Full disclosure: Before I even opened this book, I’d already proverbially judged it by its non assuming cover and overtly pretentious title. I couldn’t help but wonder if perhaps Michael Masterson accrued his wealth not by selling books, but by skimping on cover-artist fees.
Aesthetics aside, the book totals 236 pages and is of enough mass to suggest it would contain some classically stodgy financial advice. However, this couldn’t have been further from the truth. Masterson’s pedantry becomes tiresome very quickly, and the majority of “advice” he offers would be more pertinent in a book titled Create Unsubstantiated Expectations of Personal Wealth and Convince Yourself You’re Happy While You’re at It.
Most frustratingly, Masterson fills pages upon pages speaking to his successes while demonstrating an utter ignorance of the book’s target demographic. There are certain things recent graduates (college graduates, as he explicitly states in the book’s second paragraph) should be expected to have an understanding of – the economics of Thirsty Thursdays, the return on energy drink investments, and the compounding nature of interest. Far too much of the book is dedicated to meandering concepts college sophomores, let alone graduates, are already familiar with.
That being said, Automatic Wealth for Grads isn’t a complete waste of a read. The author’s observations and conclusions are for the most part sorely misguided and without basis in reality, but there are several takeaways that could be useful to young adults. Here’s the summary:
- Work hard
- Find a fulfilling job and ask your boss for a raise at any and all opportunities
- Living well is more a mindset than anything
- Invest in real estate
- Index funds and ETFs are the only worthwhile forms of trading
- Pen horribly written books that people will inexplicably still pay you to read (this was more an implied lesson)