Happy Ever After: Financial Freedom Isn′t a Fairy Tale by The Seven Dollar Millionaire is a fantastic book. It’s ideal for anyone starting their first job, or looking to grow their savings by making investments. It’s written in a playful style with narration from a spoilt princess and talking frog. This makes the information is easy to follow and understand. The advice is common sense and caters to a wide audience. The central concept is to invest £7 (or dollars, or euros) each day in something which brings a 7% return. Compound interest ensures you can retire earlier and in comfort. There is a wealth (pun intended) of valuable information and whilst the process is simple the practicalities can be a bit more challenging. Happy Ever After is out now in both ebook and paperback. My thanks to Helen Lewis of Literally PR for my gifted copy in exchange for an honest review.
There are a great many things I love about this book, so I will try to group my thoughts thematically. I will discuss why it’s valuable and much needed. Then discuss the content, style and nature of the advice. Finally, I will give my own opinion on the advice and it’s implementation. I am not a finance expert.
As the author points out, financial literacy is a serious issue globally for adults young and old. It should be a subject taught in schools but is woefully neglected. It has been the subject of campaigns in the UK, with the first ever financial education textbook for schools created only last summer. Make no mistake, if you’re in 6th form or college you need Happy Ever After. It doesn’t matter whether you’re going to work or uni, the sooner you have the information the better prepared you are to make informed choices. And the sooner you start the easier it will be! If you’re a parent then this might just be the most valuable book you can give your child. If you are already in work, you can gain a lot from this book too. It’s never too late to start planning for a better financial future.
Do you know how to budget? How much you should be saving each month? How to make an investment? What to invest in? How compound interest works? The ways to spot a scam? How much you need for retirement? This book answers all these questions and more.
What will this book tell me?
Essentially this book will give you the tools to help you create your own financial freedom. The book consists of 8 chapters covering topics including what is money, income, spending, saving and investing. It also explains the author’s formula for financial freedom which is 25 times what you spend in a year. Once you have that, you can enjoy your happy ever after.
The method the author proposes is to save £7 per day and invest it in something which brings a 7% return. The investment advice is good and rooted in common sense, he suggests starting with property as we all need somewhere to live and choosing a place where we want to live for a long time. He also suggests starting with safer stock market options such as the FTSE100 companies. He advises that readers study the stock market and diversify their portfolio as they gain confidence. The author explains risk and opportunity clearly and gives tips for spotting scams.
How easy is it to do?
The author suggests that if you are disciplined and live frugally you can achieve 25 x your annual spending in under 18 years. I don’t doubt this is the case if you have a well paid job. I know two men (both in senior finance roles) who aim to achieve this. One has excellent self-control and already has a million in the bank. The other gets bored of working and says to himself “I have a lot saved and want to enjoy myself whilst I’m still young” so every few years he takes a year or two off work. The author explains how spending cuts can be made, e.g. by forgoing daily coffee shop coffee which adds up to a significant sum over the longer term.
Implementing the invest £7/day becomes more difficult for those who don’t earn well. In the UK, 20% of the population lives on incomes below the poverty line (after housing costs), despite most of these households being in employment. These are people who already live frugally and simply don’t have £49 per week to invest. Happy Ever After is more difficult for such people to achieve. It doesn’t mean they won’t benefit from the advice in this book, they certainly will even if they can’t save as much. It’s just the formula will be significantly more challenging and take far longer to achieve. The author does understand this and gives good advice on dealing with debt and provides insights and ideas for “side hustles.”
The author suggests that property is one of the first things the reader should invest in. He makes an excellent case. I agree that if you can afford to make mortgage rather than rent payments it’s absolutely the smart thing to do. He suggests buying a house in a place where you want to live for a long time (if not forever). Whilst I understand the sense behind this, things become more complicated if you loose your job and need to move to secure new employment.
This is a very informative book which is easy to follow and understand. I think the Princess and Frog (and hand drawn illustrations) add appeal to what is often perceived as a difficult and inaccessible subject. The advice is borne of a high level of expertise and is easy to understand and follow. How easy it is to implement will depend on individual circumstances. I would recommend it to anyone – regardless of circumstances – who wishes to improve their financial literacy and increase their financial freedom.
Do visit the other stops on the tour to reader reviews from others. See the poster below for dates and blog names.
Discover how financial freedom – and not fairy tales – is at the heart of your very own Happy Ever After
Did you know you can become a millionaire by saving just $7 a day and investing for 7% returns? Probably not, because financial literacy is a subject that’s overlooked by the vast majority of schools and universities, despite its importance to every single person on the planet.
Written initially for a teenage daughter and then turned into a course to train migrant workers, Happy Ever After: Financial Freedom Isn’t a Fairy Tale focuses on the fundamentals of understanding money, saving and investing, showing how the “magic” of compound investing can transform tiny initial amounts into genuine wealth. Finally, it shows readers how to achieve the “Freedom Formula” of 25x your annual spending – that can set you free.
Perfect for anyone who hopes to make their future financially brighter than their present, or help their own child…