Almost everything financial gurus tell you about building wealth is designed to keep you in the “slowlane” to financial freedom, resulting in years of toil at a job, only to have “wheelchair wealth” that you will likely be too infirm to enjoy. This is one of the points made by MJ DeMarco in his book The Millionaire Fastlane: Crack the Code to Wealth and Live Rich for a Lifetime. It’s an interesting book that challenges you to question the assumptions you have probably been making for a good portion of your existence. And, while I don’t agree with everything in the book, I certainly found it a fascinating read — and one that carries with it some very good points.
One of the things I liked best about the book is that it focuses on how new technology makes it possible for you to design your life the way you want to, without relying on a traditional job as your primary source of income. The book places an emphasis on entrepreneurship, encouraging you to use the Internet and be an innovator and build wealth now. As someone who makes a living off the Internet, the book struck an instant chord with me.
Among the eye-opening facts in this book is a table on p. 74 that lists common jobs, some of them considered prestigious (like architect). Using data from third-party sources, DeMarco shows you how long it takes to 1. earn $1 million; and 2. actually save up $1 million following conventional financial advice. The figures are rather disheartening, indicating that most people will never save up $1 million in their lifetimes. If you want to do that, you have to make huge lifestyle sacrifices today.
But why would you want to scrimp and save and toil to save for later when you can create wealth while you are still young? DeMarco offers a roadmap to help you understand how you can make money now and enjoy it now. His ideas are mostly practical, requiring hard work at the outset, proper planning to make them work, and the ability to take responsibility for your own financial future.
Along the way, he makes not-so-veiled digs at financial gurus who spout advice on frugality, dollar-cost averaging and staying in traditional jobs with 401ks; these folks, he says, are hypocrites. They tell you one thing, but that’s not how they’ve made their money. These people are entrepreneurs who make money selling books and appearing on TV — not by clipping coupons and working 9-5.
Live Life and Enjoy Your Money Now
One of the points I most agree with in the book is that you should live life now. My husband and I are not very enamored of the idea of saving every cent so that we have a pile of cash when we’re older. Instead, we prepare for the future, but also enjoy spending money now. We like to eat out. We like to take small trips. We like to go to sporting events and concerts. So we go. I make money working from home, and can usually arrange my schedule. My husband plans to be college professor — a notoriously flexible profession.
The main point is that you can do what you want now, if you are willing to think outside the box a little and learn how to cultivate income streams. And I think that its one of the most powerful messages in the book. He points out that you need to figure out what you want, and then go for it. DeMarco also offers insight that flies in the face of conventional personal finance wisdom:
- Debt isn’t always evil. It can be a valuable tool if you use it correctly to reach your goals.
- Frugality won’t lead to true wealth and financial freedom.
- Getting more college education is expensive and probably won’t help you make the kind of money you want. Instead, devote yourself to actual learning, which doesn’t require a fancy degree.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. It forces you to re-evaluate your perception of how to obtain financial freedom, and encourages you to look at your own financial characteristics. Chapter summaries help you see whether you are on the sidewalk, moving in the slowlane, or ready to get into the fastlane. In the end, the slowlane will probably get you to wealth and financial freedom (the sidewalk won’t), but you might be too old to enjoy it.
Arohan’s Note: I agree with Miranda. I have read The Fastlane Millionaire and I agree with the message in the book. Read this book only if you have an open mind and are willing to take the full and complete responsibility of your financial destiny in your own hands. One of the primary points DeMarco makes in the book is that you need to have complete and absolute control over the path you choose. This is easier said than done for most people and requires an overhaul of the belief system that you have cultivated over the years. But if you are willing to put in the hard work and accept the fact that you are the only one who is responsible for your financial future, you can use this book as a roadmap to help you reach your wealth goals quicker.
You can buy the book at Amazon at The Millionaire Fastlane: Crack the Code to Wealth and Live Rich for a Lifetime. Before you do so, I recommend that you also read the reviews of this book at Amazon to understand how others feel about it.
Please note that neither me nor Miranda was compensated in any way for this review, nor did we receive a complimentary copy of the book to review. However, if you do purchase the book using this link we will be paid a small commission that will be used to grow this site.
Miranda is freelance journalist. She specializes in topics related to money, especially personal finance, small business, and investing. You can read more of my writing at Planting Money Seeds.