When I first saw the title of Jonathan Chevreau's book, Findependence Day, I could not help but recall Will Smith's roles in the movies Independence Day and The Pursuit of Happyness.
Just like Smith's respective roles as a fighter pilot battling an alien invasion and as a stockbroker struggling out of poverty, Chevreau's character also faces almost insurmountable odds: achieving financial independence by age 50.
Bookstores have large sections dedicated to personal finance books and it's a challenge to write something different.
Chevreau has succeeded by taking us through a fictional account of the real-life lessons learned by a young couple, Jamie and Sheena Morelli, as they realize through some very trying circumstances that they can take on most any challenge that life throws their way when equipped with a workable financial plan and the discipline to implement it.
No plan is worth its salt though unless there's a burning goal that we're working toward. The book inspires us with Jamie Morelli's single-minded focus on an ambitious goal of reaching financial independence on his 50th birthday, which is July 4 - Independence Day in the United States.
It's worth pointing out here that Findependence Day is a welcome read both north and south of the 49th parallel.
The issues the Morellis face include debt elimination, home ownership, education savings, risk management, investing, tax planning, business ownership and retirement income. These are all woven into the fabric of the Morellis' lives in a way that we can truly relate to.
They are not on their own though. The Morellis benefit from the common sense advice of two very unorthodox financial planners - often offering advice contrary to what the financial industry is trying to sell them. There are some important lessons in this book for those looking for financial advice.
Global economies and households around the world have borrowed far more than they can comfortably sustain and the answer to our woes is simple. Financial independence will be determined by the basics: living a frugal lifestyle, planning for all life's events, spending less than we earn and wisely managing our surplus.
This book is a great response to these challenging times and helps us understand that there are few challenges that we cannot logically plan our way through.
Life is not all about the money though. It's about living life to the full, loving those who we hold close and leaving a legacy so that our time is not simply spent.
Findependence Day helps us to realize that our relationships cannot be casualties of a financial plan that forgets whom it is serving. The book necessarily spends a lot of time teaching some important financial lessons, but it ends up giving us a vision of what a life well-planned can look like.
You can order a copy of the book at www.findependenceday.com.
The opinions expressed are those of Richard Vetter, BA, CFP, CLU, ChFC.
Vetter is a certified financial planner and owner of WealthSmart Financial Group in Richmond, www. wealthsmart.ca.