Becoming a millionaire is a dream many people have when they are young. Just imagine what this life would be like. I do this on a daily basis. What car would I buy, what country will I visit next?
Luckily, I am blessed to know a millionaire. In fact, he is a good blogging friend that shares his own journey every Monday and Thursday over at The Green Swan. GS is a banker and took the time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions that can help us all understand the journey it took to become a millionaire. Remember, this does not happen overnight.
I encourage you to read this post with an open mind. Rather than thinking, “I can’t do that, or gee that must be nice,” think about the journey and what he sacrificed to get to this stage. I firmly believe everybody can become a millionaire with proper savings habits so I hope you enjoy his advice as much as I did!
Let’s answer the question everybody wonders, what does it feel like to be a millionaire?
It feels good, no doubt about it. It is a milestone I’ve been looking at for quite a while and it is nice to finally have hit it. But it isn’t the end goal, so I realize there is still some wood to chop before Lucy (my wife) and I are FI. I still recall the day I realized we eclipsed a million, so that says how meaningful it was… Although my wife and I work within walking distance, our jobs prohibit us from getting together for lunch often. But we happened to have a lunch planned that day and when I told my wife we both smiled, cheers each other, and then the conversation meandered on. It was memorable for that reason…it’s important but not the end-all be-all.
How do you typically spend your Time?
Unfortunately I spend a lot of my time at work. A usual week can be about 55-60 hours working. When I get home shortly after though, it’s family time. My wife and I then prepare or reheat a quick dinner with our two year old. After dinner we usually have about 30 minutes of play time which will rotate among building blocks, toy cars and airplanes, and throwing around baseballs or footballs. If it is bath night (for junior…) we’ll squeeze that in there along with reading a pile of books and then he’s down.
After that is our time together where we’ll work out, watch a show, or sometimes, unfortunately, we have a bit more work to complete so we log back on from our home office.
Our workdays are pretty compact, but the weekends revolve primarily around junior. We’ll try to get outside, have some playdates / dinners with neighbors, and also get done with our usually household chores. Life is busy, but just like most everyone, we work for the weekends!
Many people only attribute your success with a number, what struggles did you have to get to this point?
Oh tough question! Looking back now, there have been a number of struggles. The biggest of which is constantly trying to prove my worth to my employer. Whether that is justifying a larger bonus, or working toward the next promotion, I’ve spent a lot of time and energy of improving my worth to my employer, learning new things, and positioning myself for future growth and experiences. That has been a constant struggle for me, but it has also clearly been my biggest driver of success.
Do you feel different having the status of millionaire? Why?
Not really. I’d go back to the day I realized I was a millionaire, my wife and I acknowledged it, but not much else has changed. And that is simply because we haven’t reached our mountain top yet. We still work hard to earn our salaries, we still look for ways to save and control expenses, and we still invest for further growth.
Also, since no other close family or friends know that we’ve reached this milestone, it is almost like the old saying of if a tree falls in the forest when no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?
I think I’ll have a different, and great feeling, when we hit FI. At that point, the monkey will be off our back and we can focus on living life to the fullest! <– This is what achieving Financial Independence is all about!
How has life changed for you after realizing you have all this money?
We do have a decent amount of money now, but it isn’t really burning a hole in my pocket. It still feels remote and tucked away for a future day. So life has been status quo since we’ve reached that milestone. That may be surprising to hear, but I think it is because I still feel the pressure. The pressure comes from all over and at any moment could change our fortunes. For instance, the economy and stock market could hurt if we fall into a recession and also Lucy and I have a growing family and part of that means putting extra money aside for college education and ensuring a supportive upbringing for the kiddos.
Since we know we haven’t reached FI yet, we’ll continue to keep our heads down and plug away.
What is the best financial advice you ever had?
The best financial advice I was ever given was to invest early. I had a role model to look up to, and that was my older brother. I basically followed his lead in everything in life which helped me get a jumpstart on a number of things. But investing early was the best advice I got from him. And as such, much of my summer job earnings in high school went into a Roth IRA and the stock market. That not only helped build strong habits, but also allowed my early investments to start their compounding journey, helping to lead me where I am today.
