Financial Freedom Book Review: The Must Read Personal Finance Book Of 2019
The book Financial Freedom by Grant Sabatier is the perfect blend of being a comprehensive guide to building wealth and also a motivational tool to living a rich, fulfilling life on your own terms. It’s one of the best personal finance books I’ve ever read and toned perfectly to fit the mindset of the current generation.
Is it a one size fits all book? No, it’s near impossible to do that with personal finances. However, based on where I’m at in my life and the level of detail, data and first-hand experience Grant shares in Financial Freedom, it really resonated with me.
It might not for you and the concepts shared may differ from your views, lifestyle and financial situation.
And that’s okay, personal finances are personal.
For those looking to master their money and truly motivated to take on the challenge of reaching financial freedom, this book can be a perfect aid to you.
Grant takes you through a blueprint outlining the fundamental concepts of managing your money, living a rich life on your terms and reaching financial freedom. From saving and investing to growing your income through hacking a career and building entrepreneurial ventures, all boxes are checked.
Financial Freedom: A Proven Path To All The Money You Will Ever Need is a culmination of everything Grant represents. What’s that? Passion, hustle, creative thinking, dedication, expertise, openness, hunger, empowerment, an abundance mindset and so much more.
This is the must read personal finance book of 2019 if you’re ready to pursue financial freedom or inspired to learn more about the path there.
Overview of Grant’s Story and Financial Freedom
For those unfamiliar with Grant’s story and how he ended up penning Financial Freedom, let’s run through the coles notes here.
In 2010, 24-year old Grant Sabatier woke up to find he had $2.26 in his bank account. Five years later, he had a net worth of over $1.25 million, and CNBC began calling him “the Millennial Millionaire.” By age 30, he had reached financial independence.
Grant has been a major inspiration in my own financial and entrepreneurial journey. I power-listened through over 280 episodes of his former podcast Millennial Money Minutes. I’ve also been an avid reader of his blog Millennial Money and recently had the pleasure of getting early access to his book for review.
So what exactly does Financial Freedom cover?
To help highlight just how powerful this book is I will share one or two takeaways and key themes from each of the 14 chapters of Financial Freedom. I won’t give away all the secret sauce and amazing content that Grant has spent countless hours crafting.
That wouldn’t do this book justice.
This book needs to be read cover to cover and word for word.
Chapter 1: Money Is Freedom
Broke, living at home with your parents, jobless (or bouncing around jobs) and at a loss for where to go on the road ahead. It’s a familiar scenario that many far too many of us can relate to after completing our formal education or when looking to find our way in the “real world”.
Stressed and weighed down by financial strain from student loan debt or the pressures of fending for yourself. In the grand scheme of things, we’re often so limited in the control we actually have on our financial future without even knowing it.
Why a lack of control? The state of the economy, the company you work for, government regulations and other factors outside your direct influence are holding your personal finances in balance.
I want to take back the reins of control like Grant did. And I hope you do too.
Money is that freedom and tool to put the balance back in your favour.
This opening chapter helps set the stage for where Grant was in his life in 2010 and where he wants to help take you. From the mindset and struggles similar to those mentioned above through to the transformation and total shift in the road he would pursue. The path from $2.26 to over $1.35 million wasn’t an easy one for Grant. And heck, it won’t be easy for you or I either.
However, the framework outlined by Grant in this book will help ease that journey. An actionable blueprint rooted in first-hand experience. Want to learn more about Grant’s story? Check out this post reviewing chapter 1 and thoughts on how to achieve financial independence.
Chapter 2: Time Is More Valuable Than Money
The relationship between time and money is ever-present as a central theme throughout Financial Freedom. We as humans should be clamoring to take control of our time and money. How we spend it, where we spent it, why we spend it in that manner and understanding the way we actually want to be spending it.
As described by Grant:
The goal of this book is to help you retire as early as possible. When I say retire, I don’t mean that you will never work again, only that you’ll have enough money so that you never have to work again. This is complete financial freedom— the ability to do whatever you want with your time.
The traditional route of getting your career, setting up the match on your company’s retirement plan and then cruising until 65 doesn’t work.
Or it at least shouldn’t be the de facto mindset.
You’re trading away your time in the most optimal years of your life. How much time? The average American works 70,000 to 80,000 hours over the course of their careers. Not to mention the commuting, answering emails at home, stresses of work lying in bed trying to sleep and countless other sacrifices you’re making.
