Here is my roundup of the books I read this month, as well as any interesting articles and noteworthy blog posts that I came across.
The Wild Truth by Carine McCandless
In The Wild Truth, Carine McCandless gives some background to the story of her brother, Christopher McCandless, the young man who gave away all of his savings, disappeared from his family, walked into the Alaskan wilderness, and never made it out. Jon Krakauer brought international attention to this story with his piece for Outside Magazine, and the bestselling book, Into the Wild, which was later turned into a movie. Twenty years after her brother’s death, McCandless felt it was time to tell the whole story of what drove her brother to do what he did, and share her story, as well.
McCandless was frustrated with how, after Into the Wild came out, people would often comment to her about how selfish Chris was, and question how he could disappear from such a loving family. In a way, by keeping quiet about their family history and by not allowing Krakauer to include certain information in his book, McCandless allowed this line of thinking to continue. After many years of trying to mend a broken relationship with her parents, McCandless decided it was finally time to tell the whole story of their tumultuous childhood and all the fighting and deception they grew up with.
I read Into the Wild years ago, so I would have to revisit it to see how this new information changes the story for me. There were parts of this story that were very sad, but ultimately this is a story of how strong the bond between siblings can be.
The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko
The Millionaire Next Door is pretty much required reading for any personal finance blogger, so I was excited to finally get my hands on it. Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko used years of surveys and interviews with millionaires to paint a portrait of a typical wealthy individual in America, and share the surprising secrets of how they accumulated their wealth.
This book was full of interesting facts about the kinds of professions that Prodigious Accumulators of Wealth (PAW) have, as well as the lifestyles they lead. Your neighbor down the street who owns a cleaning business could be a millionaire, but you would never know it from their modest house and car.
The one case study that really stood out for me was about two doctors, Dr. South and Dr. North, who each earn about $700,000 a year. Just based on salary alone, you would assume that both doctors are very rich. Dr. South lives a high consumption lifestyle. Dr. North, on the other hand, lives modestly and invests most of what he makes. Dr. South’s net worth was only around $400,000 while Dr. North’s net worth was $7.5 million! Who do you think sleeps better at night?
This was a great read, and I definitely recommend it. I’d also recommend that you check out The Retirement Manifesto‘s Wealth Index calculator to see if you’re a Prodigious, Average, Under Accumulator of Wealth.
“We Quit Our Jobs to Travel the World. This is Exactly How We Pay for It.” by Tess Koman for Marie Claire
In this article for Marie Claire, Koman breaks down the travel expenses of three different couples that travel full-time and document their lifestyle on Instagram. If you dream of traveling the world, but are not sure of the cost, this is an interesting read.
“How to Make the Most of Your Workday” by Phyllis Korkki for The New York Times
In this New York Times article, Korkki gives productivity tips for people based their personality and work style. She gives advice for people who are multi-taskers and procrastinators, and outlines how to make a realistic to-do list.
Noteworthy Blog Posts
“How to Get to Your Money Before Age 59 1/2” – Dr. Jim Dahle at The White Coat Investor
Physician on FIRE shared this classic post from The White Coat Investor about different ways you can access your retirement savings, without incurring a 10% penalty fee, if you retire before age 59 1/2. If you are hoping to retire early one day, this is an important read.
“Why College Isn’t For Everyone” – Finance Superhero
I could not agree more with this post from Finance Superhero. There has been a shift in a past few decades of how high schools push and really celebrate college acceptance, when it is really not for everyone. Plenty of students drop out of college or take on tens (or hundreds!) of thousands of dollars of student loans, only to work in a career that is not even remotely related to what they studied in school.
I have friends who have over $100,000 in student loans, and do not work in a job that required their degree. I also know people who make a lot of money, and never went to college. The point is, you can be successful without going to college. I think that high schools need to value trades and other alternative career paths as much as they value college.
“Spice up your dating life with EXTREME DATING!” – Duke of Dollars
I really enjoyed this post from Duke of Dollars about rethinking the way you spend money on dates. Instead of spending money on standard date ideas (dinner out at chain restaurants, bar hopping, cheap tickets to a band, nosebleed seats at a sporting event), why not spend the same amount of money on a few cheaper dates plus one big splurge (such as awesome tickets to see your favorite sports team).
Mr. Farmhouse Finance and I save money by cooking most of our meals at home, so when we go out, we tend to go to nicer places. Someday I’d like to go on an EXTREME date to one of those Michelin star restaurants.
What have you read this month?
Interested in what I read last month? Check out the April Reading Report.
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