The millionaire fastlane is the top book about how to get rich quickly. In this summary I will review and summarise the book for those people that want to make sure they read only the right high-quality books. After reading the book, my overall judgement is that is is a worthy read for everyone who aims to become financially independent or more. It gives an interesting insight into the world of money and how people think that will be very beneficial on your road to riches. I will start with a short review and continue with a short summary of the book.
The millionaire fastlane is written in conversation style, so the author is speaking to you in an informal manner. This makes it very easy and pleasant to read. For those people who have a no bullshit attitude, this book is a pearl as the book is very straightforward and very informal to almost slang (“they are talking shit”). The content itself is refreshing but also contains some classic lessons about money. The most important factor the book discusses is the difference between getting rich the traditional way (aka The Millionaire Next Door) vs the fast way (aka a Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos). The book is also honest with you about the way of achieving it. It states clearly that the road is possible for everyone but not everyone is going to be willing to work for it. The examples used to illustrate these points are very clear and up to date (depending on the version). Overall I believe it is a page-turner that both in content and writing style is worth the read.
The different paths to wealth
The book explains that there are three paths in life you van follow: the sidewalk, the slowlane, the fastlane.
The people on the sidewalk will never get rich. These people live of income and dept and have generally no savings. They generally spend money they don’t have, to impress people they don’t like. The sidewalk is not a path to riches but a path to look rich. The ultimate problem is that they might never really be able to retire because they save nothing and spend everything they earn plus a little more. The sidewalk is hopefully not the majority of people but can be a significant part of the population depending on the country.
The slowlane is probably the majority of people. They spend their lives working 9 to 5 but manage to stay out of debt most of the time and save money on the side. Those who work hard and are careful with money can retire earlier but often only in their twilight years (around 50-60). Although the name implies otherwise it means you retire when you are past your youth and you start to notice small things to your health that make it difficult to truly enjoy your life to the fullest. You are not as fit as you used to be and even though you might be financially independent that does not mean you can live in abundance. So these people still can’t do whatever they want. They are not the ones with the car of their dreams or a villa on that island where the sun always shines. They also spend the majority of their lives working towards it. They trade 5 days for 2 days of freedom a week and believe this is a good trade-off. The main reason why they remain in the slowlane is just like the sidewalk: they have a consumer mentality. They save 10% of their paycheck and invest in mutual funds. What they do isn’t wrong per se but their income is limited to their time. The more hours they work the more they earn but there are only limited hours in a day. Therefore they can never live in abundance because there simply isn’t enough time. Even tough they save that precious income they do make they still spend in on consuming and wasting time on entertainment, never really getting out of the rat race. But there is a solution.
For those wanting to get rich faster there is always the fastlane. These people will work insanely hard for a short amount of years (3-7 years) often for more than 70 hours a week just so they can retire in fast and in abundance. The secret to the fastlane is the money-tree concept. A money tree is a self-sustaining business that doesn’t need you anymore (or barely, like 1 hour a month). The key elements to this money tree are passive income and a one-time event. When you still own your money tree business it will generate passive income for you. At some point in time there will be the possibility to sell it for its asset worth, this is the one-time event. In this single event you can generate millions that will set you free in abundance for life. Do you need to sell? No you of course you do not. However, the one-time events makes your business, which always has a risk to default, into cash. There are many companies who failed to sell in time and ended up in oblivion. The best example is Yahoo which was once worth almost $125 billion around 2000 but was sold for “only” $5 billion to Verizon in 2016. After the one-time event all you have to do is invest the money in save investments like mutual funds and government bonds. It is a slow-lane mentality to save 10% of your pay check and put this is mutual funds because 5-10% return isn’t going to get you rich quick. However, if you have 100 million already that becomes an entirely different story. Suddenly you can live off that 5% return because it is 5 million a year or about 400K a month! That is not so bad now is it?
One of the most important mindset switches you have to make is to start thinking like a producer instead of a consumer. Consumers watch Netflix and buy designer clothes, producers offer it to them. Producers becomes rich of consumers. So start thinking how does Netflix make money, how can I replicate that? How much are those shoes and why do they sell so well even though they are so expensive? But also consider simple business like drop-shipping. Don’t start drop-shipping (consumer), start selling drop-shipping (producer)! A lot of businesses are chains to the end-consumer but that doesn’t mean they are producers themselves. Most links of businesses in this chain are also consumers themselves. They depend on other businesses. Therefore MJ DeMarco (the author) made some guidelines to distinguish between a fastlane business and a slowlane business. All fastlane businesses are build on 5 principles called the five commandments.
- The commandment of Time
- The commandment of Need
- The commandment of Entry
- The commandment of Control
The commandment of need is very simple: the only businesses that survive fill a need. The easiest way to find a need is by paying attention to complaints. What do people want changed? Some companies manage to create a need for something but this is much more difficult. These companies are often front-runners and nowadays very technology-based.
In a nutshell, the commandment of time means that the business needs to operate separately from your time. For example, a restaurant requires your constant attention and is difficult to outsource completely. A franchise can be a restaurant and can be detached from your time. Multiple people can open restaurants with your franchise and your company grows the more franchisees you have. It can also be outsourced completely to management.
The commandment of entry is a bit more difficult. It basically means that the lower the threshold to start something, the bigger the competition and the lower the general profitability. Thanks to WordPress it became a lot easier to make blogs and websites, consequently the profitability of blogging and website building went down substantially. Driving around as a taxi driver is relatively easy, most people can get a drivers licence and a permit. So being a taxi driver isn’t that profitable either.
The commandment of control states that you need to be in full control of your business. This means you control your price and all other aspects of a business. Affiliate marketing, for example, violates this concept. You are dependent on the affiliate program you enrolled in. The same thing applies to google ads, google decides how much you get. If overnight they decide to cut half of the contribution, you suffer the damage and can do very little about it. Owning a franchise respects this command but being a franchisee does not. The franchise owner often decides most of your business plan: the interior, the menu and very often the price.
MJ DeMarco, the author, gives multiple suggestion and direction for business opportunities in the book. The easiest one that still want to highlight is the online business. An online business often satisfies all commandments and is therefore quite simple to start. However, over the years online business do have difficulty with the commandment of entry. The marketplace has become overcrowded so you do need to find ways to stand out. The easiest way to do that is to focus on service and fulfilling a need. If you want to start a business that is not an online business you should be careful and see if it respects the 5 commandments. If it does not you are likely in a job disguised as a business.
This concludes the short summary of the millionaire fast lane. As a last note I would like to mention that the book describes a perception on life. It is very hard to summarise shortly that way of thinking. The book describes accurately the different ways of looking at money. It offers insight in how you can achieve and avoid the different roads. However, it is also brutally honest with you. The fastlane is a quick way to get rich, not an easy way to get rich. If you are willing to work hard, you can become rich very quick and this book will definitely function as a very useful guide on your journey. So if you are willing to work that hard, let me take the liberty to start by reading this book. It is a real eye-opener.