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Set for Life: Dominate Life, Money, and the American Dream

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  1,246 ratings  ·  103 reviews
Set yourself up for life as early as possible and enjoy life on your terms!

Are you tied to a nine-to-five workweek? Would you like to “retire” from wage-paying work within ten years? Are you in your 20s or 30s and would like to be financially free―the sort of free that ensures you spend the best part of your day and week, and the best years of your life, doing what you
Kindle Edition, 236 pages
Published April 23rd 2017 by BiggerPockets Publishing
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Average rating 4.26  · 
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 ·  1,246 ratings  ·  103 reviews

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Will Brown
This book's primary audience is people 30 and under who are just starting their professional lives post-college. I would highly recommend it to those folks. I cannot recommend it for anyone who is already deep in their career and looking for ways to make a transition out into a more self-directed lifestyle.

The author doesn't acknowledge people in the latter circumstance, so I wish the focus was made clear in the book description.

That being said, I'm one who can always find nuggets of truth in
C.A. Gray
Jun 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
A really interesting take on finance -- the main point here is to 1) get out of debt, and save until you have a "financial runway" of $10K or so, 2) identify your major areas of spending (primarily housing, transportation, and food), and find ways to save money there--especially house hacking, or renting out part of your living space so you can effectively live for free, until you have saved up about $25K; 3) take that $25K and invest in real estate (preferred) or at least index funds, while you ...more
Wen Minkoff
Jan 15, 2018 rated it liked it
It's about financial freedom, but it is really only applicable to those in their 20s or early 30s, living in an area of the country that's not terribly expensive. NYC, SF etc. folks will find a lot that doesn't apply. Takeaways: 1) Get rid of your commute by living close enough to work (but not in a pricey neighborhood) to bike or walk. 2) Buy a duplex in an "okay" but not great area, fix it up and rent out half, plus maybe some of the extra bedrooms in your half 3) Live on $1500/month and save ...more
Aaron Dutton
Feb 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: at-bpl
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is THE best personal financial book I have EVER read. I first read Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover a couple years ago and got all the way through each baby step to step 5, still working on step 6. Now to read this? I’m going all-in after reading this book. Even if you don’t adopt every principle it talks about, if you are interested in real estate or stock market investment and working toward early financial freedom, this book is a MUST READ. Don’t wait to see me be successful, retire ...more
Nov 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: money
1. Do the big things right. Biggest expenses are areas that need to be reduced.

2. Save 50% of income. Build: $10-25k (this is the grind)

3. House-hacking: buy duplex and rent the other half. Fix it up as you live there.

4. Income: Performance-based pay. No limit.

5. Put yourself in high achieving environments. Be around people who are truly great.

6. Continuously improve in personal productive and leadership.

7. Life Long Learner: regular habit. Blog, online course, podcast.

8. Develop
Bon Osonwanne
Aug 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Financial Freedom

This books starts with the basics such as cutting spending and tracking and managing expenses, so you can save more to invest since a dollar saved is greater than a dollar earned after tax. It reminds us that house hacking, that is buying a multifamily property and living in one unit and renting out the rest, basically living for free is one of the fastest ways to achieve savings towards financial freedom, with investing in more income-producing assets. It takes us from negative
Tyler Melso
Feb 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I would highly recommend this book to anyone in their 20's or 30's especially those looking to boost their wealth and find a path to early financial freedom. I only wish I had read this when I was 18 years old. The author, Scott Trench, has some very wise advice on how to start investing in real estate by first saving money rather than trying to earn more money. In addition to reading this book I highly suggest checking out Scott's podcast on as well as all the other great ...more
Dan Cumberland
Jun 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business
This should be a required read for anyone looking to get ahead financially—especially early in your career. ...more
Robert Fisher
Apr 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
EDIT: I came back and upgraded my ratings. I was shocked to see I had only given this 3 stars. It has stuck with me and finds its way into most conversations about money. It is by far the book I recommend most to people. You can even ignore the last paragraph because I fit that description and still found a way to change my life and apply the principles from this book.

I also noticed Scott is like one of those friends you don’t know how to take at first, so you take them the wrong way. This was
⋯Kaylee Pratt⋯
Sep 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is like Rich Dad, Poor Dad but so much better. A lot of the same concepts are there—early financial freedom, taking charge of your own future—but with actual actionable advice! Plus, there’s an obvious bias towards real estate, which I prefer as an investment strategy. And it’s perfect for people like myself that are just starting out!

