Book Review: Smoke and Mirrors (2008)

I borrowed a book from the Ottawa Public Library a week or two ago, and I enjoyed reading it. The book in question is: Smoke & Mirrors: Financial Myths that Will Ruin Your Retirement Dreams by David Trahair (CA).

The books subtitle is “Financial Myths That will Ruin Your Retirement Dreams“, and I was very impressed by the thoroughness and the passion of the arguments that Mr. Trahair puts in this book (and helpful CD with some useful spreadsheets to do calculations with). I discussed this book with other N.C.F.B.A. members and those that had read it were also impressed by the message put forward by Mr. Trahair.

Smoke and Mirrors the Book

The Book from Amazon

Mr. Trahair‘s book attempts to debunk the myths that are being pushed by the Financial Institutions and professionals that make money on our retirement planning.

The five major myths he addresses are:

  1. If you have a Million Dollars you can retire (or write a hit song 🙂 ).
  2. RRSPs are the holy grail of retirement
  3. Don’t worry about your investments, you will be fine in the long run
  4. We have met the enemy and he is the Tax Collector
  5. Secure your financial future: buy life insurance

His arguments in these areas are quite compelling and I think I mostly agree with his questions about whether you can trust an “expert” that is making money from their own advice.

The rest of this good book outlines how to “Fight Back” and he outlines some excellent financial models and debunks the “Lease your Car” model and a few other interesting areas.

His major point of “Get out of Debt FIRST” is an excellent point and for that alone I think Mr. Trahair is on the right track with his ideas.

Overall Review

Excellent book, while I don’t necessarily agree with all of Mr. Trahair’s statements, I feel his arguments are very compelling to me, and he does not waiver on his message of “Pay off Your Debt FIRST!!!!”, and for that I am impressed.
I would highly recommend reading this book (I took it out of the Ottawa Public Library).

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