Book Review: Findependence Day

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Being a HUUUGE fan of financial novels (hellooooo, Wealthy Barber anyone?) I was super excited to review Findependence Day (thanks Brighter Life!).  I'm even more excited to give it away to a lucky reader, because it's so GOOD I want to share it with you!

It's written by Jonathan Chevreau, a personal finance columnist for the Financial Post.

They say that the best way to learn something and become engaged with the content you are learning is to listen to a story.  This is the story of Jaime and Sheena Morelli, a young couple who got married, moved from a small cramped condo to a huge suburban large Keepin' up with the Jones' type house, were in major debt, and went on this TV talk show to be publicly humiliated.  They went on to develop “guerrilla frugality” and called themselves Froogers.  They were so frugal that they never went on any trips, paid their mortgage down in less than 15 years, and started brown bagging their lunches.

Jaime tries his best to seek multiple alternate streams of income, including creating a blog and forum for vinyl heads (that is boomer speak for people who love vinyl records), putting big money into the stock market before it crashed, and falling prey to a sleazy business partner (sleazy because he cheated on his wife, the scum bag!  And he also lived beyond his means with mansions and fancy cars etc.) who he thought was his friend.

He becomes so infatuated with the idea of Findependence Day (his was age July 4 the year he turns 50) and increasing his income that he lost track of what was truly important to him- his wife and his family.  He lost track of what it MEANS to be financially independent.

Throughout this process, he becomes friend with a mentor, Theo who is a fee-based financial advisor (you know, the best kind of course) who guides him (or at least tries to guide him because this Jamie character is kind of stubborn and impulsive) to make better financial decisions.

As I said on Boomer and Echo's review and comments, if you liked The Wealthy Barber by David Chilton, this is like The Wealthy Barber ON SPEED, modernized, and SOOO relevant to our current Canadian society.  Canadian Capitalist and Andrew Hallam of Millionaire Teacher also reviewed the book.

There's romance, action, betrayal, anguish, and love… all in less than 200 pages of novel.

I really enjoyed it and I think that it gives you a small taste of the financial products out there (like life insurance, RESP, RRSP etc.) and doesn't go into too much depth to make it boring.  The financial products and information are interwoven throughout the book to make it relevant– you won't realize that you're learning about personal finance because it's written in so naturally.

I found myself not being able to put the book down (that's always a good sign) and I kept on wanting to see what happened with Jamie and Sheena.  I kept on rooting for them and was happy in the end, though it felt a bit anticlimactic.  Perhaps there can be a Findependence Day sequel!

Findependence Day Book Giveaway!

To win this book, I'd love for you to share what Findependence Day means to you?

To me, being financially independent means that you can still WORK, but you don't HAVE to work.  I would love to be able to work 1-2 days a week, perhaps create my own business (I always dreamed of opening up a small cafe) one day when I'm retired, and having the piece of mind to know that I don't need to worry about the future.

Even if you don't win, I highly highly recommend you get this book, especially if you like financial drama!

You can order it on Jon Chevreau's website, it's only $16 a copy (it says $29.95 on the book cover, so I'd say that's a bargain!).

Good luck!

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Young is a writer and former owner of Young and Thrifty and the main "twitter' behind Young and Thrifty's twitter account. She lives in Vancouver, BC and enjoys long walks on the beach, spending time with her anxious dog, and finding good deals. If you like what you read, consider signing up for email updates.


  1. Earth and Money on March 7, 2012 at 8:26 am

    To me, being financially independent means being able to choose what I do every day of my life. Just like you said, the day that I can wake up in the morning and choose to work, rather than have to work, that will be the day I achieve financial independence. That said, I’m not sure if financial independence is the best ultimate goal. Just like the characters in the book, if you get too caught up in achieving Findependance Day, you might miss out on all the wonderful things around you. I think for me, rather than achieving Findependance Day, I’d rather achieve Love My Job Even If I Have To Do It Because I’m Not Findependant Day. Ok, so the title needs some work…

  2. Christaface on March 7, 2012 at 9:43 am

    I think our financial independence will come when we are mortgage free, with an income remaining from our revenue property. What a great day that will be!

