The Wealthy Barber Returns: Book Review

The Wealthy Barber Returns
Published: 2011
Significantly older and marginally wiser, Dave Chilton offers his unique perspectives on the world of money. Using the pay-yourself-first approach, this book will teach you about the basics of personal finance, how to save for retirement, several types of investment accounts, and how to live within your means. 

About the Author:

David Chilton graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University with a degree in economics. He managed to achieve the highest mark in the country on the Canadian Securities Course in 1985.

Four years later, he released The Wealthy Barber, which went on to sell an astonishing two million copies in Canada. Dave left the personal finance field soon thereafter to home school his children.

Over the years, Dave also published a number of bestselling cookbooks with authors Janet and Greta Podleski (you can learn about these in the book). They were titled, Looneyspoons, Crazy Plates and Eat, Shrink & Be Merry!

Dave felt guilty for not adding any value to the sisters’ business, so he left after taking a third of the profits in 2007.

However, his true profession passion remains in the area of personal finance. His unique style of combining humour with common sense allows people to learn how they can handle their money more wisely.

Dave Chilton resides just outside Waterloo, Ontario, and is a frequent guest on national TV and radio shows.


Key Takeaways

There were many key takeaways from this novel, but here are some that stood out:

1: Spend Less, Save More

This is the most common theme throughout The Wealthy Barber Returns. Dave’s opening line: “Unless you marry into wealth or come from a very well-to-do family (both highly advisable strategies by the way), you’ll have to learn to spend less than you make,” quickly identifies what the novel will teach you.

Way too many Canadians struggle to spend less money than they actually make, leading to severe financial debt and extreme stress.

The lessons taught in the novel simplify what might seem like a complex problem.


2: RRSP’s vs. TFSA’s vs. Mutual Funds

As a student, you are likely to be overwhelmed by all the financial jargon that is thrown out there. What good are they if you can’t actually understand them?

You often hear about several types of investment accounts and how you should be contributing to each one, but you never get a simple explanation of what the advantages and disadvantages of each one are.

Dave Chilton acts as your financial dictionary in the The Wealthy Barber Returns. He explains how you can take advantage of each account and uses easy to understand terms and charts to complement his teachings.


3: Planning for Retirement

Think you’ve got years and years to worry about retirement savings?

This book will quickly show you why you are wrong! Dave Chilton explains in great detail why it is important to start saving right away, and how it can benefit you in the future.

He uses simple math (for those of you that struggle with it) to show you how much of a difference it can make when you decide to save earlier rather than later.

Anyone can live a comfortable retirement life if they follow the steps outlined in The Wealthy Barber Returns.


4: Compound Interest

Honestly, I never knew how powerful the idea of compound interest really was. After reading this novel, you’ll want to take advantage of it right away.

You might even regret that you haven’t already started!

If you like earning free income, The Wealthy Barber Returns is a must read!


My Rating: 4.5 / 5

I rated this book 4.5 / 5 for several reasons. I thoroughly enjoyed the novel and it really opened my eyes on the subject of personal finance.

Typically, it can be a dry, boring subject to read about. However, Dave Chilton’s use of comic relief throughout the text made it very interesting to read. He uses real-life examples that make it easy to understand.

I discovered a wealth of new knowledge upon reading The Wealthy Barber Returns, and I am now able to start investing and preparing for my future at such a young age.

The one thing that I think could be improved upon is the fact that a few of the lessons repeated themselves a bit too much. I enjoyed the second half of the novel a bit more than the first as the teachings were something I could implement in my life right away.

Overall, The Wealthy Barber Returns is something that I would 100% recommend to anyone that is new to personal finance and wants to save for their future. Trust me, it will pay significant dividends to read the book.

Don’t believe me?

Read some other testimonials below!



