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Let’s Get Blunt About Your Financial Affairs – Book Review and Giveaway

Taxes! While most people hate them, I’m the strange type that enjoys optimizing tax strategies.  Surprisingly, I’m not alone in this.  Fellow blogger, Mark Goodfield from The Blunt Bean Counter, is an expert in the field of tax planning and has put together his first book “Let’s Get Blunt About Your Financial Affairs.”

About the Author

While I know Mark Goodfield as the blogger behind The Blunt Bean Counter, in his professional life, he is an accountant with a bunch of fancy designations after his name (CPA, CA LPA).  The book explains his credentials a bit better:

Mark Goodfield has been a Chartered Professional Accountant for over 25 years.  He is a tax, business and financial advisor who brings a wide range of experience and insight to private corporations, their shareholders/owner managers and individuals.  He is the author of The Blunt Bean Counter, a popular blog that shares advice on income taxes, finance, and the psychology of money.  In 2014, Mark won the Platus Award for the Best Tax Blog in Canada and the U.S.  Mark frequently speaks on financial, tax and estate planning matters for various small business groups and professional associations, and is often quoted by various national newspapers and financial publications.

About The Book

For this book, Mark has put together a collection of his best blog posts.  While you would expect the book to be 100% about tax, it’s actually much more broad than that.

The topics covered include:

  • Executors
  • Inheritances, wills and estates
  • The psychology of money
  • Audits and being audited
  • Tax topics
  • RRIFs and RRSPs
  • Family assets – Dividing, Sharing and Taxing
  • Retirement – How much do I need?
  • Estate freezes
  • The family cottage
  • Proprietorship’s, corporations, holding companies and family trusts

I enjoy Mark’s blunt writing style as it is easy to understand and straight to the point.  I especially enjoyed his piece on “Stress Testing Your Spouse’s Financial Readiness If You Were to Die Suddenly” as I had the same thoughts when I wrote “Letter to My Wife – How Our Finances Work.”  Mark is one of those guys that just “knows a lot of stuff” and is one of the first people I think of when I have a tax question.

Want a Free Copy?

As you can see from the picture I took above, Mark gave me three copies of his book.  I’m keeping one for my bookshelf, but giving away the other two.  Who wants in?

I am offering Million Dollar Journey readers the chance to win a free copy of the book (2 copies available).  The details are below:

  1. Tell me about one of your financial achievements thus far in 2015 in the comments. (+1 entry)
  • Only one comment entry per person (valid email addresses only please – privacy policy).
  • Giveaway will end Sat 5pm EST Nov 28, 2014 and the winners, drawn randomly, will be contacted shortly after!

Good luck!

If you would like to read more articles like this, you can sign up for my free weekly money tips newsletter below (we will never spam you).

FT About the author: FT is the founder and editor of Million Dollar Journey (est. 2006). Through various financial strategies outlined on this site, he grew his net worth from $200,000 in 2006 to $1,000,000 by 2014. You can read more about him here.

{ 89 comments… add one }
  • Avatar Tyler November 23, 2015, 9:17 am

    My wife and I’s most significant accomplishment of 2015 was to pay off our credit card bills and to set up automatic deposits to a savings account to begin ‘paying ourselves first’

  • Avatar Drew November 23, 2015, 9:22 am

    Good morning
    Biggest financial achievement for 2015 is getting my budget inline and back to basics. This has allowed us to cut unnecessary spending (takeout dinners, cable tv, home phone etc..) and redirect it towards paying down our mortgage.

  • Avatar Greg November 23, 2015, 9:26 am

    Sounds like a great book! I suppose my greatest achievement for 2015 was passing the $200K net worth mark. I was a bit of a paycheque-to-paycheque guy until my mid-30s so I was slow to start thinking about saving for retirement. Now it feels so good to know I’ve got a good plan in place and the numbers are heading in the right direction.

  • Avatar Tucker November 23, 2015, 10:07 am

    My biggest financial accomplishment in 2015 was paying off $17k worth of debt between September 2014 and June 2015 accumulated after some issues during a sabbatical trip. Because I do contract work, I chose the most lucrative contract and we threw all we had at the debt. I still can’t believe we got off-track like that but after sucking it up all that time, we learned our lesson & didn’t have to cash out any of our investments. PHEW!

