The Three Roads Of Wealth (Very Instructive)


Which one are you on?

As I continue to work my way through The Millionaire Fastlane” by MJ DeMarco, I continue to find great nuggets to share with you.


I didn’t read the book for a few years after first learning about it because I didn’t like the title, but now that I’m finally reading it (having already read “The Great Rat Race Escape”), I’m enjoying it quite a bit.

It is like “Rich Dad Poor Dad” but with more practical advice on how to achieve your goals.

Learn More

Today I want to discuss the framework DeMarco uses to discuss the wealth-building process and how mainstream financial advice steers most people in the wrong direction.

In his book, DeMarco lays out three different roads that people take to build wealth:

The sidewalk
The slowlane
The fastlane

Let’s go through each to understand how they work, and how you can improve your results.

Read also: The three pillars of wealth

The Sidewalk

Too many people float along in life without worrying about the consequences — they spend everything they earn, live only for today, and have zero plan for building wealth.

These people are always spending more than they earn, saving nothing, not investing, not building businesses, and not worrying about the future.

Their income goes towards things they can’t afford, often financed with debt: new cars, a big house, fancy clothes, jewelry, expensive vacations, etc.

High credit card debt, car loans, and big mortgage payments destroy their cash flow and their ability to build wealth.

And don’t think that this group is only people with tiny salaries. There are many people with massive salaries that have no wealth because of how they manage their finances.

A doctor earning $500,000 per year can still be living paycheck to paycheck if she is spending $600,000 per year.

This group is on the sidewalk. They are not building wealth and are not even on a road at all.

As per the Aspen Institute, in 2019 over 10% of Us households had a negative net worth.

There is little financial literacy in this group, and it shows by their results.

People who are on the sidewalk will never build wealth until they get onto one of the other two roads, either the slowlane or the fastlane.

The Slowlane

Mainstream financial advice advocates that people go to school, get a good job, save 10% or so of their salary into index funds and build up a nest egg by retirement age.

This is what DeMarco calls “the slowlane” because it takes 40+ years before you have any type of wealth.

If you earn $60,000 per year and save 10% of your salary into low-cost index funds, it will take you some 55 years to build up $5 million (it’s hard to be wealthy for less these days).

That means you start working at age 25 and retire rich at age 80!

That is the slowlane.

And to get there, you often have to drastically cut your expenses and lead a small life.

Cut out lattes, cut out vacations, cut out presents for the family, cut out birthday parties, cut out nice cars or houses, cut, cut, cut.

You have to live below your means, but the focus of the slowlane is to reduce your expenses, rather than increasing your income.

It’s not that the slowlane doesn’t work, it does, and it is certainly better than the sidewalk, but it’s that it takes 40+ years to work.

If you are lucky, you will spend your youth and your energy socking away enough money so that you can enjoy life when you are old.

If you are unlucky, you may still not have significant wealth by age 65, or you may die before you get to enjoy it anyways.

What good is saving up $5 million to tour the US in an RV if you are too old and frail to enjoy it?

The Fastlane

This brings us to the final road to wealth — the fastlane.

DeMarco illustrates that being an entrepreneur and starting a successful business is the only way to get rich young.

If you want to have significant money to enjoy before you are old, you will need to create a business that can generate significant wealth quickly.

A successful business can generate $100,000 per month in profit, compared to $10,000 per month in salary at a “good” job in the slowlane.

How long will it take you to accumulate $5 million when you are earning $100,000 per month?

Hint — it’s less than 55 years! That is why DeMarco calls this the fastlane.

In addition, a business can be sold for several times the profit it makes.

If your business makes $2 million per year, you may be able to sell it for $10 million or more, depending on the industry.

Spending 5 to 10 years working hard to build a successful business (and recovering from multiple failures) can set you up for a life of leisure.

Your business can be in real estate (my favorite), health care, food, travel, or any other sector where you see a need that can be filled.

If you can help people solve a problem, to make their lives better in some way, they will pay you to do it.

If you are good at it and can touch the lives of millions, then you will make millions.

Read also: 5 quotes on new perspective on life


Too many people are either walking on the sidewalk to driving in first gear on the slowlane.

While jumping to the fastlane is scary (I know it is for me!), it is the only way to achieve financial freedom

It is interesting to note that most of the gurus who preach the slowlane doctrine do not practice it themselves. Ramsey, Orman, and others got rich from starting businesses that sell financial advice rather than saving 10% of their income in index funds.

Be careful following people who don’t practice what they preach.

Personally, I have one foot in the slowlane as I’m still employed with a 401k, but I now have one foot in the fastlane through my investment real estate portfolio.

Last year the equity in our real estate holdings was increasing by more than $100,000 per month. It was my first real taste of the fastlane and has shown me firsthand what DeMarco writes about in his books.

While we are not yet where we want to be to liquidate and “retire”, we are closer than ever and can see some light at the end of the tunnel.

I just turned 42 years old and have 4 children. This life would not have been possible if I followed mainstream financial advice and only focused on my job, my house, and my 401k.

What are you doing to get on the fastlane?

Best of luck and let me know how I can help!

Building Arks

After struggling to build wealth early in my career while following traditional financial advice, I set out on a path to learn about investing. Over a decade later, I’m financially secure and working towards full financial independence through real estate and the stock market. I have succeeded in building my financial ark to help me weather whatever storms may come.

CONTRIBUTED BY Jason Clendenen

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