  3. westcoastsoul on March 7, 2012 at 9:53 am

    To me findependance day means having the money to do the things that I want, such as travel, and pay off my debt!

  4. Joel on March 7, 2012 at 11:57 am

    findependance is when our mortgage is payed off

  5. Joe on March 7, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    Transitioning from contract to permanent employee was my Findependence Day. It meant I could safely contribute to the pension, use my vacation credits (rather than keeping them as an emergency severance package), count on a consistent income, and get benefits. It’s definitely the reason that I’m no longer afraid to have kids.

  6. Ellen on March 8, 2012 at 7:49 am

    Hey “young” I’m with you – that’s what I’d like – I can work, but I don’t have to. I’d love to be able to write for a living. If I can live a comfortable (not extravagant, just comfy..) lifestyle without worrying about money, that’s my idea of financial indepedence.

  7. Jordann on March 8, 2012 at 7:45 am

    To me, being financially independent means being able to do what I want to do, when I want to do it (within reason). This includes working because I like what I do, not because of the pay cheque, and taking a vacation once in awhile.

  8. carlybumstead on March 8, 2012 at 9:53 am

    To me, being financially independent means spending within your means, paying off debt, and avoiding interest charges. It means feeling financially secure. It means planning ahead and budgeting, and being able to afford the things/plans that lead you to living a happier life. Being financially independent is an attainable goal. You just have to really want it.

  9. Kristy on March 8, 2012 at 9:05 am

    Financially independent to me would mean having no mortgage, enough RESPs to put my three kids through school, being able to max out RRSP contributions, and still having enough to travel a bit and retire at 55 without feeling pressure to work full time to get there. One can dream. Maybe someday I’ll get there. I’d love a chance to read this book. Thanks for the opportunity to win it!

  10. Roshawn @ Watson Inc on March 8, 2012 at 10:27 am

    Financial independence is important to us as well. I think too many people focus on short-sited measure of financial success but leave the crucial life-defining ones to chance and/or their limited interest.

  11. Rick @ Invest In 2012 on March 8, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    Just curious, did you get the email I sent? 🙂

  12. Cait on March 8, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    Being financially independent would simply mean having no debt and earning enough money to do the things I want to do. I’d love to be able to save quickly for a trip or not feel guilty about wanting to go shopping for new clothes or books. I wouldn’t work for money; my money would work for me.

  13. Julie @ Freedom 48 on March 8, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    I love reading about people who were able to go from one extreme to the other – I’ll have to check it out!

    To me – financial independence means having absolutely zero debt, and enough money to live off of for the rest of your life. Not having to depend on a job to earn money to live life, but rather having all the financial resources I need. Working would be for self fulfillment, not money.

  14. fabulouslyfrugirl on March 8, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    Like you, Financial independence means that I don’t have to work, but I can have the flexibility to work however many days/hours I want, doing something that I enjoy. I also want to be able to have time and money to pursue my hobbies, and perhaps even go back to school!

  15. Finance my Money on March 8, 2012 at 11:08 pm

    Findependance is reached when your basic necessities of life are met and you are not dependent on a wage for your routine expenses. It basically is a liberation from the albatross of bills and debt and actually having the freedom to have flexibility. Each person has their own metric in terms of what this means. For some it is $20,000 a year in passive income and for others it is crossing the $1,000,000 net worth mark.

    Being able to have financial freedom is probably the most important thing because I doubt people that read sites like this really focus on money for money sake. They want the feeling that will come after the money is acquired. In other words, they want freedom to do what they want which can be interpreted as traveling, pursuing hobbies, or working in something they are passionate about. That is what findependence means.

  16. Finance my Money on March 8, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    I think you nailed it. It is all about having choices and options. Money is nothing more than a piece of paper so people don’t love the money per se but what it can bring. If we think of the current retirement model for example, it is built on this right? You work for 30 or 40 years and then if you saved correctly, you will have the ability to do what you like. I’m not sure I follow this delayed gratification model because you can have joy and successes along the way and not have to wait until you are 65 to start gaining independence and freedom. This is something we can give ourselves from day one.

