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73 of 76 people found the following review helpful
on March 29, 2004
Although the book is well written, there are several problems with the ideas presented in it. I'm very skeptical of the reviewers who gave it a glowing review. Although it's an exciting concept that you can be an automatic millionaire, once you look into it a little deeper (which I suspect none of the reviewers did, if indeed they are true reviewers), the outcome is not so rosy, and is based on certain assumptions.
One of the major problems with this book is the oft-repeated assumption that your investments will make 10%. In a time with historically low interest rates and a struggling economy, achieving a 10% return is not easy these days. Many of the numbers in the book (e.g. how much money you will have if you invest $5 a day for 35 years) are based on this rate of return.
Secondly, the author does not often reveal how he gets his magic numbers. He shows no formulas, yet lots of dollar figures and a few tables. How can the reader confirm the numbers he comes up with? I feel like I'm reading a scientific report, with no way to confirm the test results in my own lab!
Also, the term "automatic millionaire" only seems to apply to those who can save 10 to 20 percent of their pre-tax (gross) income. How many people can do that? Certainly not those who are living paycheque to paycheque, which many people are.
The author advocates saving 10 to 20 percent of your gross income , and THEN adding extra, regular payments to your mortgage to pay it off sooner. If you can afford to actually do both of these things, you are better off than most people. Secondly, this plan of attack is not such a clear cut solution; there are many financial experts who recommend that you should pay off this large debt first (and I've seen compelling, REPEATABLE calculations which support this method), and then start saving money when your mortgae is paid off early. If I followed the advice in this book, I'd still be paying my mortgage after I retired, which is a position NO ONE should be in.
My advice: if you want to read this book, balance the advice by reading other financial books which support the mortgage first theory (I'm not going to say which ones, lest anyone think I'm trying to promote a specific author).
I read the book in a day, made some notes, and returned it.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on October 26, 2006
I have read many books of this type. I was very disappointed in this book. It merely reiterates the time old adages of: pay your self first; pay off your credit cards; pay down your mortgage; and buy one coffee a day, instead of two.

In my opinion, it is only a watered-down version of "The Wealthy Barber". The ideas in "The Automatic Millionaire" are solid advice, but have been written many times in many other books. Unfortunately I found no new ideas in the book, nor were there many helpful suggestions that could have been mentioned.

This book might be helpful to someone just entering the workforce who has very little financial knowledge.

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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on April 17, 2004
I like Bach's style. He's snappy and to the point. I bought the book thinking my two kids could learn a few things, and with the catchy title, both gave it a thumbs up. So, while there's certainly nothing new or earth-shattering in these pages, it's a great book for first-timers. And I would especially recommend it for young people who are just starting to think about their financial future.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 19, 2009
This is mostly just financial common sense, but for those who live the "paycheck to paycheck, rent an apartment, eat out every meal, and finance everything on credit cards that are $1000's of dollars over the limit" type lifestyle, then they should read it... it's pretty short at approx 200 pgs, plus there's lots of charts & diagrams, so you can practically read the whole thing in a sitting or two.

His main message is basically "be disciplined, live within your means, and pay yourself first" (i.e. homeownership & RRSP's).

