Wealthing Like Rabbits Book Review and Takeaways

Who knew a personal finance book would include references to rabbits, zombies, the losing record of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Super Mario Brothers?  This is exactly what Wealthing Like Rabbits contains, an original new introductory personal finance book written by Robert Brown.  Comparing the “mind-bogglingly cool” and “mind-numbing” power of compound interest to the multiplying power of rabbits (and zombies), Robert reminds us that saving early, saving often and letting your investments do the work is one of many keys to wealthing your way to financial freedom.  Here are some of my favourite takeaways from Wealthing Like Rabbits.

On the subject of “how much money will you need when you retire”

That’s a pretty good question.  Here’s my enlightened answer:  I honestly don’t know.   I do know this though:  More is better.  It is better to tee off with your driver in January than it is to scrape ice off your driveway in January.

On the subject of contributing to RRSPs over TFSAs

Some folks suggest that a TFSA is the better option for lower income earners.  Perhaps, but I’m not completely sold.  Rob goes on to say TFSAs are just too tempting for savers:  savings inside a TFSA is really easy to get at.  Tax-free.  As in too easy to get at.  Way too easy to get at.  The very thing that makes them attractive also makes them dangerous.

On the lessons learned from the Toronto Maple Leafs

With each September comes the promise of a new NHL season, but before you know it the Leafs start losing winnable games, from October right through the Christmas holidays.  Someone (like me) says something like, “they should have won more games before the All Star break,” or “they shouldn’t have gotten into the pathetic position of needing to win so many games this late in the season.”   They say, “next year.”  Every spring, millions of Canadians file their income tax returns.  More often than not they fail to contribute enough to their RRSPs.  They say, “next year.”  Don’t be a Toronto Maple Leaf.  There is only one truly effective way for you to make your RRSP contributions:  Pay yourself first.  I don’t know a single person who has embraced this philosophy and regretted it.

On the subject of mortgages and how much house you really need

When comparing two hypothetical mortgages taken out by the Super Mario Brothers, Mario and Luigi, Robert said this about mortgages, interest payments, amortization periods and the total cost of borrowing when comparing each brother’s mortgage:  Mario bought a house that was worth $175,000 more than Luigi’s, which resulted in a bigger mortgage.  In the end, Mario’s house will cost him $402,472 – over four hundred thousand dollars – more than Luigi’s house will cost him.  The takeaway is:  banks are in the business of providing financial services or products to make a profit.  They are very good at it.  They are not in the business of ensuring your house purchase is a smart decision for you and your long-term financial health.  That is your responsibility.

On the subject of debt (that’s more like a disease)

Bankers love these things (credit cards).  If you were to ask a room full of bankers to decide on which they loved more – big extended mortgages or credit cards – it would be a tough decision for them.

Lines of credit are very seductive.  Now it has become acceptable and, in some circles, almost fashionable to take on mountains of consumer debt.  Do not buy into this thinking (pun intended).

There is nothing good about payday loans.  Nothing.  Never.  Ever.  Get a payday loan.

In the last few chapters, Wealthing Like Rabbits offers a cornucopia of advice.  I agree with Robert on these things:

  • Get a copy of Preet Banerjee’s book Stop Over-Thinking Your Money!  (My review of Preet’s book here.)
  • Anyone who thinks taking personal debt, mortgage or otherwise, into retirement is a good idea should put away their bong.
  • Never apologize for being financially responsible.
  • Pay yourself first and budget the rest. Do that and you’ll be fine.

Robert Brown ventured out to write a unique introductory book on personal finance, and he did it.  His book is witty, full of great analogies and simply makes too much sense not follow his “advice, irreverence, and food for thought.”   Wealthing Like Rabbits shows us that sound financial planning is not overly complex but it does take discipline; saving for your future self and spending the money that is leftover wisely.  I want to thank Robert Brown for sending me a copy his book – it was well worth the read.

You can get a copy of Wealthing Like Rabbits here starting at just ten bucks.  You can follow Robert’s comments about personal finance (and probably a few about the Toronto Maple Leafs as well) on Twitter @wealthingrabbit.

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21 Responses to "Wealthing Like Rabbits Book Review and Takeaways"

  1. Without having read the book yet, I’ll predict that accumulating wealth is analogous to rabbits’ growth in numbers: first it starts out small but the effects of compounding makes its growth similar to rabbits multiplying in numbers.

    Sounds like a fun take on personal finance. Any book that advises you to not be a ‘Toronto Maple Leaf’ is a good book to me 🙂

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  2. Nothing wrong with a little personality with personal finance. I like to learn lessons from other people, especially bad lessons. I’ll let them live through it and learn from their bad example so I don’t have to endure the problems.

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  3. So bottom line Leafs suck
    tfsa rrsp good
    save as much as u can
    compound interest works!

    Seems like a good book for Canadians as not too much good reading material up here. Perhaps the book will make a good stocking stuffer!

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  4. That’s a great point about TFSAs. A lot of people are upset when they find out their pension is locked in when they leave their emloyer. With 50% of Canadians living paycheque to paycheque I think it’s a good thing because they probably wouldn’t have anything left by the time they turned 65 if it was unlocked.

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