  • Avatar Elizabeth November 23, 2015, 10:15 am

    Ah, I’d like to win a copy of the book!

    Not to get into specifics, but I set a goal for investment contributions for the year and I have contributed more than double that amount so far! I also set up my own personal RRSP this year as I had only been contributing to a group one until then.

  • Avatar Jason November 23, 2015, 10:29 am

    Reducing spending and building an emergency fund. I am interested in RRIF section of this book.

  • Avatar Laine November 23, 2015, 10:30 am

    My financial accomplishment this year is maintaining my finances while on reduced income on maternity leave and I have still succeeded at contributing to my RRSP and making extra payments on the mortgage.

  • Avatar Kevin November 23, 2015, 10:33 am

    First off, I love the bluntbeancounter.com and it is literally the website I was just at before coming to MDJ this morning.

    Started a second business. Opening date is Dec 3rd. 100k overbudget and 6 months late but the day is almost here.

  • Avatar stephanie November 23, 2015, 11:18 am

    maxed out my 401k by September this year and my hsa by July! Sounds like a cool book – can’t wait to read it.

  • Avatar nobleea November 23, 2015, 12:09 pm

    Some of our goals for 2015 that we have completed include opening and funding a TFSA, signing up for additional term life insurance, pay off our car loan, and buy back some maternity leave pension service.

  • Avatar Doug November 23, 2015, 12:30 pm

    The biggest thing we have done is improve our readiness to handle more of my In-Laws finances. Their ability to be independent is on the decline and we are more and more involved as time goes on. Getting their finances in order, making sure their Wills are up to date and setting up Power of Attorney have been important steps. You don’t want to think about your parents getting old but it happens…and hopefully being prepared financially will leave more time to enjoy their company.

  • Avatar Lisa - Ontario November 23, 2015, 12:33 pm

    My biggest financial accomplishment this year is paying off my higher interest line of credit, I am continuing to pay down my lower interest line. I am also constantly talking to my daughters about money. My oldest one is coming up with a financial strategy to pay for university at the moment. She is fourteen, but the time is ticking.

  • Avatar Fervent Finance November 23, 2015, 12:38 pm

    Sounds like a good book! I maxed out my IRA in March and 401k by September and am now building up my brokerage account! All while keeping an eye on my expenses but not going “too frugal crazy”.

  • Avatar Sandra November 23, 2015, 12:40 pm

    My most significant financial achievement this year has been to reduce my work week to four days/week. I wasn’t sure whether the salary reduction would work for me; I’m pleased to say that the reduced income really hasn’t presented any major problems for me. I’m still able to live the life I want and put some savings into my investments at the same time!

  • Avatar Mark M. November 23, 2015, 12:43 pm


    My main achievement this year is planning out when I actually want to retire. I think this book will really help finalize my plans.

  • Avatar Fran November 23, 2015, 12:44 pm

    My biggest accomplishment in 2015 is to pay myself first. I have the exact amount withdrawn every month into my RRSP account regardless of how tight my budget is. I truly believe that “If you don’t see it, you won’t spend it”. It works perfectly for me

  • Avatar Gregory G. November 23, 2015, 1:03 pm

    Our most significant financial achievement thus far in 2015 was to get our savings rate up to 40%.

  • Avatar Barry November 23, 2015, 1:23 pm

    One of my accomplishments this year was moving into index fund investing. I followed the “couch potato” strategy and moved a bunch of separate investments into the one-fund solution TFSA at Tangerine, along with bi-weekly contributions. It’s been a bit slow with the market over the last several months, but otherwise working great!

  • Avatar Richard November 23, 2015, 1:28 pm

    I am withdrawing $ 15,000. Cash from a non interest and non dividend stock From my TFSA in the year 2015 and to replace it with $ 15,000 in Canadian Bank dividend stock , to shelter the dividend from income tax .
    Also will max out my contribution to TFSA for 2016 to be done early before
    Changes are made to the contributions in 2016 .

  • Avatar Bernie November 23, 2015, 1:35 pm

    The book sounds interesting, I’d love to get a copy.

