Book Review: Financial Freedom by Grant Sabatier

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FIRECracker

FIRECracker is a world-travelling early retiree. She used to live in one of the most expensive cities in Canada, but instead of drowning in debt, she rejected home ownership. What resulted was a 7-figure portfolio, which has allowed her and her husband to retire at 31 and travel the world. Their story has been featured on CBC, the Huffington Post, CNBC, BNN, Business Insider, and Yahoo Finance. To date, it is the most shared story in CBC history and their viral video on CBC's On the Money has garnered 4.5 Million views.
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I never expected to breeze through a 352-page Finance tome at 30,000 feet in the air, but two days ago, it happened. We were headed to Bangkok from Milan on a ten-hour flight, and despite the long list of free movies to choose from, I decided to read Financial Freedom by Grant Sabatier—a book I’d been eagerly anticipating for months. Grant has been a friend of mine ever since we met at Fincon in back in 2017 and I was beyond excited to hear that he was writing a book that same year. I was even more excited when we ended up with the same publishing house –Penguin—and as a result, had the privilege of peaking behind the scenes of his book writing process. Turns out that process took over 2800 hours and involved many late-night sessions and sometimes writing for 14 hours straight! Grant is the ultimate hustler. In fact, I’ve honestly never met anyone else who works as hard as he does. So, when his book came out on Feb 5, and I could finally get my hands on Financial Freedom, I couldn’t wait to devour it.

Now, before I get into why this book was captivating, let me start by saying I hardly ever read books on flights. With so many free movies to distract me, sleep weighing down my eyelids, and tiny text that makes me nauseous as we hurled through the air at breakneck speed, getting through a thick book wasn’t my idea of fun.

But as soon as I read the first page of Financial Freedom I was hooked.

Why? Well, let me give you a taste:

How I Went from $2.26 to $1 Million in Five Years

“Waking up in my childhood bedroom, it felt like I as back in middle school, but I was actually twenty-four years old, unemployed, and living with my parents—a situation all too familiar to millennials like me.
It was August 2010. I’d moved back home two months earlier after being laid off from my job as a researcher at a newspaper…

…The savings account I’d labeled DO NOT TOUCH right after I’d lost my job had $0.01 in it. My checking account was scarcely better: $2.26, barely enough to afford a side of guacamole, let alone a whole burrito.”

Dude. I feel you. The struggle is real.

Okay, so how does our intrepid hero go from broke to a cool Million in five years? Well, you have to read the rest of the book to find out.

And I’m so glad I did, because Financial Freedom has so much actionable advice, specific details, and a ridiculous amount of Mathing Shit Up (all told through a breezy narrative), I couldn’t believe how much value I was getting from a single book. I felt like Grant had taken the best advice from what could’ve been 3 books–side hustles, index investing, real-estate investing–and combined it all into one accessible guide.

Here’s are a few of my favourite things about Financial Freedom:

Specificity

The specific details provided in this book are phenomenal and overwhelming (my condolences to his copy editor for having to edit all this!) and you can tell Grant went all in with providing as many specifics as possible to prove his points.

For example, he uses mathematical examples to illustrate that the relationship between money and time is not strictly linear. Sacrificing more time to make money isn’t always necessary.

He also shows you his entire portfolio, opens up about everything he invests in, and tells you how he got to $1 million in 5 years. I love it when authors are transparent about their finances–it really helps readers break down their journey so they can reproduce it.

Mathing Shit Up

Now, as you know on this blog, we love “Mathing Shit Up”. In this book, not only does Grant Math Shit Up, he goes above and beyond by giving you tons of useful calculators—that he built himself—as a companion to the book. My favourite is the “price of freedom” calculator, which you can use to calculate the effect your purchases have on your time to FI.

Hypercharge Your Earnings with Side Hustles

Grant is known as a side hustling genius and for good reason. He was able to make $300,000/year from side-hustles while working full-time job as a digital marketer earning $50,000/year.

