Get your free e-book at this Digital Book Signing

bookstubNow here’s a deal! Anyone who wants a free e-book of the new US edition of Findependence Day – or three books by other authors — can do so at a  ”Digital Book Signing” next Thursday.  Just click here to register, then  join us Thursday, July 18th at 3:30 pm EST. I’ll be one of four authors featured. Everyone who signs in will be emailed a BookStub [see illustration] signed by me (or other authors), immediately following the event.

For those for whom the concept of a digital book signing may be novel — it was to me as well! — click here for a short introduction to the concept or this 2011 New York Times article, Would you sign my Kindle?

In the case of the US edition of Findependence Day, readers who have already bought the hard-copy Canadian edition can now get the e-book at no extra cost. The story is much the same as the original but it’s all set in the United States, the financial terms are all American, there’s a new glossary and it includes end-of-chapter summaries of the key financial concepts learned. Apart from the Kindle, you can get the book on the Nook, iPad and most other popular e-book formats, or indeed in a format readable on laptop or desktop computers.

Of course, you don’t need to have previously bought the book to take advantage of this short window: those who have happened on this web site and were curious can now satisfy their curiosity without spending one thin dime: Canadian or American! Guerrilla frugality at its finest — hoist by my own petard!

The other three authors and their featured books are:

L.D. Nascimento; The Curse of The Golden City and The Path to the Fallen Stars 

Andrew Bernstein; California Slim

Daryl Edwards, The Guardian Corps and Book One—The Argent

Obviously, we all hope to create a bit of word-of-mouth for our respective books and ultimately to stimulate actual sales. In the case of Findependence Day I’d encourage anyone who does download the book and enjoys it to post a short review at Amazon.com, which is one of the main ways the book can be purchased (whether Kindle, paperback or hardcover). Here is a sample of half a dozen recent mini-reviews of the new edition at Amazon (click on Newest reviews first).

Recent Reviews of US edition of Findependence Day

Here is a link to several other recent reviews that appeared in and around the American Independence Day. This is a link to the Reviews tab elsewhere on this site: they appear four lines down and are grouped together to distinguish them from older reviews of the first edition.

Finally, below is the summary of key concepts covered in Chapter 4 (see earlier blog posts for the first three; others will be posted over the coming weeks):

Chapter 4: Baby You’re a Rich Man

The concept of Human Capital

• A “Frooger” is a Frugality Guerrilla.

• Froogers make frugality a lifetime habit: first to eliminate debt; later to build wealth.

• Part of being frugal entails tracking expenses and making a budget.

• If your employer has a pension plan, you’d be wise not to pass up the “free money.”

• Teachers and government workers like Sheena enjoy “Cadillac” Defined Benefit (DB) pension plans where you know exactly how much you’ll receive in retirement.

• Younger tech firms like Jamie’s employer are more likely to offer 401(k) retirement plans that go up or down with the stock and bond markets.

• Once you’re free of all consumer debt, employees should start an IRA or Individual Retirement Account. Uncle Sam gives you a generous tax break as an incentive – as long as you’re not also covered by an employer-sponsored retirement plan like a 401(k) or 403(b).

• You can save $5,500 a year in an IRA, or $6,500 if you’re over 50.

• You’re richer than you think means young people are rich in “human capital” – millions in future earning potential.

• To get diversified long-term growth in the stock market, consider exchange-traded funds (ETFs) or index mutual funds.

• ETFs and index funds are cheaper than most mutual funds because they track broad stock market indexes like the S&P500.

 

Independence Day and Financial Independence

Findependence Day US Edition

Now that Independence Day has come and gone, perhaps it’s time to start thinking about your Financial Independence Day, or my contraction for the same thing: Findependence Day.

Whether it arrives in the near future or many moons from now, we know that the day of leaving the workforce must some day arrive. The timing may or may not be under your control: health and employer willingness to retain your services also come into the picture. What IS under your control is the financial resources you can mobilize to maximize your freedom and flexibility once this event occurs. And this must be done while you’re still gainfully employed.

One difference in these terms is that while Independence Day comes around every year, Financial Independence Day is a more unique event. It’s not carved in stone, of course, and can be moved forward and backward depending on circumstances.

The illustration is from the cover of the new US edition of Findependence Day, complete with fireworks and balloons. The calendar depicted is from the future (2027), and July 4th is circled as the “Financial Independence Day” of one of the lead characters in the book – for this is a novel as well as a financial primer for young people just entering the workforce and embarking on family formation.

Recent reviews

The point, as financial planner Sheryl Garrett remarked in a recent Marketwatch.com review of four books (including this one) is that the book’s title is about making a target: a point in the future you are working toward: “Findependence Day is the day you have choices and freedom. It’s redefining retirement and reaching financial independence.” Sheryl wrote the foreword to the book, which you can access via this free preview here at Amazon.com.

You can also read a blog on the book just published at NextAvenue.org, tied to the Independence Day theme — here — as well as a podcast on the book, where  Al Emid interviews me for New Books in Investment: here.

Posted July 2nd, is this review from Book Pleasures’ Conny Crisalli, which is also posted on Amazon.com here. Click on “newest reviews.”

