Thursday, 27 November 2014

3 Canadians Who Can Increase Your Financial Literacy

November is Financial Literacy Month in Canada.

Before the month comes to an end, I wanted to highlight some of the Canadian* influences that have helped me on my financial literacy journey.



A Thanksgiving of sorts.

While Canadian readers may be familiar with the list, Americans and readers from around the world might see a new name.


1. David Chilton author of The Wealthy Barber

The Wealthy Barber follows a group of friends as they learn financial management basics from their local barber, who it turns out, is a very wealthy barber.


Why I Loved This Book

This book has an AMAZING (yes, I did use caps there) chapter on compound interest. It keeps pushing the concept until you truly get how awesome compounding interest is. For my birthday one year I asked My Mr. to read just that one chapter as his gift to me.  One of my best presents ever.

I'm not going to lie, it's not a sophisticated read and the numbers are pretty much out of date for a lot of things now. Houses for $30,000? Uhhh... But the rules of personal finance don't change and it's a great book to read if you're getting started on your financial literacy journey.

Many of the concepts in the book I still follow and mentally cite The Wealthy Barber when I do. I pay myself first, I choose term life insurance, and I recognize that renting and owning can both be smart financial decisions (although I've only ever owned).

The overall message I took away from the book was: take care of the big stuff and the little stuff won't really matter.


Want More? 

There's a follow up book The Wealthy Barber Returns where Chilton gives his advise on personal finance after the 2008 financial crisis. But, I'd recommend reading the original book first. You can also watch him as a Dragon on the television show Dragon's Den.

To learn more, visit The Wealthy Barber website.


2. Gail Vaz-Oxlade Star of Til Debt Do Us Part

Til Debt Do Us Part is a television series that gives couples in debt one month of challenges to take control of their debt and prove to Gail that they deserve the $5,000 prize for playing nicely.

Although they are no longer taping the show, it's still airing on various networks and can be streamed from Slice.ca for those of us without cable.

If you are under a huge pile of debt, are having trouble communicating with you partner about money, or are just someone who likes to budget, this show can give you inspiring real world examples of people tackling their money issues.


Why I Loved This Show

This was the first financial show that I watched and I've probably seen every episode. It was a privilege to see into these people's lives and learn from their mistakes and their strength.

I loved the variety of couples that were on the show. Some had incomes that should have been enough for any family, while others made next to nothing and were struggling to get by. Some were young and some were old.  Some were married and some weren't.

In keeping with the gift theme, one year I gave my mother asked for her own budget and set of cash jars like Gail uses in the show. I'll be honest, I don't think it ever took, but she does still have the jars to store her tear. 

As someone without a debt problem, the biggest takeaway I got from the show were the budget category targets: housing 35%, transportation 15%, living 25%, debt repayment 15% and savings 10%.

Putting limits on my spending categories shook things up for me. I cut back my living costs and was able to use the portion that could be allocated for debt to save instead, giving me a 25% savings rate, woohoo!

The 35% housing target also helped us to realize that our mortgage was too expensive for us to maintain as a single income family.  So, we started to pay off our mortgage so we could lower our monthly payment and picked a less expensive house when we moved.

After a month with Gail and her challenges, most couples were happier, living on a budget and had a plan to pay off their debts in three years.

Gail gave people hope and taught people that it was possible to take control of their finances and overcome any obstacles in their way.


Want More? 

You can watch Gail's other shows: Princess and Money Morons.

Gail has also written several personal finance books and continues writing today.   She also updates her blog regularly and I really enjoy her posts.

To learn more, visit Gail Vaz-Oxlade's website.


3. Mr. Money Mustache


The Mr. Money Mustache blog encourages readers to give up their consumer lifestyles, save half their income or more, ride their bikes around, and become financially independent at an age many would think impossible.

The message seems to be directed at the upper middle class, but the blog is a fun, challenging and inspiring read for anyone looking for the motivation to significantly change their lifestyle.


Why I Love This Blog

So he and his wife both had good middle class jobs, didn't succumb to lifestyle inflation and so they were able to retire before they started raising their family!

He advocates spending whatever you want to without having to follow a budget. The trick is that he wants you to spend only on stuff that you actually value.

His family spends only about $25,000 a year (paid off house so no mortgage interest), but seems to have found their sweet spot on the deprived – enough - waste spectrum.

His posts teach you how to live a richer life while spending less money, how to be more self-reliant and how to invest so that you can live off your stash for life.

Even though we're a single income family, we now try to save 50% of our income and that has opened up so many financial possibilities. My first mortgage was for 35 years, but now I'm planning to be mortgage free at 35. How exciting is that?

The motto of the blog is "Financial Freedom Through Badassity". Needless to say, the personality in this blog is addictive and I get lost in the volume of posts.


Want More? 

If you've read all his posts and are still looking for more, Mr. Money Mustache has an active forum where you can meet more like minded people.

For more information, visit the Mr. Money Mustache blog.


Conclusion


The financial literacy initiatives being implemented in Canada are helping to educate Canadians to take control of their finances and plan for the future.

My three Canadian Financial Literacy Heroes have been a large influence in my life, but I have been influenced by so many others too.

Since starting this blog (and writing a post for financial literacy myself) I've come across so many inspiring and informative personal finance bloggers. There were far too many to mention.  But if you want to keep reading, follow a link from a blogger who comments on this post and you'll get sucked down the rabbit hole too. Good luck!


The books I mentioned are available on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca. (affiliate links)


What About You?


Who are your financial heroes?  

Did you see anyone new on my list?

What do you think is the biggest issue for financial literacy?



*Yes, Mr. Money Mustache lives in the States now and Gail was born in Jamaica, but I consider them both Canadian gems!


 
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