30 People Reveal How They Became Millionaires In Honest Online Thread
No matter how non-materialistic we may be, the thought of becoming a millionaire has crossed nearly everyone’s minds at least once or twice. I mean, then you could do pretty much anything you want, right? Start a business, splurge on vacations, and live out your days carefree. However, even when the American dream teaches us that with enough hard work and dedication, anyone can bootstrap their way to riches, many of us will never come even close to reaching that goal.
Except for these folks. You see, millions of millionaires out there overcame all odds or simply found themselves in a bit of luck. So when Redditor Goddammit_Vennie reached out to the Ask Reddit community and asked millionaires to reveal how they became so wealthy, they were eager to give everyone a glimpse into their journey.
Hundreds of responses flooded the thread and proved there are plenty of ways to achieve this big milestone. We scoured the answers and picked out some of the most interesting ones for you to read, so check them out right below. Upvote the ones you liked most and be sure to share your thoughts with us in the comments!
At last... my time to shine!
I was never too good in school, could read and write and do basic maths but nothing more. I did really enjoy woodworking though and anything using my hands.
I left school as soon as I could as I wanted to leave home. Lived in pretty s**tty places just scraping by on pretty much minimal wage working retail and hospitality until a mate of mine said I could probably make money on the side with my wood-working (he'd seen bits and pieces I'd made around the house).
There was no etsy back then so I had to do most of my stuff without any research as to what people would like and then try to hawk it via classifed and cards in local shops. I couldn't believe it when my first piece sold even though for the time I'd spent making it I hadn't even made minimum wage! However I kept at it and made a variety of ornaments which people liked and then started doing commissions. Thinks got bigger and bigger and I could quit my s**tty job to do it full time. Within a couple of years of selling my first piece I was getting more requests than I could fulfill but still only making an OK living out of it.
About 3 years to the day from my first-ever sale I actually had a motobike accident and lost the use of my left hand (fortunately not my dominant hand!). I decided to try and get a couple of the local homeless guys to help out and provide them with meals and a share of the sale prices. Obviously this meant we could make and I could sell many more pieces but I actually found I was making less money once stuff was split up. And to add insult to injury a couple of the guys ripped me off and stole a lot of my stuff. I was back at square one.
I decided to move back into making more basic pieces that would be quicker and simpler and that's when my mum passed away and left me a million dollars.
In my 20s, I was a computer programmer just as the web started exploding in popularity. I could wire up websites and databases back when internet technologies were new, and tooling was still primitive. I never hit it big with a viral website like Facebook or Amazon, but I did charge a lot for programming services. And I used that money to buy houses at first, and ultimately an apartment building in coastal California.
In my 40s now. I don't feel very wealthy really. Oddly, I still check prices when shopping, and I plan to drive my old jeep until it dies. When I travel, I often pay to fly first class; and I do enjoy the nicer hotels. But, other than that, I live (and spend) rather simply.
Not there yet but getting there.
STEM degree for both wife and I
I bag my lunch and drink from water fountain! I eat out with coworkers maybe once a month. Fill up my trusty klean kanteen bottle daily with the free ice from cafeteria and water from the water fountain.
In my lower 30's right now.. Have a $500k house (bought 2 years ago) about 40% paid off.. Hope to pay it off completely well before I turn 40. Currently about $350k in Bank between liquid and stocks.
Currently driving a 9 year old Scion.. Wife has a 13 year old Camry. Daughters toys are from the thrift store. Haven't had cable TV ever. Love Costco and Walmart. Love looking at deal sites.
That doesn't mean we do not enjoy life. We've been backpacking in Europe.. Have visited Dubai.. Bahamas.. Bermuda.. Puerto Rico.. Vegas numerous times.. Canada numerous times..Going to Cali in less than a month.