And finally, on July 4th (yes, Independence Day) is this interview with Preet Banerjee on his “Mostly Money” audio podcast.

The power of visualization

Anyone familiar with goal-setting and visualization will know that, as I say in the book, there’s some power in setting an actual date in the future as a goal by which something is to be achieved. Jamie feels that on the day he turns 50, his income from all sources will exceed the income he could get from a sole employer and so he will become “findependent.”

I note that there are starting to emerge other books that also focus in on Financial Independence rather than Retirement, even though the term so beloved of the financial industry and the media is Retirement. In his recent non fiction book, Financial Independence: Getting to Point X, author and financial advisor John Vento describes Point X as the inflection point when financial independence is achieved. I”ve not yet read the book or talked to the author but it seems to me that Point X and Findependence Day are very similar concepts.

It’s worth reading Wikipedia’s entry on Financial Independence, which reads as follows.

   … the state of having sufficient personal wealth to live, without having to work actively for basic necessities. For financially independent people, their assets generate income that is greater than their expenses.

I first became aware of that entry just a few weeks ago when I wrote a guest blog for fee-only planner Roger Wohlner, aka The Chicago Financial Planner.  Since I’d finished the book by then it had no bearing on the book but the concept was not dramatically different.

Seek Findependence, Not Retirement

As I wrote for Roger in a blog entitled “Seek Findependence, Not Retirement,” the two terms are not the same. To be sure, you can’t really have retirement if you don’t first achieve financial independence, but seen the other way around, you can be financially independent and yet not choose to retire. Just look around at any big success in the business or art worlds and you’ll see the truth of that. Mick Jagger is findependent but still rocking, and the same can be said for Warren Buffett, Mark Zuckerberg and any number of other artists, musicians, actors and other celebrities.

Most of us are not born on Independence Day but we can all pick a date in the future – not necessarily a birthday – circle a figurative calendar and declare “That’s my Findependence Day.”

A warning though. It’s quite possible that the day after Findependence Day will be very little different than the day before. It happened that I turned 60 in April, almost to the day when the US edition of the book was published. fireworksAs I related on my Financial Independence blog at MoneySense.ca, I hosted the world’s first Findependence Day Party, complete with balloons and fireworks. The following Monday, I was back at my day job at MoneySense magazine.

Findependence works in concert with related concepts like early retirement, phased retirement and even sabatticals and staycations. My thoughts on the latter can be seen in the blog published just before the one you’re reading now: Rehearsals for Retirement.

To everyone in America, I wish a happy Independence Day.

 

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!”

What the e-book has that the original edition lacks

Amazon-Kindle1If you already happen to own the original print edition of Findependence Day (now called the Canadian edition), is there any reason to also buy the new e-book edition of the just-published US edition? Perhaps there is, considering that at $3.99 or less for all but the Kindle edition, the e-books are only a quarter of the price of print editions.

The two main features in the e-book that are new are the glossary at the end, and the end-of-chapter summaries of what Jamie and Sheena learned. The latter may be useful for those who have already read the story and now just want to be reminded of the basic principles of financial literacy covered.

End-of-chapter summaries

For example, you can view the summary after Chapter 1 by clicking the sneak preview of the Amazon Kindle version here. (Amazon charges US$7.63 for it). For convenience, I’ve reposted that page below. Most of the bullet points apply to either edition, although some are focused on US-specific financial content like IRAs or Roth plans. This isn’t the case for the excerpt below, though. At some point, I will likely do an all-Canadian ebook edition but until then, readers of the original book may still find the US ebook useful.

There are also some subtle differences most wouldn’t notice unless you compared the editions side by each. The original was finished just as the financial crisis was hitting, while the new edition benefits from the insights investors have gained since 2008. There are minor changes in the technology devices: in the original, Jamie has a cell phone, in the new one, it’s an iPhone and there are more references to social media in the subplot about Jamie’s troubles with his business partner. Some names and places have been changed but the story itself and the financial lessons imparted remain pretty much the same.

Kindle, Nook, iPad & other formats

If you want the Kindle version, access the Amazon.com link shown under the Buy American edition button. For the Nook e-book, access the Barnes & Noble link under the same button or click here. For most other e-book formats, go to the Trafford.com site here, select the e-book edition and you’ll get a list of formats from which to choose.

What Jamie & Sheena learned this chapter (Chapter 1): 

• 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!”

News release on new edition: review copies available on request

logo_prwebThe official news release announcing the new US edition of Findependence Day has just gone up on PR Web. Click here to view. Since the publisher does not as a matter of course send out review copies to the media, any member of the press interested in reviewing the book needs to contact the publisher to formally request a copy.

The contact for this is at the top right hand of the release linked above: Marketing Services, Trafford Publishing, 888-232-4444. There’s also an email request form there. If you tried and found the process unwieldy, drop me an email at jonathan@findependenceday.com and I’ll try to expedite the request.

 

The vinyl records subplot in Findependence Day

vinylrecordsAs noted on Twitter, there have been a fair number of stories in the press lately about the resurgence of vinyl records: as recently as Friday morning on BBC World News.

