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Millionaires: When did you become one, or when is your goal to become one?

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  • Millionaires: When did you become one, or when is your goal to become one?

    Looking for millionaire goal setting.


    I'm not a millionaire, but want to be one by 35. I'm in low paying specialty, but have been aggressive with debt reduction. I believe I'm on pace (market has helped of course).


    I realize there is a wide spectrum of incomes and personal situations, but there is also much motivational power and a wealth of knowledge in this group. So:

    1) If you are one, when did you become a millionaire?

    2) If you aren't one, do you have a goal set to become one?


    Appreciate any other applicable pearls of wisdom...

  • #2
    I'm 36, I don't really know when I'll be a millionaire? I've got an Excel spreadsheet where I track things and we're at least 2 years ahead of schedule already. So probably sometime between 40-45 depending on many variables. I'm in psych, I work part time and I'm not looking to retire early so this isn't something I stress about or really "work" towards. It's just something that will happen along the way given our savings rate (around 30 percent a year).


    • #3
      No magic really.  I became one prior to 40.  Just save the money and keep your investment costs low.  Stay away from Dr Jones.


      • #4
        Just under 2 years out of residency.  I had a big head start on saving and negligible student loans.

        While it's something you expect to be a transformative event, I remember telling myself "that's cool" and not thinking about it much after that.  I think I'll feel better if I've hit a financial freedom number, but that is really amorphous and I doubt I'll ever be like my parents, who spend $150k a year and seldom check their investment balances.


        • #5
          Yeah it's a lot less anti-climactic than one might think.  It's not like alarms go off and confetti drops from the ceiling with flashing lights.  I remember doing a net worth calculation only to realize we had passed it a few months before.  Told my wife about it who seemed mildly interested.  We sat reflecting on the grind it took to get there, mistakes we had made, and the next day just went back to the grind.


          • #6
            Took about six years out of residency. Also in a lower paid specialty. Went from net worth of $50,000 after residency. In contrast to the others, I thought it was quite a milestone.


            • #7
              I'm 35, initial goal was 40. If my physician wife and I have 2 more years of the same income/performance, then by age 37. The only problem is that when we hit $1 million we'll be no where close to covering our retirement needs. The longer term goal is 2.5 million by 45...then we're talking about semi-retirement/part time/do something else if we want.


              • #8
                What exactly do you mean by “millionaire”? A million dollars in assets, net worth, annual income? Do you include a primary residence (with or without a mortgage)? Would a State or federal employee whose pension and health care benefits have a net present value of $1M+ be a millionaire?

                The Economist’s style guide has recommended against using the term “millionaire” as vague and ambiguous for years. I tend to agree.

                Focus on killing off debt that isn’t favorably tax treated and grow enough wealth first to cover your needs for the rest of your life then to cover some reasonable wants for the rest of your life. Try to get as close as possible to working in your ideal job, then you’ll both not work because you “have” to, and also rather enjoy work.

                There are useful milestones worth celebrating, such as when your net worth bottoms out (ceases to become more negative), when you hit a net worth of zero, when you hit a million dollars in net worth (liquid or illiquid), etc.

                A million in net worth or annual income is awfully nice, but it’s better still to reach a point where you’re working because you want to, not because you have to. Set income, spending, and work conditions so that you’re on that path as soon as possible.


                • #9
                  I meant millionaire by the definition of net worth, which includes any real estate.

                  I realize 1 million net worth doesn't get me to financial freedom, but as with any long term goal setting: I find benefit in celebrating the short term milestones and successes.

                  Thanks for the feedback thus far.


                  • #10
                    I would have to look back at my records.  It was probably in the 35-37 range, depending on whether you include my primary residence (which I normally don't include).  I had top 5% earnings, lived in a low-cost area, and was very frugal (by nature - it never felt like sacrifice).

                    I don't think it should be a set age for everyone though.  It is okay to start later or train longer, etc.  If I had a rule of thumb though, I would say shooting for $1M by age 40 is reasonable for most.  Sooner is an option for those who are frugal or who have top earnings.  Shooting for FI between 45-50 is also quite doable without much sacrifice.



                    • #11
                      My physician husband and my net-worth came in at $1M 7 years after he completed fellowship, the $2M mark came 3 years later.

                      Once I felt comfortable that the kids' 529s funds were not our own to use, I stopped counting them in the net worth number and concentrate only on the retirement number.  Net worth can mean different things and I didn't feel comfortable counting our house because I didn't see that as something to take money out of if we needed to.  My new number is usually a year behind the net worth number so $1M 8 years out of fellowship and $2M 11 years out of fellowship and we just hit $3M in retirement assets 14 1/2 years out of fellowship.  Neither of us is 50 yet and my husband loves his job, so as long as the stock market keeps going, we are set to have a lot of choices in retirement.  We seemed to save more when the kids were little, but I feel that choice has paid off.


                      • #12
                        I am not sure. I was not tracking net worth until recently (last five years or so), but I probably reached it well before I realized it.


                        • #13
                          I'm an accidental millionaire.  probably the most unplanned person here.

                          I graduated a long long long time ago with aggregately hundreds of thousands of educational debt.  we were supporting my parents and my wife's parents through medical school, when I worked three jobs after classes.  other than needing money to pay whatever bills that came in, I never thought about it in any practical way.  although, ha ha my undergraduate degree is in economics.

                          I did three fellowships so I didn't finish training until 35.  i probably lost a lot of wealth building opportunities along the way because of inattentiveness.  the best thing we probably did was keep our spending managed.  i wanted to let my parents experience some nicer things than they had so we bought them a house and a car and sent them on pretty nice vacations every year.  sadly dad passed last year, but at least i had a chance to do something nice for him before he went.  after a few years my wife wanted to do something for her parents, and i wasn't in a position to say no after how generous she had been with mine, so they get a fancy vacation every year as well. 

                          i think we were probably millionaires by a little after 40 but truthfully i didn't look at the statements much as they came in.  we pretty much put stuffed money into student loan repayment, then index funds.  and rode the wave.  kept spending under control.  2008 hurt a lot numerically but since i wasn't paying attention, it was not emotionally painful.

                          my wife thinks this site is terrible for me since all of a sudden i think we have to make changes.  we may not be the richest here, but we are financially independent and conservative projections are very positive for my kids to inherit a few million each, which is obviously way more than i got (we are really struggling with how to prepare them for this, but they are young and we have time).  she wants to know why i should change things.  sometimes i wonder as well, but i usually answer it's because she's spending more. 

                          I can't believe all you guys with all this debt and still manage to be millionaires by 40.  kudos to you.

                          if i had to pick one thing that was the biggest predictor of wealth accumulation, it would be controlled spending.  if i had to pick the hardest part of controlling spending, it would be making sure spouse is on board with plan. 

                          best to everyone on their journey.



                          • #14
                            As many of those above, I wasn't really tracking it back then, probably 4-5 yrs out of fellowship (age 35 or 36).  That was largely by luck, having no student loans thanks to generous parents, and having started practice at the nadir of the market.


                            • #15
                              I’m a family physician earning above average for specialty. Not including primary residence, 46. I’m 47now. Our main issue now is lifestyle creep with 3 young kids and I’m more on board with reigning that in than my wife.