    My investing style is boring and steady but I was quite happy to pass the $20K mark in annual dividend income in my RRSP this year. My portfolio is entirely made up of dividend growth stocks.

    Thanks for your contest.

  • Avatar Daftster November 23, 2015, 1:36 pm

    Consistently buying index funds and re-balancing.

  • Avatar Acadian November 23, 2015, 2:05 pm

    I saved up the cash for my house renovations prior to starting them and managed to invest $10,000 in ETFs. Best financial year to date.

  • Avatar Ken Allard November 23, 2015, 2:16 pm

    I have transferred all my investments [Close to 1 Million $] from Edward Jones to a self directed account which I manage myself. I hold 60% Equities 25% Fixed Income and 15% cash.

  • Avatar Erik November 23, 2015, 2:25 pm

    2015 has been all about saving for the down payment (and related expenses) towards my first house. So far, so good; I’m currently 85 % of the way there and should reach my goal within 6 months.

  • Avatar Sebastien November 23, 2015, 2:44 pm

    Love the site, bought the book ”Is your mortgage tax deductible” sometime ago, wonderfull book. Presently gettint ready for the cash dam to be done in 2015. The psychologie of money… seem’s interesting.

  • Avatar Joseph Thompson November 23, 2015, 2:46 pm

    Starting using home line of credit to invest in CAD dividend paying stocks.

  • Avatar aB November 23, 2015, 3:32 pm

    Most significant accomplishment in 2015, topping up the TFSA for both my wife and I, including the upped amount ($5500 ->10000), while maintaining our RRSP contributions (so straight up $9000 additional saved).

  • Avatar Stephen November 23, 2015, 4:00 pm

    Paid off my wife’s student loan two years early using extra income from part time work and utilized debt stacking to pay off mine both in this year. Debt stacking again to limit lifestyle creep and accelerate our last consumer debt in 2016.

  • Avatar Betty Therriault November 23, 2015, 4:06 pm

    I am 86 years old and my biggest financial step this year was to seek a Fin. Advisor. After many years of self directing, this young man has taught ME many things!!! i.e. Less trading, Directing much of my Can. portfolio to US, Introducing me to valuable MMFs. I still handle my own TFSA just to keep the old brain in action along with Bridge. Incidentally , my daughter introduced me to MDJ which I enjoy very much. Thank You.

  • Avatar Sittng comfy November 23, 2015, 5:00 pm

    I am retired with a Defined Pension which more than pays for my normal expenses and is akin to a persion who does not have a pension and instead has a invesment portfolio with 60% in income producing investments.
    Accocrdinblgy, my investment portfolio is all equities although a signifcant portion is in preferred shares which do provide additional income that gets reinvested. It is no longer necessary for me to grow my portfolio.
    My most signficant achievement this year is to focusing my spending and time on experiences rather than spending on acquiring stuff. Stuff just take too much effort to maintain and ultimately must be disposed. However, memories typically remain forever.

  • Avatar Noelle November 23, 2015, 5:53 pm

    One of my financial achievements thus far in 2015 has been successfully merging finances with my now-husband (we got married in June!). It wasn’t simple and there are still some growing pains, but having both of us on the same financial page, and having open conversations about money, has made it so much easier to handle all that life has thrown our way, including the expected arrival of our first child any day now :)

  • Avatar Daniel November 23, 2015, 6:16 pm

    We bought a house in 2015! 1st goal achieved.

  • Avatar Wanda November 23, 2015, 6:48 pm

    I am excited to say our biggest financial accomplishment in 2015 was to max out both my husbands and my TFSA. We set up a strict but reasonable monthly budget in early 2015 and with our completed goal of paying off all our debt last year, our budgeting helped free up a very nice chunk of money for us and our TFSA’s.

  • Avatar Mike November 23, 2015, 7:58 pm

    Max out my spouse and personal TFSA contribution

  • Avatar steve November 23, 2015, 8:47 pm

    After retiring last year, my goal was to track my expenditures. This year’s goal was to create a budget based on last years expenditures and to identify costs that we no longer needed or could easily do without. We invested these savings in a little extra travel and adventure

  • Avatar Erin N November 23, 2015, 9:12 pm

    We paid off our vehicle! After purchasing a brand new vehicle (never do that again!) 5 years ago we finally made the last payment in June :) freeing up almost $250 extra biweekly!!

