(Plus links. Stay tuned for them at the bottom.)

Friend of the blog John Robertson (author at Holy Potato, AKA one of the blogs I link to every week) wrote a small little e-book a couple of years ago, called Potato’s  I reviewed it here. It was a nice little guide explaining the basics of RRSPs, TFSAs, and all that jazz. I’m sure my shout-out led to him selling thousands of books.

Well, apparently that wasn’t good enough for him. Like some sort of ambitious guy, he basically scrapped it and started over, creating a much more in depth volume, calling it The Value of Simple. Like the first book, it’s aimed at beginning Canadian investors, going through all the steps needed to go from schmoe who can’t invest or even tie his own shoelaces to Captain Handsome who knows his way around a balance sheet, if the ladies know what I mean.*

*Your results may vary.

Included are step-by-step guides to:

  • The basics of investing, including asset classes, and the different types of accounts
  • An extremely detailed guide to opening TD E-Series accounts, Tangerine Streetwise mutual fund accounts, and Questrade accounts.
  • Even more detailed guides to trading ETFs or funds for each type of account. There are pictures.
  • Figuring out when to invest in a RRSP or a TFSA.
  • Transferring funds between brokers
  • Asset allocation
  • Rebalancing
  • And so on

Like The Wealthy Barber, The Value of Simple is a great book to give to your brother, kid, friend, co-worker, or mistress who knows nothing about investing. It lays out the basics without going into the painstaking detail that makes people throw up their hands and not want to bother.

The only thing I didn’t like (and I fully admit this is nitpicking a little) is the section on something called Norbit’s Gambit. That’s when you buy the U.S. version of a stock or ETF on the Toronto Stock Exchange and then sell the Canadian version, which should give the investor a cheap and easy way to exchange U.S. Dollars to Canadian ones.

There’s nothing wrong with the advice, except I don’t think it belongs in a book that’s called The Value of Simple. But really, that’s the only thing I’d change. It’s a good enough read, and it makes a good gift for someone you know who’s just getting started with this stuff. Getting them to read it might be a different challenge. I suggest holding their eyes open with toothpicks. Hey, it works in cartoons.

The book isn’t officially out until December 1st, but I’m pretty sure John is happy to take your money beforehand.

Or, if you’re a cheap-ass like me, John has graciously offered a copy to give away. So, if you’re in the market for a free book (and a free gift from Nelson), just go ahead and leave a comment. We’ll leave the contest open for a week, so get crackin’, yo.

Time for links

Sandi Martin decided to blog again, after approximately 8.4 years of doing other things (it says she’s a fee-only financial planner. Whatever that is.) like clouding up my Facebook feed with pictures of her children. Anyway, she has some thoughts about the new bunch of robo-advisors, which I am only just realizing aren’t Robocop.

Over at Earn. Save. Grow. (AKA the crappy cousin of Boomer and Echo), our homey Robb asks who is to blame for your financial woes. I blame the patriarchy, and cute squirrels, in that order.

Don’t Quit Your Day Job has some pretty shocking stories about asset forfeiture, which is a pretty boring term that really means “when the government steals crap from you because they feel like it.” The story about the guys who beat Las Vegas video poker is especially good. Land of the free my ass, America.

I wrote more words about Penn West Energy over at Motley Fool. I picked up some shares at $4.72 at the beginning of last week. They are now at $5.00. I am a jenius.

I also wrote about Fairfax Financial, which is a lot like Berkshire Hathaway. Prem Watsa is the guy in charge, and he’s pretty interesting. Plus, he owns Reitmans, BlackBerry, and Penn West. Just like me! We’re practically besties.

A few weeks ago, a guy by the name of Anton Ivanov was making headlines on prominent finance sites for being a 27-year old “self-made” millionaire. It turns out he was lying about the self-made part. Check out this story for all the cringe-inducing details.

(Budgets are Sexy also wrote about this guy)

Earlier in the week I wrote about a tiny micro cap called Jaguar Financial. I am now the proud owner of 58,000 (Edit: 54,000, not 58,000) shares. So yes, I just bought more BlackBerry.

And finally, here’s a story about a vasectomy going horribly wrong. Lots of fun mental pictures there.

Have a good weekend everyone.

Tell everyone, yo!