I’m a big believer in learning from people who have actually done something you want to do (versus people who know about a topic “in theory” but miss many of the practical aspects of the issue.)
As such, I’m beginning an interview series where I talk to people who have accomplished something extraordinary financially. Some will have high net worths, some will have grown their careers and incomes to very high levels, some will have retired early, and so forth. If you’d like to be considered for an interview, drop me a note and we can chat about what works best for you.
Today we have an interviewee who has had several financial accomplishments. Most notably he and his wife have a net worth of over $1 million and have annual incomes of close to $500k. Quite impressive!
My questions are in bold italics and their responses follow in black.
At the end, I add some comments from the interview.
Let’s get started…
How old are you (and spouse if applicable, plus how long you’ve been married)?
I’m 50 and my wife is 46. We’ve been married for 21 years.
Do you have kids/family (if so, how old are they)?
We have 2 children, an 18 year old son (freshman in college) and a 14 year old daughter (high school freshman)
What area of the country do you live in (and urban or rural)?
High-cost northeast suburban area
What is your current net worth?
What are the main assets that make up your net worth (stocks, real estate, business, home, retirement accounts, etc.) and any debt that offsets part of these?
- Retirement Accounts (including 401K’s, SEP IRA and rollover IRA’s: $897K
- Non-retirement Accounts: $1K (that’s not a typo) 🙂
- Home: $950K (with a 20 year mortgage @3.25%, balance of $412K)
- Cash: $157K
Potential retirement property in Iowa $30K (?) this is a plot of land bordering a pond with water and power access that we may build a small house on to live for part of the year, adjacent to my wife’s family.
Debt: $25K @6% remaining in medical school loans (original balance $140,000)
Not included in net worth above, figures pre-tax:
- Unvested Equity in company: ~$180K which will vest in 2018 (60%) and 2019 (40%)
- Vested Pension benefit from previous employer: estimated value of $1000/month for life once taken (although it depends on the option I select)
I am not counting the money we have available for our children’s college, for which they will not incur any student loans.
What is your job (type of work and level)?
I am a Director level scientist at a large pharmaceutical company, my wife is an internist in a ~500 provider, multi-disciplinary medical group
What is your annual income?
My salary is $235,000
My target Bonus is 25% (I expect to exceed that this year) and I receive equity approximately equal to my target bonus award that vests 100% in 3 years.
My wife’s salary draw $216,000
However, her compensation is complex and entirely based on her personal revenue including a correction factor based on a quality score (which includes patient satisfaction, performance against quality of care measures etc) minus a straight percentage that covers her overhead. She has just recently moved to this compensation formula from a straight salary (based on being new to this particular practice). Twice a year, in December and June, she either owes money to the practice, or is paid the balance owed to her.
Her first payment occurred in June 2016 and was ~$59K. However, since then the practice has asked her to increase her draw against the productivity to her current amount, so future profit sharing payouts will not be quite as large. Based on her productivity, barring a catastrophic event, it is unlikely that she will ever need to pay back earned income. In a year or so, she will become a shareholder, and her % against her revenue will increase once more, perhaps by ~10%
My wife also consults supervising nurse practitioners placed in corporate health clinics for $38,400/year. This is a very low effort job.
How did you grow your income so high?
Immediately after graduating college (with no student loans, thanks Mom and Dad!), I went to graduate school. In the medical research sciences, graduate students typically receive scholarships that cover tuition, as well as a stipend to cover living expenses. Since I went to grad school in Iowa, my small stipend (starting at $8,800/year and growing to $12,000/year) covered most of my expenses.
From grad school, I took a post-doctoral fellowship in Boston, which paid $20,000. Not a lot to live on in Boston, so we supplemented that with some money from my wife’s student loans for medical school. After 2.5 years as a post doc in Boston, while my wife was still a medical student, I took a job as a Research Assistant, this time making $35,000. After a year there, realizing I didn’t want to be an academic scientist, I took a job in the biotech industry, and my first year salary was $60,000, topping out at $70K. In this time, my wife graduated medical school with $140K in loans (which was fairly reasonable as she was able to complete one year of med school in Iowa before transferring to a Med School in Boston).
