Personal Finance

How would you like to learn from a millionaire teacher?

Andrew Hallam is a self-made millionaire. He didn’t win the lottery or inherit millions. He didn’t start a dot com business. Instead, he is a high school English teacher who amassed his wealth literally one penny at a time. It’s the kind of story that everyone should pay attention to and listen to because it proves that anyone can become wealthy.

In this well written book, Hallam shares his 9 rules to become a millionaire. His first two rules reviews strategies around spending and saving. The other 7 rules really focus on investing your wealth.

I enjoyed Hallam’s book not only because it was easy to read and very enjoyable but also because it was the first book I bought through Kindle. Although I enjoyed the entire book, my favourite chapters were the early ones on saving and spending. With my financial education programs I am in front of thousands of people a year and I’ve come to believe that the root of financial success is more about controlling spending and living within your means than it is about becoming a successful investor. Don’t get me wrong, I think investing is important and Hallam has some great, practical insights on the topic of investing too.

Like most finance books, I love to take notes and take out great messages so here’s some of my favourite quotes from the first two rules in his book:

On the topic of financial literacy

“Because financial literacy isn’t adequately taught in most schools, you might be among the millions who were shortchanged by our education system. This book is an attempt to make it up to you.”

“The subject of money is undeniably essential. Unlike a pig dissection or a challenging algebraic formula, everyone benefits by mastering it (financial literacy).”

“Without a sound financial education, students can graduate from the top universities with starry academic titles, but with little more financial education than and eighth grader. Once they enter the workforce, they might as well be walking outside naked during a winter’s blizzard.”

On the topic of spending

“Poor planning and inadequate financial educations cause too many people to fall into poor consumption habits and weak investments, especially when trying to keep up with the profligate spending habits of their neighbors, the Jones, who seem to have it all.”

“If you are truly wealthy, then there’s nothing wrong with blowing money you can afford to lose in the odd luxury item. But if you are trying to become wealthy and you make those kind of purchases, you’ll never get there.”

“if you want to be wealthy, you dramatically increase your odds if you are frugal, especially when you are young.”

“Financially efficient households know what their costs are. By writing down expenses, two things generally occur. You get an idea of how much you spend in a month, providing an idea of how much you can invest. It also makes you accountable for your spending, which encourages people to cut back.”

On the topic of debt

“Many consumers face the same relentless treadmill with their consumption habits. When they get close to paying off their debts, they reward themselves by adding to their debt again.”

“If you’re a young person starting out and you see someone with the latest expensive toys, think about how they might have acquired them. Too many of those items were probably bought on credit. Many of these people will never be rich. Instead they will be stressed.”

On the topic of saving

“Don’t wait till the end of the month to invest your money; instead make the transfer payment to your investment on the day you get paid.”

“It makes no financial sense to save money when you are paying 18 to 24 percent interest on your credit cards.”

My final thoughts

The rest of the book is about investing and Hallam presents a strong case for indexing, controlling your fees, overcoming investor psychology, diversification, watching the sales rhetoric of financial advisors, and avoiding investment schemes that tickle your greed.

The best part of the book is that it comes from a genuine teacher who loves to teach and lead by example. He doesn’t preach one thing and do another which really resonates with my beliefs. Overall, I would recommend Hallam’s book as a great investment guide for the investor that wants to be more engaged with their portfolio.


  1. My Own Advisor

    Great review Jim.

    You might already know, I loved Andrew’s book; completing a comprehensive review of it a few weeks back.

    I liked what you said here:

    “With my financial education programs I am in front of thousands of people a year and I’ve come to believe that the root of financial success is more about controlling spending and living within your means than it is about becoming a successful investor.”

    IMO, you can’t invest what you don’t save. Learn to be a saver and most things fall in line after that.


    • Jim Yih

      Thanks Mark! I enjoyed your review and it was part of my motivation to buy the book. I was at the airport knowing I had a 3 hour flight ahead of me to Toronto and decided to buy the kindle version.

      thanks for stopping by!

  2. Florence Ross

    I will buy the book for some grown children… I have a new word for them ‘kidults’

    I agree wholeheartedly that controlled spending and regular saving are the key to having money to invest.

    However, a few years ago when I set a goal to have a million saved, I missed the more important point. It is not so much about the numbers as it is about having a life. Looking at the numbers in your bank account will not replace solid satisfying relationships with family and friends. And relationship goals require effort perhaps even more focused than the effort needed to acquire wealth.

    Happy holidays… may the New Year bring a 10% increase in satisfaction with life… and an equal increase in my portfolio. 🙂

    • Jim Yih

      Well said! Is there a correlation between money and life satisfaction? Will you be happier with more money? I think your last lines says it best!
      Best wishes in the new year Flo!

  3. Andrew Hallam

    This is a great review Jim. And I’m honored that we’re fighting on the same team!



    • Jim Yih

      Thanks for stopping by Andrew! And more importantly, congratulations on all your successes … not just with the book!

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