Book review: “Eventual Millionaire”

There are many personal finance books and tools out there that are useful to people in all stages of personal finance. I have a lot to learn before reaching financial independence, and the editorial elves thought it would be helpful if I shared some of what I learn with you.

My recent reviews include “Personal Finance for Dummies, Fifth edition,” by Eric Tyson, MBA. This week, I'm reviewing “The Eventual Millionaire: How Anyone can be an Entrepreneur and Successfully Grow their own Start-up” by Jaime Tardy, who has previously guest-posted right here on Get Rich Slowly. After finding out that corporate America wasn't all it's cracked up to be and racking up significant debt (~$70,000) while on a six-figure salary, Tardy left that world behind to focus on being happy.

However, she wouldn't mind being happy and being a millionaire. Who would? Today she runs the website EventualMillionaire.com. She's interviewed over a hundred millionaires to track down some common denominators in financial success, and this book shares her discoveries with you.

Philosophy behind the book

As mentioned above, Tardy was miserable in her corporate job. When she left, she decided to focus first on creating a career that made her happy. Once she'd done that, she got ambitious again. Was there a way to combine work she loved with traditional financial success?

Her conclusion was that yes, it is possible. However, if you're not willing to sacrifice friends, family, or hobbies (in other words, if work-life balance is important to you) then becoming wealthy is probably going to take longer. You might get rich slowly, in fact! She believes that this is not only healthier for your psyche, but increases the chance that you will become a “moral millionaire” who helps others (instead of a Scrooge).

The book's chapters cover topics like:

  • Becoming debt free

  • Facing fear

  • Finding an idea

  • Finding a mentor and building a network

  • Business plans

  • Setting and achieving goals

  • Being patient

There are also case studies with actual millionaires to give you an idea of how other people have put these principles to work in their own lives. Case studies are important, but not for the reason you may think. As someone who spent several years teaching writing at the university level, I know that the goal for many teachers is to give their students transferable skills.

What does that mean exactly? In the case of “Eventual Millionaire,” it means that everyone's situation is different. No one is going to have exactly the same interests, skills, and resources that you do. Similarly, you're not going to be able to replicate someone else's success exactly. The trick is learning what you can from others and adapting that to your own life.

In other words, while this book is intended to make some connections and give you some guidelines, it's not going to do the work for you. Taking action is your job. You can be intimidated by that … or inspired by it. Tardy votes for inspiration.

What I didn't like

OK, OK, I guess I'm a cynic. There was a lot of focus on happiness and how to find it that came across as hokey to me. I am a little suspicious of the idea that everyone can be fulfilled through their work. On the other hand, just because your work isn't your “one true happiness,” that doesn't mean that you can't find something that you enjoy and find value in. To be fair, Tardy does come to this conclusion eventually. For me, it just came a bit late in the book.

Similarly, the section on overcoming your fears seemed a bit contrived to me as well. How, exactly, does one harness fear in order to overcome it? Accept the fear and let it pass? Engage in visioning with meditation? That kind of language makes me feel squicky. I acknowledge, though, that this may just be my own preference.

I tend to be more inspired by Ramit Sethi's sarcasm than I do by a sense of gentle and supportive guidance. After all, one of my own business ideas is for gym equipment with motion sensors that automatically mocks anyone who walks by. However, just because the self-help-y and optimistic tone of Tardy's book doesn't appeal to me doesn't mean it won't work for you, so take this critique with a grain of salt.

What I loved

I really enjoyed the chapter on paying off debt. Tardy and her husband got rid of a brand new car (that they were under water on) to decrease the amount of money they owed. They changed their auto insurance coverage and their cell phone plans. They set a budget and tracked their spending.

There's nothing earth-shattering about any of it. However, as one of the early chapters it went a long way toward establishing credibility. If Tardy cut back her spending using normal, common-sense methods, then it stands to reason that her entrepreneurial advice isn't coming out of left field. And in the finding-ideas chapter, things remain pretty practical. According to Tardy, millionaires who own their own businesses use three main strategies:

  • Use the skill their day job employs them to do, but strike out on their own.

  • Identify an unmet need in their own lives, find a way to meet that need, and reach out to others who are likely to have that same unmet need.

  • Talk to other people to find out what they need and find a way to provide it.

She also talks about committing to one idea instead of bailing the instant something's not successful. That has to be balanced, however, with not picking (or sticking with) an idea that's clearly not working just because you're emotionally attached to it. Talking to other people is the best way to get grounded about whether your pet project is actually something that is valuable to others.

And of course I loved the case studies. There was a wide array of industries and individuals represented. Fascinating stuff!

