Book Review: Rich by Thirty

By Lynn Truong. Last updated 23 March 2008. 7 comments
Photo: Amazon

I read this book because I was intrigued by the 25 year-old author. By the time she was eight years old, she was earning money by operating a lemonade stand in the summer and shoveling snow in the winter. On her 10th birthday, she used the $100 of gift money she received to purchase a Government Savings Bond. At age 14, she bought her first mutual funds. Four years later, she was investing in stocks. She was also a guest on Oprah after being featured in a local newspaper for helping her teacher explain the concepts of investing to her 11th grade class.

Rich by Thirty, A Young Adult's Guide To Financial Success is well suited for the young adult mentioned in the title. Lesley's secret to success is her early entrance into the world of investing, saving, and frugal living. This should be required reading in every high school class.

This is also a great primer for those not-so-young adults who have never heard of compound interest or T-Bills. Many "beginner" finance books still work off the assumption that the reader knows some finance language. This book really does cover the basics. From what a checking account and budget is, to the different investment vehicles, Lesley provides strategies to save, manage, and invest that anyone can follow.

What struck me the most was her simple premise that you save money for short term goals and invest money for long term goals. It seems like such a basic way of looking at managing money, but it's something that eludes most people. Many consider saving money as the long term goal. Part of a budget may be to put aside money every month to "save." Saving is a goal itself. But she explains that you should save in order to purchase something in the next few years. You invest for anything beyond that. That was incredibly eye opening for me, since I had always looked at "saving money" as the ultimate goal. If I don't have any short term goals for my money, I need to be investing whatever I'm not spending.

I wish someone had told me earlier that there was something else I could do with my money besides spend it. Instead of asking to go to the toy store every birthday, I should have asked my parents to take me to the bank. I didn't know I could get free money just for not spending it.

It is a solid book with good, straightforward advice. It is a refreshing example of financial freedom achieved with a little know-how and smart decision making. Let's face it, not all of us are entrepreneurs or able to get a running start with family money. She saved, invested, got a good job, and purchased a the time she was 24. She wrote about how she did it here. She's about as ordinary a person, coming from as humble a background, as most of us. Anyone in their early twenties or younger would benefit from this exceptional guide and introduction to the concept of making the most from your money. Parents should consider using this to teach kids the value of compound interest (ask if they would rather spend their $5 allowance today, or have $10 to spend later).




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martha in mobile

someone had talked to me in this way about money. That's why I have been talking with my daughter since she was quite young. That's why she saves for a long-term goal (car/college), allocates for charitable giving, and can discuss how she will have $1 million when she retires by fully funding her IRA in her teens. She's 10; I'm 50 -- I won't be around to help her in her adult years, so the training has to be now.

Guest's picture

Godspeed and good luck, seriously, everyone.

Guest's picture

The missing element in our youth today is .. financial education... as the schools and parents don't teach much about money. This is a great book to help teach the next generation about money matters.

The book is especially important as the economy heads into a recession because today teens have grown up with money in hand, with little desire to learn anything about money management.

Guest's picture

I wish I had read that in my teens. I can't say for sure that I would be rich by now if I had, but at least I would have made some provisions for retirement back then.
If I had kids, I would definitely let them read this.

Guest's picture

Oh, how I wish I had been as smart as this woman when I was 10! If only I had saved, instead of rushing to the corner store for candy every time I had a quarter in my pocket.

Granted, my parents never showed any interest in saving, so I didn't have great 'modeling' from which to learn. I hope to read this book (if it's in the library) to see whether the author had family who were savers, or if she came about her wisdom on her own.

Great post!

Guest's picture
silver fox

This book would be a great gift for any young person, and worth many times its price for the knowledge and awareness they would gain from it. It would start them on the road to financial independence, instead of the road to mindless shopping!

Guest's picture

I could go back and give this book to myself, as well as a list of other things to do/no do about as long as the encycopedia britanica.