Posted by Tim Stobbs on April 16, 2009
I got a copy of this book a while back, but I only finally had time to read it lately. Findependence Day by Jonathan Chevreau is similar to the Wealther Barber and How I Stopped Worrying About Retirement. Basically the book is novel that happens to have a fair amount of focus on someone learning the basics of personal finance all the way from deep in credit card debt to Findependence Day (aka: financial independence).
The one thing I do like about books like this is it is a good way for someone to learn a bit about personal finance without having to read one of the many boring books out there on personal finance. It’s just a fact with this area that most people find personal finance boring and/or intimidating to overcome that in a book is very rare. The downside of the novel format is by trying to cover certain concepts in the book the story tends to take a back seat at points. So in the end often the story isn’t as good as it could be if you were just writing the story. Basically all of these hybrid books lack either enough story or enough PF information, the two just don’t seem to mix well. Overall I did like the book, the characters do face some real problems and setbacks which is nice to see. After all most people would find a book where every goes just right for the hero incredibly boring.
Also Jonathan does manage to get a few other good pieces of advice in the book. Perhaps my favorite quote is:
He realized financial independence did not exist in a vacuum but was intimately tied up with artistic and spiritual independence. At one level, it was little more than the stubborn child’s insistent declaration that “I’m the boss of me.” At another, he realized any kind of independence is a fragile entity.
This concept is incredibly important to understand with financial independence. This money is only the beginning of the process. The much more difficult one is the emotional fallout that happens right afterward. You can now choose to do anything, so what are you going to do? What will bring you happiness and satisfaction? What dreams do you want to start living? These are vital questions to ask and I often find they don’t even get a mention in most PF circles.
So is it worth buying? No, the books lacks the means of being a good reference book, but the reading list at the back is useful. Is it worth reading? Yes, if you don’t have much exposure to PF concepts to start with. This book is a good introduction to get new people interested in some of the basic ideas of personal finance.