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The first million takes the longest to achieve
Old 03-29-2024, 09:31 PM   #1
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The first million takes the longest to achieve

Was thinking about this since I look and document at the end of each month my portfolio numbers.

I looked at my numbers and dates, since I have been retired, I have added a million dollars every 2.5 years. I'm not contributing any more but comes from growth only. I also have lived off my investment darning time also so expense come out of the pot as well. Really unbelievable how fast thing can grow.

So, the first took the longest like everyone has said, I really don't know when I reached the first 7 digit in my life. I never even thought about that and to busy working and living life.

Anyone else every took the time to crunch your number to see how long it took to add one more 7-digit number to your portfolio.
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Old 03-30-2024, 03:43 AM   #2
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The first million took "forever" - 21-22 years. Second million approximately 4 years. Then roughly three years for the next...and so on...

Similar to your assessment, the last million was under 3 years (impacted by negative returns in 2022).

Noting that I'm still working and adding contributions. However, the impact of these contributions is fairly small relative to overall NW.
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Old 03-30-2024, 04:28 AM   #3
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I used to meet with my new hires in a production unit. I'd close the meeting encouraging them to take advantage of our 401k. Using a calculator like this (https://www.calculator.net/401k-calculator.html) it was enlightening to see when investment growth became larger than their contributions.
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Old 03-30-2024, 04:46 AM   #4
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Old 03-30-2024, 04:51 AM   #5
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Portfolio milestones were 2015, 2019, and 2023. The first one indeed took forever, 23 years in the workforce. My starting salary in 1992 was $27k, so no wonder.

For NW, milestones were 2010, 2017, 2020, and 2024.
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Old 03-30-2024, 05:12 AM   #6
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I was trying to recreate this record and found old text based records, old Microsoft Works spreadsheets going all the way back to 1986, some were on floppy drives and I managed to get some of the info off. I keep end of year data since 1986.

I imagine the slow going at first is because of paying off debt and acquiring the toys of adulthood and family expenses. Childcare costs wow remember them? We went cash flow negative for a bit on that.

The acceleration jumps seem to be a great stock year, job changes, bonuses, or capital gain every so often that doubles or triples the average yearly gain. 2008 and 2020 were only down years down -1.7% and -1.6%.

Pretty sure for many here the slope of your increase is proportional to the % of index exposure. Pretty conservative here re stock market exposure ratio.

I know we have many real estate people too and business entrepreneurs so assume they may have other jumps as well.
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Old 03-30-2024, 05:32 AM   #7
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My NW records don’t go back to when we crossed our first million, but it definitely took a lot longer than subsequent millions. Only stands to reason due to lower income starting out, marriage, first house, children, and the arc of interest compounding on top of it all. The subsequent milestones were much quicker, some more than others thanks to market ups and downs and much higher % equity AA back then. Now that my AA is more conservative portfolio growth is more linear of course.

A corollary, our NW has doubled since I retired, with no pension or SS yet. Compounding is a wonderful thing. It will be interesting to see when/if NW starts to decline due to withdrawals (not market fluctuations).
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Old 03-30-2024, 05:40 AM   #8
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The last two were separated by Covid.
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Old 03-30-2024, 05:44 AM   #9
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I went back this morning and looked at it again and I miss figured in my first post. I can't edit it any more so will correct my finding now.

An average would be 2 years and 11 months. I haven't broken them down to times for each one that has followed the next though. Of course, markets play the biggest factor in how quickly another 7 digit is added and your AA. These averages are from since I retired not quit yet, but through the 8 years of ER. Before 8 years ago I have not a clue when they came or how long in between.

Sorry about the miss information is corrected now.
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Old 03-30-2024, 06:01 AM   #10
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Been working towards our 4th Million for almost 2 years now.....


Gave up on the 1st 3.....
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Old 03-30-2024, 06:20 AM   #11
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Enlightening thread, Street. As I recall, you don’t rebalance.
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Old 03-30-2024, 06:28 AM   #12
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Enlightening thread, Street. As I recall, you donít rebalance.
That is right, my unorthodox way I know isn't the most efficient way. I actually dislike working with finances and money, so I don't. Not smart, not good business I know. Lol
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Old 03-30-2024, 06:30 AM   #13
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15, 5, 2, 5....next milestone will be > 6 if we ever get there (numbers are actually net worth, not portfolio tho).

Looking back, I'm amazed at the number of different investment funds, etc. that we had in the early 2000s.
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Old 03-30-2024, 06:35 AM   #14
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I didn't know what saving was until 26 & getting married. We made up for lost time starting in 96', combined salaries ~$110k & 1 DD)

Our first was 2009 after taking a position in So Cal (big boost for 4 years), so it took 13 years (combined salaries ~$325k annually for 4 years in Cali).

