Wealthing Like Rabbits: An Original and Occasionally Hilarious Introduction to Personal Finance by Robert R. Brown was one of my 2021 personal finance resolutions. I wanted to add a ‘fun’ Canadian personal finance book read among the dividend investing books scattered in there. Here’s my Wealthing Like Rabbits book review.
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Who Is Robert R. Brown?
Robert Brown is a Canadian personal finance writer. According to his LinkedIn, he is a regular contributor with the Moneysense blog and has also been featured in publications such as The Globe and Mail, The National Post, and MoneyTalks (from BNN).
He is also a speaker at colleges and universities to help people learn to organize and manage their personal finances better. What is unique about his speaking events is that he makes personal finance entertaining. Many people not living, breathing, and inhaling personal finance would probably rather watch paint dry than to listen to a talk about personal finance for Canadians, but he makes it entertaining and inspirational to learn more about money management.
You can follow him on Twitter @Wealthing Rabbit. He seems to really like butter tarts. As do I, especially the ones from J.J. Bean Coffee Roasters in Vancouver.
Summary of Wealthing Like Rabbits
At first I didn’t understand the book title, but it relates to rabbits being able to multiple easily just like how compound interest does.
He first explains the importance of compounding through the analogy of rabbits and zombies. I think it can be difficult for a young person to understand that their $500 a month will turn into a million dollars, but compounding is just that magical. Start early and stay consistent is the key.
Then, Robert R. Brown talks about house size and the Joneses (and explains the origins of the Joneses, which I didn’t know about) and how mortgage interest, paying less than a 20% down payment can really add up your housing costs.
You might think you are paying $525,000 for a house with 20% down but in actuality you are paying over $850,000 over a span of 25 years in of mortgage interest and principal payments.
Then Wealthing Like Rabbits goes into depth about the opportunity costs of your choices, what care you drive, what kind of wedding you decide to have, and how these decisions can impact your financial future in the long run.
What I Liked About Wealthing Like Rabbits
First of all I thought it was pretty cool to see all my Canadian personal finance blogger ‘friends’ like Barry from Money We Have and Robb from Boomer and Echo with their reviews the book on the back cover.
I also liked the historical stories sprinkled throughout. He shares of the story the money tragic story of Henry Palett and the Casa Loma mansion. I would love to go visit if I ever go to Toronto again!
I also liked that he goes on about the opportunity costs of certain purchases, like a luxury car, or a fancy wedding and that these purchases are usually made early in life when you need time on your side to do the compounding of money.
Finally, I enjoyed an excerpt in the book where he talks about a person’s character being defined by who they are, not what material possessions they surround themselves with.
“Your character– who you really are– will not be determined by the labels on your clothes, the car that you drive, or by how big your third bathroom is. You are more than the total sum of your stuff. will be determined by your outlook on life, the choices you make, and the relationships you enjoy”
—- Robert Brown
What I Didn’t Like About Wealthing Like Rabbits
I didn’t really dislike anything but I agree to disagree with some points the author makes.
The author really dislikes credit cards, and while I agree that they are a dangerous form of debt, if the credit card user is able to pay off the credit card in full every month, I think it can be a great financial tool for things like travel hacking and saving money on vacations and saving money with cash back.
In the book he compares smoking with credit card debt and how we used to be bombarded with messaging to smoke. Nowadays we are no longer bombarded with messaging to encourage us to switch to ‘light cigarettes’ but instead we have messaging to encourage consumer debt.
The author does go on a rant about how we spend too much money outsourcing things that we can do ourselves, like mow the lawn or clean your home, buy your groceries and how you can save money by adopting the DIY approach instead.
I agree that people are spending more money outsourcing things that can be done yourselves, like the Meal Kits that come delivered to your home. This is the result of two parent working households and the lack of time people have nowadays. If people had more time and energy, they wouldn’t be ordering Meal Kits to have 20 minute meals ready.
Wealthing Like Rabbits is a great introductory book about personal finance. It is very introductory and would be a good gift for a young adult or teenager in your life who doesn’t know much about personal finance yet. I think it is a good book for 18 to 25 year olds. It is probably more introductory compared to the classic David Chilton’s The Wealthy Barber.
Wealthing Like Rabbits has some great lessons in there, about being comfortable in your own skin (which is something that many teenagers and young adults grapple with) and not trying to impress other people. Very similar to the message of Warren Buffett’s inner scorecard vs outer scorecard.
What it doesn’t include is a more in-depth look at how to start investing (something like Andrew Hallem’s Millionaire Teacher shows this in greater detail), though it does show you the power of compounding (hence the rabbits reference).
There were some great quotes in there and great thoughts about historical events (as mentioned, Henry Pallett and Casa Loma) which I found interesting. All in all, this is a good book if you like to have a laugh and want to read a book as if someone is chatting with you one on one without any pretenses and is telling it like it is.
It is a very easy read and more importantly, a very enjoyable and funny read.
Have you read Wealthing Like Rabbits? What did you think of it?
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.