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Whats been the #1 driver of your wealth?

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  • amarowsky
    replied
    Originally posted by disneysteve View Post
    Living below our means.

    That's it. If I had to sum it all up in 4 words, there you have it.
    Beat me to the punch in the above 1st (4) words.


    ***If you're a curious person comfortable w/ growth, it's frightening how much freedom you can earn yourself by following the above (4) words. As long as you stay off the Hedonic Treadmill.

    Leave a comment:


  • scfr
    replied
    The number one driver of my financial "wealth" has been my critical thinking skills.
    Our best practice has been spending less than we make. Spend less, make more, or some combination of the two. It's OK to start small.

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  • parafly
    replied
    • Started "young." Contributions to 401Ks started at age 23 and Roth IRAs started at age 25.
    • Contributed to 401Ks and Roth IRAs consistently on a bi-weekly and monthly basis.
    • Lived below our means. Bought a modestly priced house in a low tax county. Drove modestly priced vehicles for long periods of time. Made our own meals. Travelled modestly.
    • Stayed healthy. Many people take this for granted when it comes to building wealth, but we have not had any major accidents or illnesses. This is the "luck" part of the equation.
    • Waited to have children until we felt we were in a good financial position to do so.

    Leave a comment:


  • Drake3287
    replied
    Originally posted by Fishindude77 View Post
    Just a comment ..... In most cases, simply living below your means would be secondary to making a decent income to start with.
    Much easier to live below your means at $150k -vs- $40k.
    Not necessarily true. For me, I live in the Bay Area where we have some of the highest real estate prices, taxes, gas, you name it. My public service career would be in that same low 40k range if I lived in many other area's of the US. I'm guessing that if I was living in middle America making 40k+, I'd still be in the same financial situation as I'm in now. It's all relative. But of course someone working in minimum wage jobs will never achieve this. 100k here in California barely pays for rent and food on the table. That's why half of working or retired Californians are moving out of state now.

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  • GoodLiving
    replied
    When I look back, it was good for more than a couple of reasons that I divorced (marriage lasted a little more than 6 years), I hated paying interest for anything so I figured it out through hard work and luck. Completed my undergrad with no debt (thanks Grandma - intergenerational wealth), grad school with $3500 student loan (but only because I didn't want to drain my savings account as I was a single parent with a mortgage and no job at the moment). I never had a car payment, always paid off credit cards every month. Later I received an inheritance that I mostly just invested and a small lawsuit settlement. I did purchase a small townhome when the market was down and later sold it for 3x. I avoided lifestyle inflation, invested raises instead of spent them, stayed humble and practical. Took advantage of tuition reimbursement which allowed me to climb the salary scale.

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  • Fishindude77
    replied
    Originally posted by corn18 View Post

    While mathematically indisputable, it is no excuse for not saving. You should log on to early-retirement.org and do a poll on how many millionaires on there never made more than $50k/year. They just had a thread on how much everyone spent in 2021 (they do one every year) and a lot of folks spent less in a year total than I spend on food/dining in a year.
    Interesting.
    We're in a pretty low cost of living, rural area and I do know quite a few folks that live pretty decent on probably $25-30k or so per year.

    Not sure I know of any millionaires that never made more than $50k, unless they inherited something.

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  • corn18
    replied
    Originally posted by Fishindude77 View Post
    Just a comment ..... In most cases, simply living below your means would be secondary to making a decent income to start with.
    Much easier to live below your means at $150k -vs- $40k.
    While mathematically indisputable, it is no excuse for not saving. You should log on to early-retirement.org and do a poll on how many millionaires on there never made more than $50k/year. They just had a thread on how much everyone spent in 2021 (they do one every year) and a lot of folks spent less in a year total than I spend on food/dining in a year.

    Leave a comment:


  • riverwed070707
    replied
    Real estate.

    I failed in the don't get divorce category and in getting a high paying job early but I have always lived below my means and invested consistently. At 35 I have a $1M real estate portfolio and I'm just now starting to chase the high paying job so I can really ramp up the cash and investment savings over the next 5 years before retirement but if I hadn't started investing in real estate young, there is no way I would have gotten to where I am today through traditional investments.

    Leave a comment:


  • Fishindude77
    replied
    Just a comment ..... In most cases, simply living below your means would be secondary to making a decent income to start with.
    Much easier to live below your means at $150k -vs- $40k.

    Leave a comment:


  • Drake3287
    replied
    I won't make any friends by saying this, but I'm not embarrassed to say I'm probably that neighbor next door who's the unassuming millionaire that no one ever thought about. That being said, I've lived a typical public service career and simply saved, invested a little and MOST importantly, lived within my mean's. And never once did I do without. I also paid cash for my 3 kids college education simply by saving up for it.

    I've never preached finances to anyone and no one other than my wife know's about our financial situation. But, given a chance, almost anyone could be in the same position as me. It only takes determination and enough years to do it. Unfortunately most people don't have that in themselves. For me, I think it came from my parents who lived paycheck to paycheck but always made do with what they had.

