The Millionaire Fastlane (2011) is an international best-selling guide that reveals the quickest path to wealth in order to retire early and actually enjoy the benefits of financial freedom while you’re still young. The method teaches how to overcome flawed beliefs about building wealth and presents mathematical evidence for why traditional routes rarely produce results and how the “fastlane” dramatically improves your odds.
Introduction: Discover how to get rich now so you can retire young and enjoy it
Imagine you’re going about some regular activity of your daily life like running errands and suddenly, a spectacular sight shakes you right out of your ho-hum existence: it’s the exotic sports car of your dreams — the exact one you had posters of as a teenager – or maybe even as an adult. Out steps a person who appears very young and doesn’t look that much different from you, except the obvious, which is that they’re holding the keys to that machine.
If you’re bold like the author M. J. DeMarco was in this situation, you might ask what the person does for a living to afford that car. And you may get an answer that’s equally surprising. In his case, the guy driving the dream car said he was an inventor. Despite not recognizing the driver as a celebrity, he still expected to hear something like actor, musician, athlete, or even lottery winner. It opened a world of possibilities DeMarco hadn’t considered before: people can and do realize wealth at young ages without becoming famous or through sheer luck. But how?
For DeMarco, it took several years of studying young, self-made millionaires, graduating college with two business degrees, many failed infomercial buy-ins, living with his mom, and dead-end jobs before he finally snapped out of it. He chose a new city and relocated with only $900 and not much else other than sheer determination to change his trajectory. That decision put him on the path to make millions over the decade that followed. He built and sold a company – twice. Yes, he finally bought his dream machine and many more since. He retired at the age of 33 and not long after wrote an international best-selling book to share his secrets with the world.
And here we are.
In this summary, we’ll hand you the keys to DeMarco’s top takeaways, including exploring your current money mentality, why the fastlane approach to wealth is superior to traditional methods, and the principles to follow on your high-speed journey to getting rich and retiring early.
First, figure out your money mentality
When it comes to money, there are three types of people in the world: Sidewalkers, Slowlaners, and Fastlaners, as DeMarco calls them. Which one are you?
Let’s do a quick check:
Do you frequently jump jobs for higher pay and spend most of your money as soon as you receive it? Do you rely heavily on your available credit, count on luck, and generally live in the moment? If so, you’re a sidewalker. Don’t feel too bad: according to DeMarco, this is the most common mentality. And hey, you’re probably taking in this information for a reason.
Do you have a steady job with a competitive salary and save a considerable amount of your income? Do you avoid debt and risk at almost all costs and look forward to retiring comfortably in your twilight years? In this case, you’re a slowlaner. Again, no need for shame since it’s the second most common mentality and you’re probably here for help on that.
Do you own your business, reinvest most of your profits in the business and yourself, and calculate risk against potential gain? Do you rarely ask yourself whether you can afford things? Congratulations on being a fastlaner, or at least meeting a few of the many characteristics. There still may be more you can learn to further multiply your good fortune.
But if you identify with the first two mindsets, as most do, the most important point to remember is that anyone can jump from the sidewalk to the slow lane, the slow lane to the fast lane, or, as DeMarco did, leap from the sidewalk to the fast lane.
In fact, an idea gleaned from his last dead-end job actually opened the door to his next opportunity. Before moving away from his mom’s to a new city, he was a limo driver and frequently heard customers ask about booking services in other cities. He taught himself how to build a website to answer that need. But he’d been so busy juggling his soul-crushing job and sad existence, he hadn’t put much effort into marketing it, much less enhancing it. That changed once he was in a new city with little money and no job. He used what he’d learned to build one-off websites for other people to pay the bills. He considered that to be his side hustle while putting most of his effort into marketing and growing his own online business, taking risks, and continuing to teach himself almost everything along the way.
Soon, he had several offers to buy the company and took the highest bid of $1.2 million. When the new owners couldn’t sustain its success, he bought it back for $250,000. He then went about rebuilding it to turn huge profits, living very well off it in the meantime. Finally, he sold the company a second time for many millions more than the first sale and retired at the age of 33.
Now consider again the questions you were asked earlier and how this fastlaner mentality contrasts so dramatically with those of the sidewalker and the slowlaner. You should see what it takes to make that leap. Own where you stand now and firmly decide you’re willing to make the changes and then do the work to stay the course. If you’re a slowlaner, you’d probably not take the risk of moving to a new city with little money, no job, or much of a plan. A sidewalker would be more likely to risk the move and hope for the best, but their next step would be to find a decent-paying job with no future. Or, they might find a job with a good salary and savings plan, finally graduating to slowlaner status. “Hooray!” they might be thinking – as a fastlaner zooms by in their dream car.
