Unified Theory of Everything Financial – Canadian Edition

by Mr. Cheap

Over on Marketwatch, Paul B. Farrell posted that ‘Dilbert’ deserves the economics Nobel Prize for his ‘Unified Theory of Everything Financial’.

As with most things Scott Adams writes, I think he’s actually half-serious, and with 129 words he puts together a pretty good plan (for the original, see the article).

In a blatant rip off, reeking of lack of material to post about, here’s the Canadian version:

  1. Make a will

  2. Pay off your credit cards

  3. Get term life insurance if you have a family to support

  4. Fund your RRSP to the maximum

  5. Buy a house if you want to live in a house and can afford it

  6. Put six months worth of expenses in a money-market account

  7. Take whatever money is left over and invest 70% in a stock index fund and 30% in a bond fund through any discount broker and never touch it until retirement

  8. If any of this confuses you, or you have something special going on (retirement, college planning, tax issues), hire a fee-based financial planner, not one who charges a percentage of your portfolio

Supposedly he originally wanted to publish it as a one page book, but when his publisher wouldn’t let him, he included it in “Dilbert and the Way of the Weasels” instead. Truth be told, I find it hard to argue with any part of it, probably over 90% of people would do better following this simple plan than whatever they’re doing now. I might switched the order of 5 & 6 and add “spend less than you earn” as #1. Disturbingly, as much as I think this makes sense, the only thing from his list I’ve done is #2 (I’ve never carried a balance on a credit card).

Any other suggestions for changes? Would you recommend this as advice to a friend who wanted to “start investing and become more financially savvy but didn’t know where to start”? Should we e-mail Stockholm?

NOTE: I realize that any unified theory would include Canada. Its called a joke you nerd! That’s right, walk away tough guy, walk away. (bloggers take note: that’s how you deal with imaginary hecklers)

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 FourPillars

I have to agree with the “spend less than you earn” as #1. If you don’t have that one down then nothing else on the list really matters.

I’d move “will” down the list – it’s good to have but not truly essential unless you have a complicated family (ie lots of kids and ex-wives).

Another one that I would add (which of course defeats the purpose of a simple list to follow) is self-education. Check out books, blogs, Bernstein, BNN (all the B’s).

Mike

2 Canadian Capitalist

I vaguely remembered writing about this… here it is:

Link

3 Mike-TWA

Yeah, I would move will down the list too, with the obvious exception that Mike notes about having a plethora of ex-wives. (Something you want to share, Mike?)

But Mr. Cheap, does the sort of boring investing strategy suit you? I have to say, trading the idea of alternative income investing for safe, easy wait until I’m 65 and retire simplicity never sits well with me. Hmm, wonder why?

4 FourPillars

Oh great, CC has figured out our strategy of going through his archives for our topics!!

Mike-TWA – I don’t have any skeletons in my closet (as far as I know anyways….)

5 Mr. Cheap

CC: Sorry about that, I must have missed your post somehow or I would have linked to it.

Mike: Yes, he’s on to us. Lets go further into the past and hopefully he’ll have forgotten what he wrote. Mwa hha ha ha ha ah

I think the idea of the list is for people who are un-willing to learn about finances (which is fair, just because they aren’t interested they shouldn’t have to live and retire in poverty).

Hopefully all of us will be much further ahead since we’re willing to learn…

6 Mr. Cheap

Mike-TWA: Yes, perhaps that’s exactly it! This is a plan to work hard your whole life, retire with a comfortable pension (and maybe a nice little house) and not think any more of it. All of us (around the PF bloggosphere) have different objectives.

Whew, you’ve reassured me that I might be ok not following this (sweet! now I don’t have to write a will!!! ;-)

7 Gates VP

Great list!

But #1 is definitely: Spend less than your earn. And probably worth adding: Healthy living costs less long-term. I really like #5 b/c he correctly handles the problem of housing.

All in all, well done, the last point covers all of those corner cases, like the guys who want to follow Derek Foster or do something else unique.

Normally, I’m not a big fan of the “default decisions”, of the “do whatever everyone else seems to be doing”. But at least with the Scott Adams plan, you’ll have money in the bank if you change your mind about the plan for your life.

8 WoolyWoman

Yeah I like the list, and would agree that #1 should be spend less than you earn. I need to work on doing a few more of those…

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