I need to learn to manage my money.
January 3, 2007 8:47 AM   Subscribe

I'm a Canadian financial moron. I need to de-moronify.

I suffer from the tragic unfairness of having a chartered accountant father; he's always done everything financial for me, and I have learned nothing on my own as a result.

Things I need to take care of, but I don't know how: I'm hoping to buy a condo in the next year and will need a mortgage; my employer offers a stock purchasing plan (which could be very beneficial - their stock is strong), all sorts of group and individual RRSP options, and profit sharing that I have not taken advantage of, because I don't know what to do; I've saved some money, and it's sitting, oh so productively, in a savings account.

Basically, I'm looking for a book or website that will teach me the basics, plus a bit more than the basics. I took intro accounting, finance, and microeconomics at the post-secondary level, so I don't want something that's nothing but basic; but essentially all that education went in one ear and out the other, so I need something that starts with the baby-steps, and then moves on from there.

So I'd like recommendations for some good, non-technical, non-condescending, beginner to advanced-beginner books/websites that will teach me a broad range of personal financial management 'stuff', specific to Canada?
posted by Kololo to Work & Money (14 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
One of the best sites that I've seen is Get Rich Slowly, by jdroth. It's a great first step to learning about personal finance.
posted by Alt F4 at 9:30 AM on January 3, 2007

MoneySense magazine is Canadian: http://www.canadianbusiness.com/my_money/index.jsp
posted by GuyZero at 9:31 AM on January 3, 2007

And, if you're looking for books, there's his original post, where he reviews personal finance books.
posted by Alt F4 at 9:34 AM on January 3, 2007

I completely understand if you don't want to be seen with a "For Dummies" book but I found (*ahem* my sister's copy of) Personal Finance For Canadians For Dummies (not for "Canadian Dummies" sadly) a great starting point for taking financial responsibility for one's self. Good luck.
posted by copystar at 9:41 AM on January 3, 2007

First off I would go and talk to one of the financial planners at your bank (your company may even have a certain banker/planner in which they do business with exclusively, ask your accounting dept.). I'd say that's your best starting point. And hey, it's their job.

I have and recommend the 'For Dummies' book.
posted by Totally Zanzibarin' Ya at 9:53 AM on January 3, 2007

The Wealthy Barber. Hands down the best introduction to financial advice for canadians I've ever read.
posted by blue_beetle at 9:59 AM on January 3, 2007

I would recommend an independent financial planner over a planner employed by your bank. In my experience, planners employed by banks are mutual fund salesmen in disguise with a vested interest in selling you managed funds with high fees.

An independent planner who isn't paid on commission is more likely to have your best interests in mind.
posted by murphy slaw at 10:08 AM on January 3, 2007

Thanks for the mention, Alt F4. Blue_Beetle's suggestion is great. The Wealthy Barber is an excellent book, and I think the Canadian edition is the original one. (Don't quote me on that.) I'd love to find some good Canadian personal finance sites, too. (Or sites from other countries, for that matter.)
posted by jdroth at 10:12 AM on January 3, 2007

I have the Dummies book too - and while it's good as a general resource, I found much of the advice geared towards people who are more established in their financial/family situation, as opposed to people who are just starting out. Also, the sections on homebuying aren't super-relevant to someone interested in buying a condo, but YMMV.

I referenced a lot of online resources for mortgage/condo buying information before I bought my first place this time last year. Check out your bank's website - they all have guides on home buying like this one which may be a good starting point. Also, you can check out the website for the CMHC. In terms of buying a condo, whether you're thinking new or resale, it's a good idea to check out some of the condo builder's websites like this one - while there is some propaganda, there is useful information about how to buy, the different fees you'd expect to pay, etc.

And don't be afraid to ask for help! I had a friend who went through the whole condo-buying process before I did and I relied on him quite a bit - he came with to visit model suites, helped me make sense of floorplans, reviewed the different mortgage payment schedules, recommended a lawyer, etc. All this helped in making me feel less stupid.

Good luck!
posted by phoenixc at 10:20 AM on January 3, 2007

Also, my advice is to take advantage of any profit-sharing programs your employer has available, whether it's through an RRSP or regular investment account - it's free money. BUT! Keep in mind that some of these plans may have vesting/black-out periods, so if you plan to buy a condo next year, you need to find out if and for how long your money is locked in.
posted by phoenixc at 10:26 AM on January 3, 2007

Second the response from blue_beetle. If you read only one book on the subject, let it be The Wealthy Barber.
posted by TheFeatheredMullet at 2:37 PM on January 3, 2007

I'll second that you pick up the Wealthy Barber.
posted by ChuckLeChuck at 11:49 AM on January 4, 2007

First thing to do: see if your employer offers any kind of matching program for retirement savings. If so, make contributing into that -- to its max annual limit -- your first priority for savings.
posted by allterrainbrain at 2:05 AM on January 5, 2007

My standard recommendation is Andrew Tobias's The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need.

For more Canadian content, I've also found Gordon Pape's "Low-Risk Investing for Canadians" to be helpful.
posted by russilwvong at 11:01 PM on January 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

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