You should be in that car! Or perhaps you don’t really care about a car, specifically. Maybe you want everything that true wealth comprises, which DeMarco defines as “family, fitness, and freedom.”
In the next section, we’ll take a look at the math behind what will get you there.
When you do the maths, only the fast lane makes sense
Before mathematical equations, how about playing a game first to keep it light? The author proposes three raffle options. Which would you pick?
Option one: You have a 1 in 6 million shot of winning $50 million right now.
Option two: In 40 years, you have a 1 in 6 shot of winning $1 million.
Option three: You have a 1 in 7 shot of winning $15 million in 6 years.
Look at the odds. Look at the time. Look at the money. Hopefully, you’ve chosen the third option, which is the fastlane approach. The first represents a sidewalker who has no savings strategy at all. Sure, a chance stroke of luck could unlock a windfall, but it’s not at all likely. The second option represents a slowlaner who carefully saves and invests relatively small amounts of money hoping market stability and compound interest will serve them well by the time they’re old. You’ve probably noticed the odds of people who don’t win the millionaire game at all, so if you’ve got the determination to go for it, why wouldn’t you opt for substantially more money in dramatically less time?
Now for the math. Each money mentality has what DeMarco calls “wealth equations” based upon their inherent beliefs about money. A sidewalker operates by the equation of “Wealth = Income + Debt.” That means they use both their income and available credit to pay for what they perceive to be a wealthy lifestyle while increasing their liability to cover all the bills. So this equation trends toward poverty.
A slowlaner follows the equation of “Wealth = Job + Market Investments” which breaks down to “Wealth = Hourly Wage or Salary + Compound Interest.” While they have a slight edge over the sidewalker by actually investing or saving instead of piling up debt, their income variable is just as limited as the sidewalker’s, and that’s because time is limited and is our most precious asset. There are only so many hours you can work, and even at a high hourly wage or salary, you’re still trading your time – your freedom – for it. Compound interest can work, but it also takes a long time. Meanwhile, you can’t control market stability to ensure your investments perform as hoped. You also can’t guarantee you’ll keep the high-paying job. Then what?
DeMarco asserts that the only way to eliminate these issues is to create your own wealth with a business, and not just any old business. The fastlane equation goes like this: “Wealth = Net Profit + Asset Value.” The net profit figure comes from the number of things you sell multiplied by the profit you make from each. To get asset value, take that net profit number and multiply it by your industry multiple, which is similar to price-to-earnings ratios calculated for publicly traded companies. In a nutshell, it’s what potential buyers would be willing to pay for your company, which is often several times more than your net profit. Hopefully, you can see in this equation, unlike the other two, you can have unlimited control of what you sell, how many you sell, and your price. Your controlled net profit then impacts the valuation of your company, and you can even control your multiplier by the industry you choose.
In the next section, we’ll look at how to refine those choices to ensure your business is capable of delivering massive wealth with the fastlane equation.
Follow these five guidelines to start your fastlane business
Say you’ve poured all of your money into purchasing a franchise and you’re not turning enough of a profit to hire any help. You’re stuck working as the sole employee working more hours than you did for someone else. Worse, those hours are spent just keeping it running with no time or resources to increase marketing efforts or otherwise improve your financial projections. It would feel like any other job – and probably far worse.
As we mentioned earlier, the fastlane equation won’t work for just any business. To further explain this, DeMarco asserts the law of effection, which means you must produce something that brings value to millions of people if you want to bring in millions in financial rewards. To steer you in the right direction, DeMarco proposes five “commandments” to guide your business. These are Control, Entry, Need, Time, and Scale – or CENTS for short. Let’s look at each and what to consider with your business.
The commandment of Control asserts that you establish and maintain complete authority over all aspects of your business. If the business model doesn’t allow that, such as with affiliate programs and network marketing, you may make impressive money but not amass the wealth of the people who control those companies.
The commandment of Entry asks that you consider how easy or difficult it is for you or anyone else to enter the industry. In this case, you want it to be somewhat difficult. Too much competition creates a lot of noise and erodes potential profits – issues that can be overcome if you can truly differentiate yourself enough to claim and sustain your stake.
The commandment of Need demands that you set aside your ego and consider who you’re going to serve and how. That’s because for a business to succeed, it has to solve problems or otherwise meet a real need for other people.
The commandment of Time addresses the story at the start of this section. It requires you to consider the likelihood of your being able to step away and allow automation or other people to effectively run the business for you. Also, consider the timeline for when that can happen. Creating a job for yourself is one thing, but creating wealth that sets you free to spend time with family or doing literally anything else you want? That’s the goal.
