The Automatic Millionaire was one of the first books I read when I began my foray into personal finance and becoming debt-free. It was first published in the US in 2004.
The book’s author, David Bach, is a renowned motivational and financial speaker.
He is regularly featured on talk shows and at financial seminars and conferences. He is also behind FinishRich.
The book’s name implies there might be some magical speedy Gonzales formula located within its pages to get from church mouse to Donald Trump without much effort. If only.
The good news is there is a formula. The bad or better news, depending on how you see it, is the formula requires dedication and persistence to see results.
The Automatic Millionaire offers a no-frills, candid approach to handling your money and eventually ending up a millionaire, one cent at a time through a simple time-tested, age-old method – savings and investments! That’s the “magical” formula.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing only people who earn 6 figure salaries can save and invest.
However, how many times have you thought, “If only I could get a raise, I’d finally be able to put something aside.” When you finally got a raise, did you manage to put something substantial aside?
It’s not the amount of money you make that needs to change. It’s the approach to managing the money you earn that matters.
No matter how crappy your salary is, it’s possible to save and end up a millionaire. Three aspects of the book stood out to me: –
3 Things I Loved About The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach
1. Paying Yourself First
If you want to be rich, you need to pay yourself first. Before you pay rent, credit card, phone, tax, and other bills, pay yourself first.
This system advocate paying various percentages of your monthly income starting from 5% up to 20%, and above if you can afford it, into a pre-tax retirement account.
Over the course of 35 years, you should end up with over 1 million dollars. You work hard most of the day, 5 days, sometimes 7 days, a week to pay everyone else.
It makes sense to factor yourself into the list of people you have to pay. David Bach explains the compound interest in The Automatic Millionaire.
He outlines how saving a minuscule amount of money every month can grow into over a million dollars over 20 – 30 years. Very eye-opening.
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2. The Latte Factor
The latte factor is simple. Outline all the insignificant little things you spend money on every day without thinking about it such as coffee, chocolate, cigarettes, juice, eating out, and start saving the money instead.
They can add up to a pretty neat some annually, which would be better off in an account working for you.
I’m a huge fan of chocolate and not the kit kat variety either. Expensive Belgian and Swiss chocolate is my addiction. I was spending roughly $30 a week on chocolate without really thinking about it.
When I tallied the number over a year (30 x 4 weeks/month x 52 weeks = $6, 240/year)…seeing the figure as a whole is quite alarming.
That same amount in an investment account over 20 – 30 years could work out over half a million dollars.
Even with inflation, you would still end up with a tidy sum. Nothing sobers you up faster than consciously seeing and tallying the numbers. I’m still a chocoholic but I’m reformed these days.
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3. Make It Automatic
A lot of discipline is required to maintain a systematic savings plan and not everyone can do it every month without fail. The only way to make sure the process is never interrupted is to make it automatic.
Set it up so the payments are automatically deducted from your salary every month before you even see it, and you are on your way to a happy retirement.
Additionally, you will start adjusting your mindset to living on less, which is the amount you see in your account after all the automatic amounts have been deducted.
If you are stumbling around trying to figure out how to get ahead of your money, The Automatic Millionaire comes highly recommended. It doesn’t overcomplicate explanations and is pretty straightforward.
Although the book’s content is geared mostly towards US readers, a lot of the information is adaptable wherever you are in the world.