Sunday, February 20, 2022

Cash Cows, Pigs and Jackpots: The Simplest Personal Finance Strategy Ever

 I picked up David Trahair's Cash Cows, Pigs and Jackpots: the Simplest Personal Finance Strategy Ever at the library the other day.  It's been awhile since I've read a personal finance book, and this one sounded interesting.  It's also Canadian, which is more relevant for me than American personal finance books, so that was a definite plus.

I thought I'd be in for some fun tales about get rich quick schemes.  Or something more akin to JL Collins' The Simple Path to Wealth.  Instead, Cash Cows, Pigs and Jackpots ended up a fairly basic personal finance book with only one main message: spend less than you make.  While important (but not exactly earth-shattering) advice, that's not really a strategy per se.  I've read other books (that I've liked better - check out some of the other personal finance books I've read) that give more details and strategies on how to pay down your debts, and more fun anecdotes from other people taking control of their finances.

Beyond that, Trahair looks at two important aspects of your personal finance: the question of buying or renting a place to live, and retirement.  I found that the first discussion got bogged down by him walking you through a spreadsheet he made to help you decide on whether renting or buying is better for you (and since I'm not actively interested in that question at the moment, I wasn't really engaged by it).  But I did find the discussion on condos interesting, just in terms of the other fees you need to consider when deciding whether buying one is right for you.

The retirement discussion mainly focussed around CPP and OAS here in Canada.  While I was glad to hear that these are healthy and will be around for awhile (particularly CPP), most of the discussion was tied to the specifics of the "new" rules rolled out around 2012.  Being 10 years out of date at the time of my reading it, I didn't care at all about these specifics, and so lost interest once again.

All in all, I didn't find Cash Cows, Pigs and Jackpots to be a very engaging read.  I would have preferred less focus on the date specific numbers (and honestly less focus on hard numbers in general), and more focus on stories of people (there was one story in chapter four that was really interesting - I would have liked to read more of that in the book!)

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