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Wealth Wise: 5 Books to Help You Take Care of Your Finances

From advice on retirement planning and saving to guides on cryptocurrency and estate planning, we take a look at some of the most helpful financial reads.  / BY Kim Honey / March 21st, 2022

The RRSP deadline is in the rear-view mirror and tax time is just around the corner. If you resolved to get a handle on your finances this year, we’ve got books with expert tips on everything from retirement planning to estate planning, plus a deep dive into cryptocurrency, the new kid on the blockchain.  Whether you’re 25 or 65, these titles will inspire you to look after your hard-earned cash. 

Obsessive Book Buyers: Zoomer editors have carefully curated our book coverage to ensure you find the perfect read. We may earn a commission on books you buy by clicking on the cover image.

1Once a Bitcoin Miner: Scandal and Turmoil in the Cryptocurrency Wild WestEthan Lou

For anyone who ever wondered what Bitcoin is and how digital money works, Ethan Lou has the answers. It helps that the ex-journalist, who once covered cryptocurrency, has a reporter’s eye for the telling details. When he was an intern at the Toronto Star in 2013, Lou sank “all his savings” – he doesn’t say how much, but admits he was a millionaire by 2017 – into Bitcoin, and even gave some to his parents as a Christmas gift. He watched the value of his coins tank to a low of $200, then bought some more. Lou traces Bitcoin’s origins, its peaks ($20,000 a piece in 2017) and troughs ($2 in 2011), the main characters (like Gerald Cotten, the founder of QuadrigaCX, which collapsed after his mysterious death in 2018) and the emergence of competing altcoins, as well as cryptocurrency scams and blockchain technology. He describes his adventures and misadventures as a spender, trader, investor and “miner” – people who own and make money off “servers,” the electricity-hogging, modified computing machines that facilitate transactions. It’s a compelling read that is part cautionary tale for schemers and part catnip for get-rich-quick dreamers.

2Executor Help: How to Settle an Estate, Pick an Executor and Avoid Family FightsDavid E. Edey

Montreal financial planner David Edey wrote this book after it took seven years, 10 court appearances and $50,000 in lawyer’s fees to settle his parents’ estate. And they had a will. “There’s the business side to being an executor, and then there’s the emotional side,” he writes. From explaining the role of an executor and what it entails (“be prepared to encounter human behaviour at its worst”) to flagging three signs that settling an estate will be a long, drawn-out process (warring siblings, second marriages and no will), Edey uses real-life cases to illustrate his points. 

Being an executor is “thankless,” because, even if all goes right, “it will be seen by the beneficiaries as having been no big deal.” He includes chapters on digital assets, handling delicate talks about estate planning with aging parents and what to do with pets, vacation properties and businesses. 

“Writing a will is difficult,” he says. “Leaving a loved one to blindly figure everything out is much worse.” 

3Balance: How to Invest and Spend for Happiness, Health and WealthAndrew Hallam

Former teacher Andrew Hallam exposes “the madness of marketing,” where acquiring stuff is seen as the epitome of success, and the quest for money keeps the hamster wheel spinning. “That’s why … the word ‘enough’ is far healthier than the words ‘rich’ and ‘more,’” he writes. In the latest book from the bestselling Canadian author of Millionaire Teacher, who built a million-dollar portfolio by his late 30s on a teacher’s salary, Hallam urges us to think of success as a four-legged table, where, in addition to “enough money,” we also need strong relationships, physical and mental health and a sense of purpose. From buying cars to investing to retirement planning, he shows us how to “get the biggest life-satisfaction buck.” Hallam urges us to ask one question before we shell out for a big-ticket item: “Would I still buy this if nobody else could see it?” Part manifesto, part self-help book, Balance uses behavioural science and real-life examples to prove money can’t buy happiness.

4Money Like You Mean It: Personal Finance Tactics for the Real WorldErica Alini

This personal finance book is for the young and the feckless, and Erica Alini, the former national online money reporter for Global News, is not afraid to tell millennials and older Gen Zers how to stop struggling and meet their financial goals. These days, the younger generations have more choice than ever – a dazzling array of credit card options, not to mention apps that allow them to buy now, pay later or even purchase stocks – but they can make costly mistakes “with a few thumb strikes.” Alini parses the many “species of debt,” goes over side hustles, Bitcoin investing and even “the pesky but oh-so-crucial subject of whether and how to accept financial help from the Bank of Mom and Dad.” As for retirement, she gives a clear-eyed overview, detailing how pensions have disappeared, how it takes longer to establish a career, how younger generations are living longer and how low interest rates make it harder to grow your money. She absolves her readers of blame or shame for failing to emulate their parents’ financial goals and, in the wake of “corona-mageddon,” advises them to use the 

book as a resource to “embrace the challenge 

and fight back.” 

5The Rule of 30: A Better Way to Save for RetirementFrederick Vettese

The latest from Frederick Vettese, the author of the 2020 bestseller, Retirement Income for Life, is for young adults who wonder how much to save for retirement. 

Vettese uses a fictional young couple, Brett and Megan, to show how 20- and 30-somethings will be set for retirement at 65 if they allocate 30 per cent of their gross pay to mortgage (or rent) expenses, retirement savings and, if they have children, daycare. 

The costs within that envelope will vary from year to year, and retirement savings will not always be the No. 1 goal. “You shouldn’t be bullied by retirement experts into saving more than you can afford,” Vettese writes. “They might believe that young people can and should bear any amount of financial deprivation, but I don’t buy it.” You should, however, buy this book for your adult children – especially if you want to drop a big hint about grandkids.


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