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How I Became A Millionaire

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Welcome to the Meet Millennials Series. In this series, I feature incredible millennials and allow you to share your story with money.

Today, I am releasing an interview I had with a very successful individual who shared some career and life advice. He wanted to remain anonymous, however, he did reveal that his net worth is over three million dollars. I think all of us as millennials can learn something from his experience and advice. Also, this will remind you that when you look at a very successful person you typically are like, wow their so amazing and are geniuses. However, you should dig underneath and remember something, people are rewarded in public for what they practiced years in private. Today, you will learn his story and how he become a millionaire. I was very lucky to interview this individual who will remain nameless; here is how the interview unfolded.

Meet Millennials Series: How I Became A Millionaire

So tell me your story:

I’m 39 years old and just worth over 3 Million dollars. I’m from a very small, poor town in rural Texas (2 hours from civilization).  I went to college right out of high school, graduated, but had some challenges and ended up homeless.  I spent a year living in a broken down car in Los Angeles and sleeping on various floors across town. Eventually, I pulled myself out and started my climb.

That’s an amazing feat, how did you do it?

I got a job at a Jewelry Store at age 30 and quickly realized it was an out-dated, inefficient business model that requires stores to scourge consumers on price in order to fund mammoth overhead costs.  Eventually, after 15 months learning as much as I could, I left to get my Graduate Gemology Diploma from the Gemological Institute of America.  At the same time, I started helping friends with small diamond purchases (overwhelmingly for engagement rings).  8 years later, I now own a thriving Diamond Import and Jewelry Design Company.

Great story, can you share some career advice for the millennial generation?

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I have more advice than I have time or you have patience to hear.

  • First, screw the Joneses.  Trying to keep up with them is a 100% guarantee you will never be wealthy.
  • Everything from governmental policies and laws, to marketing and advertising is designed to separate you from your money.
  • Don’t buy into “what everyone else is doing”.
  • Just because others spend $200/mo on a cell phone bill, doesn’t mean you “need to”.
  • Just because everyone else has Google Fiber, doesn’t mean you “need to”.
  • Just because everyone else spends $80 every Friday on over-priced cocktails, doesn’t mean you “need to”.
  • Just because everyone else has a big house, or flashes their exotic vacations on Facebook or trades in their car ever 2-3 years……..doesn’t mean you “need to”.

So you would say saving is a critical aspect to generating wealth?

Absolutely. When you get a paycheck, take 10-20% off the top and immediately send it to a savings or investment account.

There is no substitute for “time”.  So, don’t waste time blowing money when you’re young, thinking you’ll make up for it when you’re older.  You can’t and you won’t.  I’ll give you an example.

Right now, I have $3M.  Let’s say I earn 5% interest on my money.  That’s $150k/yr of interest earned.  The millennial generation makes the mistake of thinking that all they lose by putting off saving when younger is the money they would have saved.  But, let’s assume I started saving 2 years later than I actually did.  I didn’t just lose the money I would have saved those 2 years in my early 20s, I lost the INTEREST I would have earned later in life.

I expect by the time I’m 65, I’ll have around $10M saved up.  What’s 5% of $10M?  It’s $500k.  If you do the math, getting started saving 2 years later would mean I have $9.07M at 65 instead of $10M.

Those 2 years didn’t just cost me the $10k – $20k I would have saved, it cost me $1M I will never earn in interest on what I eventually do save.

There is physically no way to make up for lost time.  So, don’t screw up your opportunity to get started at 22.  You do not need a high dollar job to retire a multi-millionaire.  You just need to be a consistent, wise saver, and investor.

Should we follow our passions or go where the money is?

Don’t follow your interests.  Rather, follow your talents and needs which will lead to a successful career.  What do you need out of a day to feel fulfilled?

Me:  I need interpersonal relationships, I need a noble cause, I need to be analytical, and I need to be able to teach/educate.  I do that all day long building friendships with clients, saving their butts by revealing common, legal scams, saving them money, strategizing how to make every project perfect, analyzing the details of diamonds and metal blends, and educating clients on about 200 different things they have no idea even exists, because the $12/hr sales people at stores haven’t the faintest clue.