The most interesting parts are where they actually do the math to show you the breakdown for investments & mortgages over the long-term, etc. they show you what the difference actually costs with the amortization over 25 yrs vs 15 yrs... or how much just a bit more in your RRSP works to your favour over the long-haul, etc. Kinda interesting, but outside of some of the mathematical specifics, there's nothing in this book most of those who manage their money reasonably couldn't have written. Like some others, I'd love to know how anyone can average the kind of interest rates he uses for his stats...
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on December 2, 2005
This is a well writing, motivational book, written to motivate the obsessed consumer to save some money. The information is nothing new, and I personally came to the same conclusions David Bach has, all by myself while taking an economics course in high school, at the age of sixteen. I have also read David Chilton's "The Wealthy Barber", which is a far superior book, with the same timeless message.
After finishing the book I felt ripped off, what a complete waste you of my time. So I decided to search the book and the internet to find out what credentials Mr. Bach has. I have found NOTHING, which brings me to the only reasonable conclusion.
The promise this book makes is untrue, and it isn't worth the paper it is printed on. The only reason I gave it one star is that there is no zero on the rating scale. This book in my opinion is nothing more than 'snake oil'. David Bach has not impressed me and I would dismiss any of his thoughts and opinions. I will never read anything with his name on it again, and would not recommend his advice, articles or books to anyone.
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on March 10, 2005
The main advice found in David Bach's "The Automatic Millionaire" is eerily similar to the main message from David Chilton's "The Wealthy Barber": Pay Yourself First. However, Bach goes a little bit further than Chilton with his second rule: Make It Automatic.
"The Automatic Millionaire" is a breeze to read (it took me less than 2 hours) and its content is easy to understand, even if you don't know anything about financial investments. Bach uses the example of a couple (the McIntyres) that never made much money, but still managed to retire early with plenty of money to go around (another point in common with "The Wealthy Barber"), and this real-life example really helps Bach drive his point home.
The beauty of Bach's book is that it is adapted to all the electronic payment options that are now available to most Canadians. Bach clearly explains how we can pay ourselves first and he manages to explain complex concepts with simple examples.
The downside of this book is that it does not offer much advice about retirement investment options, but there are plenty of other books that do.
If you think you can't afford to put any money away for retirement right now, you NEED to buy this book as soon as possible. It will prove to you that you can't afford NOT TO!
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on May 25, 2010
I noticed that a lot of people criticized this book in their reviews because of the lack of formulas, tables and significant examples sometimes, and I too felt that David Bach could have added some, but this book is still a great one.
I think the basic idea behind the book is not to overwhelm the readers with numbers, graphs and tables like some other books but to show you how you can build wealth and succeed in life following a few basic steps and a proven general approach towards money.
If you want to be picky with number crunching grab a calculator and do the maths yourself. This book was just meant to show you how to become an automatic millionaire, not a CFA!

Briefly, I'd say that it's great book for beginners in the subject but also a good motivational reading for people with already a certain knowledge in personal finance. It might lack a bit of details and numbers for some, but I still think it worth reading for about anybody.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 14, 2008
Great for beginner. No miracle solution, only the basic; save 10% of your money, invest in RRSP, time is your friend (compound interest). But if it's so easy, why aren't we all doing it. Love it. Very easy to read also
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on January 21, 2004
Wow! What a book! A standing ovation! David Bach turned the dull, confusing and complicated subject of money - and the lack of it - and made it simple, powerful, and illuminating. I have felt for many years that I had no place to go for the answers to MY finances. Through his book, he personally guided me step by step into investments, savings, debt-reduction and home-ownership. I have received great revelations from this book, and my mind has been transformed into rethinking money. My husband and I will be millionaires because of this well written, life-changing book!
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on February 10, 2005
Let me sum up this book for anyone that really wants to know what it is all about. Basically the one-step plan to live and finish rich is to save money. Basically this book is a knock off of the richest man in babylon, where the concept is pay yourself first, and try to make it at least the first 10% of your gross income. This is a very powerful concept which everyone should follow, but just read the classic on the topic it is a much better book.
The automatic millionaire then recommends that this forced savings should go into your RRSP because it grows tax free, and the government gives you a tax break. Which is true but this is far from a new concept.
The other shockingly bold advice givin in this book is to pay off your mortgage as fast as possible. Increase the frequency of your payments(bi-weekly), and have a flexible mortgage so that you can put all of your excess money, especially around when you get your tax refunds because of your RRSP contribution, towards the principle on your mortgage. Ohh by the way he also recommends owing real estate, as opposed to renting. I know I know, boldly new advice.
He also talks about his patented "latte factor", which basically boils down to monitoring your spending habits. All the little expenses add up and over time saving this money can make you a millionaire. So brown bag it and only buy what you can afford.
The major flaw I see with his "advise" is that all of his numbers are based on high rates of return. Today it is hard to achieve 10% rates of return with the "financial advice" being give out. Most people go to "financial institutions" and those wonderful places try to SELL you whatever is best for them. Whatever has the highest commision and management fees usually is what is "recommended". On a sidenote does anyone ever wonder why "financial institutions" never recommend index funds like the s&p 500 which beats 95% or better of all mutual funds. I wonder if it could have something to do with a lack of commisions and management fees??? Just a guess
I would say that this book is good if you are completely financially illiterate. I borrowed this book from the library and I felt like I got ripped off at that price. I could only imagine how I would have felt if I purchased this book.
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