My philosophy is this: you get rich by acting poor in things that really don't please your heart. We like traveling.. So we do that. I like photography.. So I have a DSLR. Wife likes nail polish.. So she has like a big box full of them. I don't care much about food.. So I bag it and we rarely eat out. Same with our cars.
Live simply.. Invest and spend wisely.. Love unconditionally..
Virtually everybody in America is dreaming of becoming a member of the Millionaire Club and achieving financial freedom. And as it turns out, the number of people who reach this milestone is increasing. Global Wealth Report 2021 from the Credit Suisse Research Institute states that the number of millionaires in the US has reached nearly 22M. Worldwide, they estimated that there were 56.1M millionaires at the end of 2020, 5.2M more than a year earlier. The researchers stated that 2020 marks the year when more than 1% of all global adults are dollar millionaires for the first time ever.
To learn more about our fascination with seeking money, we reached out to Vicky Reynal, a psychotherapist and financial therapist based in the UK. "There is a widely held belief in our society (reinforced by the consumeristic culture that we live in) that money can buy happiness," she told Bored Panda. She explained that people seem to pursue wealth despite the evidence pointing to the contrary and that money can, at best, distract us from unhappiness.
"For some people, money equates with a sense of worth and so they chase financial success to reassure themselves and show others that they are valuable and worthy — these are people who seek an external measure of success which, in general, masks internal insecurities about lovability and worthiness," Reynal added.
My grandparents invested a small amount of money in each of their grandchildrens' names when we were little kids.
The stocks they chose for me were Microsoft, Cisco, Starbucks, and most importantly Amazon.
I became a millionaire from those stocks shortly after my 21st birthday, last year. Honestly, I feel terribly guilty about it. I didn't do any work to deserve it, and frankly, my brother and my cousins haven't been nearly as fortunate with the investments made in their name.
I married an awesome businessman. :)
Disclaimer: He was broke when we met. I stood by him during the recession, when we had to put our house and everything we owned on the line. We were in danger of losing everything but got through it together.
I was born...
It all came from my parents. I get a lot of c**p from my friends in college lol.
My parents on the other hand went from living in lower middle class india (born in late 50s so basically studing hard and family bonds were what kept them going), came to California for masters and phd, and worked for massive tech companies for about 30 years. My dad went up to executive director or something. They invested a lot of money and bought houses in India and rented them out. The house they bought here in California went from $1.1m to about $3.5m.
However, it seems like many of us may have fallen for the myth that to become really wealthy you need a big income or a rich family. The National Study of Millionaires by Ramsey Solutions surveyed over 10,000 participants and found that accumulating wealth may be easier than you think. According to the report, the vast majority (79%) of millionaires in the US did not receive any inheritance at all. While 21% of the participants received some inheritance from their parents or other family members, only 3% received an inheritance of $1 million or more. The survey also found that 8 out of 10 millionaires came from at or below the middle-income level, and they built up their fortunes themselves.
I enlisted in the army when I was 18. I liked it. I asked to become an officer, and they let me. The army sent me to college and I graduated. My officer pay was way higher and in the army, you don't have very many bills. I found I could save between 1k and 5k every month of my life.
After my second deployment, I was sitting on about 200k. I hired a financial manager, he did well for a few years.
I've bought and rented out a couple of houses.
I've got 17 years in the army. Creeping closer to a portfolio worth $2 million and a good pension in retirement. I'm about to make Lieutenant Colonel. I'm in my late 30s.
Just grind and save.
Edit: I should add that this job really sucks and I hate it a lot of the time. But due to the peaks and valleys of monetary motivation, I have to do it for a few more years.
Being frugal. Not buying new cars, not caring about what others think. Saving and investing and doing it again. Not making knee jerk investments. Letting them ride long term and not freaking out at every market correction. For me it was a slow game, but fun to watch it take off.
Not me but my family. My Dad was p**s-poor as a kid because he was one of 5 kids to a single mother since my Grandpa died when dad was like 11 or 12.
