This book was life changing, and I do not say that lightly. I come from a middle class family and I know how important it is to save money and pay off my credit card bill every month. But that was the extent of my money prowess, at least until I read this book. The Simple Path to Wealth: Your road map to financial independence and a rich, free life by J.L. Collins started as a series of letters written to his young daughter about the world’s most important, but oft misunderstood topic. MONEY. Collins wrote those letters on his blog, which he still operates.
This is a book about investing. If you’re looking for a book to tell you how to get rid of your debt, read something else. There’s a lot of stuff out there that addresses that. Collins breaks down the stock market, how investment funds work, strategies for investing based on your life stage, and explains what financial independence looks like. But most of all, he helped me understand the actions I can take to grow my personal wealth and the power I have over my money. Here are some of the things that I loved.
It used stories.
Yes, there’s storytelling in a book about investing. Collins brings in his own experience, shares case studies, and writes like he’s talking to a friend. Unlike any other financial book I’ve seen, this book isn’t flashy or textbook-like. It’s definitely not skimmable. You can read chapters that apply to you separately, but each chapter reads like a chapter in a novel. There aren’t sections or graphs or tables to break it up, but Collins makes the writing so enjoyable that I didn’t mind this.
It wasn’t condescending.
Money makes people feel dumb or ashamed or completely lost. Collins informs without babying the reader or preaching to them. So many books about money scream from the mountain top that YOU MUST DO THIS TO BE RICH/DEBT FREE/RETIRED, while also not providing any helpful information on how to actually “do this.” The explanations provided enough information for someone new to investing, but weren’t so dumbed down that you’d tune it out if you were already knowledgeable.
It made investing doable.
This was huge. I was already putting money into savings every month, paying extra on my student loans, and contributing to my employer-matched 401(k) and a Roth IRA. But I didn’t know why I was contributing to each, or how much money I should be putting in. After reading this, I can explain both of these things and say with confidence why it’s the best choice for me.
What is the stock market, actually? Isn’t investing for guys with shiny hair and pin striped suits and/or balding men in polo shirts and khaki shorts? What is a Roth IRA? Is that different than my 401(k)? I’m only 26 — why do I need to think about retiring now?
I honestly don’t have anything negative to say about this book. I highly highly recommend this for literally everyone, but especially people in the same life stage as me because it’s time to start investing! And it doesn’t have to be difficult. I originally got it from the library and immediately bought it online so I could read it again and write in the margins. You will want to dog-ear pages, take notes, and make it your own. 5 out of 5 stars.