As a first year resident in medicine at a Harvard affiliated hospital, she made approximately $40K. After her first year of internship, she was able to “moonlight” and made some extra money that way. From the biotech job (3 years where I also was able to cash in some stock options to the tune of ~$30,000), we decided to leave Boston and move to the NY metro area for her to join a small medical practice, and I moved to the pharmaceutical industry.
She made $100,000, and my salary jumped to $90K plus bonus. She would work and become a partner in that practice for ~14 years, and I would work in a succession of pharma jobs in discovery and then clinical research and am now at my 4th company. Each job move for me was the result of me carefully planning my next move, in order to take advantage of emerging fields where I had expertise in demand, and leveraging my earlier work and publications/inventions. I also avoided getting caught up in the consolidation and reduction in discovery research in the NY/NJ/PA pharma industry by careful career planning. Nearly all of my colleagues who didn’t make job moved have been laid off. While it would have been nice to work for the same company for 20 years, it simply is not possible in this pharma environment.
For my wife, life in a small medical practice grew increasingly difficult as insurance and medicare increasingly tie reimbursement to quality measures that are difficult for a small group to efficiently track. My wife’s medical office of 2 MD’s and a nurse practitioner needed 13 FTE’s to run. the overhead was not sustainable without efficient billing, and her partner was a good doctor but a terrible businessman (most MDs are…), and so 3 years ago, my wife left the small group she was part of, gave up her ownership stake, and took a position at a large group where she is now. That group is thriving, she is much happier and given their size she works somewhat less (less call, no hospital work, more work on the computer at home) and earns more (no missed paychecks when the government stops medicare reimbursements because there is no budget, or when they close the office for 2 days because a truck hits the utility pole and the office is out of electricity).
What is your main source of income (be as specific as possible — job, investments, inheritance, etc.)?
Jobs. Any investment income that we receive is reinvested. We also expect to receive a low 7 figure inheritance from my parents, who are both in their 80’s. However, we are not counting on that, and that will likely not come for some time as they are both quite healthy.
What is your annual spending?
All percentages are as a percentage of our take home income
- House 14% (including mortgage, taxes and Insurance only; our mortgage balance is the result of home equity we extracted to pay her buy in to the original medical practice and some home renovations, our property taxes are ~$22,000
- Other House 19% (including all other expenses including utilities, renovations/repairs this year, housecleaning),
- Food 6% (groceries/restaurants split nearly evenly, including eating out with friends)
- cars 4% (we now own our cars outright, but paid one off this year, also includes insurance on 3 cars with a teenage male driver, repairs but not gas, as I pay cash for that)
- medical school debt 4% (we started aggressively paying this out of my wife’s profit sharing)
- travel 14% (we work hard, and thus we tend to vacation in nice places including a trip to Hawaii which we also took my wife’s sister and husband, Europe, 2 trips to see her parents/family and multiple trips to visit colleges with son)
- taxes outside of those deducted from pay: 5%
- cash: 5% (includes tips, gas for 3 cars, some meals, entertainment)
- healthcare 4%
- misc spending 22% (includes clothes, electronics, money transferred to savings, college application process, money for son at college, personal services like haircuts, sporting goods, tools…)
How did you accumulate your net worth? Also, please share any mistakes you’ve made along the way that others can learn from.
Our net worth has been mostly accumulated in retirement savings, building an emergency fund and appreciation of our house. My wife and I didn’t really enter high earning years until we were 30 years old. Our incomes have grown substantially most recently as a result of intelligent career engineering. I was lucky in my last 2 career moves in that equity I was awarded appreciated substantially based on large moves in the stock price. I typically sell stock as soon as it vests to facilitate diversification. The majority of my wife and my rollover IRA’s are invested in Vanguard in either total stock market index, REIT index or S&P500 ETF. Since my companies have been large cap pharma, I hold those in the Vanguard funds and don’t see a need to hold those stocks.