Moved out at 17 after getting his HSC (aussie SATs). Went to work. Worked a lot, my Dad's really smart so he was good at what he did.
Mum and Dad weren't meant to be able to have kids, but when both of them were 40 they conceived me. Dad had just started his own business in the tech industry. But he believed in himself and the two mates he started the company with and it boomed.
Mum hasn't worked since I was born because she was taking care of me. When I went to school she started doing a lot of charity work. She fell pregnant again with my little brother but he was stillborn when I was 3 years old so I stayed an only child.
This year both my parents turned 60 and my Dad retired cuz his business is (and was) doing so well.
We live in a nice house but most of our money goes to charity anyway, since Dad knows how it feels to have no money. What doesn't go to charity goes to family. I remember one year at Christmas Dad gave his Mum (my Nanna) and all four of his siblings $10 000 each, aka $50 000 in one year.
I never asked for money, I got a job legally as soon as I could (14 and 9 months), and I've worked ever since while attending school.
I think my Dad gave me good work ethics, they never spoiled me even though they could have. I'm 21 now, I still live at home (uni, and just started my first full-time job) but I plan to move out when I find a place I can take my dog with me.
So technically my Mum and Dad are millionaires. I'm not, it's not my money, and when Mum and Dad pass I'll probably divide it up among the family/charity. Going to a private high school taught me money doesn't buy you happiness, so I don't have any interest in keeping more than enough to be comfortable.
I wouldn't have even thought about inheritance but I was forced to cuz my Dad had two heart attacks this year and his dad, and his dad's dad both died of heart attacks in their 30s.
Not that anyone cares, but he's doing way better now :) A few stents in and a lot of rehabilitation and he's almost back to normal.
EDIT: I know I said I wasn't spoiled but they did give me a car when I got my full license. Well, they didn't get me a new car, they bought a new one for themselves and said I could drive the old one and take it with me if/when I move out. So basically I was an 18 year old driving a 3 year-old mid-range Lexus. I'm now a 21 year old driving a 6 year-old mid-range Lexus. Most of my friends come from pretty poor areas so I do get some looks when I'm in their neighbourhoods. Or gum. Twice now someone has stuck gum on the inside of my doorhandles. What a hard life I lead.
As you’re reading through these stories, you’ll notice that sometimes people hit the jackpot out of pure luck. When high emotions and excitement slowly fade away, finding your financial situation has shifted so drastically can be a bit much. "Quick changes to financial status can be overwhelming for some people, but not for all," Reynal said. "Some people manage to use the money in a way that is consistent with their values; they seek support (financial planners, financial therapists) to help them make choices that align with their beliefs and objectives."
But some individuals may have a hard time dealing with their fortunes. "Other people will struggle with feelings of guilt and undeservedness, which tends to happen in the face of material wealth that doesn't match up with an internal sense of worthiness. Or they might struggle to manage the (perceived or real) envy of others and will fear being exploited by others who, in their minds, are 'only interested in their money'," the psychotherapist said and noted this may set off a cycle of withdrawal and isolation.
Well, last year my fiancé's grandparents won a stupid amount of money in the lotto (double-digit millions). They were generous enough to share with the family. (I grew up below the poverty line so my life is nuts rn)
Edit: I'm a girl, for one. Two, I am in fact choosing to do stuff with my life, as I'm not an idle person mooching off of a very lucky break. His money is placed in a trust and we have many financial advisors, we are not cleared to buy anything without approval, and what we don't use is invested by the bank that runs the trust. I don't really care for advice since I'm just reaping the rewards.
