A Million Bucks By 30: A Book Review
I recently had the chance to read 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. I have to hand it to Alan Cory. He is like so many guys I know. Saddled with a crappy job, no trust-fund, a degree that didn't deliver, Mr. Corey decided early on to be the master of his own destiny. With colorful language, a clear-cut style, and the kind of honesty that you'd come to expect from a high-school buddy, Alan tells his story of “making it” to financial freedom in the same way you would talk with coworkers over a beer.
Alan starts early. The most brutal truth in this book (if there has to be one) is that it is best to begin your path to millionaire status as soon as you can. Mr. Corey stepped out into the big, big world a bit better off than many I know. A college scholarship and a savings habit born while in the 6th grade gave Alan the pocket change and zero debt liability that would put you at an advantage many don't have.
Alan is focused. Once it occurs to him that being a millionaire is his #1 goal, he never, ever forgets it. Chanting the “I'm going to be a millionaire” mantra at every bus stop and checkout line, Corey believes he will succeed. Nothing else is as important.
Alan is cheap. This is what makes for entertaining reading. Forget frugal, Alan is a straight-up cheap arse. But to tell him this would surely only make him grin – he is good at spending little to nothing on everything: dates, food, clothing, and vacations. A source of pride and a way to a better life, Mr. Corey knows that the sacrifice is great but the end will most certainly justify the means.
Alan is connected. At a few points in the book, Alan is obviously cash-strapped (although doing quite well with his equity.) He is somehow able to gain the trust of some friends and family and raise thousands upon thousands of dollars in investments for his real estate venture. This is key to his success.
Alan is lucky. There. I said it. Luck, timing, and the market play a huge role in hitting the million mark. Flipping properties the way Mr. Corey did was characteristic of his abilities, but also of the real estate landscape at the time.
Is it possible to follow Alan Corey's formula for success? Maybe if he had one. Alan's book is less of a “get-rich plan” and more of a “works for me” biography. And while I will have to disagree with some of the ethics regarding a few of Mr. Corey's cheapo tactics, he has the right idea.
Is it a worthwhile read? Sure. Whether you want to be entertained or just need a little inspiration for the long haul, Alan gains your trust early on and holds nothing back. If he's learned it, he'll share it. And while the most financially-savvy professionals might find the book “sophomoric,” there's more than a few unique money-saving tips that would more than pay for the price of the book. ( I found myself underlining a few passages and wondering why I didn't think of it.) If you don't share Alan's timing, focus, luck or networking skills, it's doubtful that you'll succeed in as short a time as he did. (In fact, his story shows just how difficult it is to get to a million these days.) But it can be done.