The personal finance blogosphere is full of incredible success stories:
How we paid off $1,234,567 in student loans in 3 years
How my (all consuming) side hustle helped us become debt free
How we saved multi-millions by ruthlessly slashing our expenditures on housing, transportation, and food
Inspired by these fabulous accomplishments, I feel fortunate to share our most recent financial milestone:
Despite traveling and spending a ton, over the past ~4 years our net worth has grown by an additional $1+ million.
One Simple Trick
Most of personal finance boils down to one simple principle – spend less than you earn and invest the difference.
Also known as One Simple Trick. Earn More, Spend Less, or Both.
Pay off $1 million in student loans in 3 years…. by earning $1 million more than you spend – Easy!
Pay off all debt… by earning more with a 60 hour per week side hustle – Anyone can do it!
Save more by spending (much) less on core cost of living – Yeah, but I need a car, and a house, and I like caviar and champagne…
Even our own hack of paying off high interest student loans with 0% interest credit card balance transfers wouldn’t have been possible if we weren’t spending less than we earned.
All of these stories are great examples of good choices to turn a negative situation positive.
Debt & Net Worth
Unless you are the lender, debt is an insidious and pernicious destroyer of wealth. The interest burden can turn a leisurely swim into a struggle to move upstream against the vast power of Niagara Falls. Oddly, most adults have a lower net worth than the day they were born…
That’s why all of these success stories start with overcoming debt… student loans, a poor financial choice from yesteryear, an unfortunate burden from a medical mishap…
Before you can get ahead, you first have to get to zero.
Before you can get to zero, you have to trade your time to earn money for someone else.
Hitting zero is a great milestone: We are debt free, yeah!
Now we get to trade time to earn money for ourselves.
It’s good fun to see an extra $500 sitting in the checking account at the end of the month, or to build up an emergency fund that would cover a month or two of expenses.
Sadly, this is the most financially secure most people will ever be… who can resist that great deal on a new car loan, or a kitchen upgrade courtesy of the Home Depot charge card, or moving on up to that bigger home in the nice neighborhood with the great school district (and longer commute for the new car.)
But mortgage rates are so low, who can afford not to buy a new home? Back to zero and below.
How to Grow Your Net Worth by $1+ Million in Less Than 4 Years
Now is when the magic starts to happen: your money starts to make money, which begets more money, until our time is no longer necessary.
Things get really exciting once your checking account pays you $0.06. I still shed a small tear thinking about that incredible milestone. But then that $0.06 becomes $20, and then $100, and then $1,000.
And then even though you haven’t worked for more than 4 years while spending a few hundred thousand dollars traveling through 28+ countries, you suddenly have $1 million more than when you started.
I even updated our net worth chart to commemorate the milestone (older version here.)
So there you have it…
All you need to do to grow your net worth by $1+ million in less than 4 years is stop working and travel the world.
Oh, I suppose it also helps if you first save more than half of your income for over 10 years, invest primarily in equities during a bull market, make a little income on the side, and continue to spend less than you earn.
Sorry, that’s all I have for sarcasm and dry humour for the day.
What is Your “One Simple Trick” to Grow Net Worth?