In his chapters on increasing your income, he tells the story of how he left no stone unturned looking for opportunities to make more money and build his side income. He also gives you actionable, specific tips on how you can do it too. For example, he tells you how to figure out (with math) how valuable you are to a company based on your skills, seniority, and how much it would cost the company to replace you. And then he gives you advice on how to negotiate a raise and increase your worth by grabbing hold of opportunites at work and networking like a boss.

Changing Your Mindset about Money

Grant helps us realize that, at the end of the day, it isn’t about money. It’s about time. Time spent doing what you love, and time spent with the people you love.

And now that I’ve read all 352 pages, I can honestly see how much love and heart Grant put into this book. The sheer effort it took to get all this information into one readable tome is mind-boggling.

Grant is incredible, and I suspect that he might not even be human. Does he ever sleep? No one knows.

I’m so incredibly proud of my friend for all the hard work and heart he put into this book, and I have to say, it paid off immensely. Because even though I know a lot of the investing and tax minimization advice already, I still learned a lot–especially about networking and side hustles–ideas that I never would’ve thought of.

Thanks for the inspiration and the knowledge, Grant! You are a tour de force!

In the interest of full disclosure and honesty, now that I’ve told you everything I love about the book, let’s talk about a few things that we disagreed on (because how boring would the world be if we were all in agreement 100% of the time?)

Investing

Grant recommends keeping no more than 5% of your portfolio in non-US stocks but doesn’t go into specifics on why. In our opinion, non-US stocks are necessary for diversification, and given that not all readers will be American, keeping more than 5% of their portfolio in non-US stocks may make sense and may yield some dividend tax benefits as well for non-US readers.

Real Estate

Grant and I agree that you shouldn’t jump into real estate without doing the math first. However, he doesn’t include home ownership costs in his calculations. In our experience, as well as in other finance books (like Ramit Sethi’s “I Will Teach You To be Rich”), these extra costs could add as much as 40-50% to your monthly mortgage. Definitely not negligible.

He also combines REITs and gold into one category and says you can ignore them. In our experience, REITs are a useful passive alternative to real-estate investing that provides a steady yield while letting you participate in the real estate market without physically owning property. I get that Grant loves hustling, but passive investments give you the flexibility to spend your time on things that matter to you—which is exactly what Grant is proposing when he says time is worth more than money. So I feel like the advantages of REITs could’ve been mentioned here.

The Abundance Mindset

Grant says that in order to take advantage of opportunities to make more money, you need to let go of the scarcity mindset and embrace the abundance mindset. That’s all fine and good, and in the case of entrepreneurship and side hustles, that makes sense. However, not everyone has this mindset, and people who live with scarcity, not through their own choice but through circumstances beyond their control, will not have an abundance mindset.

They struggle to take risks for big gains. That’s why some people will be better suited to a less risky portfolio allocation and full-time job rather than becoming an entrepreneur. On the plus side, Grant does acknowledge that he got to where he is by taking risks others wouldn’t have taken, to show that not everyone will be able to stomach the level of risk he can. That’s very much appreciated and helpful to hear.

But other than those small nitpicks, I think this is a phenomenal resource to help you make more money and get to FI faster.

One of my favourite things to spend money on is books—and in this case, I definitely think this is a worthwhile purchase. Grant goes above and beyond to teach you as much as possible and give you all the tools you need to figure out how you can reach financial independence on your own terms.

If you want a copy, click on the below links to buy. (Full disclosure: these are affiliate links).

If you’re American: Financial Freedom: A Proven Path to All the Money You Will Ever Need (US Store)

If you’re Canadian: Financial Freedom: A Proven Path to All the Money You Will Ever Need (Canadian Store)

And for those who buy his book by Feb 16, Grant and I will give you a priority pass to our upcoming webinar, talking about “How to Escape from the 9 to 5 to live your best life!”

