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« Money 101: How to Measure and Track Wealth | Main | Money 101: How to Become Wealthy »

September 13, 2013


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Well done, Interview 5. Admire your work ethic very much. btw, Gene $immons' “Love, Sex & Kiss” is a fantastic motivational book, with some remarkable PF advice, including inheritance structures, charitable giving, and raising children in wealth that will also have a work ethic. "In the end, work is its own reward." Continued success to you! \m/

This was definitely my favorite post so far :-) I love the “truisms” at the end of the post (there is a lot of wisdom packed in these “1-liners”).

“Guard your time”… Love it. That certainly is a building block for wealth (in ALL areas or life: including money).

I also loved that you listed a major mistake that you made along the way. I lost 20K in a private business investment – so that resonated with me.

Actually I really think that would be an EXCELLENT independent section for the Millionaire profiles (mistakes). Why? Because we ALL MAKE THEM. I am 28 years old and am closely approaching some level of financial independence – but I have made some HUGE mistakes with money (I didn’t forgive myself for a year when I lost that 20K; it definitely affected my daily quality of life). I had several entrepreneurs pull me aside and say, “Nate, I know it looks good on the surface, but I lost 100K on a spec home development project years ago”. That helped put things in perspective for me and have me the courage to keep moving forward (know what I mean?).

Proposal question for the millionaires: “Please describe for us your biggest money mistake. How did it affect you, and how did you recover from the setback?”.

Another question I would love for these super starts to answer is this: “What was the HARDEST action/thing/activity you had to engage in when becoming wealthy?”

Enjoyed reading this interview. I particularly liked that the overall attitude/situation of this millionaire was quite different than the previous interviewees.

Also, being long-winded myself, I enjoyed the terse nature of all of the responses. :o)


I like hearing a post from a single/never married person. It seems most millionaires are married.

Nate -

Most of my interviews for the rest of the year are completed, so I can't get your questions worked in. Your best bet is to ask them yourself in the post's comments.

As for mistakes, I ask them to name their mistakes, but few are willing to admit any.

When you look back on your life from the vantage point of a 79 year old like myself it's easy to see the decisions that worked out great and those that you wished you could have made differently.

My best decisions were:
Meeting my future wife at a dance when I was 17 and marrying her when I was 22.

After a casual conversation in the coffee line one morning a co-worker told me he was emigrating from England to Canada to take a job with an aircraft manufacturer there. I discussed it with my girlfriend and the next day I applied and was also offered a job over there.

The Canadian company folded after two years but US companies arrived right away to hire us as there was a huge shortage of engineers in 1958 because of the Cold War.

My worst decisions were:
Being too conservative at times. However when the future is unknown, and especially when you have a child you have to have a sizable emergency fund just in case something very unexpected happens.
It's easy to have 20:20 hindsight and I think everyone can look back and see where taking greater risks would have paid off. One example is when we bought our first home. We spent far too much money on furnishings and improvements. In retrospect we should have gone for the highest priced home we could afford and made do with minimal furnishings for a couple of years.

I will join the group that thinks this interview was terrific.

I especially liked the maxims at the end. All those one-liners are incredibly valuable if you really take them to heart. My favorite : "We become what we think about". That is SO true.

My question (just for fun) to Interviewee #5: Does your girlfiend know you are a millionaire?

Great post. Enjoyed the "big picture" perspective offered. Amazing that most Americans would never think that anyone making $90K/ year could have a net worth of more than $2mm in their early fifties. Amazing what people can do when they put their minds to it...

Hi everyone...I am Interviewee #5 and I want to THANK the FMF (Wealth LIon) for having me. I, like you, enjoy his material/blog and I hope he makes a profit with it!

I am at work presently and look forward to reading JayCeezy, Nate, Mark FMF, JTS, Old Limey, JNew & CCM's comments. I'll answer any q's you might have very soon.

THIS IS Info I sent to FMF but missed his deadline fyi...Some of it is redundant but I did add some more .

What area of the country do you live in (and urban or rural)?

Pittsburgh, PA ....urban...grew up in north WVa (small town)....I grew up in a middleclass parents were married 53 years and passed at 74 and 81, respectively in 2001 and 2009. I owe my success to them following their traits of working to have something, saving and being modest in consumption. They did afford my college at West Virginia University and that made all the difference in my success. I have a sister in Buffalo who is the opposite of me in terms of accumulating wealth – only now at the age of 60 is she stressing about her future ( she is married with 2 young adults).

What is your current net worth?
$2.1M liquid.