The commandment of Scale underscores the importance of thinking big about where your potential customers can be reached and making sure it aligns with your financial goal. If you want unlimited fastlane money, you aren’t likely to make it happen if you’re limited geographically.
Remember DeMarco’s last job with the limo company? He was offered the chance to buy it with no money upfront, but he’d already begun formulating his plan to move. More importantly, his other fledgling business met all of the commandments, and the limo company didn’t. These days he has the option to take one himself or drive a sports car of choice – in the fastlane, of course.
In order to unlock your greatest wealth opportunities at the highest speeds possible, you need to shift your money mindset and take action.
You now know about the three money mentalities: the sidewalker, the slowlaner, and the fastlaner. You also understand the beliefs and habits that push the sidewalker toward poverty; the slowlaner toward meager and, well, slow results, usually too late in life to enjoy them; and how the fastlaner approach can deliver norm-defying, explosive wealth.
You also learned about the math that drives each group: the obvious flaws in the sidewalker equation, the less-obvious restrictions in the slowlane equation, and the unlimited potential within the fastlane equation.
When it comes to your own business success, remember the five principles represented by the acronym CENTS – Control, Entry, Need, Time, and Scale. These are the surefire ways, DeMarco says, to choose the best business opportunities to align with your fastlane financial goals – especially if you want to get rich quick, retire, and thrive in the lifestyle that affords.
About the author
MJ DeMarco is an American entrepreneur, investor, and international best-selling author. Currently he is the founder of The Fastlane Discussion Forum, a worldwide business community with nearly 1,000,000 contributions and 100,000 members. His books have been published in over 25 languages worldwide.
Money, Investments, Business, Finance, Nonfiction, Self Help, Entrepreneurship, Personal Finance, Personal Development, Economics, Management, Leadership, Motivational
