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April 18, 2017


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Interesting list, my portfolio is in that range too, so here are my answers:
#1 I live in a middle income zip code and I blend in pretty well, no customer yacht here either
#2 I think it depends on the baggage that comes with the high-paying job. Some have image requirements that involve high maintenance so the net isn't so plush. Agreed status symbols can be a huge and unlimited drain. But if you can keep spending under control you'll reach financial independence faster than someone with low income.
#3 I've never hired a financial advisor and don't expect to so long as I'm below UHNWI. If I were a passive/index income-oriented type I'd go the Bogleheads route-- IOW the name of the game is low cost.
#4 agreed, the ability to defer gratification is pretty much a pre-requisite IMO
#5 yup, I've never had a budget, but I have a pretty good idea of my spend (to me +/-10% is pretty darned accurate!).
#6 I'd say running a business is a 'higher beta' path to wealth. The upside is obviously larger than 'working for the man' but the risk of not making it is commensurately greater.
#7 I don't try to time markets either, but I'm a believer in active investing, constantly hunting for bargains along the lines of Graham and Dodd. It's a lot of time and effort, but I enjoy it so it feels worthwhile, even though my returns aren't that much higher than the indexes. #1/2/4 got me here, not alpha.
#8 I'm not into conspicuous philanthropy, but I take pride in my counterparties never having misgivings about having dealt with we. Maybe it's all in my head but karma matters.
#9 I'm not smarter than the market overall but in some corners I have reason to believe that I have an edge. If you seriously believe you are "average at best" then you're probably underpaid!
#10 no spouse or children, but my siblings know where to find my important papers

Oh wow, thanks for sharing this. Most of the "rich" people I've known weren't rich, per se. They had high incomes, but they were all in debt up to their eyeballs and blew their money. It's interesting to learn from genuinely rich people who live below their means.

@freebird: thanks for sharing your insights. Most of what you say backs up what I experienced working for the rich.

@Mrs. Picky Pincher: sadly most people are like this. They are rich in appearance only.

What a great article... I loved reading this. Thanks for posting this....

"They didn’t spend their money on sports cars (except for a few of the doctors)"

Doctors are the worst.


Great post Jon. While you managed money for the rich, I worked for a very rich man and I shared my learning's here:

I see a lot of consistency between what you have written and what I have experienced personally. The media's portrayal of the rich isn't anywhere near true for the majority of truly rich people. My personal experience is that they, especially first generation wealthy, are honorable people.

I don't know if I've met any millionaires. I had a boss man who always bragged that he was a millionaire and rich but he sure didn't look rich. He dressed like he was on vacation all the time and always drove a pick up truck. I guess that's the point of your post.

Amen to #10. My grandpa passed away in 2012, and my grandma still isn't sure if we found all accounts he had.

Great post. It is reassuring to see that the advise you commonly hear to become wealthy like living modestly was reinforced by your experiences. Guess the secret's out - wonder how many people will use the secret.

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