Monday, December 30, 2019

Quit Like a Millionaire: No Gimmicks, Luck, or Trust Fund Required

I saw Kristy Shen and Bryce Leung's Quit Like a Millionaire at the library a few weeks ago in the new nonfiction section.  I wasn't sure if I should read it, as I've read a lot of basic books on personal finance already.  But I figured why not? (Especially since there's a foreword by JL Collins, the author of The Simple Path to Wealth, which is the book that got me started on this whole thing). 

Shen grew up very poor in rural China.  She ended up retiring as a millionaire with her husband (Leung) at the age of 31.  In Quit Like a Millionaire, she shares her story of how growing up in poverty set her up to save and ultimately join the wealthy.  The pair have been retired for three years now, travelling across the world while still maintaining their wealth.

The book starts off by talking about Shen's childhood (including how she went through medical waste trying to make toys for herself) and how her family lived on $0.44 a day.  This upbringing left her with a scarcity mindset (when you don't have enough of one of the basic necessities, like food, your brain will ignore almost everything else except that one thing), particularly aimed at money.  But after she moved to Canada, graduated with an engineering degree, and joined the middle class, her scarcity mindset, which can't be turned off, changed into a hoarding mindset (rather than changing life-energy for survival, the hoarding mindset trades for nothing).  In an attempt to get out of this mindset, especially in the wake of seeing the health of her coworkers deteriorate, Shen discovered the freedom mindset, which is all about getting your time back.  And this set her on the path to financial independence and retiring at the age of 31.

The rest of the book explains what Shen and Leung did to build their investment portfolio.  And because Shen is extremely risk-adverse, and neither wanted to risk running out of money in the future, they created their own tools to help see them through any potential market crashes within the first five years of retirement (these crucial years, which can make or break your retirement, depend on luck with the market).  The book also talks about some potential obstacles to early retirement (like needing health insurance, or retiring early with kids), and finishes off with a few appendices that show her math and spreadsheets, as well as the actual numbers Shen and Leung dealt with through their journey to a million dollars.

Quit Like a Millionaire was a very good and easy read.  Shen writes with a very personal tone, making it easy to follow along with her story and points.  As far as personal finance books go, I thought this one was a very good read, showing you how anyone can become a millionaire.  I liked that despite being American-centric, it still had lots of information specifically for Canadians, too.  I'm very glad I picked this book up (and I'm hoping to get myself a copy for reference, too!)

Oh, I'd also like to note, Shen goes through the arguments of why you might be better off renting rather than buying much more succinctly than The Wealthy Renter did.

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