Thursday, October 8, 2015

Giveaway – Let’s Get Blunt about Your Financial Affairs

Mark Goodfield, known as The Blunt Bean Counter, is an accountant who knows his stuff and can explain things clearly. He’s written a book, Let’s Get Blunt about Your Financial Affairs, that collects some of his best writing together into a range of areas that matter to Canadians. I’m giving away two physical copies of his book (see below for details of the giveaway).

Some of the topics Goodfield covers are executors, wills, audits, taxes, RRSPs, RRIFs, retirement, and cottages. Goodfield draws from his extensive experience working with his clients to give insights about human nature to go along with solid accounting information.

The book’s style is very conversational, which makes it much easier to read than you’d expect from an accountant. It’s tempting to say it could use more editing. One of the more amusing parts talks of the tail wagging the “dodge” instead of “dog”. However, the meaning remains clear, and these little things give a feeling of authenticity.

My favourite section covers investment talk and how most people exaggerate their investing success. We lie to others and also to ourselves. Becoming honest with myself is what stopped me from picking my own stocks and switching to indexing.

One of the sections that is heavy on the human nature side of things is where he discusses the personality types among children in line for an inheritance. He labels them loving children, waiters, and hoverers. He sees examples of people at their best, but in one case of an adult child impatient to get access to money he says, “I just felt sick to my stomach.”

In one very practical section, Goodfield gives step-by-step instructions for how to go about tax-loss selling to minimize your capital gains taxes. Many writers tell us we should do this, but this book gives a detailed procedure to follow.

Goodfield’s experience has been that “people consider their RRSPs holy and try their best to never withdraw from them.” However, he observes that this seems to be at odds with Jamie Golombeck’s assertion that “80% of all RSP withdrawals are made by individuals under the age of 60.” I don’t see a contradiction here because most withdrawals come after the RRSP is turned into a RRIF. The majority of RRSP money comes out during retirement, but it is technically not from an RRSP but from a RRIF.

One chapter’s title is a good example of Goodfield’s personality: “Retirement: How to Avoid Eating Alpo.” This chapter contains a 6-part series on trying to figure out how much money you need to retire. In an otherwise great series, at one point he assumes “your returns are at least market after accounting for your management fees.” He includes the prediction that “Michael James is flipping” with this assumption. I’m not exactly flipping, but it got my attention. We can’t all be above average. If some of us beat the average by 2% to make up for fees of 2%, somebody has to lose to the market average or else the market average won’t really be average.

Overall, I think almost all readers will find useful tidbits in this book that they can only get from someone with experience as extensive as Good field’s.

To enter the book giveaway:

Just send an email with the following things:
– Subject: Book Giveaway
– Answer to the following skill-testing question: (6 x 9) + 7 – 4
– Use the email address listed at the “Contact” link (For those who are reading my feed, you’ll have to click through to my web site to get the email address.)
– I will follow up with winners to get a postal address for shipping. This will be limited to Canadian addresses because the book’s contents are specific to Canadians.

Another benefit of going to my site when reading a post is to see the comments other readers leave on that post. All entries received before noon Eastern Time on Thursday, October 15th will be considered for the draw. I will make a random draw without favouring any particular entries. I reserve the right to eliminate entries that I judge to be outside the spirit of the contest. Good luck!

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