MJ DeMarco in his book offers to “crack the code to wealth” so that you can “live rich for a lifetime”. It sounds like a clickbait, doesn’t it? Far too often these books are written by people who by all means live a decent life, but that’s all. They are far from being rich. That’s not a problem at all, nobody has to be wealthy, but if you write about how to become rich, you’d rather be one.
DeMarco is rich and he became one on his own.
What he really hates is the become rich slow schemes. Put aside a few bucks every month and by the time you’ll turn to 80, thanks to compound interest, you’ll be rich. He doesn’t find it appealing, not to say sexy.
It doesn’t mean he doesn’t value compound interest, but he says it’s not a good way to become wealthy. Once you are one, it’s really useful to keep you there in the rich zone, but it’s virtually useless to get there.
He differentiates between 3 types of people.
They are the average people who don’t know a lot about money and regardless of how much they earn, they will spend it all. In the worst case, they spend even more than they have and build a massive debt. The Sidewalkers are the group who don’t have even a far, slight vision of becoming wealthy - or to have a healthy financial situation.
The Slowlaners are those who understand they have to put some money aside. They have to save some money regularly so that one day they can retire and then they can die in a relative riches. The problem is that you have to work a lot, in most cases 5 days a week to get 2 that is yours and the way to riches is not just long, but also not so fun and full of frugality. Leave it aside from how much those two days are yours with all the chores and so on.
The vast majority of us are either a Sidewalker or a Slowlaner. In fact, DeMarco claims that at certain points even a lot of Slowlaner become a Sidewalker because they just got fed up with working hard and saving money for the far future.
I’m a Slowlaner myself and I tend to feel from time to time that I’d have the tendency to become a Sidewalker - not the debted one at least. Luckily, with my wife, we both have similar visions on our long-term finances and that helps to stay in control. Just like the systems we put in place to accumulate savings and investments.
By the way, DeMarco doesn’t say that being a Slowlaner is bad. He says that if you really like what you do, it’s completely fine, but you have to be aware of it. You don’t have to become wealthy. By the way, being rich doesn’t necessarily mean that you live in a mansion and you take baths in gold coins like Scrooge. It can just mean that you have money and time for whatever you want. It can be as simple as being able to take your parents to holidays once a year and invite your friends for fancy dinners.
They are those who have understood the formula for becoming rich. According to DeMarco, the formula is rather simple. You should divorce wealth from time! What does this divorce mean? It means that, for instance, building more and more webpages for small enterprises will not scale beyond a certain point. Let’s say you build one in a week and charge 2k for it - it doesn’t matter if this is realistic or not. As such, you can make about 100k a year. You can decrease the time you need to build it and/or you can increase the amount you charge. But both have a limit. It’s not a scalable model, you cannot grow big. You cannot make millions like this.
Instead, you should focus on building products that have a big potential market. Products that don’t generate significantly more work for you, but more profit. What matters is how many people’s lives you can affect both in scale and magnitude. The more people you can sell the more expensive product the richer you’ll be.
Either you serve millions or just a few but in a big magnitude.
Then you can use the money you made to make more money through safe investments and compound interest.
Of course, there is more than that to it. He explains some technical details about different forms of companies and suggests what are useful personality traits in order to become - by his terms - successful in life.
Becoming rich is simple, but not easy. It’s also doesn’t have to be the goal of everyone. On the other hand, it’s useful to understand the math and principles behind it.
What I really like about The Millionaire Fastlane is that it’s written by someone who became rich on his own. It’s not the formula cracked by someone who by the way is not rich at all - but sure, could be if wanted to be… Its style is enjoyable and it’s not very lengthy. Although it repeats some of the big truths of life many of us already knew, I think that’s fine. It’s always good to be reminded that you are steering your life and its only your responsibility where you will get.
Where do you want to get with your life?