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Old 11-21-2020, 12:33 AM   #61
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So I tend to to play games with myself - used to view hundred dollar bills as un-spendable, so they would slowly pile up. Another thing I did was to tell Quicken that the rentals were only worth what we paid for them - ignoring appreciation. In 2006 I decided that we would start using the property tax appraiser's "true cash value" as the property values. All of a sudden our net worth per Quicken went from under $827k to well over double that. And amounts kept climbing. Still wear the same t-shirts and socks, but now I is a millonaire. Carbonate our drinking water with a carbonation rig i made up, but spend $0.30/gallon for store-boughten distilled water.
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Old 11-21-2020, 05:30 AM   #62
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I never really thought about the $1 million mark early on other than the very abstract “someday” idea. Luckily I had the mindset that saving for retirement was important and my parents instilled that value in my head early in my career.

I was more focused on the habit of saving and watching whatever little nest egg I did have go up and down as my savings continued and the markets did its thing. The numbers and scorecard weren’t as important as reaffirming the positive financial habits that would result in growth of my net worth.

I think when I realized that I was reaching the 500K mark that it hit me that the elusive $1 million was possible. After all, it’s only a matter of doubling at that point. It becomes more of a math problem and less of an active process at this point.

We’re happy to say we’ve reached the big $1 million milestone not including our paid off home that oddly didn’t feel that big when it finally arrived. Now we are plugging away to go after that second million which might happen in just a few years with the blessing of the markets.

I was a persistent saver and a big believer in the power of compounding. That combined with a relatively stable employment history meant it was only a matter of time.

My advice for those who still have a bigger road ahead of them to reach their financial goals is to not be so hung up on those bigger milestones at least early on. Focus on the habits that will make you prosperous and celebrate the mini milestones that are more important than they may seem. Also work to keep your needs and lifestyle in check so you don’t need a really large nest egg to live comfortably.

I’m living proof that hard work + regular savings + a little good luck x time = financial security. That formula has worked for me for decades and it will be my path to a financially secure retirement one day.
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Old 11-21-2020, 06:40 AM   #63
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What you measure you can influence.

I started using an excel spreadsheet precursor MS works and earliest record on net worth goes back to 1986 which is roughly when schooling was completed. Had a few HEAL loans at 17% interest so had a personal negative net worth for a short time.

I never invested primarily for capital appreciation, mostly for dividend paying things that were the size monsters of their sectors.

Game plan changed when tax deferred stuff became available and finally when Roth opened up to us. Prepaid a lot of tax to move stuff that can still appreciate especially this year so this year will be more of a wash which is amazing how much tax we prepaid.

But as to when I knew it was reachable, the magic number to me was around 186k. The moment I compounded the amounts by even 3% annually it was a certainty in progress. The only question to me was what a million could buy then. After all inflation is huge if you live long enough.. I still remember penny candy and 3 cent candy bars, 5 cents for the big one.
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Old 11-21-2020, 02:24 PM   #64
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Originally Posted by RxMan View Post
I never really thought about the $1 million mark early on other than the very abstract “someday” idea. Luckily I had the mindset that saving for retirement was important and my parents instilled that value in my head early in my career.

I was more focused on the habit of saving and watching whatever little nest egg I did have go up and down as my savings continued and the markets did its thing. The numbers and scorecard weren’t as important as reaffirming the positive financial habits that would result in growth of my net worth.

I think when I realized that I was reaching the 500K mark that it hit me that the elusive $1 million was possible. After all, it’s only a matter of doubling at that point. It becomes more of a math problem and less of an active process at this point.

We’re happy to say we’ve reached the big $1 million milestone not including our paid off home that oddly didn’t feel that big when it finally arrived. Now we are plugging away to go after that second million which might happen in just a few years with the blessing of the markets.

I was a persistent saver and a big believer in the power of compounding. That combined with a relatively stable employment history meant it was only a matter of time.

My advice for those who still have a bigger road ahead of them to reach their financial goals is to not be so hung up on those bigger milestones at least early on. Focus on the habits that will make you prosperous and celebrate the mini milestones that are more important than they may seem. Also work to keep your needs and lifestyle in check so you don’t need a really large nest egg to live comfortably.

I’m living proof that hard work + regular savings + a little good luck x time = financial security. That formula has worked for me for decades and it will be my path to a financially secure retirement one day.

+1
Couldn’t agree more. We just focused on saving as much as we could, being frugal & enjoying each new milestone (another 100Gs) as they came.
To answer the OPs original ?, probably once we passed the 1/2 mil mark in our mid 40s.
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Old 11-23-2020, 12:23 PM   #65
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When I got my first job after college, a co-worker said he would have $1M by 40. I thought that was optimistic. I did not think that was possible for me based on salary alone. I did not think much about that conversation afterward but just practiced LBYM, raised a family, and continued to save. When I hit 40, another friend said he could not envision having $2M by retirement, but I had changed my mind by then due to effect of compounding and said sure I could. I think I achieved $1M NW by 50 and doubled that 5 years later thanks to a robust stock market.
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Old 11-23-2020, 03:00 PM   #66
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I realized in the '70s that I would need at least a mil to live on @ age 65. My executed plan since that time has provided more than enough cash for DW and I to retire with ease.
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Old 11-23-2020, 06:47 PM   #67
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When I paid off my house in year 11 of a 30 year mortgage, I increased my monthly investments into my diversified mutual funds regardless of market conditions. 13 years later I FIRE’d. The $1M Mark was a non event. I just kept my eye of the prize and stopped work when I felt the time was right.
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Old 11-23-2020, 07:21 PM   #68
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Remember like yesterday. DW was debating on taking the relocation to LA for office grand poobah position. After many turndowns, mega Corp sweetened the deal. After the spreadsheet nerd finished running the numbers, I told her that we would be officially 7 figures after the 3 year offer and she could then choose to not work.

