This is a review of Millionaire Teacher: The Nine Rules of Wealth You Should Have Learned in School by Andrew Hallam.

I met Andrew Hallam by accident in my email’s spam folder. It’s a bad day when a notable financial writer (and a super nice guy) gets banned from my inbox along with thousands of cheap Viagra offerings.

I have nothing against Viagra ads. Every month I spend a whack of time sifting through dubious drug company prices in the hopes I’ll find the golden email that got away.

In Hallam’s case, I found three. THREE REAL EMAILS! That’s like a million spams to one Andrew Hallam. The odds were against him.

andrew hallam

Now, you wouldn’t think that Hallam, a high school English teacher, would take a lot of stock in playing the odds. It’s the math teachers, after all, who spend their days calculating Calculus formulas, integrating integer ratios, studying statistics, and perhaps dabbling in a little bit of probability theory.

But Hallam isn’t your average 40-something English teacher. He’s a millionaire. And he became a member of this elusive club by being a bit of a numbers guy.

“I didn’t take exceptional risks with my money and I didn’t inherit a penny from anyone,” he writes in his book. “When I went to college, I paid the entire bill myself. How did I pay for my own schooling and amass more than a million debt-free dollars before my fortieth birthday?”

Hallam poses good questions. After reading Millionaire Teacher: The Nine Rules of Wealth You Should Have Learned in School I now know the answers.

Raise your hand for a little money help.

Money is a taboo subject, and schools haven’t done much to untabooify (new financial word) the wacky world of personal finance. Heck, many high school teachers wouldn’t know where to start! That’s why a bunch of them banded together and asked Hallam for money help. The teachers wanted to know how best to save, invest, and prosper like the millionaire English teacher.

Hallam, being a generous kind of guy, started clubs and taught his fellow teachers his money ways. Being a finalist in the National Publishing Awards for financial writing, he is known for his penny-wise prowess.

It was within these clubs Hallam learned first hand how the majority of money books fail to connect with real people — you know, human beings. Written by economists and other super-smart people, too many investing tomes use jargon and financial language that barely skims the minds of well-meaning folks.

So with the help of over 100 colleagues and friends, Andrew Hallam went on a mission to bring his money lessons and rules to the masses. Jargon-free, fun to read, and easy to follow, Millionaire Teacher is the tome that could take you to the head of the class and add a few zeros to your portfolio.

The ‘Nine Rules’ you didn’t learn in school. Sorry.

Andrew Hallam lays out his nine rules of wealth in under 180 pages. I don’t know how he packed so much good stuff into so few digestible sheets of paper. Others agree — Millionaire Teacher has graced the Top 10 and Top 100 lists on Amazon.ca and Amazon.com for months. Yeah, MONTHS!

You won’t find any ‘get rich quick’ schemes here. Hallam is a practical fellow who believes in hard work. He advocates a sensible savings strategy, steers clear of the financial service industry (many advisers charge hidden fees), and invests in low cost index funds to grow his modest income into unimaginable wealth. He shows you how to do it.

The ruling lessons I love

I won’t review every single rule in Millionaire Teacher — I don’t think I could do each chapter justice. But the rules that resonate strongest with me are as follows:

Rule 1: Spend like You Want To Grow Rich

Readers of Squawkfox will love the first chapter, since Hallam outlines how to be frugal without becoming a miserable miser. Hallam has a witty sense of humor about choosing to live on less, and shows you how to live life to the fullest while not spending buckets of money.

Rule 5: Build Mountains of Money with a Responsible Portfolio

I’ve always been great at saving money. But after paying off my student debt, I had little clue how to invest. Enter chapter five, where both newbie and intermediate investors can benefit from Hallam’s down-to-earth explanations of stocks, bonds, and those newsworthy market movements.

He shows how you can build wealth over time by investing in low cost index funds and building a ‘Couch Potato Portfolio’. And yes, most everyone can do this.

Rule 6: Sample a ‘Round-the-World’ Ticket to Indexing

Rule six makes this book worthy of the international audience who reads this blog. Whether you live in the U.S., Canada, Australia, or Singapore — or any other English-speaking country — you’ll find huge value in this chapter since Hallam outlines possible funds to invest in.

Read this chapter at least five times. You’ll learn investing lessons from the American section even if you are a Canadian. If you hail from Australia, the Canuck section is eye-opening. Even the personal stories Hallam shares throughout the Singaporean indexing part are enlightening to an international readership. Really!

Who should read Millionaire Teacher?

I needed to read Millionaire Teacher. Even though I already invest in a ‘Couch Potato Portfolio’ of index funds and I’m great at saving moolah, I learned a lot from Andrew Hallam’s nine money rules.

I love Hallam’s style. Not only is he fun to read, but he explains challenging financial concepts (well, challenging for me) in an understandable way that’s rare in personal finance books.

Where to buy the book:

Whether you’re a newbie saver or an advanced investor, this is a great investment book for all levels, ages, and incomes. No wonder Millionaire Teacher is topping the Amazon charts around the world. It’s that good. Heck, I may just send a few copies to those spammers who fill my inbox with marketing drivel — saving smartly and investing wisely are by far the best ways to make it to a million.

Happy investing!
Love, Kerry