Grant empowers readers to change that mindset around time and money from one of scarcity to one of abundance. Take advantage of the powers of compound interest, don’t put your dreams on the priority list for tomorrow and start to examine the relationship between your time and money with every decision made.
Your time is finite. The ability to make money and take back control of how you spend that time is not.
Chapter 3: What Is Your Number?
The biggest takeaway I had here was the reminder that I need to remain active with the hard numbers behind my finances. I love automation and simplifying the money management system I have in place but “out of sight, out of mind” can’t be an option if you’re looking to hit financial freedom.
Also, personal finances are personal. No two situations are the same and everyone’s lifestyle or specific scenario brings with it a unique set of financial circumstances. You need to find out what your number is and what financial freedom means to you.
What it means to me differs from Grant. And what it means to you differs from me and Grant too.
Grant pulls out the spreadsheets, calculators and hypothetical situations to help you find what your number is. As you navigate through this chapter (since you’re 100% buying this book), take advantage of the free tools on the Financial Freedom website.
This chapter leverages the following free calculators:
This chapter was essentially a thesis paper on the quantitative figures of investing and early retirement. The level of detail and thorough analysis by Grant helped reinforce just how powerful knowing your numbers is.
Chapter 4: Where Are You Now?
If you want to get anywhere as effectively as possible, you need to know where you are right now and where you’re starting from. Whether you’re just starting your journey to financial freedom or half way there, knowing where you stand is essential.
Par for the course of Financial Freedom, Grant provides a granular level of step-by-step support to help you best understand where you are now.
There are two more free calculators connected to this chapter:
Three surefire takeaways from this chapter that can be applicable to anyone:
- Check your emotions at the door when it comes to your money as it won’t always be a steady ride
- Build daily habits that can snowball to improve your finances through comfort and consistency
- Spend five minutes a day with your money to keep it top of mind and at the forefront of priorities
Chapter 5: Next-Level Money
The framework of a proven path to financial freedom is starting to take place now as Grant navigates readers through the journey. We now know where we are, where we want to go and the next step is figuring out how to get there.
The three fundamentals variables to understand that road to freedom are:
- Income: how are you building multiple streams of income, hacking your career and looking to scale entrepreneurial ventures?
- Saving: what is your savings rate (free calculator tool) and how does increasing that impact your number (free tool) and compounding returns by investing as much as possible early?
- Expenses:how are you best managing your expenses and taking best advantage of the variables you can control?
The strategies laid out in this chapter empower you with the understanding and know-how to see the ways in which all three of these variables interact. Maximizing each of these levers is the path to building wealth at the fastest rate possible.
Another theme that is starting to get intertwined throughout Financial Freedom is the concept of the abundance mindset. As opposed to one of scarcity (cutting all costs, focusing only on frugality), the shift to one of abundance is that money is infinite and the opportunities available to you (and everyone else) are plentiful and attainable.
The concepts of Income, Saving and Expenses seem so simple when just listed as three headlines. However, the data points and tactics Grant outlines here are like an MBA in building wealth.
I wish I read this book a decade ago…
Chapter 6: Is It Worth It?
How much is that $15 cocktail purchase actually worth? What impact does that quick tap of the credit card to pay for a $35 meal really mean on your financial journey? Is that $100 pair of shoes worth “x” amount of my time?
It’s not the fact of how much something costs in terms of hard dollars, it’s the amount of time you actually need to work to pay for that. The concepts of rich and freedom isn’t just about the dollars, it’s about that finite resource of time. If you love cocktails, meals and shoes then there is NO SHAME in purchasing those items if they’re bringing value to your life. The goal is to eliminate the things that aren’t bringing you value and also costing you precious time to make up the difference.
This chapter truly helped me reevaluate the way I think about spending my money and the decisions I’m making on where my time is going in accordance with that. The practice of calculating your real hourly rate will shift your entire perspective on spending.
Like a total game-changer.
For example, consider the scenario in the chart below from the book.
A salary of $50,000 annually breaks down to an effective hourly rate of $10.17. Woah, really? Run your numbers and see where you stand in terms of hourly rate.
This concept alone really sparked a shift in how I started thinking about where I spend money. Grant also delivers 11 questions to support your decision making process around buying things to will help you moving forward.
Chapter 7: The Only Budget You’ll Ever Need
The big three expenses are the most influential factors of any budget: housing, transportation and food.
