Book Review: The Automatic Millionaire

The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach. This is the book that started my wife and I on our journey toward financial freedom.

Ok, this is what started it all for me.

I was a junior in college, and I was back in my hometown to visit family over the holiday break.  One day while my sister and I, after becoming a little bored sitting around the house, decided we would take a quick trip to the half-price bookstore a few minutes away.

Now, my sister has always loved reading, but I myself had lost the passion for it long ago.  Nonetheless, I figured I would tag along with her in the car.  As we got to the huge, warehouse-like store, we split up to browse through all the vast shelves and categories of books.  And then, like that, a thought popped into my head, “Hmm, I’m getting close to graduating from college…I don’t really know anything about personal finance.  That seems important…let me go look.”

Once I got to the section, I scanned the shelves for something that looked interesting.  I came across a blue book with gold-colored embossed letters to form the title on the spine, The Automatic Millionaire.  Ooh, how intriguing.  It seemed cheesy, but it was enough to get me flipping through it and ultimately deciding to buy the book. Little did I know, that $3.00 purchase of a used personal finance book would completely change my mindset forever and the way that I view money.

The book is definitely tailored toward personal finance beginners and does a great job about reiterating that making saving a priority is essential for building any long term wealth.  I gobbled this book up within several hours; it’s a fairly quick read.  I called my then-girlfriend excitedly, “You have to read this book!  It’s got a really cheesy title but it makes sense!”  We were still in college then, and we didn’t have any real sources of income, other than the occasional side job I would do on campus for some spending money.  However, when we graduated and started our careers in the summer of 2012, making automatic saving a priority via 401(k)s and Roth IRAs was a no-brainer.  After only about 16 months of saving, we’ve already amassed a nice little stack of capital, just by making a single decision to sign up for automatic withdrawals from our paychecks.

Nowadays, The Automatic Millionaire just seems like basic financial advice, but it was so great for me at the time because the information was new to me and it helped me start to think long term about my life and my finances.  It also set me on a new path to wisdom – I began reading voraciously.  All of a sudden it was like a whole new world was open to me.  You can learn sooo much simply by taking the time to sit down and read what somebody else has to say who’s done it already.

If you’re an absolute beginner in the personal finance world, I would suggest The Automatic Millionaire.  It’s a quick read that hits all the basic points of getting out of debt, saving, and the power of compound interest.