Table of Contents
Part 1 Wealth in a Wheelchair: “Get Rich Slow” is Get Rich Old 1
Chapter 1 The Great Deception 3
Chapter 2 How I Screwed “Get Rich Slow” 7
Part 2 Wealth is Not a Road, But a Road Tripi 19
Chapter 3 The Road Trip to Wealth 21
Chapter 4 The Roadmaps to Wealth 26
Part 3 Poorness: The Sidewalk Roadmap 31
Chapter 5 The Road Most Traveled: The Sidewalk 33
Chapter 6 Has Your Wealth Been Toxified? 41
Chapter 7 Misuse Money and Money Will Misuse You 45
Chapter 8 Lucky Bastards Play the Game 51
Chapter 9 Wealth Demands Accountability 55
Part 4 Mediocrity: The Slowlane Roadmap 61
Chapter 10 The Lie You’ve Been Sold: The Slowlane 63
Chapter 11 The Criminal Trade: Your Job 73
Chapter 12 The Slowlane: Why You Aren’t Rich 78
Chapter 13 The Futile Fight: Education 87
Chapter 14 The Hypocrisy of the Gurus 90
Chapter 15 Slowlane Victory … A Gamble of Hope 95
Part 5 Wealth: The Fastlane Roadmap 105
Chapter 16 Wealth’s Shortcut: The Fastlane 107
Chapter 17 Switch Teams and Playbooks 116
Chapter 18 How the Rich Really Get Rich 120
Chapter 19 Divorce Wealth from Time 128
Chapter 20 Recruit Your Army of Freedom Fighters 136
Chapter 21 The Real Law of Wealth 143
Part 6 Your Vehicle to Wealth: You 149
Chapter 22 Own Yourself First 151
Chapter 23 Life’s Steering Wheel 155
Chapter 24 Wipe Your Windshield Clean 163
Chapter 25 Deodorize Flatulent Headwinds 174
Chapter 26 Your Primordial Fuel: Time 179
Chapter 27 Change That Dirty, Stale Oil 186
Chapter 28 Hit the Redline 195
Part 7 The Roads to Wealth 203
Chapter 29 The Right Road Routes to Wealth 205
Chapter 30 The Commandment of Need 207
Chapter 31 The Commandment of Entry 219
Chapter 32 The Commandment of Control 224
Chapter 33 The Commandment of Scale 232
Chapter 34 The Commandment of Time 239
Chapter 35 Rapid Wealth: The Interstates 242
Chapter 36 Find Your Open Road 250
Chapter 37 Give Your Road a Destination 255
Part 8 Your Speed: Accelerate Wealth 263
Chapter 38 The Speed of Success 265
Chapter 39 Burn the Business Plan, Ignite Execution 270
Chapter 40 Pedestrians Will Make You Rich! 274
Chapter 41 Throw Hijackers to the Curb! 284
Chapter 42 Be Someone’s Savior 290
Chapter 43 Build Brands, Not Businesses 294
Chapter 44 Choose Monogamy Over Polygamy 306
Chapter 45 Put It Together: Supercharge Your Wealth Plan! 309
Appendix A Reader Reflections 315
Appendix B The 40 Fastlane Lifestyle Guidelines 321
** 10th ANNIVERSARY EDITION; CRYPTO, INFLATION, PANDEMICS, MORE!** TRANSLATED IN OVER 25 LANGUAGES WORLDWIDE!
Is the financial plan of mediocrity — a dream-stealing, soul-sucking dogma known as “The Slowlane” your plan for creating wealth? You know how it goes; it sounds like this:
Go to school, get a good job, save 10% of your paycheck, buy a used car, cancel the movie channels, quit drinking expensive Starbucks lattes, save and penny-pinch your life away, trust your life-savings to Wall Street, preferably a low cost indexed-fund, and then one day, when you are oh, say, 65 years old, you can retire rich.
The mainstream financial gurus have sold you blindly down the river to a great financial gamble: You’ve been hoodwinked to believe that wealth can be created by recklessly trusting in the uncontrollable and unpredictable markets: the stock market, the job market, and the housing market. This impotent financial gamble dubiously promises wealth in a wheelchair — sacrifice your youth for a financial plan that reaps dividends in life’s twilight.
Accept the Slowlane as your blueprint for wealth and your financial future will drift carelessly on a sailboat of HOPE: HOPE you can find a job and keep it, HOPE the stock market doesn’t tank, HOPE the economy rebounds, HOPE, HOPE, and HOPE. Do you really want HOPE to be the centerpiece for your family’s financial plan?
Drive the Slowlane and life will deteriorate into a miserable exhibition about what you cannot do, versus what you can. For those who don’t want a lifetime subscription to mediocrity and a lottery-sized chance of elderly riches, there is an alternative; an expressway to extraordinary wealth that can burn a trail to financial independence faster than any road out there.
“This is by far the best book ever written on the subject, better than Rich Dad Poor Dad, better than Think and Grow Rich, better than any book by Donald Trump…” ~ Amazon reader review
“You’ll learn more in 2 days from this book than you will in 2 years of business college courses…” ~ Amazon reader review
“There are moments in your life where a light bulb just seems to turn on, a switch just seems to flip. If you’re looking to induce one of these, look no further than this book.” ~ Amazon reader review
“I can promise you that there is a clarity that comes with reading this book that no other book on the market will ever give you.” ~ Amazon reader review
“The best book on acquiring wealth ever written…” ~ Amazon reader review
“I loved this book. It is dripping in authenticity and real-world experience. From the first, authentic page I was hooked. MJ DeMarco not only has created a book that motivates like nothing else I have read, he also provides the most important thing: a true framework for evaluating business decisions. It’s safe to say that had I absorbed this book 10 years ago, I would be at least $100k-$200k richer today.” ~ Amazon reader review
“…this book delivers much wisdom about business, money, and the creation of wealth. I have already had my first “liquidation event” and what this author says about how to get there is rock-solid truth.” ~ Amazon reader review
“Not since Think and Grow Rich have I been as impressed with a book on the subject of wealth and success. Mr. DeMarco writes from a common, no-nonsense approach on how to become wealthy.” ~ Amazon reader review
“Although the title and cover of the book make you think “infomercial for suckers”, it’s actually THE single best book I have read on this subject so far (and I’ve read plenty). I don’t typically write reviews on books I purchase here on Amazon, but this one was so good that it compelled me to actually get off my lazy butt and post up a review. ” ~ Amazon reader review
“If you want to get “rich” while you’re young enough to enjoy it, read this book …it short-circuits you though a lot of the BS.” ~ Amazon reader review
“This is an honest to goodness “Get Rich Quick” book. Most “Get Rich Quick” books or programs scam people into believing there is a method to “Get Rich Easy”. MJ DeMarco does an extremely good job of telling the truth about what it takes to really achieve wealth. ” ~ Amazon reader review
“I wholeheartedly recommend this book. I have read many finance books (Rich Dad, Cramer, Dave Ramsey, etc) and after reading The Millionaire Fastlane, I kept saying to myself “finally, someone who tells it like it is and isn’t feeding me BS!” ~ Amazon reader review
“In life, there are people who get it, and people who don’t get it. When it comes to building wealth, MJ DeMarco gets it. What really made my jaw drop about this book, however, was his brutal honesty. He exposes many of the misconceptions of the common wealth building ‘gurus’…” ~ Amazon reader review