“Very funny. Very smart, This fast-paced journey through the world of personal finance will help a lot of people. I loved it!” – Amanda Lang, CBC Senior Business Correspondent


“A simple plan for a better financial future: Read this book. It’s down to earth, fun to read and wise to all the mistakes people make in managing money” – Rob Carrick, The Globe and Mail


“David Chilton is the only guy who can effectively teach you the way to financial security using Oscar Wilde, evolution, the pains of horse racing and the price of Nibs. If I can apply even half of what I learned in this very funny book to my life, it will ease my mother’s mind, and for that I will be eternally grateful.” – George Stroumboulopoulos, CBC Host


From the man who encouraged millions of people to save for the future. The Wealthy Barber Returns arrives when Canadians need it most. Another generation will be richer because of Chilton’s funny, heartfelt and timely book.” – Pat Foran, CTV News


If you’ve always thought of money as a dry and dusty subject, let Dave show you just how interesting it can be. While you’re at it, learn a thing or two about your personal motivation and how to point it in the right direction. And laugh your socks off, too! I thoroughly enjoyed this book” – Gail Vaz-Oxlade, TV Host of Till Debt Do Us Part 


If you loved this review, please share it on social media with your friends and family!

And if you have already read The Wealthy Barber Returns, let us know what you thought below! We would love to hear about your opinion of the novel.

12 Replies to “The Wealthy Barber Returns: Book Review

  1. Sounds like this book has some solid advice for building wealth. I hadn’t heard of him before, but perhaps it’s because I’m based in another country. 

    Regarding your #2 point, “RRSP’s vs. TFSA’s vs. Mutual Funds”: I am familiar with Mutual Funds, but what are the other two? Are those 2 specifically things to know as key takeaways, or is highlighting those terms just meant to drive home that one needs to be aware of different phrases and industry jargon?

    1. Hi Aly! Thanks for the question! RRSP’s are short for Registered Retired Savings Plans and TFSA’s are short for Tax-Free Savings Accounts. They are both explained in depth throughout the book and there is a ton of information on how to take advantage of each one! Hope this helps 🙂

  2. I am a big fan of personal finance. I have carefully studied some books in that category over the years and I really don’t mind adding the wealthy barber returns to my collection. David seems like a great guy with an even greater perspective on simple living. But I have to ask, would there be a need to read the first part of the book?

    1. Hello Rhain! You should definitely add the book to your collection. I recommend you read the entire book as it helps to set up the second half. I just personally enjoyed the back part more than the first. 

  3. Oh I love the lesson of spend less than what you make. It is so true of the age that we live in that most people spend more than they earn and it is too easy to put it on credit card and worry about it later. 

    I am approaching retirement age and have realized how important compound interest is. It is such a powerful tool if you start young and even later. This book certainly sounds like fun to read and  one that I look forward to buying. Let’s hope that some of the younger readers will also end up with this titles on their bookshelves. I look forward to reading The Wealthy Barber Returns.

    1. Hi there! I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did! Hopefully, some students will be inspired to purchase and read the book after reading this review 🙂

  4. Hi! I have heard good reviews about David Chilton’s book. I have always wanted to fully understand Compound Interest. How it works, what are it’s pros and cons. I like that Chilton’s book deals with this topic. I’ll purchase it and read it this February that I’ll go on vacations. I hope this book changes my way of dealing with money.

    1. Hello Paolo! Thanks for the comment. I am certain that you will learn at least one or two new things from reading the book. Enjoy 🙂

  5. Boy…this article could not have come and a better time, as I am currently in a point in my life where I am consuming all things finance and acquiring wealth. It is a bit daunting I must admit as I am coming to this realization at a time in my life where I should have done this much sooner. But, as they say, it’s never too late. Kris Jenner the matriarch of the Kardashian family built the Kardashian empire starting at age 50. So, I know I can do it too. (yes I did use the Kardashians as an example…lol. but their rich so why not!). Do you know if this is in an audio version?

    Thanks for sharing.

  6. Hello there, thank you for sharing your review of The Wealthy Barber Returns by David Chilton. Hmmm, I thought the book would only talk about a man who became rich being a barber. No I was wrong entirely as I have seen greater value in this book based on your personal experience with reading the book. Spending more than we earn is a very bad idea and I am doing my best to spend less than I earn. I have been trying to cultivate this habit since I was little and I am truly progressing. It’s very important to save now for the future and retirement. The earlier the better. So much to learn from this book.


    1. Hello! It’s great that you have working to implement the habit of saving into your lifestyle and that it’s working for you. It’s definitely very important, and I’m sure you would find a lot of value in this book if personal finance is a topic you’re interested in! Thanks for commenting 🙂 

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