The Wealthy Barber
|Publisher||Stoddart Publishing Co. Limited|
|Media type||Print (Paperback)|
|Followed by||The Wealthy Barber Returns|
The Wealthy Barber, full title (The Wealthy Barber: The Common Sense Guide to Successful Financial Planning) is a financial planning book franchise by Canadian author David Chilton. The first book in the series was in the business fable genre, using the story of fictional characters to convey financial advice.
The book is structured around a story of three people in their late 20s visiting Roy, the title character, for lessons in financial planning. Each chapter of the book describes a different visit and a different element of financial planning. Each month along with their lessons the three students are required to start carrying out the actions prescribed by Roy. In addition to these individuals, Roy also shares his financial knowledge with the customers of his barber shop.
The story is set primarily in Sarnia, Ontario, where Roy has been operating a barber shop for several decades. As a young man, Roy had planned to become a lawyer, but those plans are derailed. He ends up taking over his father's barber shop. Worried about money, Roy visits Mr. White, one of the town's wealthiest men, and asks for advice on financial planning. This advice paves the way for Roy's accumulating wealth.
The basis of the book is Roy's advice to "save 10 per cent of all that you earn and invest it for long-term growth." In that, it draws from the advice first set forth in The Richest Man in Babylon. Subsequent chapters discuss wills and life insurance, RRSPs, buying a home, income tax and saving and spending.
Roy (and thus Chilton) is not as harshly anti-debt as some other authors, like Dave Ramsey. However Roy does advise that extra money should go to pay off debt, and that credit cards are "anathema" to well-run personal finances. Roy does believe that if you are investing 10% and maxing out your RRSP, day-to-day spending doesn't matter too much to your overall financial picture.
Dave is an expecting father who realizes he is not financially prepared. His worries lead him to seek financial advice from the local barber.
Cathy is already rich but relates to the audience members who don’t necessarily understand the market and how it works, thus do not generally invest their earnings.
Roy, the barber, poses as the financial expert who has become wealthy simply by being wary of his money and intelligently spending, saving and investing it.
The Wealthy Barber Returns
In the sequel, The Wealthy Barber Returns (full title The Wealthy Barber Returns: Significantly Older and Marginally Wiser, David Chilton Offers His Unique Perspectives on the World of Money), Chilton dispenses with the device of characters, representing his advice this time in his own voice. The book is divided into 54 short chapters, dispensing advice on miscellaneous topics in savings and investments, with a particular focus on avoiding reckless spending behaviour.
The main idea is to accept that one cannot have everything and avoid impulse buying by removing temptations which trigger overspending. This may be achieved through analysis and modification of one's personal behaviour (if you overspend on clothes, stop going to the mall and reading fashion blogs), and avoiding bad debt in the form of credit cards which carry very high interest charges, though some debt may be necessary (mortgages for example). Ultimately, wealth depends more on savings than income. Chilton's bottom line, which is emphasized in his first book as well, is that we should all save 10-15% of our earnings. 
- The Wealthy Barber: The Common Sense Guide to Successful Financial Planning. Toronto: Stoddart. 1989. ISBN 0-7737-5318-4.
- The Wealthy Barber Returns: Significantly Older and Marginally Wiser, David Chilton Offers His Unique Perspectives on the World of Money. Waterloo, ON: Financial Awareness Corporation. 2011. ISBN 0-9683-9474-4.
- Hamm, Trent (January 20, 2007). "Review: The Wealthy Barber". The Simple Dollar.
- Carrick, Rob (September 9, 2011). "The Wealthy Barber Returns". The Globe and Mail.
- Yee, Krystal. "5 essential money lessons from The Wealthy Barber Returns". Canadian Living.