I was scrolling through the WordPress reader and saw this Daily Prompt. The topic – Millions – caught my eye, so I wanted to do a quick post.
When I see the word millions, I always think of money. Back when I was a college student working full time while going to school full time, I used to read personal finance books. In fact, for my public speaking course I actually gave my final speech on saving and investing. (Two interesting notes from that speech – (1) my teacher told me that’s the last time I should give that speech for free, and (2) a fellow classmate came up to me afterward and told me I’d convinced him to start investing. It was awesome). Back then, making $22k a year in a call center, I would read things like The Millionaire Next Door and The Millionaire Mind, dreaming of one day, many years from that point, I could use saving and investing to make myself a millionaire.
You see I’ve always strived for financial independence – the freedom to have enough money where working is an option. Or you can scale back on work and spend more time on hobbies. You can have the freedom to take a less demanding job, or take more risks in your current job because being fired wouldn’t be a big issue. You can send your kids to college without worrying about paying the bills, and you can use your money and your freedom to give back to causes you’re passionate about.
So when I think of millions, I don’t think of fancy lifestyles or flashy cars. I think of the millionaires in The Millionaire Next Door. They were ordinary people who, through saving and investing, small business ownership, or other endeavors, lived ordinary middle class lives while being closet millionaires. Most people would never know they had over a million dollars because they wear ordinary clothes, drive nice but ordinary cars, have plain watches, and don’t go on fancy vacations. Over a long period of time they were diligent about saving and investing, both in financial instruments as well as in themselves and their businesses. They were hard workers who had what some would consider to be “not glamorous” jobs, like purveyor of dirt or a recycler. But they outearned, outsaved, and ended up wealthier than their peers.
That’s what I strive to be, even now twelve years after that speech. I’ve been investing through two recessions (the tech crash and the Great Recession), consistently, every single paycheck. I live well below my means to leave lots of cushion to both save and to have a low cost of living. I strive to be completely debt free (including the mortgage) in the next few years, to lower my living expenses even more. And those years and years of savings and investments sits, quietly compounding, just waiting for its moment to become millions.