The Automatic Millionaire

ISBN: 0385661495
ISBN 13: 9780385661492
By: David Bach

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Reader's Thoughts


This is one of the best personal finance books I've ever read. It is simple and straightforward. Even though I'd heard much of this advice before, the simplicity of this book has inspired me in ways I haven't been before. Is it brilliantly written? no. But I found it ridiculously useful.


This is a difficult book to rate. Informationally, it should get a 5. For ease of understanding, it should get a 5. But as a "good read," well, much of the first half read like an annoying infomercial and that really bugged. I also don't like phrases like "get rich."So, it's weird that I read this book. I did so at the suggestion of a friend, otherwise I never would have given it a thought. (Thank you, Katrina!) I began skeptically, but this ended up being the very book I needed to read, for me and for my marriage. Dear Phil has been patiently waiting 15-1/2 years for me to have any inkling about finances and planning. Nothing in this book was new to him, but it was a complete revelation to me. Knowing what I now know, I am amazed that Phil has stayed married to me this long!!!!! What a real man.This is going to be required high school reading for graduation from our homeschool. I truly wish I had understood all of this as a college student. Thankfully, Phil DID understand it as a college student and he's quietly tried to do what he could without me being "on board." Now life should get better for him.


This is the most helpful financial book I have ever read. It is easy to understand and fun to read. I am already excited to start building my wealth.

Carrie Rose

This book is based on the solid and wise financial principles of saving money and compound interest. However, despite the excellent foundation of the book, David Bach manages to say some fairly dumb things.The chapter on homeownership is the most egregious example. This book was written during what we now know was a major housing bubble, and a few years after this book was published, home prices plummeted and foreclosures soared. But in his book, David Bach proposes that you CANNOT get rich as a renter and that you must buy a home using any means possible. He actually addresses the concern that real estate might be in a bubble - and he dismisses it as false! He suggests that people can afford to spend at least 29% of their gross income on house payments (I think 29% is wiser as an upper limit, not a lower limit) and that down payments aren't really necessary. He downplays the risk of foreclosure. Of course, a lot of people were misled during the housing boom, so out of curiosity, I checked out Bach's website to see if he acknowledged his mistake. From what I could see, it looks like he's still claiming that homeownership is a necessary part of becoming rich. I don't think he should tell everyone to rent, but he's far too extreme in his push for buying homes.Bach also made some claims that I disagreed with but weren't as dramatically dumb. For example, he discourages budgets because they're unpleasant. His alternative idea is that people should just decide how much to save and have it automatically put aside, then never touch it. He claims that after a few months, you won't even notice the drop in income from setting money aside. I think this technique will work for some people, particularly people who are saving only small amounts. But people who follow all his recommendations (retirement savings, an emergency fund, mortgage payments, and charitable contributions) in the amounts he recommends will be putting aside more than half their gross incomes! I'm pretty sure they'll notice the difference. In fact, after paying taxes, these people might be struggling just to buy food and put gas in their cars. But if you figure that realistically, nobody will follow all the advice in the book immediately, Bach's ideas could work well. And anyone who did manage to save as much as Bach recommends over a length of time certainly would become rich. I just don't buy the way Bach plays up the positives and downplays the negatives, and the way he insists that his ideas (like homeownership and no budget) are the ONLY way to go.In summary, the book is like a silly infomercial for a good product.

Andy Valen

It couldn't be any easier to save for retirement, or save in general. This truly is a one step why is the book 200 pages? Because one page books don't sell. Read this as your only David Bach book, because his other ones are just rehashing the same thing without the automatic part. The Latte Factor is interesting...if you buy a Latte from starbucks every work day for a year, you should stop. You should invest that money in an account and yield 10% interest on it annually. If you are in your 20's then this should add over a half million to your retirement (if you ignore taxes). But his point was more along the lines of, look - you spend so much moneyon crap you don't need to be spending it on...stop wasting it and start investing it.