What are your thoughts on investing and what age did you begin?
This question is right on queue after the last one! I began investing in high school after my first summer job. I’ve taken a passive role in my investments. I actively monitor them and ensure appropriate diversification, but otherwise every dollar I invest is a pretty easy decision by throwing it into one of my stock mutual funds, most of which are index funds. And I’m an equity guy, I believe in equities more than any other type of security given their long track-record of unmatched success. It gives me the best bet to grow my retirement accounts…and since I’m still working (not retired yet) growth is my primary goal. Yes, there is volatility, but that is irrelevant for me since I’m investing for the long-term. <– Invest for the future, not for tomorrow.
What are your financial aspirations?
Ultimately, I want to grow my investments to the point where I don’t have to worry or think about my financial condition anymore. I don’t have a firm number or anything at this point, partly because Lucy and I have not decided on all our life goals yet. For example, we know we want more than one kid, but not sure if we’ll go for three or more. That’ll certainly change the picture and what our target number is.
But generally, I aspire to reach Financial Independence (FI) ASAP! I want to spend as much time as I can with my kids, with my parents and siblings, and traveling the world with Lucy. Life has a lot to offer and I can’t start enjoying it to the fullest until I’m FI.
What books or influencers changed your life from a financial or personal standpoint?
I really like this question because while it is nice for Lucy and I to say we are millionaires, we totally recognize the fact that we couldn’t have reached this point without the help and facilitation of many others. For me, from both a financial and personal perspective, my biggest influencers have been my Dad and my older brother. They both served as great role models and mentors for me. No doubt in my mind I wouldn’t be who I am or where I am today without them.
Some of the most influential books I read in my formative years were many, if not all, of Ken Blanchard’s books. A lot of his books were career oriented which ultimately led to my financial success. The other author I read a lot of was Robert Kiyosaki who wrote Rich Dad Poor Dad. This was perhaps the first personal finance oriented book I read which had a very positive influence on me and my finance goals. The last one I would throw out there that I really enjoyed reading was The Intelligent Investor by Ben Graham. While I don’t pick my own stocks or practice what Mr. Graham preaches, it was a very educational book and I value the lessons he provides.
If you had to give one piece of advice to aspiring millionaires who read this blog, what would it be?
I’ll go with a baseball analogy here…aspiring millionaires should focus on hitting singles and doubles. Being able to hit singles and doubles and getting folks on base is what wins baseball games. It’s a long game, there are nine innings, to be able to last to the end and win the game you have to hit singles and doubles well.
I think the same approach translates nicely for reaching millionaire status. Consistently doing all the little things right, working hard for the extra dollar (side hustles included), cutting back and controlling expenses, and saving everything you can is what will allow you to win the millionaire game.
Babe Ruth, known as the most prolific home run hitter, hit 714 home runs in his career…but struck out 1,330! Alternatively, Ted Williams, known as the greatest hitter to ever live, had 2,654 hits and only 709 strike outs in his career. Focus on getting hits, the singles and doubles, not home runs. Don’t go swinging for the fences expecting to hit the jackpot because more often than not you will strike out.
The other advice I would give your readers, is to keep reading your blog, The Millennial Budget! I’ve thoroughly enjoy doing so and your readers will continue to benefit from the great advice you share. Thank you for providing me the opportunity to share my story!
First off I want to thank GS for going into such depth with each answer. We both have similar philosophies on many topics which made this a great read. I tried to highlight some of the many important thoughts he shared throughout the post to make it easier on the reader. One thing I want to point out is that he works for a company. Often times many people say you need to own your own company and not work for somebody else’s benefit. While this can be a great accelerator of wealth, it is not the only way to accrue money.
If you want to improve your financial situation, I highly recommend you check out the books he mentioned. Like Green Swan said, always strive to improve yourself. Never settle for where you are or how wealthy you may be. I look forward to my continual reading of his blog and soaking in every piece of advice he gives on a weekly basis.
What advice surprised you?
How do you plan to implement his advice?