With regard to mistakes, the biggest financial mistake I made early was spending more than I earned, especially as a post-doc/grad student. I did have credit card debt in my 20’s, but have not carried any balances in the last 15 years. The other mistake we made was my wife paying to buy into her first medical practice. We knew that money (~$75K) would never be recouped directly, but we did sort of make it back in increased salary over the 10 years she was a partner. But, we had to use a HELOC to pay most of it, which means we are still paying for it…
Early in our marriage, we leased cars, which I think was a mistake. We broke that cycle about 10 years ago, and now own our cars, although we did take out car loans. For our next car purchase, I anticipate paying out of our emergency fund for a new car. I like to buy new and hold. Likely the next car we’ll get will be a large SUV in the class of a Honda Pilot or Toyota Highlander.
Max out your 401K before you do anything else. While clearly have most of our non real estate assets are in retirement funds, if I was aware enough to contribute IRS maximum as soon as I was employed we would probably have >$1.1MM by now.
I’m not sure we are doing the smart thing by keeping so much of our non-retirement assets in cash, so this might be a mistake. But as our lifestyle and spending is pretty comfortable on our take home, I anticipate taking future bonus, stock vests and profit sharing and putting in equities (likely Vanguard S&P or total market index funds). That should allow us to grow our non-retirement savings quickly and allow us to “catch up” to where we should be based on our income. But, I will say that once we were at about 75% of the current emergency fund, I started sleeping very, very well at night. So, the opportunity cost of having that much cash on hand is mitigated by the peace of mind we have.
We do as much as possible ourselves. While we do take out ~2 or 3 times a week, we do cook at home, entertain friends and family here as well. I do all of our yard work, which in this area saves me $3-4000 a year (net of expenses like equipment maintenance etc) and is great exercise as well. My wife does all the planting/gardening, which is one of her hobbies. If we need furniture, I build it (ok, this might not actually be cost effective because I typically need a new tool 🙂 ), but given the long timelines for my work projects, seeing the results of my efforts are really nice…
What have you learned in the process of becoming wealthy that others can learn from (what can others apply to become wealthy themselves)?
While by all standards we are wealthy, I don’t feel like we really are. I consider us upper middle class. If we lived in the midwest on our income and could cut our housing costs by 50% (both mortgage and misc housing costs), then perhaps by now our net worth would be double, and I would feel wealthy.
1) Take control of your career. Follow your passion, but be realistic. I have changed jobs to move into roles which I felt would have a larger number of opportunities in the future. My former colleagues (including many friends), have lost jobs by staying in their original field as Pharma has moved the largest percentage of discovery research roles to other geographic locals, as well as relying on biotech companies for new drugs. By moving to clinical research, I was able to advance, remain challenged and interested, and grow my salary. My wife stayed too long in her original practice because she was resistant to change and liked her patients. In her new practice, she has never been happier, as well as the fact that she is compensated more fairly proportional to the amount of work she does.
2) Children are expensive. We love our kids, but in looking at our spending, a large percent has been directly influenced by the kids. We never had our children in day care, always using full time, live out care providers or live in au pairs. This cost 2-3x the price of day care, but allowed both of us to focus on our careers while feeling comfortable the kids were in good hands before and after school, and could get to their activities.
3) See above about maxing out retirement.
4) There are no get rich quick schemes.
5) Work on your marriage, and stay married. We have friends who have become divorced, and in all cases, their financial situation took tremendously huge hits. Our marriage is not perfect, we do argue, our son has significant issues that cause great deal of stress in our marriage and has required substantial financial investment to get him where he is. We have had him in many types of therapy that is usually only partially covered by insurance, but have helped him immensely. We were lucky that we could support him in this way, but staying married has required conscious effort on our part, and our relationship has evolved over the years. Both of our parents have been married for >50 years, so we’ve had good role models.
6) Spend within your means. We spend a tremendous amount of money, but we can afford it. Are we Mustachian? No, but we do stop and think about every major purchase (for us typically more than $300 or so for durable goods). That means following Consumer Reports advice, comparison shopping for best price, and not making impulse purchases. But importantly, we save first. By sleeping on major purchases, I very rarely regret our purchase.
