Book review: A Million Bucks by 30


I'm embarrassed to admit that I spent Friday night curled up in bed with a personal finance book -- I swear, I'm not normally that lame. But Alan Corey's first book, A Million Bucks By 30: How to Overcome a Crap Job, Stingy Parents, and a Useless Degree to Become a Millionaire Before (or After) Turning Thirty, is probably the best introductory/inspirational personal finance book for young people.

As the title suggests, Mr. Corey had relatively little going for him when he decided, at the age of 22, that he wanted to become a millionaire by age 30. His book is an account of how he did it earning $40 thousand a year as a customer service representative -- He lived cheap (Ramen noodles -- Yum), studied investments, contributed dutifully to his 401(k) and ROTH IRA and, eventually made it big in New York real estate during the heart of the housing boom. He even bought his own bar.

What's refreshing is that Corey has no illusions about being brilliant -- The factors that contributed to his success were self-confidence, resilience, a strong work ethic, a willingness to study business, and a super-human stinginess.

This is also one of the funniest personal finance books out there and some of his advice borders on the unethical and much of it is probably not stuff you'd pull out of Ms. Manners: He pretended to be a journalist to get free tickets to an OutKast concert, gets umbrellas by going into restaurants and pretending he lost one, and isn't ashamed to pull the ol' "three movies for the price of one" trick at the movie theater.

His ethical shortcomings aside -- They're minor enough that they're mostly charming -- this is a book that will entertain, inform, and inspire any aspiring millionaire. His youthful voice makes it the personal finance book of choice for the college-age crowd.

At just $11.16 on Amazon, it's worth buying copies for any young people you care about.