It’s been a couple of years, but Rob Carrick is back again with another personal finance book that I would consider a must read for young Canadians.  The title is a bit long, but descriptive to the overall theme of the book. The book is titled “How Not to Move Back in with Your Parents – The Young Person’s Guide to Financial Empowerment.”

About the Author:

According to the book:

Rob Carrick is one of Canada’s most widely read and best-respected financial experts, with two decades of experience as a business and economics reporter and commentator.  Carrick worked on both Bay Street and Parliament Hill before becoming the personal finance columnist for The Globe and Mail ten years ago.

About the Book

As you can probably conclude from the book title, this book focuses on step by step personal finance for young people.  It spans from basic budgeting, to finances as a student, to financial life after being a student (ie. buying a house, marriage, kids).  I like how this book is opinionated with many elements of “real life” thrown in as examples.   One aspect that I found refreshing was Rob Carrick’s opinion on real estate.  With a lot of real estate bashing going on in the media, he believes (as do I) that in the long run, owning a house when you can afford it, is a better option than renting.

The topic areas covered in the book include:

  1. Affording College or UniversityRESPs, what post secondary education really costs, student debt.
  2. How to Handle Debt, Both in School and AfterwardStudent credit cards, loans, credit ratings .
  3. You and Your Bank – Student banking, post graduation banking needs.
  4. Saving, Budgeting and What to do if you have to Move Back Home – Post Grad financial priorities, budgeting, boomerang generation.
  5. Looking to the Future: RRSPs and TFSAs – What to do first, primer on RRSPs, RRSP vs TFSA, intro to pension plans.
  6. Cars and You – Car sharing services, buying vs leasing.
  7. Buying a Home – Renting, first time home buyers, first mortgages, variable vs fixed mortgages.
  8. Weddings and Kids – Costs of getting married, saving for the wedding, baby talk, daycare costs.
  9. Insurance and Wills – Home and auto insurance, life insurance, wills.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I enjoyed this book and would consider it a must read for young personal finance enthusiasts, especially those just starting out on their journey.

Want a Free Copy?

The book publisher was generous in offering Million Dollar Journey readers the chance to win 2 free copies of the book.  The details are below:

  1. Tell me your best personal finance tips for young people by leaving a comment in this post. (+1 entry)
  • Only one comment entry per person (valid email addresses only please – privacy policy).
  • Only those with a North American mailing address may enter (publisher rules, sorry).
  • Contest will end Fri 5pm EST June 8, 2012 and the winner, drawn randomly from all entries, contacted shortly after!
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As a soon-to-be-former student (only a few months left!) my best tip for young people would be to start saving as soon as possible. The best way to do it is to spend less than what you earn. Build yourself an emergency fund and put some cash aside to treat yourself to something nice once in a while. Then invest the rest of the money and let interest compounding work its magic!

Best personal advice: Independence / Flexiblity beats Dependence / Inflexiblity.

So if you’re thinking about buying a house at 21, consider how awesomely binding it is on your finances and future decisions. Or a car at 19, think about making car payments until you’re 25. OR married at 22, think about what that can mean in the longer term.

In other words, think before you commit to anything long term.

Work as much as you can while you’re in school. This may seem obvious, but many young people have a lot of free time and refuse to take part-time jobs.

By working while in school, you can make a dent in student loans before you even graduate. This will give you a big head start financially once you head into the real world.

My advice is to save, save, save.

That new shiny iPad may seem nice but if you took that money and invested it at age 20 you would have several thousands when you retire.

For young people,

best advice I ever got: Study something that leads to a career, not an interest.

Case in point, my childhood friend and I love history. We discuss it tremendously. We both read a lot of books about it. However in college, I studied accounting, he studying history. Average salary of an accountant with a designation is in the six figures. He works as a clerk making slightly above minimum wage.

He feel he needs a master/phd or become a highschool teacher. Two things he is not interested in.

As for financial tip, read this and many similar blogs. Learn to budget and stay faithful to it.

As it says in the bible “Be faithful over small amounts and I shall soon make you ruler over much.” ie learn to budget your small paycheck now. Don’t say if I was rich I would take care of my money but I only make few so I don’t know where my pay is going.

Take advantage of Excel and build yourself a budget! Really dig down for a month or two and develop a sheet that lists your expenses (every penny!). You will be surprised at what you will find. Then set a budgeted amount to spend on entertainment, sports, groceries, dining out ect… Make sure to budget 10-15% for savings.

Do your best to track every expense in it’s proper category. It will definitely be difficult at times to follow what you promised you would spend. When and if you do over spend… at least you will KNOW when you have surpassed a budgeted expense and feel guilty the next time you head out to the bar or dining out with friends!

Two tips:

1. Pack a lunch and a thermos of coffee instead of going out for lunch.

2. If it is an impulse purchase and costs more than $20 put it back and wait 24 hours. If you still feel you want/need it after 24 hours then go and buy it. (If it’s more than $100 wait a week!)