I would highly recommend for anyone, but especially people in their twenties and thirties that are looking for a way out of the “daily grind” of work
Ronnie Hudson II
May 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Amazing book by Scott Trench. I am an avid Bigger Pockets reader of both their books and their blog and this was a great book for anyone looking for a practical guide to getting their financial life in order and put the pieces in place to be set for Life. It is more ideal for a person that is just coming out of college or is single without family and is thinking about purchasing a home but the concepts and principles will work for anyone at any walk of life
Savinay Chandrasekhar
Feb 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One stop shop

I've read enough wealth-building books and blogs in the past, but Scott Trench manages not only to distill many of the core elements, but also to add new twists on common ideas, or even more interestingly, to buck the trends of common practice with sound logic. A delightful and easy read that I can implement with immediate impact.
Jul 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Good Principles and Clearly-laid out plan. A little preachy, repetitive and annoying though.
Nov 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
Should have been a blog post.
Apr 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: economics, education
While this is not my exact idea for managing finances, I found some interesting and helpful insights. Many of the ideas here are pretty different from how most of the world works to save and invest, but the discussion was very helpful. The author talks a lot about "house hacking" and real estate investing as a way to create wealth quickly. This idea stresses me out, so I'll stick to maximizing my Roth IRA and my consistent wage job. I think my biggest take away from this book was the importance ...more
Mar 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-finance
Dave Ramsey meets “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” Robert Kiyosaki. At risk of sounding sensational, here’s my raving review. If you want realistic strategies to quit the rat race 9-5 long before you’re 65, read this book! The author isn’t some charlatan trying to sell you something. He teaches how to build enough passive income to retire within 10-15 years through calculated work, investing, and saving. I’d recommend it to anyone still in their 20’s or early 30’s who wants earlier financial freedom and ...more
Oct 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book. Was a great balance of financial common sense, with real estate, with financial independence. Struck a nice balance between all of these things without being too dogmatic or overzealous. Scott Trench frames things well and really excited to see what he continues to do both writing but also on the BiggerPockets money podcast.
Zack Powell
Jan 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book. Everyone should read this.
Grant Hosticka
Oct 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The new rich dad poor dad

Great read on how to get ahead financially early in life and throughout, thanks for putting this resource together Scott.
Tony Angell
Dec 04, 2018 rated it did not like it
Read any highly ranked personal finance book instead of this one. Ex Dave Ramsey.
Jesus Ramirez
Sep 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Where was this book 30 years ago. Great advice if your in your 20’s. A must read for young folks.
Jul 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, finance
This book is meant for a young person living in the USA, earning around $50,000 per year and has ambitions of financial independence/early retirement (FI). I appreciated Scott Trench's clear and direct writing style. He has a lot of good advice to offer, but my biggest takeaway from the book was the power of "house hacking" in accelerating the path to FI. Trench's bashing of retirement accounts as a "false asset" was a bit of an overkill in my mind, but his point that money in these accounts are ...more
Jun 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Solid and realistic strategy. His three phases are well argued with examples. It's worth picking up to read the conclusion and/or the chapter summaries.

It's missing 2 stars because it is a faceless book. There is not one personal story or testimonial showing his plan in action.

But I know he leads a massive community of real estate investors, which lends him credibility and gave him all the 5 star reviews on Amazon.

He is quite negative towards the role precious metals should play in a
Chris Esposo
May 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pleasantly surprised by this bootstrap financial/life/career/goals self-help book. These types are a dime a dozen, with much of that dozen being total garbage. This book provides surprisingly sound advice on how to bootstrap wealth generation, on the whole, with a few exceptions on his numbers and the last "stage" of his plan. In short, the author's goal is to guide the reader to generating wealth quickly much faster than the standard retirement age of 66, so that the reader can enjoy more of ...more
Elizabeth Miller
Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Full of helpful information

I started making changes as soon as I started reading this book. I can’t wait to start building my runway!
Dec 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Set for Life is an alternative means of looking at personal finance that changes it from something average to something extraordinary regardless of what your current occupation or income stream happens to be. Trench presents a whole of life approach to increasing income, to changing lifestyle, to determining what level of financial independence you want for your life and then presents a variety of way in which to obtain it, the chief being as a real estate investor. Trench is clear that real ...more
Aug 31, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Scott Trench deserves a standing ovation for addressing the American "excess-spendature" culture that has become a staple of the American lifestyle. Scott makes clear that buying more useless stuff is not an admirable path to either financial freedom or a sustainable way of life. Second, Trench deftly addresses the "habits" we should cut out of our lives. A culture built for our own amusement with little or no deeper meaning is a sure way to lose one's way in life; down a road of distractions ...more
Jared Fannin
Dec 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
I wish I could go back in time about 10 years and read this book then. This book would have been wildly beneficial back then versus my current life situation. With a wife and kid at home, it is not impossible, but just very difficult to implement the stuff that Trench teaches. Trench has many excellent strategies for saving money but most (if not all) of the principals are catered to the young, single, fresh college grad that's starting out with nothing. There are some points where my own ...more
Bruce Harpham
May 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: personal-finance
Going into this book, I expected it to purely focus on real estate since the author is connected to the BiggerPockets website. In fact, I was surprised to see a more comprehensive view of personal finance. The author lays out a robust step by step plan to build wealth. The early steps focus on building up savings from zero and paying down debt. That's personal finance 101 material - necessary but nothing new there.

The best parts of the book come later. The author makes a great point in pursuing
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