There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to surpassing the $1-million mark, but growing up in a wealthy family or coming into a windfall of cash certainly isn’t a prerequisite. In fact, these three couples prove that sticking to a budget and investing wisely is a surefire way to grow your wealth over the long haul.
After all, it’s not about where you started, but where you’re going.
"We live well below our means, and invest the rest."
“FI Girl,” 35, and “FI Guy,” 36, anonymous bloggers and IT specialists in New England
“My husband and I come from humble beginnings. I grew up in a single-parent household; he was raised in a blue-collar family that budgeted every penny. Our paths crossed when we were two broke college kids working part-time jobs.
We graduated and entered the tech industry in 2003 after the dotcom crash, with around $65,000 in student loans—and gratefully accepted jobs in the $35,000 to $42,000 range. Still, we made the commitment to max out our 401(k)s, which required serious frugality. We continued living like college kids, opting for small apartments that were priced well below the norm, cutting cable, buying generic brands and rarely splurging on non-necessities.
Over the years, we’ve hustled and negotiated our way up the corporate ladder, and now earn healthy salaries—but you might not know it from our minimalist lifestyle. Every time our salaries increased, we kept our spending low and automatically invested the difference into our retirement plans, HSAs and regular investment accounts. Our investment strategy is simple—we stick with low-cost index funds and, as long-term investors, ignore market fluctuations—but it’s helped us gradually build wealth.
By 2012, we had enough banked to buy our first home outright. No mortgage frees up cash today, since we don’t have a regular housing payment, and will come in handy later. Our big picture goal is to eventually retire early, sell our home and travel the world.
Our current net worth is around $2.2 million. We’re still chugging away at our 9-to-5 jobs, but keeping our eyes on the prize of getting out of the rat race by age 40!”
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February 20, 2018
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February 20, 2018
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