So far, we bought my fiancé's childhood home his father built, which is in one of the most sought-after neighbourhoods in my city, and we're loving the security we have as homeowners. We took an amazing trip in June, where he proposed right on the banks of the River Ness in Inverness, Scotland. It was pretty magical guys. (And no, my ring is not exorbitant)
Having the money hasn't changed us as a couple, as we spent a year and a half living in a bachelor suite the size of a one-car garage and still love each other. So, at this point it's a done deal, we're together for good, and are getting married next
Also, I signed a cohabitation agreement but we agreed that I am not signing a prenup, and my name will be added to the title of the house after marriage, and the cohabitation agreement nullifies, making everything BUT the trust, mine, so if in the highly unlikely case of divorce, I can go after him for half of everything but the trust, as it is owned by his grandparents, but he is beneficiary. Pretty nutty stuff and I'm genuinely surprised they didn't force me into a prenup
A huge pipe fell on me and the company I was working for was a gong show. I got a little over a million in a settlement. 1/10 would not do again.
I basically kept the same habits I had when my income was $12k a year for a family of three.
I make coffee at home, I still forage for food, I still shop at thrift shops for clothing, my car is 14 years old and I try not to use it if I can use my bicycle instead - including biking to work when I wasn't carpooling. Even when I was a single mom on $28k salary I put what I could in my 401k and every raise I got went to that til I at least got the full employer match.
When I got a new job and found out there was no similar retirement plan there, I met with the directors and a financial advisor and got one in place.
I make my own laundry detergent and use cloth wipes/napkins. I spend about $20 a week for two adults for food. Yesterday I really really wanted an orange but didn't take it from the fridge because I paid for those for my husband's packed lunches, and pears from the yard are free. Oranges travel better in his bicycle bag so they are for him. Pears from the yard have occasional spots that need to be cut out so they are for me because I retired last year and he has another year or two to go. It's easier to cut off bad spots when you are at home in your own kitchen. I am so tired of pears, though.
I have a million dollars but I won't eat an orange if I have a free pear. On the one hand, that's pathetic. On the other hand, that's why I have a million dollars and don't have to go to work anymore.
When you find yourself going from rags to riches, there will be many opportunities to spend it all, and quick. We have long heard that people should put their thinking caps on when handling money and avoid giving in to temptations. The most common tip you hear from experts is that you need to quickly find a financial advisor who can help you steer clear of thoughtless decisions. However, choices become unhealthy when we make them without thinking of what's best for us, Reynal argued.
"A lottery winner donating all their money because they have thought through the pros and cons of keeping it because they have explored their desire to do good and be giving is very different from one that impulsively gives it all away out of an unexplored sense of guilt or fears that having money will 'spoil them' in some way. Some people do harbor beliefs that money is 'evil' or 'corrupting' because of the messages they heard growing up," she told us.
Always saved up a lot of money (40% of my pay) and continually put it into stocks. Investment returns have outdone my savings for quite a while.
I actually hit big at a casino a while back. Not enough where I can afford to quit my job and buy a mansion, but I'm comfy and so will my son be.
I live in Eastern Europe. In 1990 I took out a huge loan and bought 10 apartments and furnished them. I rent them out to people and with the money I earn from them I pay off the loan payments. I do this every 10 years. I have now 30 apartments and 1 employee who I pay to maintain them and make sure payments and maintenance is handled. The key is finding good tenants and maintaining a good relationship with them. It is not that hard but a key to this strategy.
My dad [passed away], and my sister and I split a 1.6 million dollar estate down the middle. After court fees from an unrelated incident, taxes, realtor fees, balancing dad's bank debt, and paying off some of mom's debt, we brought home $720k each.
I've since turned it into around $950k, so I'm pretty close. My sister, meanwhile, pissed it away on brand new cars, cruises, extortionately priced weddings, and having children.
The old fashion way: great grandparents helped build a city
I am on track of being a millionaire by just investing in my 401k. I started my career at 20 years old right after graduating from college and started investing the minimum to my 401k. Never really thought much of it until I did those calculators and realized that since I started so young the compound interest on any investment account with a decent return would be huge.