What are the main assets that make up your net worth (stocks, real estate, business, home, retirement accounts, etc.) and any debt that offsets part of these?

Stock Mutual funds...rents... Besides a 40 hour work week at my job, I have several residential rentals that I work myself. I do not count real estate valuation as part of net worth.

What is your job (type of work and level)?

civil servant/maintain residential properties (7) I was white collar (civil engineer) then in 2004 my agency reorganized and I went to the blue collar field. It was a great improvement since finding funds at work was no longer an issue. The blue collar types did not embrace me as I was ‘from the building downtown’...and presently, I am not military but civilian which is a grudge harbored by some of these boys.

What is your annual income? about $90k

How did you grow your income so high (if over $100k per year)?

You can become a millionaire on a $50k salary if you start early!
What is your main source of income (be as specific as possible—job, investments, inheritance, etc.)?

salary from job/rents

What is your annual spending?

see above and:
Property taxes are my greatest expense....currently about $11k for properties and rising due to school district obligations.

How did you accumulate your net worth (what did you do, what happened, etc.—this is where you can tell your story and give readers insight into how you became wealthy)? Also, please share any mistakes you’ve made along the way that others can learn from.

see above...and:
All properties are paid off but I may sell when I reach my 60s and may leave the state or country some day to extract myself form these Pennsylvania taxes. However, I understand PA does not tax retirement benefits and West Virginia does. Sometime after I am 56 I will make a decision on relocating.. That is one key to success. Use leverage only if you study it and make decisions slowly

What have you learned in the process of becoming wealthy that others can learn from (what can others apply to become wealthy themselves)?

To become financially independent – I march to my own drum but seek counsel and opinions from others.

Listen to motivation cassettes and CDs. My favorite is Brian Tracy (time management, etc.) I ma currently recording audio clips from the internet onto my Digital Recorder and listening to them all the time. I also have a good spiritual aspect of my life and that is key to being content.

I have learned life falls into the following categories: career, community, family, finance fitness, mental, spiritual…I have added to that personal goals, romance and hobbies. The key is BALANCE.

Keep your overhead down. Gene Simmons of Kiss said in his book “I would have cut out the others in the band if I could have did it myself. Less partners – more money for you. His book is great for the young man who wants to succeed.

When I was about 5, my dad picked strawberries and I went around the neighborhood selling them for a quarter a basket. 35 years later, when he was getting signs of dementia he remarked I never did pay him for picking them. I sure miss him!

Staying in the mutual fund large, small, mid caps aggressively….No bond exposure yet (or very little)…

I use the Law of 72…the return you make divided into 72 will give you the number of years to double your money (approx.) Example: I average about 15% return a year since 1988….72 /15 = about 4.5 years to double my net worth.

Do you have a target net worth you are trying to attain?
I hope to see $3M in the next few I look at the ‘miracle of compound interest’ I expect that to arc upward exponentially and $20 M is conceivable before death in my say, mid-80s…(this is based on Fidelity’s detailed longevity survey (available to your readers).

What are your plans for the future regarding lifestyle (for instance, will your net worth allow you to retire early, downsize jobs, etc.)?

It should. I figure I can live off of the interest at $80k-$100k /year gross in 2016. I intend to retire at 56-57. My dad once said regarding his retirement “If I had known it would be this good I would have done it 20 years ago.”

My plans are to not do anything too different too soon. I do like International Livings articles of Living in South America. The idea of being taxed to death because I have worked hard to support an unreal health care industry and state/municipal pensions is disturbing, so living as an expat is possible. Of course, if I am thinking this then a lot of smart people are doing it or will be soon. And the IRS is figuring how to tax us there as well.

But I digress, I will maintain the same lifestyle for first few years (maintaining real estate)...then spend more time along the, etc. but always live within means and figure a market decline of 20-30% anytime...

Is there any advice you have for FMF readers regarding wealth accumulation?, read, read....spend time alone…live a balanced life….Keep your life simple - my mother used to say “Simplicity is elegance’ and ‘Your paycheck is your thank you’……(I really miss her)

The most influential books for financial independence I know: ‘Think and Grow Rich’ (Hill), ‘The Millionaire Next Door’ (Stanley), ‘As A Man Thinketh’ (Allen), ‘The Richest Man in Babylon’ (Clason), ‘Love, Sex and Kiss’ (Simmons) and the Bible.

SOME MAXIMS TO FOLLOW: ”all things in moderation” $....guard your the waistline.....make income streams- play defense with your $ your parents and spouse.....follow these maxims: “My life is what my thoughts make of it”..”we usually get what we want in the long run”...”we become what we think about”...

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