Molly Murphy

Put financial savings as a priority. This book was a great motivator and teaches you strategies to find money to save and how to put it on autopilot.

Erika B. (Snogging on Sunday Books)

I'll remember all your kindness when I become an automatic millionaire.

Migelle Dominic

I chose the guidebook, "The Automatic Millionaire: A Pwerful One-Step to Live and Finish Rich" by David Bach, because I'm the type of person that plans ahead for the future. To be able to predict what'll happen and to be independent, supporting myself such as being financially stable. The story includes the Mcintyres, an ordinary looking family that were actually well off into their retirement for a permanent vacation. They benefited from David's lessons to become an automatic millionaire and they are set for life while they are still in their 50's. They are only one of many, and it's many more that were impacted by David Bach to be financial wise, be richer and enjoy life worry-free. "The idea was identical. If we saved a few dollars a day, we could eventually buy our own home." It seems simple enough, but the power to be dedicated and have enough sheer will power to do so challenged me to try it and I'll be looking forward to how much I invested. It's the idea that money we spend on little things like coffee and cigarettes shouldn't be wasted and should rather be saved for a better benefit than taking in dose of essentials every now and then. The words the author used were very demanding, but also encouraging,it wasn't all too confusing and was very straight forward. The words used was leveled for young-adult readers. I would recommend this book to anyone in general, it wouldn't hurt anyone to gain money, depending how much. The point is, with the lessons learned from this book, anyone can become an automatic millionaire.

Diana Bogan

I guess in principle I agree with the steps in this book. I've cut out all "extras" as in, no dining out, no extracurricular activities for the kids, and the biggest accomplishment NO Credit Card debt. But I don't own a home and I still live dollar to dollar with no hope of "paying myself first" into an early retirement. As a writer and editor based in FL I've never been paid a wage I can live off of let alone save off of - not even a penny's worth of wiggle room. I bought the book years ago, when it came out in Hardcover and Bach was making rounds on Oprah and Today. While I am free of credit cards, I'm still nowhere near becoming an "automatic millionaire." Not that I necessarily strive for millions, but having a savings account might be nice.


The Automatic Millionaire is a popular personal finance guide geared toward beginners that, despite having some good advice, fails to be a solid finance book due to two major issues.First, the first impression one gets is that this book reads like a late night infomercial. Had I picked this book up at a bookstore I would've put it down after reading the first few pages. I was able to make it through the book by ignoring the snazzy marketing-speak; and that's no small feat. I felt like the whole time I was being sold some sort of Ronco product, and that made me feel dirty and dishonest on Bach's behalf. That style of writing only succeeds in turning off your readers.Second, Bach misleads his readers by suggesting they forgo a planed budget. His point is that if you do a written budget you'll fail to pay yourself first. For beginning personal financiers, that is a risk of budgeting your paycheck, but there is a way around it . Bach should suggest people pay themselves first, then budget with what's left. This approach is not only more holistic, but it also teaches first-timers the importance of actually knowing where money is coming from and where it ends up.