7) Chose your genetics wisely. We are lucky that we are mostly healthy (anxiety disorders aside). In addition, my parents were able to pay entirely for my college. My wife’s parents were not able to pay for her college, but they were so poor that she got very good financial aid, and we were able to pay off her college loans while she was a resident after medical school.
8) Know your limits. I read quite a few personal finance blogs, and owning rental real estate seems very interesting to me. On the other hand, I know that I don’t have the skill to properly evaluate a property to determine if I can profitably purchase and rent it out. I also know I don’t have time to manage the property. Thus, I stay away from rental properties. I have a few friends who work in the finance industry. One in particular invests in a very esoteric type of stock trade, utilizing short and long positions to make returns of 5-7%. He has offered to teach me his methods, but I know I don’t have the background or time to invest like he does, so despite the attractive returns, I just put my money in index funds and sleep well at night.
What are you currently doing to maintain/grow your net worth?
We are taking a more active role in “paying ourselves first”. 100% of my wife’s side gig had been going to our emergency fund, and is now going to pay down her med school loan. We are starting to look into downsizing as well. We love our house, but realize once our daughter is in college we won’t need a house both this size, and in our town (which has top rated schools, which is really saying something as public schools here are generally well above national average). We can move to a smaller house in a nearby town and likely save 50% of our mortgage expense, and 50% of our misc expenses.
Do you have a target net worth you are trying to attain?
What are your plans for the future regarding lifestyle (for instance, will your net worth allow you to retire early, downsize jobs, etc.)?
I’d like to work for no more than 10 years. My thoughts have been perhaps 5 more years in big pharma, then a move back into biotech to try and find a small company pre-IPO to try and take it through start up and sale. Then I hope to focus more on my hobbies, including woodworking, poker and photography. My wife will likely begin to pare back her office hours in 5-8 years, but will likely try to keep working until 60 as well. We anticipate slowing down our spending by moving to lower cost of living regions. We also consider taking part time jobs in retirement, I would like to teach at a ski school, and spend winters living in the mountains of Colorado, Wyoming, Utah or on the east coast (depending on where our children end up, and spend summers more close to the coast. But, at this point we have no set plans.
Is there any advice you have for ESI Money readers regarding wealth accumulation?
While wealth accumulation is important, we are conscious to enjoy our life now. My wife grew up with very little, and is comfortable living a much less spendy lifestyle if needed. I am positive we have enough now in our 401Ks that we won’t be destitute in retirement. While we are continuing to save, we feel it is important to enjoy things while we can, especially with regard to travel. My wife has seen lots of tragedy in her medical career, and while we try not to be spendthrifts, we also try to enjoy our vacations without breaking our budget.
Excellent piece all the way around! THANK YOU to today’s interviewee for sharing with us.
A few comments from me:
1. He and his wife have done a GREAT job at growing their careers. Notice how they proactively manage their careers? Doing so has likely added millions to their earnings throughout their careers.
2. It’s hard to go wrong by investing in index funds.
3. Seems like they’ve done well at the three basics: E-S-I. Sorry, I had to throw that in. Couldn’t help myself. 🙂
Any thoughts you’d like to add?
This couple is my wife and I in about 11 years. I’m a director at a pharmaceutical company and my wife is a part-time ER physician. We make >$500,000 in NJ. I’m 39 and my wife is 36. We have 4 kids. Our net worth currently sits at $2.3 million. The couple in this article must’ve started late or made some bad moves early on to only have a net worth of $1.5 on income over $500k
My thoughts almost exactly. I’m guessing his wife’s income was just added recently and he’s grown to his $350k package including equity and bonus.
I’m in a similar position … my income is high, but that’s relatively new.
A chart that shows income each 5 years round be interesting.
Also, ESI, im really enjoying this site and approach.
Ha!, indeed, we even share a name!
We are definitely behind.
