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Review: A Million Bucks By 30 by Alan Corey

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A Million Bucks By 30 by Alan CoreyI always enjoy books that tell a story of someone’s life and this one, A Million Bucks by 30, about how Alan Corey “overcame a crap job, stingy parents, and a useless degree to become a millionaire before (or after) turning thirty,” was no exception. To get a feel for the guy, I think you have to start at the dedication. You know those pages right before the title page where the author thanks a few choice people like a half second Academy Awards acceptance speech? This is what his said:

This amazingly awesome book is dedicated to my parents, Nancy and Larry. Mom, don’t worry, there shouldn’t be any embarrassing grammar mistakes. Dad, thanks for buying this before it hits the bargain bin.” (those would be the stingy parents he referred to on the cover page)

The second “dedication page” reads: “Just to be clear, this amazingly awesome book is not dedicated to my sister, Jill.” You can get a sense that the book is probably going to be an entertaining read… you wouldn’t be wrong. 🙂

So, what is this book about? Alan Corey’s life. He, like many young people, decided he was going to become a millionaire by thirty. He didn’t sit around and envision the perfect future, he didn’t wish and hope that good things would happen to him, he moved. He didn’t know what he was going to do when he got to where he was going, but he acted. This book is about all the crazy things Alan did. Some of them got him closer to his goal of a million bucks, some of them just got him to the next day, all of them are crazy stories and ridiculously entertaining to read.

Besides being a man of action, Alan is resourceful. Many of us unlearn the things we learned to survive in college, he learned to adapt them and use those skills to improve his life. In college, many people are frugal. By the time we get a five figure job and enter the real world, we think we’ve made it. We think the days of ramen are over and we can start living the high life! Not Alan, those resourcefulness skills just have more weapons to play with! Heck, the guy is making a decent wage ($40k in NYC is rough, but decent) but still plays “How Cheap Can I Go?”

So, how about these great stories? Chapter 10: Tripped Out is an awesome chapter about how he would try to get on television shows. The first story he talks about is Change of Heart. On Change of Heart, one half of a couple would go out on a date and decide whether to stick with her current boyfriend or go with the new one. Alan auditioned, got cast, and he was the new guy for this girl. He was in it for the free food and drink plus the $350 appearance fee. What’s funny is that the girl did have a change of heart, picked him, but they never saw each other again! He goes on to talk about a few other shows, how to use creativity to get on them, and other entertaining nuggets of randomness that make the book a fun read. (here’s a video montage of his appearances)

So, I bet now you’re burning to find out how Alan, in playing “How Cheap Can I Go?” and appearing on random television shows, reaches a million bucks? Real estate. That’s right, Alan saves up, borrows, and eventually makes his bank on real estate deals. Why do we need yet another book about real estate especially in this awful housing market? It’s because this book isn’t about real estate, it’s about how to fight and claw your way to your dreams. The difference with this book is that you get to follow Alan’s life from the beginning. You start when he graduates college and has no idea what the heck his MIS degree means to when he appears on Queer Eye (season one, gets $15k worth of free stuff!) to when he borrows money from his mom to when he starts entering the real estate world. It’s not an instruction manual on any one thing, it’s a testament to the fact that everyone’s path is different and Alan’s was merely more exciting than most. 🙂

I really enjoyed this book and Alan was kind enough to send me an extra copy, so leave a comment about your favorite game show TV moment and I’ll draw a name next week. The winner will receive a signed copy of A Million Bucks by 30.

{ 23 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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23 Responses to “Review: A Million Bucks By 30 by Alan Corey”

  1. Minimum Wage says:

    It helps – a lot – that he was making a decent wage. He certainly couldn’t have gone into real estate on a $20K income.

  2. Matt says:


    Your site is fantastic.

    My favorite TV game show moment was when I saw a re-run of the game Greed on the Game Show Network (GSN). One of the contestants was someone who had been featured on the A&E show Intervention. Said contestant was a guy who had a severe gambling compulsion, coupled with a desire to be famous. Anyway, this guy was running his parents into the ground and whining that the world wasn’t fair. Shortly after I watched the Intervention episode (maybe 2-3 months later), I was flipping through the channels and saw him on the episode of greed. It was ironic, really.

  3. Tyler says:

    You would not believe how much this sounds like my life…minus the $1 Million.
    I’ve just completed my second Real Estate transaction, which I will write about on my blog in a couple of weeks (after the closing date).
    If everything goes through with this transaction, I will have made more than 2X my annual salary in net proceeds from 2 real estate deals over the past 10 months and my net worth will have gone from -$40K to about $265K over the past 3 years.
    Hopefully you’ll be reading my story one day…until then I’d love to read this one to keep me motivated.

  4. Brett says:

    It’s always good to hear that those things which seem impossible to some are so possible for others.

