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- My dad and I read The First in a Million to learn about financial independence.
- I learned that early retirement is possible and that you can become financially independent without going to college.
- I also learned about the importance of housebreaking strategy and organization.
A few months ago, my dad and I read The First in a Million by Dan Shix. A Teen’s Guide to Financial Independence” book as part of our school curriculum. We have also read other financial books but none of them have. stayed with me as much as this one.
When I read it for the first time when I was 16, I learned four things in particular.
1. It is possible to retire years ahead of schedule
One of the first things we learned in The First Million was the concept of FI, which stands for Financial Independence. Being financially independent means you save enough money where you don’t have to work if you don’t want to.
If you’re FI, you might as well be FIRE, which stands for Financial Independence / Retire Early. I’m still not sure if I want to retire early, but it sure would be nice to have that option. The book presents the four mechanisms of FI.
- Earn more. Work harder and smarter to earn more money now.
- Spend less. Earning more money is no use if you can’t control your spending. By spending less on the things that don’t matter, make sure you have money left over for the things that matter to you.
- Keep the difference. If you regularly save the difference between your income and your expenses, you’ll have emergency savings to fall back on if you need it.
- Invest wisely. If you don’t want to work the rest of your life, you need a way to grow the money you already have. That’s where the investment comes in. It’s a good way to grow your money if you do it right.
The four mechanics of FI really make sense to me because I think they really help break down something that can seem a little confusing into a few simple steps.
2. There are alternatives to going to college
First in a Million explains that there are alternatives to college. Growing up, we mostly hear how we should get good grades in school, go to a good college, and work until we’re 65 or older.
But that’s not the only way to do things. There are many other ways to make money, such as starting your own business or getting a job that doesn’t require a college degree.
3. Housebreaking is one means of initiation
Another thing I really enjoyed learning about is called “home hacking”. House hacking is when you rent out part of your home and use the rent you receive to pay your mortgage. You do this as long as you don’t live there for free.
I know someone who bought an apartment building, lived in one building and rented out the others. This is a very good way to start your FI journey. You can live in a place for almost free and you can even earn money every month.
4. It’s important to be organized
My family has always been very punctual and organized. One way to do this is to use an app called Todoist to keep track of what you need to do each day. You can set tasks for yourself and check them off when you’re done. This really helps me stay organized and gives me the satisfaction of getting things done.
You can be the smartest person in the world, but if you’re not organized, it’s a lot harder to get things done. In the back of First to a Million is a list of what you need to do to become a FI starting in your sophomore year of high school. There isn’t always an exact set of steps to take to become an FI, but this checklist has really helped me buckle down and start my FI journey.
I think the best thing about First in a Million is that each chapter has an example from someone who is either already financially independent or on their FI journey. I loved hearing these stories about real people who were able to work hard and achieve their goals. I learned so much about finances from reading this book and I believe that one day I too will be financially independent.