That was 2007 & 2010 was the year just as we calculated. She spent 1 more year before running off to Mexico for 3 years.
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Old 11-23-2020, 07:44 PM   #69
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Around age 38, I met my "Maui Multi-Millionaire" FIRE friends (4 people who FIRED by age 50). It then became my goal, although at the time, I thought it implausible. I had about $76K in investments, and it took me a decade to hit my first $1M. About 1/10th of that was real estate appreciation on on condo; I saved more than half my income, and had no debt for much of this time, sans mortgage). Five more years to the second $1M, and another 2 years to the third.
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Old 11-23-2020, 08:40 PM   #70
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The emotional experience of exponential growth is different from understanding the math. I had a financial hard reset 30 years ago with a divorce and business failure that put me to literally negative NW. Prior to that I had been well on my way, I was worth $650K in 1989 - in 1989 dollars, which is quite a bit more than a million today.

The first 20 years of slogging back from zero seemed to take forever and to barely move. Then it seemed like a few years of increasing acceleration. Now the numbers click up and down and don't seem connected to real dollars, like the ones I worked for. Schwab portfolio tracker sez my NW increased $550K in just the last 12 months. Doesn't seem like those dollars are the same stuff I worked for at an hourly rate.
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Old 11-24-2020, 05:01 AM   #71
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I could see it coming in the late 90's, as the market had one good year after another.
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Old 11-24-2020, 05:20 AM   #72
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At 55 years old, I just hit $300K, not sure if I can put together $1M, although my company just announced an additional 1% match, and I will be raising my deduction by 10% this year.

I also have a nice pension waiting for me, so not imperative I hit $1M.
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Old 11-24-2020, 09:21 AM   #73
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In college, I thought I want $1M by 40. What I really wanted was FI and I redefined my goal pretty quickly and soon discovered John Greaney/REHP on TMF shortly after graduating. Understood the math so totally knew it was possible. Lots of ups and downs but mostly stayed on track and hit $1M sometime during my marriage with combined assets, I went back and smoothed my NW and expenses after divorcing and was around $900K of "my money" on my 40th birthday (a bit of lifestyle creep while married that has since been reversed). Got divorced at 42 and had $1M liquid NW for the first time at the end of that year and have managed to not dip below since. Really close to having $1M in my TSP which, for some reason, seems more significant to me. I think because it is all in one place and having other assets beyond the "$1M" feels more significant/"permanent"? Market is lofty IMO so I'm not holding my breath but it's sort of exciting to think about having an account statement with $1,xxx,xxx.xx on it!
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Old 11-24-2020, 11:04 AM   #74
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Don't remember wanting a million when young. DID have the fantasy of having a house within a day's drive going different directions. My folks had spent years going from trailer to small house to house with a bit of land to more land to more land yet as they wanted to raise cattle as well as us kids. The houses became secondary to the land and were pretty rough. They looked at a number of fantasy ranches with hundreds of acres and multiple homes, but just couldn't stretch enough to make those buys.

I started with an old trailer as my first purchase as a home when starting college, bought a little raw land while in the Navy, used a VA loan to buy my first home, and then started buying rough places that needed vision and work. Looked at a lot of fantasy places that would have made us millions - or more probably bankrupted us. Instead we focused on the places that we could afford - barely - and thanks to lots of renters and property appreciation we passed a number of millions.
Still am attracted by fantasy places and think a place between our Oregon and California houses would be a nice day's drive way station.
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Old 11-24-2020, 11:19 AM   #75
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... think a place between our Oregon and California houses would be a nice day's drive way station.
You already have several. They are called Marriott.

Or you can buy a motorhome.
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Old 11-24-2020, 11:34 AM   #76
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I was in my early 20's (circa 2001) when I realized I'd need about $2million to retire comfortably. I think I was simply doing the 25years of retirement = 4% withdrawal math. Turns out my forecast on inflation wasn't too far off. I now expect $1.8M will give me all the money I'd ever need.
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Old 11-24-2020, 01:04 PM   #77
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Age 25. After starting first full time engineering job and taking educational financial planning course offered by employer. DW (DGF at the time) and I were both making way more than we were spending.

By doing some first-order analysis in a spreadsheet I could see that by investing our excess earnings in no-load mutual funds, we might be on the way to 10M before retirement (well this was just after the 80s so that didn't exactly happen).

Best employee benefit I ever received was taking that class at a young age.

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