We’ll be sharing some of the best tips from both our books, and space is limited so don’t wait! Pick up your copy of Financial Freedom and send your receipt to cody<AT>millennialmoney.com. 

We’d love to see you at the webinar!

What do you think? Do you want to learn how to increase your income by reading this book?


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39 thoughts on “Book Review: Financial Freedom by Grant Sabatier”

    1. Aww, thanks, AoS! Luckily, we’re fresh out of gold coated shit nuggets at the moment 😉

      Thanks for buying Grant’s book! I learned a lot, I think you will too.

    2. Haha LMAO! I had to laugh at that. That’s some serious vote of confidence right there.

      I will say this, Grant definitely changed my money mindset. It was around 2017. After reading about him, I started massively saving more money. I went from saving $50 a month to $13k a year thanks to him!

      Definitely an inspiring guy.

      Cheers!
      Miriam

  1. Any chance you can provide an affiliate link to amazon.ca for those of us who live in your home country? I’d hate you to miss out on that extra income ;-p Plus buying from US Amazon makes the book take ages to arrive – for some reason Canadian customs has a particular problem with books coming from other countries 🙁

    1. Thanks for the tip, Shaun! Really appreciate you looking out for us. I will update the post and include the Canadian affiliate link.

      You rock!

      1. Hey Fire! I bought the book from the Canadian Amazon store before you put the affiliate link on your post…So sorry! Like Shaun, is there any way that you would still be able to receive credit?

        Btw, the book came in today! (Feb 10th 2019)

        Thanks!

        1. Rex, you are in! 🙂 Would you mind emailing codymillennialmoney.com and mentioning this convo so he can add you to the list? Thanks.

  2. I listened to 2 interviews Grant gave (one on ChooseFI and the one on the Mad Fientist) and I was definitely intrigued by his story and will be definitely checking his book out! We are passed the accumulation stage as we took off to travel the world living out of our passive income, but I am still eager to learn new techniques when it come to generating income.

    1. Awesome, Mr. NN! Agree with you. His advice on side hustles and networking was super helpful for me–so it’s a great book regardless of where you are on the FI journey!

  3. Hi, I just clicked your link and ordered this book and am looking forward to a first-rate read and also becoming wealthy five minutes after shutting the back cover (ha ha ha!). I just emailed you and asked about an author autograph on what I think is called a “book plate” or something like that (the stickies that are found in books with signatures from the person who gave a book as a gift, etc.). Is that possible?
    Thanks,
    Dan Villarreal
    Taipei, Taiwan
    PS: Still looking forward to meeting up with you to get an author-autographed book from you when you come to Taipei. Of course, I anticipate being even more wealthy simply by reading the autographs!!!! 🙂

    1. LOL. Very funny, Daniel 🙂

      I’ve reached out to Grant about a book plate. Will get back to you.

      And yes, we should definitely meet up in Taiwan (I’d be happy to sign a copy of my book for you!)–I’ll email you once I get my travel dates figured out.

    1. Actually, Drew, no, he doesn’t. I’m only using the affiliate link from Amazon and I did an honest book review–likes and disagreements. I wouldn’t promote it if I didn’t like it. His book is honestly useful and good. You should read it.

  4. Thanks for the exhaustive review of the book. I agree that it’s helpful to see the details about how one person succeeded and I’m glad to hear he shared actual numbers. There is another good financial book out, The Dumb Things Smart People Do With Their Money, by Jill Schlesinger. This is written for the sandwich generation (taking care of kids and elders) so it covers different issues, but I think it’s important to be forward-looking as well (everyone gets older). When I gave my own daughters a first financial book to read, I picked an older Suze Orman book that covered different life stages not just the first 10 years out.

    1. Hi Caroline, yes I agree it’s a good idea to read a wide range of finance books to expand your knowledge. No one’s ever gotten dumber from reading too many finance books 😉

  5. I’m really excited to listen to the audiobook during my commute.
    I purchased the audiobook through my Audible membership credit. Would that qualify me to get that free pass for your webinar?