I would recommend this book to the complete novice, if you want to learn some very simple things that you can do to help you secure your retirement then read this book. If however, you want to really understanding investing, and finance this probably isn't the best book.The book has a few good tips that work for everyone:1: Pay yourself first (A common recommendation)2: Pay your mortgage bi-weekly (could reduce it by 5-10 years)3: Put away 10% of your money4: Tithe5: Always save some, even if you have debt, while debt reduction should be a priority, having a little cash will help to avoid future debt.The book also some tips that I don't agree with:1: Buy a home (This book was pre-bust) not all people benefit from home ownership and it's not something to be undertaken lightly. While there are *many* benefits, sometimes renting works for certain types of people and areas.2: Pay your credit cards with the lowest amount left first... While this is great psychologically, I would argue that you should probably pay the one's with the largest interest rate first. What if your lowest card has a 0% rate and the one with the highest balance has a 20% rate? You'd be much better off chipping away at that 20% card :)3: His assessments on when you will be a millionaire on $5 a day is based on 10% annual return, which by the way is better than the stock market (based on the S&p 500 avg for 50 years) long term average which happens to be arguably the best long term investment in terms of returns. How does he suggest you do this? Mutual funds... small problem being that somewhere in the 85%+ range of mutual funds _fail_ to even meet, much less beat the market. Even the ones that do often charge an annual fee as well as front/rear loads that can chip away at that rate. More importantly, just because the fund earns 10%, doesn't mean you will :) That's the money the fund earns *before* all of the costs. According to Warren Buffet, and Charlie Munger, and John Bogle (He's biased as he did create it...) the best investment for someone who doesn't want to learn, would be an S&p 500 index fund that simply tracks the market. These tend to have the lowest fees possible and essentially guarantee roughly the same rate of return that the overall market returns.In summary, this is a good book for someone who wants an easy way to guarantee some retirement and move in a more fiscally responsible direction. This is not, however, in my opinion the bible on this subject, nor is it the final word. While I do like his automatic payments structure, and do agree with that logic, I think the investment strategies need a little more depth and experience.

Anthony Deluca

The Automatic MillionaireBy: David BachCopyright 2003Reviewed May 2008Listened to Unabridged AudiobookThe automatic millionaire is an excellent, practical book that will indeed instruct anyone how they can become a millionaire. In my subjective opinion, however, the younger one is, the easier it will be to make this work well. Also, some minimal level of income will help too. BUT, I recommend this book to EVERYONE who is not already independently wealthy.The book basically illustrates how one can mass a ton of savings in their lifetime and retire with plenty of money in the bank. This revolves around saving at least ten percent of your income… and not just manually putting it away each month, but automating the process of filling this repository of savings. A typical hard-working American couple in their early fifties is used as the example throughout this book.Techniques mentioned in the book include: The Latte Factor: Instead of spending just a few dollars each day on frivolous items, such as a $3.50 Latte, save that money. charts are given to show the mass amount of investment savings to which this can lead.; Pay yourself first: In other words make the redirection of money into your saving happen before any other redirection of funds, even taxes, occurs to your paycheck.; Make paying your self automatic: Don’t count on yourself to manually make a transfer, instead having this money redirection be automatic so you never have to think about it.; Don’t buy anything with credit other than a house: You cannot invest and save well if you are paying interest charges on non-investment items.The only thing I did not like about this book was the drawn out introduction where Bach kept saying over and over again how his plan is practical and works, but without starting to explain his plan. In conclusion, however, even with the few negatives I mentioned this is an excellent, insightful, inspiring publication that would be useful to all.

Anita Renaghan

This is a great book for anyone looking for a financial plan. I remember seeing David Bach on Oprah a decade ago, and his ideas are very good for practical application. If you want to retire with some cash in your pocket and before you are 70 years old, read this book, even if you are 20 years old right now. Especially if you are 20 years old right now.


The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach is another book recommended by the financial planner Husband and I want to go see. It was an easy read and the principles he sets forth are so simple to to and keep doing. The trick is to make everything AUTOMATIC.Pay your bills automatically using a bill pay service. Pay yourself through payroll deduction so that you never see it. What you see you don't miss. How to pay your mortgage off quick and easy. How to get out of credit card debt quick and easy and still save money. He shows how investing early pays of big in the long run, bigger than if you start late and invest continuously. I wish I had read this book when I was still a teenager. Some of the things Husband and I hadn't done yet, and we have already corrected that. Some things we didn't have to worry about b/c we have no credit card debt. We do have a car loan and a lease payment, but we have a plan to get that taken care of fast. (Anybody want to buy our 69 GTO? She's a beauty!) We've decided that any future car purchases are going to be cash and only cash or otherwise it is a no go. We already have a plan in effect for paying our mortgage off early, but it reinforced to me that I was doing something right. I would recommend anybody, regardless of age and income status to read this book, it will change your life.


This book made me rethink all my views on money. It was also the impetus to get me focused financially.

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