I was approached by Steven Arnott to review a book that he authored. Steven Arnott got the inspiration to write this book (about 10 years in the making) from a conversation with his brother who was a student at the time. The goal of his book, The Snowman’s Guide to Personal Finance is to distill personal finance into basic concepts and very easy analogies. Specifically, how personal finance is similar to making a snowman.
As Canadians, we can all understand what snowfall is like and we have probably all built a snowman once in our lifetime (unless you arrived in Canada as an older adult and couldn’t go outside to make a snowman).
To be honest, I thought the book had a cheesy name and was planning to skim it quickly. However, I actually was pleasantly surprised and really liked this book, it felt like I was reading The Wealthy Barber by Dave Chilton but mixed with The Behavior Gap by Carl Richards. It was comprehensive (maybe even more comprehensive covering Canadian personal finance compared to The Wealthy Barber) and had some nice pictures and illustrations (unique might I add) to drive the point home. Plus, it’s a great analogy, and brings back great memories of the wonder and excitement of making a snowman as a kid.
It is a great book for beginners and for Canadian youth, or if you are just started getting interested in personal finance. I think this would be a great book to read for a teenager or someone in college, who is just about to earn their own money once they graduate.
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Who is Steven Arnott?
Steven Arnott has an MBA from Western University and worked as an investment specialist and as a manager of business analytics for BMO InvestorLine and RBC InvestEase, respectively. He also is a designated CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) and has also completed the Canadian Securities Course. He has a Canadian personal finance blog over at Snowman’s Guide to Personal Finance.
What I Liked About the Snowman’s Guide
I really liked that The Snowman’s Guide did not give any specific recommendations on financial tools or companies to use and actually had a chapter about bias, highlighting that some blogs where you find financial information may have their own incentive to get you to sign up for financial tools, and to always check with individual reviews of the product from users. Even information on forums, like if someone says this stock is a sure-win may have some personal incentive for the poster, because they might be sharing that information in hopes the stock might go up.
He also talks about the importance of building up your credit score, and what makes up a credit score. When you would want to get insurance and when and why you would need a will. In addition, he brushes up on the subconscious mind and the steps you can take to prevent our natural tendencies to want things now and our natural tendencies to not want to move.
Did I mention that I really liked the analogies and simplicity?
Steven Arnott mentions robo advisors but doesn’t recommend any specific robo advisor, he mentions using ETFs but doesn’t mention specific ETFs. I like that this allows the information to be more timeless (minus the part about 2019 TFSA contribution room since that will probably change year to year).
I also really liked how he went through step by step and chronologically how one might get involved in the personal finance aspects touched upon in the book, beginning from age 10 all the way up to age 71 when you need to switch out your RRSP to an RRIF.
What I Didn’t Like About the Snowman’s Guide
There wasn’t much that I didn’t like about The Snowman’s Guide. I think that some of the charts and graphs could have been a bit more specific. In addition, some of the calculations could have been elaborated a bit more. The section on investing could be elaborated a bit more. He touched upon how Whole Life Insurance can be expensive but the paragraph could also have been elaborated some more. Nonetheless, it is a great primer and gives enough detail for the reader to research themselves if they are wanting to find out more.
To be honest, I think this is a great complement to The Wealthy Barber as a gift to a new graduate or a young adult who is starting to get interested in personal finance but doesn’t know where to start. It’s more detailed and comprehensive than The Wealthy Barber and just as easy to read. I think both are great.
It is comprehensive yet simple and easy to understand.
The SnowMan’s Guide Giveaway
As part of this Snowman’s Guide to Personal Finance Book review…Steven Arnott of The Snowman’s Guide has generously offered to give away five copies (physical copies) of his book to genymoney.ca readers.
To win a copy of The Snowman’s Guide to Personal Finance, all you have to do is be a subscriber, live in Canada, and comment below with your favourite snowman related memory as a kid (or as adult).
- Be living in Canada
- Comment below with your favourite snowman related memory
Winners will be selected via random.org and contest ends on January 20, 2020 11:59 PM PST.
Winners will be announced on January 24, 2020 and books will be mailed to you.
Good luck! Hope you enjoyed this Snowman’s Guide to Personal Finance book review!
GYM is a 30 something millennial interested in achieving financial freedom through disciplined saving, dividend and ETF investing, and living a minimalist lifestyle. Before you go, check out my recommendations page of financial tools I use to save and invest money. Don’t forget to subscribe for blog updates, a free dividend yield spreadsheet, and the free Young Money Bootcamp eCourse.