The other day I finished A Million Bucks by 30: How to Overcome a Crap Job, Stingy Parents, and a Useless Degree to Become a Millionaire Before (or After) Turning Thirty by Alan Corey this book proved to be another very quick read weighing in at 211 pages which are formatted to not have that much actual text per page. But enough about the statistics of the page, how’s the content? Meh.
The summary of the book does look pretty interesting: a college graduate with a degree in “Management of Information Systems” moves to New York City with the goal of making $1,000,000 by age 30 and the book chronicles how he went about pulling it off. Plus, h0w can you resit the bold “WARNING: Do not attempt to use this book unless you are prepared to become filthy rich.” on the back cover?
Well, the problem lies in the execution: as a financial guide the advice pretty much boils down to live frugally and to flip real estate and as a memoir it is just too sparsely written to really hold your attention for that long. Plus, some of the fugal living tips – “Extreme Cheapskate Strategy” in the book’s phrasing – are of dubious legality, such as reusing popcorn bags, or are pretty obvious, such as using the library.
One of the financial tips that I did think was clever was to open up a second savings account that you have limited access to and have money be deposited directly out of your paycheck to it. The logic being somewhat along the same lines as automatic deposits to retirement accounts: if you are saving automatically and accessing the money is hard, odds are you aren’t going to spend it. The author is a big advocate of spending less money than you make in order to maximize your savings, but as others have also said of the book, he is quite extreme and I don’t think most people would be up his savings techniques.
As noted earlier, the way the author made most of his money was by flipping real estate in New Your City at a time when the market was going up. So needless to say a not insignificant degree of luck was also involved, although in the book the author also does appear to do have done a lot of work to identify potential locations in New York City where the neighborhoods were starting to improve. So points for doing the research and being to identify the neighborhoods, but the same token, I think the author makes things seem much easier than they actually are. Plus, given the current real estate market, could someone pull it off again?
With regards to the book as a memoir, well, a lot of time is spent in the early twenties and several chapters go by when the author is 24, but the in the last few chapters he wraps things up at 29 very quickly. Some of the stories in the book actually are quite amusing and I think and expanded of them could actually make for an entertaining memoir, but as this one stands it is quite thin.
So as it stands, I think the $0.01 I paid for the book at Goodwill was likely fair and for a quick read from your local library it might be worth a couple hours of your time, but the $13.95 price tag on the back cover is simply too much. The financial advice you can largely find on the internet in various blogs, and the memoir is just a bit too thin.