The Value of Simple is Out

December 6th, 2014 by Potato

The official launch for The Value of Simple was Monday, and there a few more reviews up at Financial Diffraction and My Own Advisor (where the giveaway is still open!). I also had a few readers email me with some great feedback, and I’ve been putting that up on the Reviews page as well.

Amazon and Indigo are now accepting reviews if you’ve had a chance to read it and are willing to write a review. The rankings are quite volatile, but it’s hit #1 in Amazon for the “Retirement Planning” and “Investing: Introduction” categories this week, and #3 in “Personal Finance: Investing” at Kobo, which is pretty cool. Between that and the awesome reviews it’s looking good so far!

But before that, we kicked it off with a launch party on Saturday. I gave a short talk and then answered some questions on the book, focusing on how my training as a scientist gave me some perspective on personal finance and investing, and what I was trying to take from my experiences and put into the book.

In particular, the effect of inflation and the importance of investing was an important lesson. Back when I was starting my PhD I got a 4-year scholarship, but nobody in my department finished a PhD in less than 4 years — I had to save and invest myself to be ready for a likely year 5. For students who didn’t have a scholarship, the take-home pay for working in the lab was just $16,000/yr, which is what I was set to face after my scholarship ran out. Now that is not a lot of money to live on, but it’s not like the department set that low rate consciously: it just crept up on them. In fact, at the time my supervisor did is PhD, students would have had the same $16,000; a student starting today will also make $16,000 — and will still have to live off of $16,000 in five or six years at the end of their degree. That’s not to start a long rant on science funding and grad school and everything, but to look at the importance of inflation.

At some point, that was probably a perfectly reasonable stipend, but inflation has eaten away at the buying power over the decades. And the same fate awaits money left in a savings account that isn’t keeping pace with inflation. Your hard-earned savings will seem a pittance in retirement if they’re allowed to be ravaged by inflation. Getting a return that beats inflation is critical, and that brings you to appreciate the importance of investing — a way to get an above-inflation rate of return.

It also hammers home the need to save and invest so that you can prepare to support your own retirement: OAS and less-than-full-CPP are just about $16,000 (even full CPP does not take you much higher), which is not a level I would call providing for a comfortable retirement.

Holiday Orders: For some reason Amazon is reporting estimated delivery times into mid-January, even for books that were ordered on launch day. I believe there’s a good chance that those estimates will come down in the coming weeks — the supply chain just isn’t that long — but if you need a book before Christmas, orders placed through my direct site by Dec 15 should arrive before Christmas at regular shipping, and rush orders can be arranged after that if needed. I have not heard anything one way or the other from customers, but Indigo indicates that they have books in stock so you should be able to get a copy in time from there. They also put the paperback on sale today (it’s actually cheaper from Indigo now than directly from me!)

Update: Sure enough, customers have received update emails from Amazon with new shipping estimates for next week (2 weeks total). The purchase webpage still says 1-2 months though.

Finally, sorry for the lack of posts — between being swamped on all fronts, the database powering the site decided to crash this week and I had to trouble-shoot and go back a few days in the backup.

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