About the Author
Not long ago, MJ DeMarco was a poor college student working mind-numbing cubicle jobs in his late 20s. He started his own online limo business that eventually sold in a multi-million-dollar cash transaction. After liquidating his business, MJ has thrived as a finance author. He also founded The Fastlane Forum, a website aimed at helping entrepreneurs become successful and achieve financial independence. His website is known for hosting a melting pot of eager business minds from all over the globe. They discuss personal and commercial financial growth philosophies in a highly effective, collaborative setting.
A Summary in 100 Words or Less
DeMarco begins by asking readers how they feel about making money slowly and methodically over the course of their lives. After all, mainstream financial experts emphatically preach the importance of having patience as you gradually build a diverse investment portfolio, don’t they?
Then DeMarco turns the tables by pointing out the downside to a slow and steady approach to wealth-building:
Most people who become wealthy usually don’t achieve their wealth until later in life when they are too old to enjoy it.
Based on this observation, DeMarco contends that most people are taking a flawed approach to wealth building. The “slow and steady” paradigm teaches us to work hard and sacrifice during our younger years so we can retire wealthy. Unfortunately, by that point our ability to enjoy that wealth can be significantly impaired by time and health limitations.
The Three Wealth-Building Personalities
In The Millionaire Fastlane, DeMarco divides society into three parts when it comes to financial habits and wealth-building.
First, there’s what DeMarco calls “The Sidewalk.” Those are people who appear to have neither a short-term nor long-term plan for achieving wealth. They’re simply hoping luck will lead them into riches. In the meantime, however, they live paycheck to paycheck.
Then there are those who are taking “The Slowlane.” These individuals can’t escape the 9-to-5 lifestyle. They’ll have to rely on 30-40 years of compounding interest in order to accumulate meaningful wealth.
Finally, we have what DeMarco has termed “The Fastlane.” Traveling in “The Fastlane” means that you are working toward both freedom of time and money. Those who are in The Fastlane, aren’t merely hoping to retire comfortably. They want far more than that. They want to achieve financial freedom during their 30s and 40s.
The Slowlane Standard
DeMarco explains that Slowlane normalcy in America is problematic. The common man will trade most of his time for money and then exchange that money for consumer goods. At the end of this exhausting process, the Slowlaner is almost entirely dependent upon a volatile stock market to produce returns that will make a comfortable retirement possible. This type of financial lifecycle inhibits efficient wealth-building and leads to a best-case scenario of “wealth in a wheel chair.”
Be a Producer, Not a Consumer
The way to avoid the “wealth in a wheel chair” retirement is to become a producer and not a consumer. DeMarco explains that he started out as a “Sidewalker.” He later transitioned into a “Fastlaner” as he began to produce online products and leverage his time rather than relying on it. This non-proportional time-to-income ratio is what DeMarco believes is essentially to creating true wealth.
For instance, the book itself serves as an example of how DeMarco has leveraged one thousand hours of his time on the front-end to create residual income. Compare this approach to a common man who makes $80 to paint a brick wall. After he completes the task he needs to find and complete another task to continue earning wages. These types of jobs rely on continuous labor. There is no potential for passive income. The author explains that even professionals with advanced degrees and credentials largely fail to leverage their time. Take accountants for example – preparing one tax return = one payment.
DeMarco acknowledges that his message will always remain an unpopular one, compared to “The Slowlane” mantra. The Slowlane mantra says, “get a job, contribute to your 401k, live below your means, and things will be great.” DeMarco says, “Screw the stock market. Become a producer of something you can inventory.” Rather than relying on the stock market, The Millionaire Fastlane tells us to rely on ourselves to build wealth.
The Millionaire Fastlane provides as an inspirational wake-up call reminding us to focus on income that we can create without a proportional sacrifice of our time. The time we have may be our most valuable asset, but time-to-income ratios aren’t discussed when analyzing a future career or vocation. Instead, we are held to a limiting standard of dollar cost averaged investments that will only make us wealthy in 30 years. DeMarco brilliantly explains that if you divert away from The Slowlane consumer-oriented lifestyles, then you can achieve the life you actually want.
I give The Millionaire Fastlane a solid rating of 4 out of 5 stars. I recommend this book to anyone interested in wealth-building philosophies or personal finance in general. Though DeMarco makes certain contentions throughout the book that I don’t agree with, his ideals are consistent and well thought out. While this book is predominantly geared towards those with an entrepreneurial spirit, I feel that it has something to offer anyone.
If you are less interested in entrepreneurship and more interested in a more traditional approach wealth-building, I recommend giving The Millionaire Next Door a try. This book offers insight into wealth-building in a more mainstream and relatable manner.