    1. Yup, you are in! 🙂 Would you mind emailing codymillennialmoney.com and mentioning this convo so he can add you to the list?

  6. Hi FC,

    There are bound to be differences in views in respect of the FIRE individuals. Differences in views lead to possibly new unchartered line of thoughts. I think that this is beneficial for all parties.

    WTK

  7. Interestingly enough, while looking at the Amazon listing for Grant’s book (noticing that physical copy is way more expensive in Canada but Kindle edition is cheaper) I came across this after the listing: Customers who viewed this item also viewed….
    Quit Like a Millionaire!

    At first I thought, ‘wow, it’s out already and I missed it?’ Then noticed it’s available for pre-order for July 9th. Still great to see it there and know it’s coming soon. Congratulations!

    1. Thanks, Adam. I’m still working on some details on the backend before announcing the pre-order link 🙂 I haven’t mentioned it yet because we’re still getting author blurbs and putting on the finishing touches with Penguin. Good eye for noticing it though! 🙂

  8. I bought it mainly because I saw Vicki Robin had written the Foreword. 🙂

    Was a little underwhelmed by the book to be honest. Nothing new under the sun – it all felt a little jaded to me. Take the side hustles chapter – I thought that was very weak – no new ideas really and those that were there had very little juice.

    To be honest I also thought Penguin did a bad job with the editing/structuring.

    Just my opinion.

    For a better treatment on side hustles I would recommend people read The Idea in You by Martin Amor and Alex Pellew. I was able to turn material there into two very lucrative side hustles. I also would recommend The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau.

    There are also better books on investment out there too – Smarter Investing by Tim Hale for one…

    On the plus side I would say if you are completely new to FI this book is certainly not a bad thing to read, but if you have some experience don’t expect too much…

    1. You’re entitled to your opinion, Codefreeze. I think if you know everything there is to know about sidehustles and FIRE, then this information won’t be new to you. I still think it’ll help a lot of people who are stuck and have no idea where to begin. I also think Grant’s story of going from broke to millionaire is inspirational.

  9. This book (and this blog) are great personal stories. That’s about it. The idea that this same process could be repeated by thousands of other people is flat out wrong, maybe even dangerous. It’s scary that so many people with no financial background are writing finance books and pitching them to unsophisticated investors as wisdom. Seems like the only real safe bet is the authors make all the money and everyone else gets nothing. Save your money!

    1. Right, give your money to financial advisors and bankers instead. Those guys clearly have “financal backgrounds” and are honest and trustworthy. They make money regardless of whether your portfolio goes up or down.

      If you think you can get rich by writing and becoming an author, clearly you’re never written anything in your life.

  10. I purchased my book today through your link and emailed [email protected] my receipt. Please make sure I have a priority pass at your upcoming webinar “How to Escape from the 9 to 5 to live your best life!”

    Thanks, Kesha.

  11. Dear FIRECracker

    I hope you well. Thank you for creating such a wonderful platform to introduce the concept of FIRE to the community. I really appreciate your honest to God, edgy, informative, and relatable posts. This platform introduced me the concept of FIRE and I have been following your advice/experience on index investing. I am inspired to travel the world as you are currently.

    On the other hand, I was so sad to find out the deadline to get the pass to the webinar was Feb 16,2019. Since I was late, but would there any chance that I can still obtain the pass?

    I really look forward to hearing from you.

    1. Hi Nick,

      I need to work with Grant to figure out our final attendance numbers, but I think it should be okay. Will get back to you on this.

      1. Dear FIRECracker

        Thank you so much for taking time responding to my inquiry. I appreciate your responsiveness to concerns and questions. I look forward to hearing from you.

  12. I love how this community helped rebrand the “second job” concept into the “side-hustle.” Because now it’s “cool” to talk about spending your free time making extra dough to reach your goals.

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