Many people work their entire lives and never even have $10k or $100,000 in a savings account, not my wife and I.
We recently hit the $100k net worth milestone and are looking to hit $200k as quickly as possible! I don’t say that to brag—if we can do it, just about anyone can. We just made some smart moves with our money early in life, building our wealth slowly, and have been fortunate to start our investing journey in a bull market.
We certainly haven’t been as optimal as we could have with our finances and if we had, there’s no telling what our net worth would be right now or even how our bank account will look. Even now that I’ve been writing about money for the past year, I’m still working to learn new things to do to boost our income and grow our average net worth quicker. We aren’t even ahead of the curve with our age and net worth.
I’ve read some exceptional stories about people younger than us with even more money! These are some exciting times we live in when it comes to growing wealth and I’m looking forward to seeing what the future holds.
While we may not be the first 25-year-old hundred thousandaires out there, we have a unique story that might resonate with you. I just got my income up to $50k for the first time in my life a few weeks ago and now my wife is only bringing in a few hundred a month. Here’s how we got to where we’re at now.
Jump ahead to
My wife and I met working at Chic-fil-A and it was the first W2 job for both of us. We were 17, and I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do as a career. My wife quit after working there for about 8 months and I got fired a couple of months later. It wasn’t a very fun place to work.
I don’t think any of the money we made from Chic-fil-A contributed to our current net worth. We both lived with our parents for several years after working there and I’m sure we spent all the money we saved from the job on random things. At least we developed a relationship that still lasts today.
Staying Out of Debt
I think this is where we fall into the weird category. We’ve had no debt other than our mortgage and have no plans to go into debt on other things. We drive old cars and didn’t accumulate any student loan debt. I just went to a local community college and my wife didn’t go at all.
Living debt-free has been outstanding. I think we’ve been able to avoid a lot of money stresses by only buying what we could pay for in cash. We might not have fancy degrees or brand-new cars, but we’re happy with what we have.
Through a combination of practicing minimalism and gratitude, I’ve become content with the items I have. I’m happier when I get rid of something than when I make a new purchase.
Another thing we’ve done to stay out of debt is to keep an emergency fund. The first thing we did with our finances when we got married is set aside several thousand dollars and didn’t touch any of it other than enormous expenses we weren’t expecting to make.
Keeping a Budget
If you didn’t think we were weird for never having debt, I’m sure you’ll think we’re weird for budgeting. I understand that many people feel like budgeting isn’t necessary, but it has played a huge role in our net worth by this age.
I’m different in how I handle our budget. I’m not strict on the number we put down for each category. If we spend more money going out to eat than I expected, I just pull some from the savings category and increase the budget for eating out.
The only reason I budget is so I can see how we’re using our money and decide to optimize. As I’ve also mentioned before, paying through cash instead of using a debit or credit card will help you budget your money even better.
I don’t know the exact number, but we paid less than $10,000 for our wedding and still had an outstanding one, in my opinion. My wife got her dream dress for $600 and I got a cheap suit from JC Penny. We had the ceremony at a local church for free and the reception outside at a relative’s barn.
All we paid for was all the decorations, food, and a little for the reception venue. We couldn’t have been any happier with the way it turned out. People think they need to spend $50k on a wedding. Traveling the world for a year with $50k is so much better than spending it all in one day.
A few months after my wife quit Chic-fil-A, she got a job that will help to build sets in the movie industry. She started making about $18 an hour with 20 hours of overtime every week. Over the next 5 years, her pay increased to about $27 an hour.
About a year after we got married, we decided the 60-hour workweek on top of an hour and a half commute was too much. She quit and has been helping at her uncle’s private school for the past couple of years.
After I got fired from Chic-fil-A, I slogged my way up to my current position. First, I got a job at Kroger. After that, I worked at a Quick Trip gas station. About a year after that, I got my first office job at a playground company and started going to community college for IT.
I fell into a CAD designer position with the playground company and gained enough experience to get a better-paying job at a truss manufacturing plant. After a painfully boring year and a half of that, I finally got my first and current position in IT. I started this job making $42,000 a year and by working hard and asking for a raise, I’m now making $50,000.
I think I started my first Roth IRA when I was 22. When we got married at age 23, I only had about $1,000 saved up for retirement and my wife had maybe $5,000 in her work plan. She kept most of her money in cash, which is how we paid for our wedding, our honeymoon, and most of the furniture in our house.
We haven’t been as aggressive as we should’ve, but I just started learning how to invest in the stock market a little over a year ago. Since I learned that simple investing is smart investing, I’ve been trying to invest as much as I can. We’re currently saving and investing about $1,000 a month, at a minimum.
We’ve currently got about $39,000 in our retirement accounts and the rising market has helped with our passive income a lot with that.
Buying a house we could afford
Even though we were making over $100k when we got married, we bought a 1200-square-foot house for $95k. The house is more than enough for the two of us (and our cat) and we like the neighborhood. Our mortgage is only $660 a month!
We’ll buy a bigger, more expensive house in a few years, but it won’t be something we can’t afford the payments on. We will probably keep this house and rent it out when we move. To slowly start investing in real estate would be the perfect way to test it out.
My wife and I weren’t doing anything on the side to make money until a year ago. I started selling on eBay and have made about $7,000 extra from that. I’ve also made about $1,000 selling items at an antique store.
This is what I’ve been focusing more on lately and I plan to start making serious money on the side of my day job.
To sum everything up, we were careful with our personal finance, stayed out of debt, increased our incomes, lived as frugally as we were comfortable with, and invested our savings. The combination of all these things is how we eventually got our net worth of $100k. We’re only 10% of the way to my goal of million-dollar net worth, but at least we’re headed in the right direction!
This article is originally on Wealth of Geeks.