Make yourself wealthy, not your bank, urges author Larry Bates in Beat The Bank
April 13, 2023
“The best investment you can make is an investment in yourself.”
This quote, from famed financier Warren Buffett, begins Larry Bates’ book Beat The Bank, a nicely written, witty and fun “how-to” on how to build wealth without handing over a massive chunk of your savings to your local financial institution.
He introduces the concept of Simply Successful Investing by encouraging us all to “learn investment basics,” to “think long-term” when investing, and to “minimize” investment costs.
He rolls out the example of two couples, the Meeks and the Ables, who both manage to save $300,000 by age 65 in their Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs). At that point, the Meeks have saved $470,000 — a $170,000 gain on their investment. But the Ables, at the same point, have $856,000.
The difference, the book explains, is that while the Meeks followed the bank’s advice and invested their money in equity and bond mutual funds — carrying an average annual fee of two per cent — the Ables invested in index ETFs that charge only 0.25 per cent in fees.
“The Meeks paid total mutual fund fees of $217,600 — an astonishing 73 per cent of the original $300,000 they invested — while the Ables paid total ETF fees of just $63,900, about 21 per cent of their original investment,” author Bates explains. As well, because the Ables have so much more savings by age 65, they will receive more than twice the annual retirement income that the Meeks will.
In another chapter, Bates explains the three “wealth builders” that are out there for investors — amount saved, time (how long one has been saving) and “the magic of compounding.” The more you are able to save, and the earlier you get started, to more your savings growth will be compounded over time, he explains.
To illustrate the idea of compounding, a chart shows how $10,000 invested in Royal Bank stock would grow to $60,822 after 15 years, thanks to growth in the stock price over time. And if dividends are reinvested, the figure goes even higher, Bates writes.
Had you invested $10,000 in TD Bank stock in April, 1978, you would have $4.2 million 40 years later. “The only two investment values that really matter are the amount you pay on purchase, and the amount you receive on sale,” he writes. “The thousands of data points in between ultimately mean nothing… learning to ignore all these thousands of data points is key to Simply Successful Investing.”
Watch out, warns Bates, for “wealth killers,” which include fees (both visible and invisible), taxes, and inflation.
He offers a fee impact calculator (the T-REX calculator) at www.larrybates.ca.
Latter chapters provide detail on investing via discount brokerages or through “robo-investing,” both of which offer lower fees than traditional full service brokerages. Closing advice includes the idea of “automating” your investing/savings by making regular, automatic deposits.
This is a great, clearly written and very digestible walkthrough of what can seem like a very complex topic.
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Written by Martin Biefer
Martin Biefer is Senior Pension Writer at Avery & Kerr Communications in Nepean, Ontario. A veteran reporter, editor and pension communicator, he’s now a freelancer. Interests include golf, line dancing and classic rock, and playing guitar. Got a story idea? Let Martin know via LinkedIn.