  • Avatar Jianghua wu November 23, 2015, 9:25 pm

    My 2015 goal is to save for our two kids’ RESP,and top up our TFSA.

  • Avatar TC November 23, 2015, 9:32 pm

    Collected a year’s worth of financial data in YNAB so I know where my money is going.

  • Avatar Dane November 23, 2015, 10:44 pm

    In 2015 we passed the 50% mark for our savings ratio. Being able to live on less than half our income is an incredible feeling!

  • Avatar CB November 23, 2015, 11:20 pm

    Paying down our mortgage to $50k by year’s end!

  • Avatar Jamie November 23, 2015, 11:38 pm

    Manage to maximize the TFSA contribution for myself and spouse before the amount may be reduced by the new federal government.

  • Avatar Al November 24, 2015, 12:35 am

    My wife and I came to Canada 20 years ago from an African country. We re-educated ourselves and started/acquired 3 businesses. This year we achieved our financial freedom goal of $5+ million in liquid investments i.e. stocks, bonds and cash (house, cars and businesses are fully paid off and not included in the calculation). We are in our mid 50’s. We attribute our success to education, hard work, thrift and living in a wonderful country of opportunities. We have no intention of retiring but will slow down. If I win the book I will be happy to provide documentary evidence of my assertions to Frugal Trader.
    God bless all the members on this forum who are working hard to improve them selves and sharing for the benefit of every body.
    Many thanks to Frugal Trader for all you have done for us.

  • Avatar Christine November 24, 2015, 12:41 am

    One of my biggest financial achievements this year was learning about ETFs (a scary and overwhelming thing given I didn’t know what EFT stood for last year) now I’ve set up a Questrade account for myself, my little sister and my mom and dad. I teach them what I’ve learned and then the decision is theirs if they want to execute an order on the platform.

  • Avatar Brandon November 24, 2015, 1:25 am

    I have no debt! I am using my rewards card well and building my credit. BOOM!

  • Avatar Ryan November 24, 2015, 2:12 am

    Graduated university with zero debt by paying off all student loans! Feels great that the income goes towards myself instead of the government. ;)

  • Avatar Ryan F November 24, 2015, 8:30 am

    This year I bought my first home!

  • Avatar Jack November 24, 2015, 10:54 am

    2015 was a productive year: We purchased an income property, drafted a retirement plan and set a lofty goal of banking half my income. We have invested in RRSPs, RESPs and RDSPs. Ahead, I would be aiming to maximize TFSAs just to complete my acronym collection. ????

  • FT FrugalTrader November 24, 2015, 11:10 am

    All great achievements, keep them coming!

  • Avatar Laurie November 24, 2015, 11:29 am

    My husband and I have paid off our credit line and our only debt is the mortgage. We have recently purchased our dream country property. Biggest achievement is “agreeing” to on only pay cash for home improvements.

  • Avatar Jesse November 24, 2015, 11:40 am

    Biggest 2015 financial achievement: My wife and I planned to save $1,000/mos for prepayment on mortgage over and above our monthly payment. So far we have DOUBLED that amount of saving every month!

  • Avatar Gene November 24, 2015, 2:02 pm

    Sounds like a very interesting book. This year both my wife and I maxed out our TFSAs!

  • Avatar Pinder J November 24, 2015, 2:39 pm

    Ok, seriously, I love the Blunt Bean Counter Blog! Excellent writing style! Financial accomplishments: This year, I fully funded and maxed out all investments RRSP, TFSA’s No debt, no mortgage and living my dream life as a critical care flight nurse. Saving money to prepay for my masters degree in nursing, which I hope to start in September. Life is amazing! Thanks to all the amazing bloggers who share their knowledge! Keep up the amazing work! Nursepkj

  • Avatar Derrick Goulet November 24, 2015, 4:01 pm

    After reading about Mark’s book, I went to Chapter’s Book store to buy it. To my disappointment, the book was not listed with them. This year I’m helping my 19 year old son open a trading account and TFSA. I want to continue to teach him the value of investing. One of the best idea’s I passed on to my kids was to think of something you want to buy not in dollars, but in hours worked (after taxes). For example, if your teenager makes $15/hour after taxes and they want to buy something for $150, they should ask themselves if working for 10 hours to pay for the item is worth it? You will find they become better managers of their money.