My wife’s salary out of residency was $110K, and it didn’t grow much past $200K (total compensation) until 1 year ago.
My total comp is closer to $300K with bonus
My wife did 4 years post medical school (internship/residency of 3 years and then an extra year as Chief of Residents at a Harvard affiliated hospital).
My wife had extensive medical school debt which we are nearly done paying.
We spend a lot of money (I didn’t enumerate, but we spent $58K on travel in the last 12 months).
We spent considerably on childcare, likely more than you did for 4 children. Internal medicine is not ER-medicine (obviously), and it is not easy to work in internal medicine in a typical outpatient setting in a part-time capacity and build a patient base. ER is a more highly paying specialty, and is more amenable to part-time or locum tenens work at a higher base than my wife
We bought in to her original medical practice to the tune of $75K
I think the last 2 items took money out of our pockets at a fairly fast rate.
If I went back to our 1090’s for the last 15 years, it would be $240K average from 2000-2005, $270K 2005-2010, $310 (2011-12), $400 (2013-14) and last year $520K
… If I went back to our 1090’s for the last 15 years, it would be $240K average from 2000-2005, $270K 2005-2010, $310 (2011-12), $400 (2013-14) and last year $520K …
People see $500k/yr and assume you have been at $500k/yr for life. Thanks for sharing your yearly’ish income.
I agree they started late and would add they are still starting late. Still paying medical school loans at age 50 isn’t great and 6% could’ve easily been refinanced several years ago. Also somewhat confusing in that most of my collegues who graduated back then had lower rates.
Subtracting their house from their networth gives them a retirement savings of 800k, which again at age 50 isn’t great. Especially not great given their income level up until now and their spending habits.
In the comments below they state willingness to cut down in retirement but don’t show a track record of being able to be frugal or spend within their means and much still remains from them paying off their house.
Feel like this should be a cautionary tale, not a celebratory one.
OB @ Out of State Investor says
Love that you’re starting this interview series on Millionaires! Seems like this first interviewee got there primarily by strategically managing his career moves to where he currently earns a hefty salary.
I was surprised that he had no net worth goal. So often I hear people shooting for a specific net worth number so that they can retire, but not in this case.
I, too, see some gaps here. One item in particular is the 5% for taxes apart from withholdings. If they’re really owing $20-30k at tax time, it’s probably time to reevaluate the amount of taxes withheld from paychecks and claim 0 and/or specify an additional amount to withhold. They’re wasting money on penalties for underpayment of taxes and coming up with a surprise $30k bill. I would also consider additional giving/donations to reduce taxable income.
Cash savings – Very good, about 4 months worth of expenses.
Very high cost of living area.
Other house expenses – quite high, but I see that it includes renovations this year. Commendable since there seems to be no debt from the renovations.
Travel – One year without that kind of significant travel could increase net worth by ~4%
Miscellaneous – this is where there is definitely room for improvement. Nearly $100k of the budget is ‘miscellaneous’.
Since the reader is wanting to work for no more than 10 more years, their savings will really need to ramp up. If they’re saving 10% of gross income for another 10 years, that’s $500-750k depending on income growth. Net worth will then be somewhere north of $2m. Considering their isn’t a lot of overhead between income and spending, the 401k’s won’t last long. Granted, it looks like the student loans could be paid off by then, but they could also be paid off by cash savings – eliminating 6% interest on $25k. It’s hard to tell how long is left on the mortgage but it looks like 7-9 years so that’s another $63k that can be eliminated in retirement.
Moving to a lower cost of living area seems to be a critical move for the reader to have a comfortable retirement. $2m plus a $1k/month pension just doesn’t seem like enough for 25+ years of retirement in the northeast.
In addition to my above comment, I think the overall financial health of the reader is good. I have a lot of work to do in my financial house and this is a good example of a realistic situation.
Thanks for the comments.
a few of mine:
$157,000 of cash is easily a year, 2 years of expenses if we cut our expenses to the minimum of house, utilities, food, insurance, medical. It is highly unlikely we would both lose our jobs at the same time. We could likely survive on one salary for 5 years at current expenses.