I honestly don’t care much for jewelry.  It doesn’t interest me on a personal level.  But, I leave work everyday fulfilled, because I do something that makes use of my talents & ticks all of the boxes for what makes me feel fulfilled in the course of a normal day.

Don’t get sucked into chasing dollars.  You’ll be miserable. You only live once.  Choose your career wisely & you will love going to work 95% of the time.

Any other personal advice for the millennial generation?

Have a vision for where you want to go, then determine what skills, attributes, and education you’ll need to get there:

  • If you want to be an entrepreneur, hone your people skills.
  • People open doors, and people close doors.
  • They hold the purse strings, make the hiring decisions, make introductions to others, etc.
  • If you have incredible people skills, you will go far in life.

I’m a natural introvert, and have physically pushed myself to do everything from door-to-door sales, to cold calling, to public speaking classes, to teaching classes, all so I could grow in this area [jewerly business].

Anything other advice for the millennial generation that you would want to share?

Surround yourself with people who have what you want.  If you want an incredible marriage, make friends with some older people who have an incredible marriage.  If you want to be a great entrepreneur, make friends with *successful* entrepreneurs.  If you want great kids, surround yourself with people who have great, older kids.  If you want great wealth, surround yourself with great savers & investors.

Many times a person with great ambition can be undone by getting in a boat with friends who are rowing the opposite direction. This is a very tough lesson to implement, because there are a lot of great people who suck at life or simply suck in key areas you don’t want to suck in.  That doesn’t mean don’t have friends who are wasteful with their money, make bad decisions, have poor relationships, just make sure you have people in your life who are mentors & inspirations in every area you want to excel and spend time with them often.

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Do you have any regrets?

I wish I’d saved even more when I was younger.  I also wish I’d focused more on developing leadership & management skills which would have led to a successful career at an earlier age.  I also wish I’d done a better job anticipating growth and being prepared for it in advance.

How did you actually feel when you realized you were a millionaire?

I didn’t actually care, because the goal was never a million dollars.  My goal is $5M – $10M of liquid savings (not counting house & assets that can’t easily be liquidated).  I have $2M liquid & will be around $2.5M – $3M liquid within about 3-4 months.  But, I have a work to do.  When I get to a point where I can live an upper middle class lifestyle on *half* my interest income, I’ll be thrilled.  Until then, I’m not going to start celebrating.

What was the journey to the first million like?

The journey requires sacrificing a lot of personal time, hobbies, interests, money, family time, nights, weekends, and holidays to get traction (assuming entrepreneurship) the kind of stuff politicians don’t want to acknowledge when they’re decrying “the rich”.  My advice is to pace yourself.  It’s a marathon, not a sprint.  Don’t sacrifice family for wealth.  You’ll regret it.  And remember, your family will never be as young tomorrow as they are today.  One day you’ll wake up and your parents & everyone will be old and towards the end of their lives.  And, all the things you could have done with them decades back, are no longer a possibility.  And, all the conversations you should have had, they no longer can have.  Don’t lose yourself to gain a dollar.

Closing Thoughts

I wanted to let my readers know that there is some great valuable advice here, however, everyone has different goals, aspirations, and walks of life. There are also studies that show after you are financially secure and reach the 75K annual income level, your happiness won’t increase anymore (source). If you want to actually become a millionaire yourself, I would recommend reading the Millionaire Mind, it provides you with an overview of the average millionaire and an insight into how they made their money through very attainable means. The book provides you with raw data and statistics behind the average millionaire, not fortune 500 millionaires, which makes you feel like becoming a millionaire is no longer a wild dream but a very attainable goal. However, this was a great learning experience for me and hearing about somebody else’s story with money. Ready to share your story?

Want to become a millionaire yourself? I would recommend reading this book, The Millionaire Mind, which provides roadmaps as to how average millionaires found their niches through very attainable ways. After reading this book, I felt like becoming a millionaire is no longer a wild dream but a very attainable goal.

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