Took 3 years off & booted back up the salary machine in 2015 & the 2nd came in 2020 (5 years later).

Now working on the 3rd & if things moderate, I'm expecting 2025, so another 5 as we've officially begun to coast with my small biz & DW's cutting back to 4 day's w*rk week.

For fun, I calculated our growth for the past 150 day to be ~$1500/day. If only it could stay there...
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Old 03-30-2024, 06:36 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by street View Post
That is right, my unorthodox way I know isn't the most efficient way. I actually dislike working with finances and money, so I don't. Not smart, not good business I know. Lol
To the contrary, when Iíve back-tested rebalancing vs rebalancing, it doesnít make much difference at all over long time periods. Youíre the ultimate passive investor, which research shows is the smartest kind and the best at business.
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Old 03-30-2024, 06:37 AM   #16
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I don't remember how long it took anymore! But it's clear to me that I had to work much longer and harder for the first million than I did for the second, etc. Of course, these days, it sure seems to me that you need a few extra million now to have the same buying power as one million had, just a few decades ago.
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Old 03-30-2024, 06:38 AM   #17
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Not all of us had wealth that just grew exponentially. I'd venture that a great many had substantial zigs and zags along the way.

The young wife and I had managed to scrape together a $100k portfolio in the 5 years between our marriage in 1984 and 1989, even with her largely not working and with paying cash for her to go to graduate school. Then, in 1989, I stopped working and went to law school and we were back to zero in 1992 when I graduated. In hindsight, that was a costly move. It took 6 years as a lawyer before I was making as much as I had been making as an engineer in nominal terms (longer if adjusting for inflation). All in, including lost income and the cost of tuition, my calculation is that it took 12 years after law school graduation for us to break even financially, and that assumed I never would have gotten a raise or promoted as an engineer. I also ignored the opportunity cost of not being invested during the great bull market of the 90s.

By early 2000, when I was 41, and after 7 years of working at our new professions (and having bought a house), we were back to $100k and starting to climb. Then, of course, we suffered through the dot com crash and went back below that. Still, we soldiered on and hit $1 million in mid 2007. I then moved from a big law firm to public service (a 77% pay cut) and, of course, we immediately got caught in the Great Recession and dropped back below $1 million.

It took 10 more years (to 2017) to hit $2 million, and we retired soon after that in 2019, so we are no longer adding to the stash. Although, by that time internal growth was outpacing new contributions. Now, any increase is driven solely by investment returns. Fortunately, we haven't had to draw on our portfolio yet and it is possible we never will, so it continues to grow
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Old 03-30-2024, 06:53 AM   #18
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Our milestones were achieved in

2001
2006
2012
2017
2020
2021

It took 30 years after graduating from college in 1971 to hit the double comma club.
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Old 03-30-2024, 06:56 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Gumby View Post
Not all of us had wealth that just grew exponentially. I'd venture that a great many had substantial zigs and zags along the way.

The young wife and I had managed to scrape together a $100k portfolio in the 5 years between our marriage in 1984 and 1989, even with her largely not working and with paying cash for her to go to graduate school. Then, in 1989, I stopped working and went to law school and we were back to zero in 1992 when I graduated. In hindsight, that was a costly move. It took 6 years as a lawyer before I was making as much as I had been making as an engineer in nominal terms (longer if adjusting for inflation). All in, including lost income and the cost of tuition, my calculation is that it took 12 years after law school graduation for us to break even financially, and that assumed I never would have gotten a raise or promoted as an engineer. I also ignored the opportunity cost of not being invested during the great bull market of the 90s.

By early 2000, when I was 41, and after 7 years of working at our new professions (and having bought a house), we were back to $100k and starting to climb. Then, of course, we suffered through the dot com crash and went back below that. Still, we soldiered on and hit $1 million in mid 2007. I then moved from a big law firm to public service (a 77% pay cut) and, of course, we immediately got caught in the Great Recession and dropped back below $1 million.

It took 10 more years (to 2017) to hit $2 million, and we retired soon after that in 2019, so we are no longer adding to the stash. Although, by that time internal growth was outpacing new contributions. Now, any increase is driven solely by investment returns. Fortunately, we haven't had to draw on our portfolio yet and it is possible we never will, so it continues to grow
Thanks for sharing your story that was great! I give people so much credit that have the courage to change professions in life. You have had a very interest and rewarding career. Thanks Gumby!!
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Old 03-30-2024, 07:05 AM   #20
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Been working towards our 4th Million for almost 2 years now.....
I'm thinking that the 4th is the toughest...

I think we are 21,13, 9 and hopefully 7

Not having a job and spending too much is hindering my progress.
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