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

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  1,895 ratings  ·  160 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 w
Kindle Edition, 236 pages
Published April 23rd 2017 by BiggerPockets Publishing
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Average rating 4.24  · 
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 ·  1,895 ratings  ·  160 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 a
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 ea ...more
Nov 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: money
1. Do the big things right.
- The 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 a 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 productivity and leadership.

7. Life-Long Learner: regular habit. Blog, online course, podcast.
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
Kevin Luo
Feb 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
As a whole, this book is a decent book about many finance concepts and is great for beginners. It gives a really high-level overview of systematically developing a lifestyle that would be conducive to financial freedom and gives many simple explanations for intricate concepts. Drawbacks would be that at times, this book is overly simplistic and that this book would not be relevant for someone with a stronger FIRE understanding. Additionally, Trench at times is a bit preachy and judgy and this bo ...more
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 reso ...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.
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 lif
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.
Bailey Marissa
The short summary: Dave Ramsey Lite + Marie Kondo

My mom, a property manager, got this for me for Christmas 2019. While this does mention DR, it focuses more on the 'why' of wanting to become financially stable/independent instead of just "it's smart." It also gives a few tips on how to do it in a manageable plan.

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
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 mor ...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.
Jacqueline Boss
Jan 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Officially my #1 recommendation for anyone starting to learn personal finance.

Excellent actionable steps to building wealth including turning housing, the biggest drain on wealth, into the biggest gain.

Other great advice including an overview of why it's stupid to lock up money in a retirement account and lose access to that cash that would get much better returns if invested in rental property or business, and how to make tons more money by working commission instead of salary.
Grant H
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.
Kyle Wang
Feb 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
FIRE must reads with a great summary across all topics

Really liked that the book broke everything down into a hierarchical leveling structure and lists. Which makes it very easy to consume even at a glance. The language is written for a general audience, and empathizes towards those who are just starting out or haven't made their first $10k in real assets, but just as equally provides example scenarios of young professionals with $100k+ in net worth.
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 portfolio
Travis Moore
Dec 30, 2018 rated it it was ok
The book has some good concepts, but glosses over important information and generally fails to provide details. The author’s position against retirement accounts is simply bad advice (somewhat offset by the appendix, but many people likely won’t read it after such negativity in the body of the book). A reader would be better off reading a biggerpockets blog post on house hacking instead of this book ( ...more
Chiara Cokieng
Sep 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Top two books on personal finance. Read this to get your money roadmap for life, then if you’re in stage 1 and 2, read total money makeover by dave ramsey. These two books inform the things you didn’t know you didn’t know about personal finance. They truly get you on the road to being set for life.
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