I would recommend you just put anything away, everyone tells you to max your investments but honestly not everyone can invest $18k a year. Do the math of how much $200 a month will grow in 30 years. This might not be the exact answer but this will easily get you to be a millionaire at some point.
I sell overpriced consultancy time to CTO's who don't know any beter.
Got a degree in finance, became a financial advisor, worked my butt off.
Edit: I should also add, being frugal with money. If you are under the age of 35 and are gainfully employed, it is entirely possible to become a millionaire at some point in life. Take 10% (or more) of your pay, put it in your 401k and invest in s&p500 etf.
Don't carry bad debt, & keep 3-6 months of expenses as an emergency fund. Lastly, think of spending money in terms of hours worked: If something costs $10, think about how long it would take you to earn that $10 after tax. Is it worth it for you to work that time for that purchase?
When I was 15, I started doing a lot of random jobs in my Hometown in Mexico. After a year, i accumulated about 40k, and decided to start flipping tractors and agricultural equipment. I'd try and make about 5k every machine, until I finally hit the 200k mark in 6 months. (I wasn't doing amazing in school but was making really decent money as you can tell). At that point, I bought a piece of land for really cheap. Story goes the owner was in seriously desperate to sell the land cause his wife or kids had been kidnapped, so I basically bought this land and instantly doubled my money. I couldn't buy all the land though, as it was a 1.2 million dollar total sale, so I begged my parents to sign so that the banks would lend me the other 800k.
Once I bought the land, within the year the land was worth 2.5ish million as the violence in the region had died down a bit. Now I was a 17, almost 18 year old kid with a really big farm, which was bringing in about 200-250k in profit a year. I decided I wanted to go to college, and paid my way thru college and saved up as much as I could. I sold the land in Mexico at 2.4 M, and had about 3M in the bank, and I have now invested in more farm land and am looking into investing in an apartment complex or a start up bank.
I wish I could say that I was amazing at business or some of the other cool things people have posted here, but honestly I've just been very lucky.
This will be a boring, but hopefully honest answer. I am not a millionaire, but my mother is. The answer is simply hard-work. She was born in Chicago in the 1960's to a pair of Irish immigrants with less than $300 to their name when they came to this country. Neither of my grandparents had more than a high school education, but they worked damn hard for my mom to go to college.
She got a degree from a very good school and went into journalism. Not a career that's usually associated with high earnings, but she busted her a*s in a time when women were really just getting into that field. She's also made the most of her money as a single parent as my father died of cancer when I was 11. She worked really hard and now, before taxes and after her bonus, is a managing editor at one of the most prestiegious newspapers in the world making close to 300k a year. Now, she makes great money, but she easily works between 60-80 hours a week.
The other answer is investiments. My grandfather, although not edutcated, was always investing in the market and made a good deal of money and so did my mother. She has a guy who, despite a slip-up that cost her over 200k, has earned that for us many times over.
So, I'm not trying to sound like a "Pull yourself up by your bootstraps" kind of guy, but, in my mother's case, she came from very little and is now very wealthy. I fully admit that a lot of that was luck; my grandparents were able to enter the country because my grandfather charmed the man who would sponsor them while he was a waiter on a cruise ship, but a lot of it is also hard work.
Sure, there are people born into great wealthy and prestige, but a lot of them work damn hard for it
Sorry for any formatting issues, I'm on my phone.
Started work in IT at age 22. My manager told me to take some time on my first day to open a 401(K) and open an account at the local credit Union with its free checking and general lack of ripoff fees that most banks have. My husband did pretty much the same thing. Saved 15% off the top of my paycheck for 30+ years so far.
My husband and I avoided debts other than a mortgage. We bought it home in 1995, a small house on a small property, borrowing way less than the bank wanted to lend us. We bought it for $255,500 (NYC 'burbs). It's worth around $550,000 today. We've always paid cash for our cars, and until our children came of driving age we only had 1 car. Today we're driving a 2003 Subaru Outback.