Make due with what you’ve got as long as you can before buying that something new. Don’t be afraid to ask for a lower price. Use kijiji. Buy books 2nd hand. Offer to write CD reviews to get free music. Eat at home as much as possible.

Most importantly, make lots of friends, volunteer and network. The more people you know, the more resources you’ll have available to you, and more free things or discounted services will come your way, but that means you also have to be willing to give back.

Goldberg – I couldn’t agree more. Interests/hobbies can be pursued on evenings and weekends. If you’re going to invest 2 or 4 or more years into schooling, make sure you receive a decent financial remuneration for your time and efforts when all is said and done.

My advice for young people:

Set up a savings account with a different bank than your normal one. Make sure that you set it up to transfer money into your account for your primary account every day you get paid. It’s too easy to spend money that you know you have. If it’s out of sight in another account, you would be surprised how quickly it adds up.

With that money, do two things: Dump the majority into a tax haven and put the rest towards an interest of yours. Work to live, don’t live to work!

Minimize how much drinking you do in college and university.

Besides all the other rational reasons for this that you hear all the time (health, being a responsible adult, etc) you’ll be saving a lot of money that will pay dividends in the long run. Alcohol is not cheap. Same goes for tobacco!

Automatice savings program – When you start working and you are still used to living the student lifestyle, you should be able to put away as much 50% of your paycheck and still have more money than you did as a student.

If this money sits in your account, trust me, you will find a way to spend it. Instead, open up a TFSA (at your bank or through ING) and set it up to take a significant % of your paycheck every two weeks. You will be amazed how quickly it adds up.

Spending money you do not have is terrible, do not become accustomed to spending more then you have.
The number one thing to remember is to always live beneath ones means.

Best Tip – Blow it all and build the economy back up for the rest of us!

My best tip for young people is to track your expenses! So often you spend way more money than you realize on seemingly innocuous things like food!

Tip: Become educated about finances. Reading and learning should be lifelong pursuits, in finances and in everything else.

My advice is to develop a habit of saving money and the best tip for that is to buy from craigslist, kijiji, even value village. Clip coupons and shop for sales. A little bit adds up over time.

Be informed and be educated. Always get a second opinion if dealing with an advisor.
Read this blog.

Simple but effective.

Spend less than you make, or Make more than you spend.

Thanks FrugalTrader to share this opportunity with us.
General tips like not impulse buying and having a financial planner really helps to set in some financial goals.
We are first time home buyers and we made it our objective to make a 20% down payment on the house. We rented and saved money for the last 3 years knowing its going to be a great adventure when we will finally move in.

I am sure there are a lot of “real” tips in this book!

When job hunting as a student always consider how a particular job will help your career. My parents would never allow me to get a job unless it related in some way to my planned career. While I may have missed out on a few good job stories, the extra push to find those kinds of jobs left me with a great C.V. by the time I was looking to start my career. These days entering a co-op program in university would be a good way to accomplish the same thing.

Think ahead. Sounds simple, can be tough to do. Things like education, buying a car, real estate, marriage have long lasting impacts – it is essential that you put effort into carefully considering these important decisions. Try to get first-hand information whenever possible – instead of reading the University brochure, talk to somebody in the program; instead of listening to your guidance councillor, talk to somebody who actually has that job.

Have a plan, adjust as needed, but always keep it front of mind when considering these big things.

Best advice: Start investing earlier than later to get the power of compounding interest on your side. I put it off for about 10 years when I was in my 20’s and started investing in my 30’s. Even a small initial investment adds up to more money than you might think.

I think that the best piece of financial advice I can give young people is to make sure that they truly understand the meaning of value and their capacity to produce/use it.

If you truly understand that borrowing money or using a credit card is simply a big I.O.U. and that you’ll need to generate the value you used up in the future and then some for having had the privilege of earlier consumption, then you’re much more likely to want to understand you’re value producing capacity and budgets and interest in other financial areas will come naturally.

Whatever income you bring in save 10% and live off the rest.

Ignore advertising, learn to live with less, don’t waste money on the latest electronic gizmo or fancy cell phone with expensive data plan and of course save, save, save.

The best piece of financial advice I can give to young people is to take control of your own financial future, It’s as simple as that. If you don’t learn to manage your own money, other people will find ways to (mis)manage it for you. Some of these people may be ill-intentioned, like unscrupulous commission-based financial planners. Others may be well-meaning, but may not know what they’re doing, like Grandma Betty who really wants you to buy a house even though you can only afford a treacherous adjustable-rate mortgage.

Instead of relying on others for advice, take charge and read a few basic books on personal finance. Once you’re armed with personal finance knowledge, don’t let anyone catch you off guard – whether it’s a significant other that slowly siphons your bank account or friends who want you to go out and blow tons of money with them every weekend. Understanding how money works is the first step toward making your money work for you.