If you hate budgeting and the process of reviewing every purchase and shaming yourself if you overspend or misstep, you can likely just focus on those 3 and make major improvements to your personal finances.
The average American family spent $57,311 in 2016. This includes $7,203 on food, $9,049 on transportation, and $18,886 on housing. This accounts for over 60% of the average household’s budget.
With over 60% focuses into those 3 areas, it clearly provides the biggest opportunity to make adjustments and find bigger savings. Below are some takeaways on the housing and travel budget line items Grant discusses.
Generally the largest of the big three expenses, housing can be a difficult one to control for many. However, because of that large expense it also provides the biggest opportunity for improvement. The specific situation, location and lifestyle you’re experience will differ what might be feasible for you.
But here are three strategies to help mitigate your housings costs:
- House Hacking: The concept of house hacking is one I wish I knew earlier in life to drastically cut that budget item. Read Grant’s article on the subject for further details about using roommates or renting space within your place.
- Downsizing: Living in a smaller apartment in the accumulation phase of your wealth building journey can expedite your timeline.
- House Sitting: One option to live rent free is to seek out house sitting opportunities for homeowners seeking a sitter while they’re on long-term travel.
As an avid traveller who loves to explore this amazing world to meet new people, experience new cultures and enjoy a different perspective, I can wholeheartedly agree with Grant’s thoughts on travel hacking.
Here is some content to get you started on travel hacking:
Chapter 8: Hack Your 9-5
Your full-time job is likely the place you’re spending the most time and energy throughout your day. It’s also likely the highest income stream you have in place (and for the vast majority, may ever have in place).
Take that 9-5 for every drop of value you can get.
The first place to start is to take full advantage of the benefits and perks it provides you. From the free company match on your 401k (or RPP), dental benefits, transit reimbursements, telecommuting days, HSA, eye doctor, etc.
Next up is getting a raise to peak that income as best possible. The simple 4-step process Grant shares seems so basic but it’s correct and it works. That is: figure out the market value, figure out your internal value at the company, determine your number and then ask. It should also be said you need to be deserving and a hard-worker delivering value. That’s step 0 and essential.
Finally, building skills and a network is a currency that knows no limits in value. This is the long-term game. Keep diversifying and growing your skill base and network at all stages of your career and in life.
The system Grant writes about in this chapter is affirmatory as you read through it. You know this is the right process to follow but so many of us don’t do it. The road to financial freedom requires hacking that 9-5 to the best of your abilities so you can turn those gains into savings and investments to build wealth.
Again I wish I read this book earlier in life…
Chapter 9: More Money In Less Time
Call it a side hustle, business venture, part-time gig, entrepreneurial effort or whatever you want. The case of diversifying your income streams and building more incoming cash flow outside your 9-5 is a key lever to financial freedom.
The borderless marketplace and digital opportunities have opened a whole new world of money making opportunities. Nick Loper of The Side Hustle Show has over 300 podcasts dedicated entirely to growing your income outside your 9-5.
You can make money online from home or with earn cash with your phone. The gig economy has developed avenues to side hustle with a flexible schedule. There are ways to make $1,000 fast or even make $500 fast. All of these are great ways to add short-term earnings to help payoff debt, start investing or chip away at your financial goals.
Ideally the side hustle you build is one that is scalable and has the ability to replace your full-time income. These are concepts like blogs, podcasts, YouTube channels, Etsy stores, Amazon FBAs, digital agencies and other opportunities that aren’t capped entirely by trading time for money. Grant describes this as the enterprise mindset within Financial Freedom.
What skills and experiences do you have? Which of those skills can you scale and really drive value from? What do you enjoy doing and can you monetize that? Where can you get to so you’re no longer trading time directly for money at a 1:1 ratio?
Take 30 minutes and ideate on what type of business or long-term side hustle might work best for you.
Chapter 10: The Seven-Step Fast-Track Investment Strategy
This chapter features 58 pages on the Seven-Step Fast-Track Investment Strategy. There is no way I can do the amount of knowledge and value in these 58 pages justice with a short summary.
The investment strategy Grant has outlined here focuses on controlling these five factors:
- Minimizing risk
- Minimizing fees
- Minimizing taxes on your contributions
- Maximizing returns
- Minimizing taxes on your withdrawals
In terms of the components of the Seven-Step Fast-Track Investment Strategy, you need to buy the book and reap the rewards. If you’ve ever been overwhelmed about the process of investing and everything that goes along with it, this chapter nails it.
