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The Automatic Millionaire

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The Automatic Millionaire

A Powerful One-Step Plan to Live and Finish Rich

Broadway Books,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Becoming a millionaire by the time you retire is easier than swallowing water.

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Did you know that you don’t need a big salary to become a millionaire, and that a carefully organized budget and intense willpower aren’t even necessary? All it takes, says David Bach, is a simple one-step plan. Follow it to become an “automatic millionaire.” Bach’s save-your-pennies book is straightforward and sensible – though it predates the recent economic downturn. It comes complete with helpful tables and charts. He details how someone with an average income can eventually amass wealth through automatic savings. getAbstract finds it hard to argue with his basic, common-sense principles: Save steadily, avoid credit card debt, and so on. But Bach gives little weight to various real-life scenarios that can throw a money wrench into the most sensible savings plans. For example, what happens if you lose your job, get seriously ill or find that your home is depreciating? (In fact, he says U.S. houses double in value over five years. Alas, that’s not the case in many places at the moment.) What about folks with erratic incomes who can’t make automatic savings payments – the locus classicus of Bach’s plan? What if 15% of your paycheck just doesn’t add up to enough accrual? That’s not to mention that Bach’s instruction to invest at a 10% return, which is not an easy score to achieve these days. Do your own math. Despite his occasionally utopian tone, Bach does provide solid information on how to build wealth. You can only benefit from his concrete, logical suggestions on how to get rich, slowly.


Jim McIntyre, a middle-aged utility company manager who earns the relatively commonplace salary of around $40,000 annually, is a bona fide “automatic millionaire.” In his neat, short-sleeved dress shirt, McIntyre seems far more like an “average Joe” than a plutocrat. What is McIntyre’s secret? “The McIntyres don’t do doubt,” Jim’s wife Sue explains. They save automatically. They own their home free and clear, along with a second home that they rent out for $26,000 annually. By the time he turned 52, McIntyre’s 401(k) balance was worth $610,000. His wife owns two retirement accounts worth $72,000. The McIntyres have $160,000 in municipal bonds and $62,500 in savings. And as icing on the cake, they own three cars (paid off), and a boat. All in all, their net worth is close to $2 million. How did they become so wealthy?

No, they did not inherit money. Their parents were not rich, but they did pass along some levelheaded ideas about handling money. They advised, “Every time you earn a dollar, you should make sure to pay yourself first.” This comes before paying bills or buying things. At first, Jim and Sue tried to work within a budget, but it proved to be an endless ...

About the Author

David Bach is the author of Smart Women Finish Rich, Smart Couples Finish Rich and The Finish Rich Workbook. Bach hosts a radio show that is syndicated throughout the U.S. He regularly conducts financial seminars across North America.

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