When I tell people vinyl actually plays a big role in the subplot of Findependence Day, I usually get some blank stares. So I’ll summarize it here. The Jamie character is 28 years old when the action begins, which makes him an echo boomer or member of Generation Y. He carries an iPhone everywhere he goes and, like most of his generation, listens to music mostly via MP3s, although he also frequents traditional music stores to buy physical CDs and DVDs.

After he meets a financial planner (Theo) on the financial reality TV show, Jamie “gets religion” about guerrilla frugality, and starts brown-bagging it and visiting a vinyl record store in Boston. Ostensibly this is to save money but also because the proprietor is  a fee-only financial planner on the side, and recommended highly by Theo.

Will cloud-based music eventually vanish?

Jamie returns frequently for vinyl bargains and financial advice and ends up creating a hobby web site and selling vinyl through the site around the world. He starts blogging about the future of digital music, taking a bit of a “retro” approach as he champions the superior audio quality of the Boomers’ old vinyl records. He starts to fret that all the music held on the cloud and in mobile devices will eventually vanish. When a blog he writes entitled “The day the music died,” goes viral, his web site starts attracting interest from big social media sites, which spins the plot in another direction.

The other recurring theme in Findependence Day is real estate. This ties in to the vinyl subplot when Jamie decides to venture into commercial real estate, living in an apartment above a commercial unit that eventually becomes a vinyl-themed Internet cafe. When it too attracts attention for its franchising potential, the plot again advances. On top of all this, there are romantic complications, as Jamie’s marriage with Sheena encounters turbulence triggered — as is so often the case with modern couples — over disagreements about money.

You can read the first two chapters free at Amazon.com, which includes the very beginning of the vinyl subplot midway through chapter two, when Theo suggests Jamie should visit his friend Bobby at the Vinyl Cave.

Findependence Day USA now available on the Nook

product-device-nook-hdIn addition to the various e-book formats found at Trafford.com (see previous post), Barnes & Noble is now making the new US edition of Findependence Day available on the Nook, and at a slight discount to the regular e-book price of $3.99. Details here. Note that you can also peek at the first two chapters, table of contents and new foreword by Sheryl Garrett without having to commit to purchase.

P.S. I sometimes refer to the new American edition as Findependence Day USA to distinguish it from the original Canadian edition. However, the actual title in both versions is simply Findependence Day.

Amazon Kindle reviews

Amazon-Kindle1Wanted to share a nice review on the Amazon Kindle site today about the new US edition of Findependence Day.

Here’s what Rob has to say:

A unique and well-written book that is doing something important….. it is teaching you more about becoming financially independent than anything else out there. The narrative story is easy to follow for those who would never read a financial book and a nice format change for those who would. Well worth it – enjoy. 

 

We have the fireworks; we have the balloons!

fireworksTonight is the official launch party for the new U.S. edition of Findependence Day. The two main ingredients of the cover are fireworks and balloons, and here they are ready to be unleashed.  It also happens to be the actual day I turn 60. I’m billing this as the world’s first Findependence Day party. Since we coined the term, we’re entitled to make that claim, right?

Does this mean I’m now financially independent enough not to show up to work on Monday at MoneySense magazine? In theory, yes, since in Canada you can collect the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) as early as age 60. In practice, however, it will be business as usual. But as I say in the book, the key point about Findependence is that you may choose to keep working, but because you want to, not because you perceive you must.

With many North American baby boomers turning 60 and 65 in the coming months and years, I expect there to be many Findependence Day parties — at least if the term catches on and the US edition of the book gets any traction. Here’s how you can help: please use your social media to spread the word, especially if you have American friends you think would benefit from the book if they just knew it existed.

And exist it does, as you can find elsewhere on this site. The paperback and hardcover editions are now available at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and Trafford. An e-book edition selling for $3.99 will be released in a few weeks. And of course, the first or “Canadian” edition is also available directly from me by clicking on the Buy Canadian edition button.

 

US edition has launched

 

Findependence Day US EditionLiterally years in the making, the new U.S. edition of Findependence Day has launched, just in time for my 60th birthday party this Saturday!

Initially, you can get the new book in paperback or hardcover form from the three sources listed in the link below:

US online sources for new US edition of Findependence Day

These include Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble and the publisher, Trafford.com. The e-book is not yet out but will cost just under $4 when ready, hopefully a week or two from now.

Here are the key differences from the first (2008) edition, which was originally a North American edition but which I now call the Canadian edition:

1.) Brand new cover and back cover, actually closer to the original concept I had to illustrate Findependence Day.

2.) Completely Americanized, with all Canadian financial content removed and plenty of new material on American IRAs, Roth plans, Social Security and so on.

3.) Reset entirely in the United States: primarily Chicago, Boston, New York and Florida

4.) The technology subplot now features a Twitter-like fictional “Chirper” rather than the discussion forum in the original (Twitter had only just launched when the first edition came out)

5.) End-of-chapter summaries of what Jamie and Sheena learned. This does break the “fictive dream,” but is more useful for those more interested in the financial literacy content than the story, and helpful in recapping the lessons learned.

6.) New glossary of terms.

Next Page »