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 HomePost 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!


  1. Sean Cooper on June 5, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    Pay off your mortgage before rates go up and then use the cash flow to catch up on your RRSPs.

  2. Mark on June 5, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    I suggest teaching the dangers & benefits of compound interest early.

  3. Owen on June 5, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    Always take the time to look for a better deal, especially with bigger or more frequent purchases. When you find a good deal, ask yourself if you really need or even really want the item in question (a good budget would help you consider whether it’s worth it). A penny saved is about a penny and a half earned, depending on your tax bracket.

  4. Erik on June 5, 2012 at 11:53 pm

    Ask successful people around you for their advice.

  5. Eldon on June 6, 2012 at 12:46 am

    Pay yourself first and put that money in a mutual fund. 10% or 5% or 2% whatever and put it into a mutual fund. You will never even miss it

  6. Be'en on June 6, 2012 at 1:49 am

    Learn what a budget is, how to budget and then habitually create weekly budgets and stick to them religiously! Needless to say, the budget should include a set amount towards savings and investments.

  7. M&M on June 6, 2012 at 3:43 am

    My advice is going to perhaps seem a little different than others, but I am basing it strictly on my dealings the last 10 years or so with young people either in or just leaving school. For every “youngster” with a great head on their shoulders, I have met 3 with no clue about the world around them. It is those 3 whom I will address.

    1. You are not entitled to everything you had when you grew up. You had those things because your parents provided them. A 60″ flat screen is not a need of a 20 year old.
    2. Sell your playstation, you should be way too busy to worry about games for 10 year olds.
    3. Work hard. Your work ethic will define you and your reputation will follow you a lot longer than your jobs will last. Show up early and always strive to leave your workplace better than you found it.
    4. Immerse yourself not only in work and study, but in life. Your social skills will provide you at least as much as the other two.
    5. Choose a career path based on passion not simply on money.

    Finally, from a strictly financial standpoint, as a young person starting out, remember these things:
    1. Good credit is essential in today’s world. Ignore credit card solicitations, at 20, they provide no benefit to you. Anything you can’t buy with your debit card is probably something out of your price range anyway.
    2. Save. Minimum 25% of everything you make. Once you actually get into real life, with real bills, this percentage will probably need to be adjusted downward, but a superb habit will have already been created.
    3. Always file an income tax return. Any refund you get should be saved or placed into an RRSP. Further, you are creating RRSP room for yourself with every tax return. If you cannot maximize that room every year, do not fret, it carries forward and will benefit you later when you start creeping into higher tax bracket(s).
    4. Don’t be afraid to negotiate, anything. Nothing is in stone, especially where money is concerned.
    5. Do not forget to live, just remember that life boils down to choices. Try to live in the moment while still thinking big picture. Example, hitting the clubs every weekend and spending say $100 will provide you some entertainment. Drinks at home with friends will cut that cost at least in half, and still provide some entertainment. Perhaps a number of those savings get parlayed into a week vacation with friends, at really no additional cost to you.

    The last thing I say to everyone. Always doing the right thing should be a goal of everyone, but life is dynamic, not static. Don’t dwell on poor decisions, embrace them, learn from them, and don’t repeat them. We all make them, none of us are perfect.

  8. Erin on June 6, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    Two tips:
    1) Party thrifty. Alcohol & cover charges are really expensive. Get a few friends together and have a house party, maybe buy uBrew.
    2) Don’t be persuaded by friends/family to do what they suggest. Your mother may want you to buy a condo you can’t afford, or your friends may be pissing away student loans, but this doesn’t mean you should make stupid mistakes.

  9. Amanda on June 6, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    Two tips from me as well:

    1) DO NOT carry a credit card balance. (I know Judy said this but it bears repeating.)

    2) Hang out and live with frugal/poor friends. It’s much easier to resist spending when everyone around you is, too. And sharing living costs is a big savings. Of course, make sure these friends are not going to stick you with the phone bill or not cover tip when you do go out. That’s cheap, not frugal. :)

  10. JW on June 6, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    Spend less money then you earn and save up for big ticket items and make sure you have the money before you purchase and not have to put it on credit.

  11. John on June 6, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    Why not do everything in the book AND live with your parents. Winning!

  12. Isabel on June 6, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    Make sure to save at least 20% for a down payment on a home, don’t pay the minimum 5% only, and don’t ever get a loan from a family member for that down payment!

  13. Fabio on June 6, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    My Best Tip is to pay off your credit card debt. I treat my credit card as a free 30 day lone; I don’t spend more then I can afford to comfortably pay off when the bill comes. And if you do get into a bind, then get a 2nd or 3rd job and pay it off. The extra hard work will remind you next time to watch how much you put on you card and to pay it off always! No exceptions! If you don’t think you can handle it, cut up your cards!

  14. Brendan Flanagan on June 6, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    I think it’s important to understand that this is directed towards young people. We don’t all like saving every penny, we don’t all like meeting with suits at the bank or the like. My advice is to find the areas you are uselessly bleeding money from and clog that artery, why are you being so frugal over pennies and then gushing money from other personal finance arteries? Hope the book’s as useful as you say!

  15. Deacon on June 6, 2012 at 11:47 pm

    The best advice I have for young people is to put together a budget and stick to it. Tell your money where to go so that you can be proactive and not reactive.

  16. Nancy on June 7, 2012 at 1:57 am

    1) Treat credit cards as debit cards, only charging what you can afford to pay off in full.
    2) Although many people find it hard to follow a budget, I think it’s important to figure out all your monthly fixed and variable expenses which allows you to see your maximum discretionary spending. Once you reach your limit, stop spending!
    3) Don’t rely on credit to finance all your purchases (cars, renos, travel). You appreciate things more when you’ve had to work hard for them, and you won’t get yourself into trouble with debt.
    4) It’s never too early to save for retirement! You will thank yourself when you’re in your 40s and 50s and you don’t have to make a mad effort to save like most others (thanks to the power of compounding interest).

  17. cj on June 7, 2012 at 2:06 am

    For young people:

    Start saving early.

    Save consistently (automated savings every month).

    Diversify your investments.

  18. Linda on June 7, 2012 at 9:39 am

    Do not use credit cards for any purchases unless you are able to pay off the complete balance at the end of each month!

  19. tele on June 7, 2012 at 10:17 am

    1. Find a summer job
    2. Get a secured credit card and use only it until you get a full-time job. Learn to pay it off in full each month

  20. Mallory on June 8, 2012 at 1:42 am

    Chip away at student loan interest faster by using a chunk of each paycheque to make extra payments. Live like a student with shared rent and homemade food after graduation.

  21. Paul G on June 8, 2012 at 4:06 am

    I’d say an important tip is with furniture: live off old stuff from garage sales and the odd new IKEA piece, and only buy new, expensive furniture when you actually have the cash. It’s amazing how people can get into debt just to fill a 2 bedroom apartment with furniture they won’t even like in 5 years….

    It’s ok when you’re 22 to have mismatched furniture !

  22. Jon on June 10, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    The most important: avoid debt at all costs! Do whatever it takes to get an education with the least amount of debt as possible. And have a plan! Don’t take post secondary education just for the heck of it. It needs to lead somewhere!

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