Buy gently used – most things are half price or less ( ie learn to look for good quality in thrift stores, consignment shops and garage sales)
Buy and eat what is on sale – Safeway needs to use the “override” key with me all the time because my savings routinely exceed 50%
Start financial prudence (live below your means) immediately – it will become a lifelong habit that will serve you well for saving for bigger goals

my advice… don’t buy an iphone….. is will drain your wallet monthly… even if it does make you cool

For those bagging on a history degree ;) As someone who has one, I find it incredibly valuable and earn a good living using the logic/reasoning skills it honed, but I do agree you have to have a certain understanding going in. Someone going in to be a CGA is probably going to earn more than someone with a degree in philosophy, statistically speaking. On the other hand, they’re going to be a CGA (kidding).

I’ve met a lot of people who business degrees who couldn’t do a presentation or build an argument to save their life, so there is value in arts and arts related degrees too. My other advice would be – consider being an entrepreneur. It’s no surprise to me that Jobs, Gates, Zuckerberg etc all started risky businesses young; it’s when you get older and collect things like pensions, houses, spouses, children etc that you might find it harder to start a new business.

Either you make more than what you spend or spend less than what you make,

Start investing while you are young.

Take an interest in personal finance. You may think you have o money so why worry about it, but learn now so when you do you’ll know the decisions and options that will need to be made.
I would love to win the book. Thanks

My best advice for young people regarding finance is this: The only thing that represents a true emergency is anything that interferes with your paycheque or income. Save 10% for this. Everything else is a short-term surprise. Save 10% for this also. No hot water is not an emergency – that’s a short-term surprise. Your car got keyed – not an emergency – that’s a short-term surprise too. You got laid off – that’s an emergency. The engine blew in your car – only an emergency if you have absolutely no other way to get to work. Your pet threw up all over your carpet? – short-term surprise.

Take on good debt – and make sure you have a plan to pay it off. If you can do this, while at the same time implement a budget that has you saving, and spending less than what you earn, all is golden.

My advice: read, read, read…and think! Take the time to educate yourself and think carefully about what you read and what you do.

Study in a field that has a potential for making a decent salary: apologies to all the history, geography, arts, English/French literature majors…

Then, be wise enough to read up on how to manage money! Don’t trust all these financial planners, educate yourself !

The best advice I can give to someone young is to learn how to save up to buy the things they want. Yes it will teach them how to appreciate the value of money but they’ll be able to look back and be proud of those purchases throughout their life because they earned it themselves.

They may not realize it at the time, but they are establishing a solid foundation for their future financial lifestyle.

I’d love to have the book, thanks!

My advice, go against the grain. If everyone is telling you to buy a house, resist with all your might. If fear is rampant in the stock market, it is the time to buy, not sell.

Also, don’t piss away all your money on a wedding. Sure it’s a fun day, but can you think of any other place you could use $30-50k? Even more important, don’t let your fiance convince you to go into debt for a wedding. That is not ‘good debt’ as someone mentioned above.

Make sure a certain percentage of savings is put aside on the income that is earned consistently.

I would like to add one more thought: While all of the above are eminently sensible and grown up there are other options.

I graduated with a degree in commerce in 1989 thinking that I should get a ‘useful’ degree. When I graduated suddenly the thought of becoming a yuppie was not appealing and I ran away…19 years later I returned to Canada to live. I came back with some savings, enough to put down a 40% deposit on a small house and to buy a third-hand (and still functioning) car outright. But I also came back with incredible experiences, broadened horizons, a second language, and a HUGE appreciation for Canada and all that we have here–and what so many of us take for granted.

I’m now back at university following my passion (teaching degree, one more year to go) and poor as the proverbial church mouse. I am delighted with my present life and there is very little I would change–despite my current (and hopefully temporary!) poverty at middle age.

It’s been said many times already, but it’s probably the most powerful advice: start saving early. Start putting 10% of what you make into savings. It’ll probably be really small in the beginning, but once you start, it’ll become a habit, and you’ll be more likely to continue this habit as you continue in your career. I’ve been doing this since I was 18, and I’ve never missed that 10%, but it’s continued to grow for me.

Get through school with little or no debt. Scholarships, working and living poor are the best ways. This will give you a huge step up on life when you leave school, and school is the time when you will want for money the least. Then live poor as long as you can, or at least below your means.

Wealth is not so dependant on what you make, it is a function of what you spend.

Before you choose a post-secondary education program, choose a job/profession and make sure the schooling is necessary. Don’t go to college just because you want to ‘find yourself’.

Your house is not an investment, it’s your home and shelter. Keep that in mind when decided what you can afford to buy.

Picked this up – hopefully, it’ll be in my mailbox soon. Thanks for the recommendation!

The simplest and most important lesson to learn: “spend less money than you earn”

Never, ever, carry a credit card balance over. Always pay the full amount due or you will become a slave to the credit card industry.

It is really important for young people to get a true feel for the value of money. I always recommend that a person calculates how much money they make per hour after all deductions. Then, when you want to buy something, don’t think about how much money it is, but how many hours will you have to work to pay for the item. For example, if you take home $10/hour after deductions, and you want to buy something for $200, you have to work for 20 hours to pay for it. Is it worth it? By putting it into this perspective, individuals find it easy to walk away from a frivolous purchase.