Who should read “Eventual Millionaire”

Despite my pooh-pooh-ing of the optimistic tone of this book, it does contain a ton of examples of what worked for other people. This book might be for you if you are inspired by others' success (without expecting to replicate it exactly), enjoy worksheets and lists of action items (without getting bogged down in them and failing to follow through on the big stuff), and have always wanted to start your own business.

Anyone out there read “Eventual Millionaire”? What did you think? Are there other books for aspiring entrepreneurs you would recommend?

A note about swag: While I was provided with a free copy of this book for review purposes, I am not affiliated in any way with Jaime Tardy or her publisher, and my opinions are entirely my own.

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Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life
Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life
6 years ago

I think the point about committing to a single idea, having patience, and not bailing when the going gets tough is a great point. I think most people fail with their goals because they abandon them before following through and seeing the payoff.

MoneyAhoy
MoneyAhoy
6 years ago

Stefanie,

I agree with you 100% I’m reading the book no Think and Get Rich that talks about most millionaires were about to give up when they were literally days away from striking it big. That’s what separates the normal folks from the rich ones – they are willing to stick with their commitments through thick and thin.

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
6 years ago
Reply to  MoneyAhoy

The only thing that separates “the rich” from “normal folks” is that they have more money. The rest is hocus-pocus, anecdotal evidence, and confirmation bias.

Laura
Laura
6 years ago

Thanks, Honey, for a very well-written and balanced review. I will have to pick this one up and check out her blog.

Brian@ Debt Discipline
[email protected] Debt Discipline
6 years ago

I have not read it, but will add it to my reading list. One of my favorite books is the “Millionaire Next Door”

Nick
Nick
6 years ago

Thanks for the great review. I will definitely check the book out. Eventual Millionaire is a great title.

Alex @ Credit Card XPO
Alex @ Credit Card XPO
6 years ago

Great review on this interesting title. I will definitely check out this book. Thanks.

phoenix1920
phoenix1920
6 years ago

This review seemed to focus so much on the reviewer’s personal feelings as to the tone of the book and doesn’t provide me with much information as to the actual book itself. There is a brief reference to worksheets and lists, but doesn’t provide any information at all as to the context of these items–I love lists and worksheets if the subject can be useful to me, but I have no context as to the subject of these items. Is this book about how to find and commit to your business (which I have no interest in)? Or is it… Read more »

Honey Smith
Honey Smith
6 years ago
Reply to  phoenix1920

I would say the book is mostly aimed at those who want to be entrepreneurs, but aren’t currently. It’s all about setting yourself up to take the plunge. While other topics (like getting out of debt and investing) are mentioned, they’re not the focus of the book.

Honey Smith
Honey Smith
6 years ago
Reply to  phoenix1920

That said, since this is one of the few books I’ve ever read that stresses the importance of transferable skills (though I don’t think she calls it that), the open-minded and ambitious should be able to find something useful 😉

phoenix1920
phoenix1920
6 years ago
Reply to  Honey Smith

Thanks for the additional info!

John Schneider
John Schneider
6 years ago

Interesting review and, to me, it sounds like an interesting book. Many moons ago, a boss of mine told me to find out what successful people do and do it. For this reason, I’ll check out this book. Learning what millionaires know is valuable. Thanks for the info and preview.

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
6 years ago

I remember reading the article and Jamie’s blog some time ago. I did enjoy the fact that she actually went and found people who had made a lot of money. It’s a good empirical approach. I think the limit is that self-reporting is in itself biased, so that successful people might attribute their success to positive personal qualities (e.g. perseverance, good judgment, etc) rather than negative ones (“I paid bribes” “I sabotaged my competition” “I ripped off someone else’s patent”), or to non-meritorious factors like sheer luck, randomness, family connections, etc. See more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_desirability_bias Still, limits and all, there… Read more »

KC in ATX
KC in ATX
6 years ago

I love to listen to the Eventual Millionaire podcast, where Jamie interviews millionaires. They’re pretty much all entrepreneurs, and while I don’t have an entrepreneurial bone in my body, I still found them very interesting and insightful. Based on those interviews alone, the thing that sets millionaires apart from the rest of us is that they have fantastic ideas or fantastic talent. They either think up a truly valuable service, or create a truly valuable product. And then they’re entirely dedicated to making that a success (i.e. 80 hour work weeks). Somewhere on her site, you’ll find an entry where… Read more »

Tony @ Outsmarting the System
Tony @ Outsmarting the System
5 years ago

Thank you, Honey, for posting such an excellent review! I enjoyed the book’s focus on becoming an entrepreneur. The optimism was a bit heavy at times, but it was nice.

Would you be interested in reading a copy of my book, Outsmarting the System? I’d be honored if you’d consider posting a review of it after you read it? It complements many of the ideas you expressed. It teaches people how to lower their taxes and reach financial freedom in the same way as the rich.

Let me know if you’re interested. Thanks!

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