Book Notes: Total Money Makeover

My notes I jotted down while reading The Total Money Makeover.

I just finished reading The Total Money Makeover (borrow from your local library instead of buying) and thought I'd share some high-level notes. I'm no money expert, but I feel like this book offers some solid advice on changing money habits, becoming debt-free, and building wealth.


The main points of the book are more-or-less as follows:

  1. Save $1000 for any type of emergency. Keep in easily accessible place, but only for emergencies. (Buying a Nintendo Switch because it's on sale is not an emergency.)
  2. Use the snowball effect to get out of debt fast: tackle smallest debt first, then move to next smallest, taking money from the first debt payment and applying to next and so on. (Get a side hustle going to help if needed.)
  3. Have 3 to 6 months expenses in an emergency fund. Again, have this easily accessible for those big emergencies. (The point is to not necessarily make money wherever this may sit, but to be available on a rainy day. A regular savings account with a decent interest rate would suffice.)
  4. Invest 15% gross (before tax) income. This could be within an RRSP or TFSA account (I recommend Wealthsimple.)
  5. Save for college, pay in cash. Do NOT get a student loan. (Borrowing money is never a good thing, too risky.)
  6. Pay off the mortgage. Never take more than a 15 year fixed. Never have a payment of more than 25% take-home pay. (This is some serious adulting if you're getting to this point – you got this.)
  7. Now that you're 100% debt-free, it's time to build some serious wealth. (Keep saving, investing, and making good choices to take care of your family. Congrats!!! 🎉)

Blogs to follow

If you're interested in saving money and investing, I'd recommend checking out the following blogs:

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