WE BECAME MILLIONAIRES BEFORE 40, ON ONE INCOME.... HERE IS HOW WE DID IT.
I am not the kind of person that had my whole life planned out. I was definitely a wild child that took life as it came. My 20's were full of fun and mischief and I made a LOT of mistakes. So I'll preface this post with saying we did not have a fairy god mother or any other unrealistic help like a huge inheritance to help us reach our financial goals.
We became millionaires by following very simple principles and being persistent in finishing each goal we set, and it took us about 10 years. So if you're reading this and think its going to happen for you overnight - 9 times out of 10 it won't.
A bit of back story for our family, I came from a lower middle class background and as a rebellious teenager things stacked against me very quickly. I had a bad attitude and a lot of resentment and anger for a long time which always held me back.... although through a lot of chaos in my family life I did make some solid decisions for myself that paid out huge in the long run; like going to college and holding down a steady job, those things really have been my foundation.
But, through my 20's I was still living paycheck to paycheck and not even realizing it - I made decent money at the time and had no idea because I didn't bother to budget or track any of my spending. In hindsight I wasted it all on restaurants, booze and clubbing. It wasn't really until I got laid off from my job that I realized my life wasn't working the way I wanted it too .. I had always wanted more and I felt my life was coming to a crossroads. Maybe I was growing out of the drinking scene and growing out of my friend group (who were really only focused on partying). I just naturally started pulling away to try to find what else there was in life for me.
Fast forward a few years and I met my husband a Lebanese immigrant working hard in construction, trying to build a life for himself and going back to school to learn new skills for a good job in the U.S. neither of us had much to work with financially, but those early years we had so much fun getting to know each other. It was around this time I was still finding my own path and focusing more on money and finances - it all kind of came together at the same time. I was going down a new path and I started growing towards what my hopes and dreams had always been. We got married then shortly after got pregnant with my first child and that started our life together.
Believe it or not, our wealth journey started when I quit my job.
My husband and I weren't married long before our first son was due, and while I had made some headway on paying down my own debt well before we got married, we didn't really take our finances seriously as a coupled had a lot of debt from student loans, cars and a mortgage. My son was born and I was still working at a job I HATED and felt stuck. I had never been in such an unprofessional enviornment - I mean you name it, it was happening there. I didn't want to go back to work and this is probably the first time in my life I had felt so trapped by responsibility and that feeling was also something I knew I couldn't live with.
My husband and I discussed things and made a plan at the time to get through the first year post-partum and I prepared myself to get myself back together and back to work when our son was 1. over the few years since being married I had lost sight of much of my financial journey and took for granted that we would just need to be a part of the "rat race" to keep afloat and contribute to the many responsibilities we had with a kid.
During that one year I was home I started listening to the financial podcast I had found years ago and it just hit me one day - here my husband was going out on his side hustle so that we had extra income to get through this year of me being out of work- why don't we pay off some our small debts to free up some of our budget? And so that's what we did.
It wasn't much in the beginning but it worked as a snowball. and after a couple months we freed up a couple hundred dollars from our budget by paying off debt quickly. We knew then we couldn't live in debt forever. With me working or not, my husband shouldn't have to be working on the side just so we can have a little bit of savings. The answer to our problems was getting our debt paid off.
Since we made a commitment to our finances we had paid $110,000 worth of debt in 2 years that consisted of student loans, car loans and credit cards. And that what catapulted us into financial freedom.
So if you want to take the leap, here is a step by step guide of how we became millionaires.
Pay off all of you're debt!
It took a long time for my husband and I to get our heads around paying off over 100k in debt just to save a couple thousand a month. The value was in how much more we could save over time compared to how much money we were paying in payments and interest over time. Calculating those numbers was VERY eye opening. So get your debts paid off as soon as you can - run towards this goal and get it done as quickly as you can, you won't regret it.
Corral your expenses & make a budget: get all of your income and expenses written down in one place and see where you currently stand financially. Make a list of all of your debts with their full balances and interest rates and start making a plan to pay of the smallest balances first - snowballing each dollar amount paid off onto the next. If you have multiple with the same balances choose the higher interest rate balances first and get that out before continuing onto the next. Once you start this process your progress will go so quickly and you will stay motivated to reach the next debt.
Look everywhere you can to make extra income: Boosting your income, even if just temporarily, will help speed up your debt snowball. But for us it was also more than that, it ended up beinga way for us to build more skills in the workforce - having multiple streams of income gave us huge payouts overtime even after our debt was paid, and we were able to maintain a higher income level that also helped us boost our savings. Always looking for how you can bring in extra money will just speed up your financial success whether you're paying off debt or trying to build a nest egg in your brokerage account.
Commit to never pay interest again!
Don't go back into debt. Commit today to never pay interest to a bank again! It will change your life. No credit cards, no car loans ever again. And if possible, not even a home loan! This is the hobbit you need to create within yourself to ensure you maintain success and stability for wealth building. Becoming wealthy is 90% habit.
Live on half of your income
We committed to each other very early on that we would try to live below our means and as our income and savings grew we tried really hard not to grow our lifestyle. 4 years later we have doubled our income and still live on the same amount of money we did when I first left my job. Now we have enough financial flexibility to take special vacations when we want or buy something special that we normally wouldn't otherwise be able to prior to becoming debt free.
Save & Invest your extra income
This is the final piece of the wealth puzzle. After everything is paid off and you are committed to never go into debt for anything ever again you can save and emergency fund and start investing and maxing out your retirement savings - invest in things like index funds or mutual funds. Once your money is invested it grows exponentially over time. We were able to hit a million dollar net worth by saving, investing and paying down our mortgage faster than we were prior to starting this process.
Stop comparing yourself
You know what I learned on this journey? Most people that seem like they have it all together are living on credit and their lifestyle is all paid on loans. Other peoples lives are mostly all smoke and mirrors. This process works best if you have the willpower and comfort to be different from everyone else. Don't compare yourself just focus on where you want to be and get there as quickly as you can with the resources you have. We now live an upper middle class lifestyle and pay a quarter of our income to fund it because we have no debt other than a small mortgage that we can now afford to pay off in the next 2 years. Nobody knows this and we practice as much "stealth wealth" as we can.
Paying off our debt and learning how to properly manage money is truly the best thing we have ever done for our family. We have the tools to not only have changed our family tree, but to also teach our children to manage money when they are old enough to start earning. I hope this has helped spark you to start your own journey!