  5. VG says:

    Looks like a great story.
    My favourite game show is ‘Deal or No Deal’

  6. Patrick says:

    I have to go with the guy who was the first to win $1,000,000 on Who Wants To Be a Millionaire.

    He didn’t use any of his “lifelines”, until the last question, when he called up his Dad and said “Hey Dad, I don’t really need your advice. I just wanted to tell you I’m about to win a million bucks”.

    And then he hung up, and answered the question matter-of-factly.

    Great television.

  7. Moneymonk says:

    Alan is resourceful!! That is the key and also power of association. Once you start hanging around people that are making moves, you cannot help but to go up. At least, that what helped me.

    The book should give anyone hope !

  8. Geoff says:

    sounds interesting..

  9. adfecto says:

    My favorite game show has always been Jeopardy. My favorite game show moment is slightly different, it is every time I watch Deal or No Deal and a person turns down a six figure offer and winds up walking away with almost nothing. I love to see people who are greedy (or bad at math) get the payoff they deserve.

  10. Jmarkc says:

    My favorite gameshow moment is an oldie. Remember the show The Joker’s Wild? It’s the one where you pull a handle for the world’s largest slot machine that was at waist-heighth and mounted to the floor. I used to watch it all the time as it was a family favorite. One time, I remember a contestant pulled the handle, as she was supposed to, but the handle completely fell apart! It fell to the floor and the contestant just stood there! Could you imagine that?! Now they tape the shows so much earlier than they used to so I doubt you would see that except on a Bloopers special.

  11. Alex says:

    My favorite game show moment is actually the story of how a guy named Michael Larson figured out the pattern used in the game show “Press Your Luck” and won a ton of money in the process. I’ll leave the aftermath for the reader, as it’s also entertaining.

  12. sandycheeks says:

    This comment may ruin any credibility I may have ever attained.

    My favorite game show moment was no particular episode but a frugal tip I learned form the Price Is Right. Wear neutral colored shoes (the Price girls wore flesh colored ones) and you’ll always match your outfit. Those girls wore the same shoes all the time and changed outfits multiple times a show. I’m not so sure how much of a fashion “do” this is, but it was a lightbulb of frugality when I was buying shoes to match every outfit.

  13. Jem says:

    My favorite game show moment was when a woman on The Price is Right spun the wheel and won $11,000.

  14. dha says:

    Hmmm.. so the guy happened to catch the biggest RE boom in recent history? Not downplaying his ambition or accomplishments. Just saying, sometimes a little dumb luck helps. How many overnight millionaires did we get out of the tech boom? How many were left after 2000/01?

    I hope he’s liquidated his holdings and/or has positive cash flow. Otherwise, the next book could be “250 Thousand Bucks by 35”

    That said, yes I’m a little jealous!

    I happened to catch one night of “Are you Smarter than a 5th Grader?” recently. A woman’s first question was the easy First-grade level, some kind of grammar question. She missed it! Oops! Then in a “twist”, they hustled her over to the next studio, where some kind of remember-the-lyrics game show was just coming on, and they let her compete there instead. I actually felt bad for her. The implication? “You’re too dumb for this show, but let’s see if you listen to the radio!”

  15. Liss says:

    My favorite game show moment was when Kelli Pickler was on “Are you Smarter than a Fifth Grader.” I don’t remember the question, but the first thing she said was “Is France a country?” Priceless. 🙂

  16. kboog says:

    Wow, this one is old but I remember watching family fued and the host just came out and kissed a contestant on the lips. It seemed so wrong at the time but I was so young….

  17. Grodge says:

    I’m a sucker for a rags to riches saga. He sounds like an interesting guy– thanks for the heads up on a good read.

  18. Dogberry says:

    My favorite was actually Alan’s appearance on Jerry Springer. LoL – You knew many of them had to be staged.


  19. Brian says:

    Sounds like an entertaining read. I agree that everyone’s journey will be different, but I’m interested to find out if any of Alan’s steps can apply to me. I definitely want to check out this book.

  20. Jeff says:

    Truly inspirational

    My favorite game show was on American Idol last week when the dude from Iowa told Paula that his mom always wanted a homecoming queen and that it was too bad it was him…hahah. Then the dude sang and went on…


  21. geolojoines says:

    I enjoy when serious topics can be lightened with humor. I’ve put this on my “to read” list.

  22. Paul J says:

    Sounds like an interesting read.

    My moment has to be from Who Wants to be a Millionaire, when it was enjoying its first run and Regis was wearing the distinctive matching shirts and ties. A young guy came on the show dressed just like Regis – and then lost before the $500 question. It was sad, but pretty funny.

  23. Tim Hawkins says:

    My wife calculate that our 7 tenants contributed $35k in equity only to us last year (2008). This omits depreciation — which may or may not be recaptured depending on how we exit the investment. All 7 houses are on 15yr fixed. All rents cover the expenses.

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