edition in a brand new U.S. edition. For now, the existing North American edition will be available only in the “dead-tree” edition sold on this site. As those who have read it know, the original edition provides both U.S. and Canadian financial content and is set in both countries. The new e-book is set only in the U.S. and provides a lot more information about IRAs, Roth plans, Social Security and other topics.

In response to reader feedback, the new edition will also feature a glossary and an end-of-chapter summary of what Jamie and Sheena learned. I have mixed feelings about this. I didn’t go that route initially because I didn’t want to break the “fictive dream.” On the other hand, since this book IS primarily a tool for raising financial literacy, once you’ve read it it’s useful to have a chapter summary at the end in straight prose.

There will be a few other surprises, so stay tuned. Remember, while I may only update this particular blog twice a week or so, the site as a whole is constantly changing because of the continual new content from my day job and social media activity.

As they say on 680 News radio, “the news is constantly changing, so check back three, four, five times a day.” Just kidding but hopefully there’s enough here to merit a bookmark and a look once or twice a week.

See you next time!

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