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  • srblanco7
    replied
    LBYM and time in the market.

    Leave a comment:


  • LivingAlmostLarge
    replied
    Originally posted by MonkeyMama View Post
    For us, starting young. Buying real estate instead of paying twice as much to rent (during 20s/30s/40s). Investing for retirement starting the day we graduated college. Never living up to the second income. Along with all that, we never borrowed for anything but a mortgage. (Which has always freed up more of our income to invest).

    Marrying another saver also helped, as brought up often in this thread. I don't think either of us had the personality to marry a spender, though our siblings both did marry spenders and struggle more financially. I don't even remember even dating someone who wasn't on the same financial page, in contrast.

    We both chose practical degrees at good/affordable colleges. I expect this also puts us way ahead of most Americans. As more people share, I can see the layers of many good financial decisions. Though interestingly, most of those early financial decisions (affordable college, no debt, putting everything into housing) were decisions born of launching in a very high cost city. Would we have saved 50%-75% of our income if we weren't saving up for Bay Area real estate? Probably not. Would we have been so debt adverse? Probably not. Would we have been so fixated on colleges that cost pennies? Probably not. (& for me, a lot of it was my parents not helping me with college, because of their massive mortgage. So it seems all of our early life/financial choices really come down to starting out in an extreme high cost region. Our practical/saver personalities were never interested in high-interest debt, which obviously wouldn't have helped us any).
    You and I are twinnies pretty much. Except you had kids earlier and I had them later. We like MM also bought early, single income family in HCOLA. Everyone has always asked us why would we would be single income. We got more out of our single income than most people with 2. I'm sure MM will agree even she had doubled her income (2 people working) it's not like you take home double the income. You don't. You take home something like 25% more for a second income after expenses (assuming at 50/50% income split).

    Everything MM did we LAL family did including growing up HCOLA. And I was the person who wrote don't get divorced. But don't marry someone whose financial values don't align with yours. Causes LESS problems and probably easier to stay married (at least in my mind).

    Even now we live on 1 income. Most of our friends can't believe the lifestyle we lead. It's a little ridiculous and I'm sure most people think we are up to our eyeballs in debt and have nothing saved. Exact opposite and part of it is when you realize the tax efficiencies of not working and living as a family on 1 income it's incredible. Yes you can save the second income, but the expenses of daycare and other costs often eat up the second income leading to minimal amounts saved. I can do more with 1 income and stretch it than working full time and struggling to save the leftover.

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  • corn18
    replied
    Originally posted by disneysteve View Post
    Living below our means.

    That's it. If I had to sum it all up in 4 words, there you have it.
    That's it for us. When I joined in late 2013 (age 47), I was making $360k / year, had no savings and a net worth of -$100k. Yikes! With the help of this forum, we made big changes in spending and managed to save enough to retire last year. Yeah, I made a lot of money, but until we stopped spending all of it, we were broke. Very thankful I had a job that allowed us to recover quickly. But reducing our spending dramatically also meant we needed less to retire.

    LBYM

    Leave a comment:


  • MonkeyMama
    replied
    For us, starting young. Buying real estate instead of paying twice as much to rent (during 20s/30s/40s). Investing for retirement starting the day we graduated college. Never living up to the second income. Along with all that, we never borrowed for anything but a mortgage. (Which has always freed up more of our income to invest).

    Marrying another saver also helped, as brought up often in this thread. I don't think either of us had the personality to marry a spender, though our siblings both did marry spenders and struggle more financially. I don't even remember even dating someone who wasn't on the same financial page, in contrast.

    We both chose practical degrees at good/affordable colleges. I expect this also puts us way ahead of most Americans. As more people share, I can see the layers of many good financial decisions. Though interestingly, most of those early financial decisions (affordable college, no debt, putting everything into housing) were decisions born of launching in a very high cost city. Would we have saved 50%-75% of our income if we weren't saving up for Bay Area real estate? Probably not. Would we have been so debt adverse? Probably not. Would we have been so fixated on colleges that cost pennies? Probably not. (& for me, a lot of it was my parents not helping me with college, because of their massive mortgage. So it seems all of our early life/financial choices really come down to starting out in an extreme high cost region. Our practical/saver personalities were never interested in high-interest debt, which obviously wouldn't have helped us any).
    Last edited by MonkeyMama; 01-07-2022, 08:30 AM.

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  • myrdale
    replied
    Being intentional in my financial decisions (conversely not making knee jerk purchases or decisions).

    If there is something that I want, very seldom do I just run out and buy it. I'll mull things over for at least a week or two and then if I still want it, I will buy it. The larger the purchase, the longer I will give it.

    Once the decision has been made, being consistent in following through on those decisions. Maybe it's making the IRA a priority. Previously it was hammering away to be debt free.

    Continuing to educate myself, even if it means occasionally listening to bad advice which I disagree with. Watch what other people do. Emulate what works and discard what doesn't.

    Leave a comment:

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