  17. Be'en on March 8, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    Freedom to do what you want most (within reason) without having to worry about money..

  18. daftser on March 9, 2012 at 6:14 am

    Living your life without debts and worrying about nothing.

  19. Joe @ Retire By 40 on March 9, 2012 at 7:43 am

    financial independence means I’ll be free to pursue my interest without having to worry about money much.

  20. young on March 10, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    @Joe- And what are these interests of yours? 🙂

  21. young on March 10, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    @daftser- Do you think that once we become debt-free we will be free of worry?

  22. young on March 10, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    @Be’en- Like that definition 🙂

  23. young on March 10, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    @FMM- Yes, money is symbolic of our values, our desires… I know money doesn’t buy happiness but it certainly decreases the stress!! I agree with you- I don’t like the idea of delayed gratification. I would be choked if I saved so hard and when I retire, I get a heart attack or cancer or something terrible that rendered me unable to travel. I like the joy and success along the way concept too.

  24. young on March 10, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    @FMM- So good…! Thanks for sharing- loved your definition too.

  25. young on March 10, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    @Julie- Yeah it is SO GOOD!! I know that it seemed like a dramatic book but it seemed to reflect my life and the dramas and aspirations associated with it 🙂

  26. young on March 10, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    @FF- If it’s to go back to school I’m sure you’ll achieve your Findependence soon 🙂 You know at some universities it’s free after 65 to earn a degree! I’m totally going back to school when I hit 65. I’m gonna get a PhD lol.

  27. young on March 10, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    @Cait- I like the “I wouldn’t work for money money works for me”. I think you hit the nail on the head- guilt. I hate it. With my mortgage I feel guilty spending on myself but I know this is not healthy.

  28. young on March 10, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    @Rick- Yessiree I did! 🙂

  29. young on March 10, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    @Roshawn- Can you clarify? 🙂 The short sited measure of financial success? Does that mean e.g. X amount of dollars per year earned?

  30. young on March 10, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    @CB- And the characters in this book REALLY WANTED it. To a point that it became pathological 🙁

  31. young on March 10, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    @Kristy- You will get there. I have the same goals as you! We’ll both get there. 🙂

  32. young on March 10, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    @Ellen- I like that 🙂 I think the only point I would stop worrying about money is if I had no debt and regular monthly cash flow.

  33. young on March 10, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    @Jordann- vacation once in a while? How about all the time? lol.

  34. young on March 10, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    @Joe- Aweee! So when you having kids? Funny, some people LIKE being on contract (like Fabulously Broke) because it gives them more freedom.

  35. young on March 10, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    @CAF- Me too! Revenue properties are great aren’t they?

  36. young on March 10, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    @EAM- LOL I like your alternate to achieving Findependence Day. I think though, if you love your job and you achieve Findependence, wont’ you LOVE your job even MORE since you know you’re doing it because you love it? I think that’s the case for me.

  37. Chris on March 11, 2012 at 6:39 am

    Financial Independence? To me it means working because I choose to, not because I have to.

  38. Christine on March 11, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    For me financial independence means not have to worry about my retirement. It also means the freedom to do what I want to do whether it is travel, charity, furthering my education. It also means not living paycheque to paycheque.

  39. Frugal Fries on March 11, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    Having enough cash to eat at McDonalds every Friday (no coupons needed!) That would be the dream, right there.

    Joking aside, I think once I pay off my student loans I am going to feel a lot less tethered. This might not be the final level of Findependence Day for me, but it’s definitely one of the mandatory hurdles.

  40. Sustainable PF on March 12, 2012 at 6:32 am

    Financially independence will occur when I don’t have to work any longer! A few decades to go ….

  41. young on March 12, 2012 at 7:22 am

    @FF- Love your avatar/ name!!! 🙂

  42. young on March 13, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    @SPF- Time will fly and you’ll be there before you know it (esp. with kids!) 🙂

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