Book Review: The 4 Minute Millionaire
The 4 Minute Millionaire is a nice, short book. I appreciate what Niklas did with it – summarized hundreds of hours of research, reading books, watching courses and listening to podcasts in a concise format. This book is Personal Finance 101, and I’ll buy a copy for each of my kids.
I love the premise of the book:
This book won’t make you a millionaire, but it’ll equip you to become one.
After the lecture, I can attest it’s true. But, traditionally, let’s start from…
I found one stupid piece of advice in The 4 Minute Millionaire – the idea that investing in the stock market is better than investing in a house – in the context of mortgage and debt. Niklas provided some backbreaking theoretical assumptions and provided some data out of context (the data suggests families stay in their homes for nine years on average) to justify his opinion.
However, it has nothing to do with reality. Everybody needs to live somewhere, so it’s never a dilemma between having a house or investing in the stock market. It’s always the dilemma between renting and owning a house. First, you need to live somewhere, then you can invest.
The idea that mortgage debt is different from any other debt is an old wives’ tale.”
Yes, at the basic level, it’s totally the same – you need to pay off the capital and the interest rates. From every other angle (security, timeframe, the level of the rate of interest…) – sorry!, it’s a different animal than every other debt.
The average homeowner has 44 times the net worth of a renter. Forty-four to one is a mic drop. What side of the equation do you want to be on? Forty-four to one. In any sport that’s a big win. 44 to one. And so that’s the mic drop, and everything else is just gasbaggery. It’s just talking; it’s flapping the jaws.”
Niklas’ suggestion to invest in index funds instead of owning a home is like a suggestion to eat junk food and never exercise because you can be hit by the bus tomorrow, so what’s even the rationality of trying to stay healthy?
The only saving grace for him was that, in this fragment of the book, he tried to explain that “common financial sense” is not always applicable in your specific case.
I guess that if you are an empty-nester without a spouse, renting a tiny condo and investing in the index funds the surplus over the fat mortgage you’d have paid makes sense.
But in 45 true cases, 44 are clearly in in favor of the common sense (owning a home).
Ha! And that was the end of CONS for The 4 Minute Millionaire. This book has many benefits. Let’s go quickly over them:
I love how the author was able to translate hundreds of hours of absorbing content from various sources into the 2-hour read. Hats off. He did it very skillfully. For example, I read one of the books Niklas mentions – “Your Money or Your Life”- and he captured the essence of the book perfectly.
2. Some Killer Quotes.
Don’t let fear and greed win. Don’t let these bastards dictate your financial fate.”
“Saving and investing. Most people think they’ll naturally be good at these tasks. They also think they’ll actually do them. Needless to say, most people are wrong, and that’s why almost no one retires early.”
“In a way, debt is time travel. It means you’re saying no to something later so you can say yes to something else right now.”
“Emotions shut down the conscious part of brain. Keep your mind clear, and your finances will function so much better.”
“One quote and we have the state of humanity in a pill. Two simple, obvious things. Yet, almost no one practices them.”
This is so awesome a concept! Debt as time travel! It reminds me of the movie ‘Family Guy’ when the main character played by Adam Sandler had a remote control which allowed him to rewind the boring or uncomfortable parts of his life. Debt is this kind of time travel – not the exciting adventure, but skipping the uncomfortable parts of life to pay a much higher price later.
3. Solid Knowledge.
I’m no millionaire, yet I significantly improved my finances in the last decade. I practiced most of the tactics Niklas teaches in The 4 Minute Millionaire. Paying yourself first, the envelope system, tracking my expenses – I have been doing all of that. So, I can recognize when the author preaches the right things to do.
I’m no investor either. Once, I let greed take the worst of me and burned my family’s savings playing with futures. The lesson was as painful as memorable. Since then, I haven’t tried to invest in anything more risky than bank deposits.
However, I generated a nice surplus of income in the last few years, and my business is in the perpetual growth mode. I also have to start thinking seriously about my retirement. I need to master the investing game.
The 4 Minute Millionaire will be a great starting point for me. Niklas provided a few universal investing rules from big names in the financial world. When I have funds to invest, I’ll know where to begin.
I just scratched the surface. The 4 Minute Millionaire has more great points. It’s written in the personal style, so characteristic for the good indie books. It’s short and to the point. It’s well organized, so after reading it once, you can easily jump around the book returning to relevant sections.
It’s a good read. I recommend it.