Money at 30: “Quit Like a Millionaire” Book Review
Earlier this year, I decided that one of my goals for 2020 was to do more book reviews. Somehow, this became both easier and harder to attain as quarantine set in. So, with my local library closed, I instead turned to Amazon to see what titles I should add to my queue. That’s how I first came across Quit Like a Millionaire: No Gimmicks, Luck, or Trust Fund Required by Kristy Shen and Bryce Leung (which it seems was first published nearly one year ago). As it turns out, that move to buy the book instead of borrowing it was a blessing as I can’t wait to hand this one off to friends curious about financial independence.
By virtue of the subject matter, Quit Like a Millionaire covers a lot of the same ground as other books I’ve reviewed, such as Work Optional, Financial Freedom, and Choose FI. Nevertheless, the book has a unique perspective and style that helps it to stand out. For one, Shen (who, despite co-authoring with her husband, takes on the role of the narrator) provides a fairly linear narrative, sharing her journey from poverty to early retirement and what she learned each step of the way. While most books of this kind do include some personal detail, I really liked this particular approach, which read as if you are discovering this information and having these revelations right alongside the authors. On a similar note, it’s really intriguing to see the book’s focus shift midway through as Shen moves from lessons she learned from being poor to those she’s learned from being rich.
As for the nuts and bolts of the book, in addition to necessary yet well-worn topics such as taxes and portfolio building, the authors include some topics I personally hadn’t heard of before. For example, they detail two features — they call the Cash Cushion and Yield Shield — that they built into their early retirement plan to help them weather down markets (and are hopefully serving them well now). I should also mention that, while Shen and Leung spent much of their careers in Canada, the book’s advice is geared mostly towards Americans, while still filling in the details for their fellow countrymen up north.
Perhaps one of my favorite parts of Quit Like a Millionaire were the sections specific to travel. Sure, plenty of FI-centric titles mention travel as an aspiration or throw in a few travel hacking tips, but Shen and Leung go well beyond that. Not only do they explain topics like geo arbitrage and how traveling more can actually help you save money but also go in-depth about their spending habits as globetrotting nomads — in which they manage to maintain the same level of spending as they did while staying put in Toronto, while hopping to a different city or continent every month. Although I’ve stated before that I’m not sure this level of nomadism is right for me, I still found it to be fascinating and, quite honestly, got me thinking.
Another section I found to be truly insightful was the final chapter (prior to the appendices, which we’ll discuss shortly). In it, the authors eloquently explain why some of the seemingly contradictory advice that personal finance experts offer isn’t necessarily right or wrong — going on to detail the different paths to wealth, which route they took, and laying out some options that may better suit you. On that note, there is plenty of back matter to the book as well, including a detailed breakdown of the couple’s annual income and spending on their way to FI.
This is where I’d normally share a minor criticism or two about the book. Yet, with Quit Like a Millionaire, I don’t really think I have any. In fact, for as much as I enjoyed the previous titles I mentioned — as evidenced by my positive reviews of them — I have to say that I believe I enjoyed this book more than any other. A big part of that comes from the writing style, which is humorous, casual, and approachable for laymen. On top of that, I also found myself relating more to the couple than I have with other authors, even though I’ve never cherished a Coke can as a pet nor, you know, made a million dollars.
For all of those reasons, if you’ve ever considered pursuing any level of financial independence and are looking for some first-hand insight served with some great storytelling, Quit Like a Millionaire: No Gimmicks, Luck, or Trust Fund Required may be the book for you. If you’re anything like me, you’ll walk away entertained, educated, and perhaps even motivated. As the authors note, money = time — and this book is worthy of both.
Also published on Medium.