  • Avatar Paul November 24, 2015, 5:56 pm

    Loyal follower of the Blunt Bean Counter, great blog! Two payments remain to convert mortgage in Smith Maneuver!

  • Avatar Northeast November 24, 2015, 7:50 pm

    My biggest achievement was inspired by one of your posts (Letter to My Wife): I started a succession planning workbook.

  • Avatar AL November 24, 2015, 9:08 pm

    I am Mortgage Free in 2015

  • Avatar AL November 24, 2015, 9:56 pm

    I am proud to say I am Mortgage Free this year

  • Avatar SM November 24, 2015, 10:30 pm

    The book sounds great. This week I finally got the nerve up to move a large sum out of cash savings and into the market. Scary stuff!

  • Avatar Jamie November 24, 2015, 10:53 pm

    Maxed out my wife RRSP in 2015. Hoping to do the same with mine in 2016.

  • Avatar Susan A November 25, 2015, 9:31 am

    I retired two years ago and am glad I have been successfully frugal throughout the year.

  • Avatar bill November 25, 2015, 11:30 am

    My mortgage has been paid off for several years. Saved some cash after bad divorce. I’m moving on with someone else who I adore. Bought a small 1 bedroom condo in florida for $15,000.00. It was a no brainer. Fees are low, taxes are 1/4 of what I pay in Alberta for a small bungalow, insurance with decent hurricane/storm coverage is inexpensive. The American dollar is eating up some of our cash but we expected it. Took Canada Pension this month at age 60. Seemed like the right thing to do mathematically. Will be retiring from the power company in two to three years with a reasonably good pension. Will be looking into health situation with regards to what coverage there is after retirement, the cost of medicines are very expensive even for the generics. We are considering selling the house as we don’t need a small bungalow to live in but a park model trailer on a lake somewhere sounds good. The economy here in Alberta has taken a turn for the worst as it has throughout the world so I’m thinking that the price of real-estate will come down 10 or so percent from it’s over inflated prices. If the health stays reasonable, I think life will be good. We’ll see!

  • Avatar Joe November 25, 2015, 9:58 pm

    Sounds kinda funny but I originally got the idea from The Motley Fool. In 2015 I’ve been trying to consciously make ONE great investment everyday. Whether it be in the markets, my job, paying off a credit card balance, buying a case of beer or simply just reading a book to my son. ONE great investment everyday. Have a good one everyone.

  • Avatar Ramona November 25, 2015, 11:03 pm

    Mark Goodfield? Tax GOD! Nope, he didn’t pay me to say that, but since I’m a fellow accountant, I really appreciate Mark’s take on tricky (icky) subjects. Amusing, sassy and right on.

    Honestly my financial world basically just runs itself now. Always work with a budget, always have goals and plans, work hard to achieve it all.

  • Avatar ig November 25, 2015, 11:24 pm

    We had saved for a major family vacation that we took this summer. Would appreciate the book.

  • Avatar David Bogart November 26, 2015, 1:46 am

    Walmart is on sale, puchased 100 shares. ( for the long term )
    Will continue to invest in the U.S. and continue to purchase Canadian Oil stocks.

  • Avatar Daryl November 26, 2015, 11:53 am

    This year we built up an emergency fund and also took our after tax savings rate from 3% to 13%.

  • Avatar Aditya November 26, 2015, 4:24 pm

    Ugh… procuring a scholarship so I don’t have to dip into my savings to pursue graduate studies? Finances are hard when you’re a student :/

  • Avatar rob November 26, 2015, 7:34 pm

    Finally, got the right investments moved into the right accounts. Wouldn’t have even known about the tax difference between Canadian ETF’s holding a US-listed ETF of US stocks vs a US-listed ETF holding US stocks (VUN vs VTI) in our RRSP’s if it weren’t for my getting interested in self investing through MDJ. (Hint – you are not subject to US withholding tax if you buy the right one). Just a little tax tip in keeping with the theme and hope to win the book so I can learn more…

  • Avatar R November 26, 2015, 7:43 pm

    One of my biggest financial achievements in 2015 was to max my TFSA contributions by purchasing low-cost index funds (TD e-series).

