You know what’s hard?
Making your first million dollars.
For us normal people, though, I say making your first $100,000 is the ultimate achievement. You can’t make it to a million or a billion without first hitting $100,000, but even more than that – it requires a complete overhaul of both your money and your mindset. You literally go from knowing jack crap to building out an entire plan and foundation. And that’s *if* you even get to the point where you care enough to make it happen!
It took me 28 years to finally start paying attention, and from the emails I routinely get, the epiphany unfortunately comes many decades later for others too.
And even then – once you’re committed to making the change – the real work begins.
- You have to first figure out where all your money is going, and why
- You have to cut back from your accustomed lifestyle and start saving everything from scratch
- You have to climb yourself out of all that debt just to get to even.
- You have to get your career off the ground/fixed, on top of hustling dozens of side jobs or whatever else will be powering your plan
- You have to figure out how to invest and balance your life so you actually still enjoy it!
- And, most importantly, you have to become REALLY good at being patient because it all takes time
In fact, that’s the magic ingredient of it all: time. And it can be a bitch.
But, once you get your mind right and the engine running, it starts getting easier from there until you’re crossing such once-fantasied milestones before you know it! You hit your break-even point at $0.00, then cross $1,000 in savings, and then $10,000 (wow!) and $20,000, up to $50,000, $75,000, $100,000 (!!!), $500,000 and all the way up to the double comma club ($1,000,000) and beyond.
Life is good, and it becomes so easy over time that you rarely need to think about it anymore. You still do because, well, we’re all nerds, but it becomes more out of fun than it does necessity.
And I wouldn’t even care anymore that you stop reading this blog, because it means you’re all set now! :) Unless you’re Drake or T. Boone who can’t stop – won’t stop – until they’re eventually kazillionaires. And I’m sure D. is just waiting to get his revenge on that hustler too, haha…. (seriously, wasn’t that the best thing you’ve ever seen on Twitter??)
My friend over at ESI Money (ESI = Earn. Save. Invest.) recently shared his own milestones and how long they took to cross, and the numbers are pretty mind blowing:
- $1 million net worth – 19 years, 3 months
- $2 million net worth – 4 years, 9 months
- $3 million net worth – 2 years, 8 months
- $4 million net worth – Not there yet and likely won’t get there since I just retired.
We’ll never know how long it’ll take him to reach a billion now (thanks a lot, bud!), but as you can see, the first push is incredibly harder than the rest. 19 years down to just over 2 to accrue the exact same amount of money – pretty ridiculous.
And I’m sure if you were to track your own progress, you’d see something similar.
I joked with ESI that I was going to steal his idea and tweak it to $100,000’s since I’m not as baller as he is yet, so here it is as promised:
(PS: I assumed that ESI started the clock around the same time he got his first “real” job because he mentions “salary”, so that’s what I did here too. Only I went back to my first hourly job after college (Old Navy, summer of 2001!) since it took me a number of years to actually get my first salaried one… You can find a complete list of every job I’ve ever done btw, including this very blog, here.)
- $100,000 net worth: 7 years, 11 months
- $200,000 net worth: 1 year, 5 months
- $300,000 net worth: 1 year, 2 months
- $400,000 net worth: 1 year, 8 months
- $500,000 net worth: 2 years, 7 months
- $600,000 net worth: probably over the next 2 years?
As you can see, it took me way longer to hit my first $100,000 than all others. And while I started regressing with the last few $100 G’s (the point kids entered my life and I slowed down The Hustle), it hasn’t required any real additional effort or strategizing on my behalf. I just feed the machine and it does the rest.
The majority of everything you need to do happens between reaching your first epiphany and hitting that first $100,000. You’ll still learn and tweak as you go – and maybe even switch strategies in the process – but once you’ve got your mind right it’s all a matter of pouring in the fuel and letting time (and sometimes luck) take over from there.
Is reaching your first $1,000,000 or even $1,000,000,000 hard? Of course. But if you ask me, getting to your first $100,000 is by far the most important.
If you’re currently there, congratulations! You figured out how to beat 75% of your countrymen! (Total guess there, but probably accurate?) If you haven’t, don’t stress – you’re well on your way, as I don’t know many people who would spend their free time devouring finance blogs and then doing nothing about it :) It all takes time, but once you hit that first $100 grand it’s much smoother sailing.
If anyone would like to divulge how long it took them to hit $100,000 (or even $1,000,000? Where my millionaires at?) we’d love to hear about it. Or better yet, all those who crossed the debt-freedom line and are now into the positives!
Remember – at the end of the day, it’s all simply a process. And it first starts with caring enough to actually DO SOMETHING about it.
You got this, thousandaires!
Anyone remember that Thousandaire badge from back in the day? Punch Debt In The Face had a good ol’ time riffing off my Millionaire Club idea which I admit was pretty clever :) And now, 6 years later, I’m realizing just how empowering focusing on those first few thousands are, compared to reaching for the stars. So wherever you are buddy, this is for you! (He’s since sold the blog which was a favorite…)