Purchasing Financial Freedom for this chapter alone is worth it.
Chapter 11: Real Estate Investing
Real estate investing is an area I’ve been trying to accrue knowledge on over the last 12 months. From the crowdfunding platforms to potentially purchasing a rental property in the short to mid-term.
The tax benefits and process outlined in this chapter by Grant differ slightly than the process in Canada (where I live). However, the core principles and wealth building opportunity remain the same. It’s an exceptional vehicle to diversify your investments and secure both cash flow and long-term profit.
In terms of explaining the process, delivering strategies, best practice tips and some real-world numbers…Grant delivers the goods here in chapter 11.
Chapter 12: More Than Enough
What happens after you’ve built wealth and are ready to enter the world of financial freedom? There are a number of factors that you need to prepare for and shift to ensure the road ahead is as rich as intended.
The exit strategy from your career, adjusting your lifestyle, managing your finances and shifting your money mindset, Grant covers it all. From the brass tacks of cash flow to drawing down your investments, it’s essential to get it right.
It’s also not just about the money.
What about your time and focus? This new found freedom will create opportunities to pursue passion projects, hobbies and entrepreneurial ventures.
Grant closes the chapter perfectly with this: freedom is immense and uncertain. And life is infinitely rich when you open up to it.
Chapter 13: The Future-Optimization Framework
I have a full review of this chapter as part of a travelling book review series with Rockstar Finance alongside other personal finance bloggers.
Check out the more in-depth post on The Future-Optimization Framework.
Chapter 14: Living A Richer Life
The culmination of everything Grant has written about boils down into this. All the numbers, charts, case studies, strategies, hacks and mindset shifts.
As Grant concludes here, it’s all about living a rich life:
Financial independence is about having the freedom to do whatever you want. You can have it. Making a lot of money quickly is possible. Having more time is possible. Living life on your own terms is possible. You have a unique opportunity that many don’t. You really can have all the money you’ll ever need.
A perfect summary to highlight the opportunity we all have available. The road will differ for each of us and the bumps might be bigger for some but the path is much clearer thanks to Financial Freedom.
Conclusion: Financial Freedom Book Review
The blueprint provided hits all the pillar blocks of building wealth and getting to a life of financial freedom. It nails the essentials on saving and investing but the abundance mindset and strategies around growing your income is something that’s missing in so many other personal finance books.
Of course, elements of this book aren’t applicable to all walks of life. It’s near impossible to write a financial book that blankets every situation. However, one thing is for certain, Financial Freedom is going to change the financial journey for countless readers.
Seven Quick Hit Takeaways From Financial Freedom
- Time Is Freedom: taking control of your time on your own terms is the true representation of freedom.
- Build An Abundance Mindset: the opportunities to earn more money and achieve what you want aren’t limited or scarce.
- Understand The True Cost: when you spend your hard-earned dollars on something understand the true cost of that expense.
- Find What You Value Most: don’t live a life of deprivation to reach freedom so cut back on what doesn’t matter and double down on what does.
- Maximize Your Career Earnings: your career will likely be your #1 income source in your lifetime so focus your efforts to maximize those earnings.
- Investing Strategy: there are books with 300+ pages dedicated to investing and Grant nailed 99% of what you need to know in one chapter.
- You’re in Control: financial freedom isn’t a secret sauce or form of magic.
You and I might not go from $2.26 to over $1.25 million in five years. That’s not the central theme or story Grant is trying to relay here. The mindset, strategies and proven path shared in Financial Freedom is an opportunity we can all look to adopt. Based on where I’m at in my financial journey and life, this book helped sparked a fire.
The road will differ for each of us but the ability to live a rich, purposeful life is something we can each pursue on our own terms.
GET FINANCIAL FREEDOM ON AMAZON TODAY
Read it and then donate it to your local library. Gift it to your friends and family. Donate a handful of copies to a local high school or university. Find friends in need of help with financial literacy and change their lives.
What does the concept of financial freedom mean to you?
What’s the biggest takeaway you’re hoping to get from Financial Freedom the book?
Here are some other posts to help you take control of your money and life:
- 40+ of the Best Personal Finance Podcasts
- Waking Up At 5AM Changed My Life – Win The Morning, Win The Day
- 12+ Best Reddit Personal Finance Subs To Follow In 2019
- 89 Personal Finance Tips – Budget, Save, Make, Invest & Better Manage Your Money