    Great blog and I look forward to reading Mark’s new book.

  • Avatar MissJelic November 27, 2015, 10:56 am

    I have started regularly spending time enhancing my financial knowledge (I put this in my calendar as an appointment I can’t miss). I spend the time reading blogs like this one (great blog!), reading books, researching investment ideas, etc.

  • Avatar Emily November 27, 2015, 12:13 pm

    I would love to read this book! We paid off $10,000 in consumer debt and bought our second vehicle (used) with cash. Expecting baby #3, both of these achievements will help tremendously in keeping 2016 as stress free as possible :)

  • Avatar Chuck November 27, 2015, 12:46 pm

    I applied for and received permanent residence status in a known tax haven. Time to start sticking it to Trudeau and Wynne.

  • Avatar Raymond November 27, 2015, 2:30 pm

    For this year, I’ve been able to max out my TFSA and contribute 5000$ to my RRSP, which was my target amount.

    I’d really like to win the book as I like Mark’s writing on the blog.

  • Avatar John November 27, 2015, 5:56 pm

    Increased family’s net worth by about 20% in 2015… with three kids under 6 :-)

  • Avatar Jeane November 27, 2015, 9:08 pm

    I have opened an account at Qestrade for ETF indexing investment.

  • Avatar Jeremy November 28, 2015, 9:03 am

    Just started my financial overhaul this year but my spouse and I were able to streamline our household expenses onto one credit card and reassessed our spending habits. So far, we’ve managed to reduce our expenses by around 30%.

  • Avatar Matt November 28, 2015, 10:20 am

    Maxing out my 2 boys resp while sheltering my money for another 18 years

  • Avatar UndergroundWoman November 28, 2015, 11:29 am

    Managed to max out my TFSA and RRSP for the year plus do some non-registered investing for the first time this year. Love the blunt bean counter blog!

  • Avatar Harry November 28, 2015, 2:03 pm

    This year, I finally reached my target asset allocation.

  • Avatar Len November 28, 2015, 5:56 pm

    Thanks for the review. Been of a fan of his blog for a while but did not know he was writing a book.

    My big financial achievement this year is making a budget (using YNAB) and sticking to it. Getting a control over my finances has not only been rewarding monetarily but it also feels great to know where the money is going every month and to see the savings start to accumulate.

  • Avatar Jeff November 29, 2015, 5:55 am

    I’d love love free copy of the book! This year me and my wife maxed all of our rrsp,tfsa, resps. We are also looking on putting a lump sum on the mortgage before years end.

  • Avatar Thisbe November 29, 2015, 6:56 pm

    This year I have maxed out my monthly mortgage payments.

  • Avatar Mitch November 29, 2015, 9:26 pm

    This was a big year for us financially as my wife and I both retired at 32. RRSPs, TFSAs, and kids RESPs are maxed out. Bought a new house with no mortgage and we just had our second child. This book sounds very interesting, I’ll have to check it out at the library.

    • Avatar Hetty November 29, 2015, 10:06 pm

      Hey Mitch, that’s what I did too..the library in Calgary doesn’t have it, but I requested it to order. Sounds like you did pretty well for you and your family!

  • Avatar Scott November 30, 2015, 6:15 pm

    Sounds like a book that I’d like to read. I managed to hit six digits invested this year!

  • Avatar Glenn February 10, 2016, 1:09 pm

    My top financial achievement this past year has been to get set-up an online, discount brokerage account for my 11 year old Son. He has become more interested in saving Christmas and Birthday money he receives to purchase stocks; something that I believe will serve him well in the future. I only wish someone had shared this with me when I was his age!

  • Avatar John Neale February 10, 2016, 3:21 pm

    Managed to keep maxed on TFSA even though on pension

  • Avatar Sandra February 11, 2016, 9:28 am

    My best financial success this past year was to max my TFSA (yes all $10,000 worth), plus I maxed my RRSP contributions.

  • Avatar Art February 13, 2016, 1:50 pm

    Max out 401k and roth ira this year is my goal

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