But 22 years later, the sequel has arrived -- The Wealthy Barber Returns. In his new book, Chilton tackles society's addiction to debt, and touches upon many important and well-known personal finance lessons -- lessons he says have become lost in today's world of plummeting savings rates, skyrocketing debt and disappointing investment returns. Here are five things he wants you to learn about personal finance.
1. You have to remove temptation triggers
â€¨Chilton explains that our brains have become so wired by the emotional excitement created by temptation that it can overwhelm our common sense.
By limiting our access to the triggers that drive our temptation, we will be less likely to give in. For example, if your weakness is clothing or purses, stop going to the mall or reading fashion blogs; if you have a habit of spending your cash on lattes, stay away from ATM machines and stop carrying cash with you -- or take a different route to work in the morning that doesn't go past the coffee shop.
2. Banks are a businessâ€¨
Contrary to what many of us would like to believe, bankers are not looking out for the customers' best interests. Banks are a business, and their goal is to drive more money into the pockets of their shareholders -- not yours.
3. Credit cards are evil, even if you don't carry a balance
â€¨Aside from the absurdly high interest rates on unpaid balances, credit cards encourage us to become less sensitive to the true cost of what we are buying. When a clerk swipes our credit card, it's a lot easier to miss -- or ignore -- how much we are spending.
Not only that, but people who don't carry a balance on their credit cards are not immune to the credit card trap. They might be able to pay off their credit card bills every month, but using the card could still lead to overspending.
4. You can't have everything you want
â€¨Even millionaires can't afford everything. Chilton believes that making small cuts in our spending habits can lead to dramatic results -- without sacrificing our quality of life. The key is to indulge in the areas that are important to us -- whether it's travel, a particular sport or fine wine -- and cut our spending everywhere else.
5. Save when the saving's goodâ€¨
"It's crucial to understand that wealth flows from savings, not from income,” says Chilton. So when you get an unexpected windfall or a raise at work, or you take on a part-time job to generate more income, it's important to put away at least 10 to 15 per cent of your income. Life happens, and money might not come as easily down the road. A divorce, a bad investment return, a job loss or an illness can leave you financially crippled if you haven't planned ahead.
The Wealthy Barber Returns is a must-read for all Canadians. Chilton's easy-to-understand financial tips and humorous approach to teaching us about money makes this book appealing to people of all ages.
Krystal Yee is a marketing professional living in Vancouver. She writes about personal finance at Give Me Back My Five Bucks, and the Toronto Star's Moneyville.ca. You can reach her on Twitter (@krystalatwork).