We could save lots of money, if we wanted to. Note that I said we are not Mustachian, nor are we frugal. We travel cause we enjoy it. We understand that this will require us to work longer. We (generally) like working and our current jobs. If we won the powerball would we quite immediately? yes, but since we won’t, we will work for a reasonable period of time…
We are not aiming to have the same level of income in retirement than we have now. We will significantly reduce our housing expenses (the land we own is in Iowa…pretty cheap there).
Taxes: We claim 0 deductions. We are never surprised by our tax bill. The interest owed on that amount of tax is negligible (a few hundred a year), and generally results from hitting the AMT pretty hard, as well as my wife’s consulting income (for which no taxes are withheld. We’d rather owe than overwithhold, so big tax bill it is. I could pay quarterly, but again, the bill isn’t that much to justify.
Plus, am I missing something? If I retire at 60, we can survive on minimum withdrawals, a pension from former employer, pension from current employer (forgot to mention that) and then at some point take social security which will add a projected $4K/month.
You make some good points. I was basing the 4 months expenses figure on spending at current levels.
My household income is less than 20% of yours so the tax thing is a different experience. If I owe $1000, I’m surprised as that means there was most likely a problem with our withholdings since most other things that we do would result in deductions. I’ve heard AMT can be nasty.
That’s a nice chunk of change for SS. I’m 33 so I’ve decided that I should base my retirement on $0 from SS. I also will not likely ever have any pensions since so few companies actually offer a pension any more.
One other question / comment … to retire in 10 years, you will need to get non-retirement funds in place (access before 401k/IRA age hits). I didn’t see that in your budget?
Thanks a bunch for sharing your story and details!
Thank you for sharing, Jason! My husband and I bring in around $80k a year (both 32) and are trying to have a kid now. Net worth around $515k. It’s nice to get a peek into a millionaires financial house to see where we are on or off track…
Great interview. You are both highly compensated employees. I think it is a great idea that you and your wife will be saving more money not in a retirement account. If one of you loses your job or becomes disable, the more money you have on hand the better off you will be.
The Green Swan says
Awesome interview, always interesting to hear from someone who has been so successful.
I like how you and your wife and managed your career. It seems like you’ve made some good calculated moves which have allowed you to really increase your take home pay. That’s impressive.
I also like how you aptly point out the cost of children, and the potential for a substantial cost if there are ever issues. We all like to pretend it won’t happen to us, but say our kids have a huge medical emergency or any other type of issue and it could cost a small fortune. Kudos to you two for putting yourselves in a strong financial position to help your son out.
You guys have done an impressive job it seems. Working careers you enjoy, making a lot of money, taking care of your family the right way, and having fun along the way with great vacations. What a life and a great interview! Thanks for sharing.
Dannielle @ Odd Cents says
It’s comforting to see a story about a couple who worked hard to get what they wanted. Sometimes I think that side hustling is too much, but deep down I know that I can’t depend on my job to reach my goals. Power to the side gig.
Thanks for the comments all
A few more thoughts. My wife grew up on a working farm, livestock, crops etc. They didn’t have much money, but were never hungry. She lives through the farm mortgage crisis of the 80’s, including the bankers coming to their house to discuss initiation of foreclosure. they avoided it, but my wife is the type of person who could make $20 last a semester in college. She works hard, and is wicked smart as well.
I grew up the opposite; a comfortably middle class NYC suburb upbringing. But, I had jobs from high school on, as well as in college for extra spending money.
But, we both had those early type jobs (Dairy Queen/corn tasseling for her, BusBoy, industrial shop helper) that make you realize that college/grad school has value. It is funny to hear the compliments on our careers. Where we live now, I feel like a schlub. I have friends who make serious fu money in finance (although among our very close friends, we are likely the top, or among the top in income). I don’t feel super successful. I think if I was, my wife wouldn’t have to work as hard as she does (think 60-80 hour weeks between clinic and computer work in the evenings).