Through all of this, we also set aside money for our kids' college education. They were able to get good scholarships and my son, at least, made it through debt free. I think my daughter will too, especially if her plan to graduate in 3 years works out.
Between my husband and I we have about $1.7M in savings and cash and our home is all ours. I'm also fortunate enough to have a pension. If I work to age 65, that will be another $700K, but not sure I want to work that long. So that might be about half.
The net is that we never spent a lot on a house or car. We took some vacations but even when we did that we went places where we cooked for ourselves. We just oversaved, underspent and underborrowed.
I sold 18% of my company for a large sum of money and we worked together to expand.
Millionaire in my 20s here. A combination of things, but mostly number 4:
* Working in software. This field tends to pay very well for good people.
* Being frugal. I don't act like a pauper, but I don't have a cable subscription (I'm a gamer, TV doesn't interest me) and I prefer to cook my own meals than eat out.
* Being single. Kids are expensive, or so I hear.
* Stock options. I joined my company a couple of years before IPO, and at the time I felt they showed a lot of promise and could do really well in their market. I was right: the stock price has been rising steadily since IPO and the majority of my wealth is in stock options (on a steady diversification schedule).
A million dollars was never my goal, I was actually surprised when I hit it a few months ago. I don't think it has really changed me though, it just means I don't have to worry about money and I can afford to take long distance flights business class (I got a free upgrade once and now I'm sold!) Still, most people will want to retire on at least a million... people live a long time now and if you're planning on taking 20 years retirement, that's $50k a year which is a fairly modest salary depending on where you live. The trick there is to save, invest, and not think yourself rich with that retirement account sitting there full of money.
Self made... Cracked the first $1m just after 33 sometime. Then the next few came quickly. The best advice is to build capital early. I scrimped and saved and had my first car till I was 30 and it totally shat itself. Didnt waste money on holidays or any expenditure that wasnt 100% necessary. Holidays consisted just of time of work and going to beach or doing fun free things
So once I had a little nest egg $10K I got a house and everytime I had a spare $50 put it against the motgage. Then everytime I got a pay rise the difference went to the mortgage, not to increase in lifestyle.
Im 45 now and saving becomes less of a priortity as the BASE capital is there. I can spend every sent I earn and my base will still increase.
SUMMARY:- Get saving early. What Car and what clothes you wear dont change who you are.
Started buying multifamily Real Estate in central Chicago in 2011. Have been selling since last year. At one point I had 15 buildings with 65 apartments in them. The few buildings I have left are worth about $2 million and I have over a third of a million in cash in my savings.
Prices were so rediculous in the recession that I was able to turn $5,000 in savings and a lot of sweat equity into what I have now. I bought my first building with an FHA loans for $130k in Logan Square. It was 3 units and I put $5000 down. It's now worth $400k. Then is saved up the income from that property and bought a six unit for $50k that's now worth $350k. I then picked up another six flat for free because the city was going to force the bank to demolish it, borrowed against the equity in my other properties to do a total gut rehab of it, now the building is worth $1.1 million and generates $10,000 cash flow every month.
I live frugally as well, when my old car died I bought a two year old Honda with 25,000 miles on it. I still live in the first property I bought. My hobbies are ones that are only expensive if you don't have the time to take advantage of them. I buy a ski pass and ski four weeks a year. The pass costs $600, but I can get thousands of dollars worth of skiing out of it since my "job" is mainly collecting passive income.
I'm only 29 so my plan is to just slowly add to my portfolio while letting the few buildings I haven't sold off burn off principal. I'm basically semi retired and have been for three years.
Well I'm 30. Landed a decent job during the recession right after college and committed 35% of my income to investment since then. I am very close to the million.
Through hard work and perseverance I established a reputation for honesty and competence. I was slowly promoted to increasing positions of responsibility and remuneration. I saved prodigiously and invested wisely. I married well to someone with similar values.
STEM degree + minimalism.
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