In his excellent book The Millionaire Fastlane MJ Demarco describes his own rags to riches story. At his absolute lowest he resorted to sleeping on a mattress placed on the kitchen floor next to poptart crumbs, working at numerous dead-end jobs for miniscule pay.
During this time he realised that there are three financial roadmaps in our world.
The first is the sidewalk where most people live their lives. We all know someone who lives paycheck to paycheck and are only one unexpected emergency (e.g. car breaking down) from becoming broke. Sidewalkers only care about living in the moment and instant gratification. And due to their spending habits, even very high earners such as footballers can be classified as a sidewalker.
The second financial roadmap is the slowlane which dictates that people should give up their today in exchange for a better tomorrow. However, Demarco diligently explains that this tomorrow may never come. If you manage to avoid all the unexpected accidents and become rich at 65 after 40 years of saving and compound interest, what’s the use of becoming the richest person in a nursing home? A very memorable analogy he used was that wheelchairs do not fit in the trunks of lamborghinis.
The roadmap that our author recommends is the fastlane which is through innovation and business. Demarco suggests that the main advantage of this route is that everything is within our control. If we succeed we may reach financial independence in our 30s or 40s. Instead of in our 60s and 70s when we may not have the energy for our hobbies any more.
With traditional slowlane thinking, we are also very susceptible to events outside our control such as losing in the stock market. Not to mention we are selling our most valuable asset: time (read life).
In closing, I would definitely recommend this book as a worthwhile read because having a better understanding of our personal finance is an integral part of happiness and well-being.
Realise that hoarding and mindless consumerism is not the way.
Realise that working hard and compound interest just aren’t enough.
P.S. I learned everything I know about finance from this book, this book and that one, amongst many others. For a more extensive list, don’t hesitate to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you prefer learning through listening use this link to earn a free audiobook of your choice by signing up to their 30-day free trial. Simply cancel with the click of a button if you decide later on that the service isn’t for you, no questions asked.