As our income has ramped up in the last few years, we have really kicked in our non-retirement savings. I anticipate that our lifestyle spending will remain flat/fall in the coming years, and we will be able to “catch-up” to where I think we should be with regard to non-retirement investments. (It is taking will power to not just buy that new Audi, but our current cars are fine…) Although we don’t have clear financial targets, nor do we have set budgets, i havebegun to spend more time tracking spending and cutting waste where reasonable (to us).
We are also lucky that we have good insurance. My daughter has a congenital cardiac issue. We opted for a surgical cure (which was unsuccessful, although we will eventually opt to perform it again). the total bill was $150K (not exaggerating). We paid about $14K out of pocket. We’ve likely paid much more for my son over the years…when we had full time, live out childcare, we paid $40,000 cash in salary/year. That will eat into non-retirement savings fast. It was a conscious choice we made, and feel it was the right decision for us. YMMV.
Happy to answer any residual questions that come up. And I appreciate all the feedback.
Jon @ Be Net Worthy says
Great interview and really interesting to see a “real life” case study. Thanks for sharing your story Jason and thanks to ESI for starting this series!
Looking forward to seeing what else comes out in the series.
Hi – thanks for sharing. Very impressive! Just wondering – is this household networth or individual networth?
The Olive Presser says
To me, this post reinforces the Warren Buffett quip about “winning the ovarian lottery,” regarding wealth creation (http://www.cnbc.com/2016/08/30/a-birthday-message-from-lucky-warren-buffett.html). The subject of this interview will likely inherit over $1,000,000. While this couple’s income have made them wealthy, the expected inheritance is sufficient to make anyone wealthy, regardless of their career choices. Luck has so much to do with one’s ability to “make it” in the world.
Jeff B. says
It isn’t luck. There are plenty of kids born rich that threw it away and Buffet’s kids aren’t getting $10B each. They have to make their own way, with a good boost. Plenty of people rise from the bad parts of town and become rich, having kids born into that isn’t luck.
Luck? No way. Maybe you should reread the interview as to his wife’s upbringing. She grew up in Iowa & her family had NO MONEY. I can relate. I grew up in Iowa as well & we often had very little when my brothers & I were growing up. Luck has nothing to do with how this couple went to college & worked long & hard to climb the ladder to where they are now. They made good choices with what careers they chose & how they should spend their money. More folks need to stop saying luck is involved or that people inherited their way to financial freedom & make better decisions on what they do with their own money & career paths. Start by looking at how much you spend versus how much you earn (I know, I know, nobody likes to budget). Pay off debt as fast as you can & build an adequate emergency fund of 6 months of living expenses (not take home pay…I said living expenses). If you’re still making excuses as to how you don’t earn enough to even do this fundamental building block of budgeting then you have a cash flow issue. You can solve this by generating more income &/or spending less. Take some online classes (check to see if your employer will compensate you for some of the expenses) to expand your income opportunities at your current employer. Consider living in a nearby town where housing/taxes may not be as high. There are plenty of ways to improve your financial outlook. Just please stop with the excuses as to why you can never afford to retire on your terms. Change your attitude to change your outcome.
This is an interesting comment. I absolutely acknowledge we have benefited from a variety of privilege. We are both white, I’m make, we had stable homes and grew up in the richest country of the world. And, I can’t help that. All I can do is work hard and try to improve our situation and our small corner of the world. Also, I believe at some level, people make their own luck. Chance favors the prepared mind. I chose job x over job y and job X worked out well in ways I could not have imagined. I went to X grad school over y, and I ended up meeting my wife and building a life with her (25 years married in July!). So of course luck plays a role. but it isn’t all luck. And I will likely inherit more than $2MM. My mother died of glioblastoma in April, my father i a healthy 84. I hope it doesn’t happen for 10 or more years.
This was awesome!!! Thank you Jason. Our condolences to your family and you on the loss of your mother. “Chance favors a prepared mind” is apropos and given that we were born in 5% of the worlds population that are typically granted the aforementioned opportunities described BRAVO big dog for getting it done.