“I crossed $1M in 2016, and then $2M in 2019!”


Here’s a snapshot of someone’s money who recently emailed me, along with some pretty graphs and spreadsheets to gawk over ;) Been a while since we featured one of these, and always fun to peer into someone else’s $$$! Especially when we’re talking at levels like this!

The first part here is all about the numbers, and the 2nd part is the *how* of it all – after I did a little prying… Always gotta keep your eyes open for those opportunities! They can make all the difference in the world!

From “Steve”:

Hey Man –

Just wanted to drop you a line and say thanks for the motivation over the years. I’ve been a long time reader but have not made many comments on your site. I’ve been tracking my net worth in January of 2009 when it was a whopping $24,264.43. Considering I had just graduated college with my undergrad, a positive net worth wasn’t too bad looking back on it now.

Fast forward to today, me and my wife are currently sitting at just over of $2M. Peaked in December at $2,121,656 and then dropped back down to $1,987,146 in February with it hovering right around the $2,014,00 mark now. It’s been a great journey so far and we are excited to see where it takes us. We are both currently 34.

Confession time –

I’m a *SUPER* competitive person and must finally admit to you what my net worth spreadsheet looks like. Yes, that is your net worth chart sitting beneath mine!

Every month I would update my chart and grab your updated chart from the website. Kept me motivated over the years! Glad to see you finally hit $1M. I had no doubt that you would do it.

2 million dollar net worth [Click to blow up]


Pretty similar graphs indeed! Only with one of us having a *wee* bit more than the other ;)

Asked him how he was able to turbocharge it so much, and here’s what he said:

The biggest benefit to reaching $2M (still weird to type that) was finding a good job right out of college. I kind of lucked into to it to be honest. I graduated with my undergrad and enrolled in the MBA program and found this job as a “filler” until I graduated. Been there 10 years now.

In the beginning, I didn’t make much. Started out at $10/hr and about 6 months later moved into a management role at $32,000 base salary with bonus potential. The bonus programs were lucrative – sometime more than your overall salary. Over the years salary climbed up to $80,000 with a bonus potential of another $80K.

The company also had a private share program. It wasn’t a traditional ESOP but something very similar to where you owned a portion of the company. This program was only available to management or higher when i started with the company. Anyways, this program grew like crazy over the years. One year it grew over 35%!!!! There were no “stock options”, match etc. You had to put your own money in the program and your max number of shares was determined by your position within the company.

I was bound and determined to max this program out because of how lucrative it was. I took every bonus check and threw it towards this program. I pasted a screenshot of my spreadsheet below. I blurred out some details of the program because I’ve recommended your site to co-workers and don’t want them to piece it together that its my chart haha.

Anyways – it was really buckling down and taking all excess money and throwing it in this program. The program has since ended :( But I was able to gain over $800,000 in this program when it was all said and done. During this time I was also taking advantage of company 401K by getting the full match as well as maxing out me and my wife’s ROTH IRA. I took a bunch of risk by putting so much into my employer “stock” but it paid off for me in the end. My wife and I averaged around a 40-50% savings rate.

You’ll notice in 2013 I put in over $100K into this program — that was from a personal, unsecured loan. But I didn’t mind paying almost 9% interest when I was making over 30%. At that time I maxed out the number of shares that I could own so the bonus checks went into paying off the loan.

Anyways – wanted to let you know you’ve impacted more lives than you probably realize over the years. Cheers to your success and positive impact on this world!

private share program[Click to blow up]

Pretty impressive, right?! And absolutely LOVE that he just ran with that company stock program when he realized how lucrative it was. The company could have gone under and he would have lost it all, but I’m sure he was closely monitoring it and would have changed course had he seen any inkling of it.

Reminds me a lot of when I maxed out my 401(k) plan when I heard our company was going to match 100% of 100% of my contributions! All the way up to the legal limit! I jacked up my contributions as high as they’d let me, and then for the next 2-3 months I lived off $60-something paychecks every two weeks until I hit the maximum of $16,500 or whatever it was at the time. Essentially DOUBLING my investments on the spot. (It was also fully vested!)

Similar to Steve’s deal our company eventually discontinued this, but for a few years there we milked it for as much as we could! And now 10+ years later it continues to pay dividends – quite literally!

All this to say that if you come across an amazing opportunity, do your best to take full advantage of it for however long you can… You might have to get a bit ballsy and out of your comfort zone for a while (for Steve it was a personal loan, and for me it was living off peanuts for awhile) but it really is amazing what it can do to your overall wealth when you push yourself like that. And usually everything goes back to normal soon anyways, so you have plenty of time to recollect yourself and take a breather ;)

If anyone else would like to share their journey and numbers with us, pass it on over and we might feature you here next!

Congrats on all your success, Steve + Wife! Way to crush it!

For more articles featuring other peoples’ money, click here.

And then here’s another on ESPPs which is similar to Steve’s deal there –> The Reality of Employee Stock Participation Plans

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  1. SWFL Financial Coaching March 9, 2020 at 6:33 AM

    I am glad it worked out for him, but taking out a loan to invest is risky. Let alone 9%! I remember working with a person back in late 1999 who mortgaged his house to buy his company’s stock. When the dotcom bubble burst, he lost everything, including his once paid for house.

    It is impressive that his wealth doubled in about 3.5 years! I also like how he started with a regular income and worked his way up and saved a bunch.

    1. J. Money March 9, 2020 at 6:39 AM

      And he’s only in his early 30s too! Both him and his wife!

      That sucks about your colleague :( Def. good to have some barriers and know your risk tolerance… No way I’d have the balls to take it that far even if it was a sure bet!

  2. Kate March 9, 2020 at 7:08 AM

    What a nice positive way to start the week! I just got my bonus paid and am *this close* to hitting the $1m mark! I’ll hit it next regular payday at the end of them month. Then it will drop down when I get my bathroom renovation done (been saving an planning for ages and am super excited!) but for a few months I’ll be in the club too!

    1. J. Money March 9, 2020 at 9:28 AM

      Nice!! You’ll have to let us know if it makes you feel any different or not :)

  3. Kate March 9, 2020 at 1:02 PM

    Inspired by this post I called my pension company and got an update on my account and that pushed me over! Hurrah! And yes, I do feel a bit different. Not planning on changing any spending habits or making any lifestyle changes… But I feel really happy to have hit a personal goal!

    1. J. Money March 10, 2020 at 7:28 AM

      It’s a helluva one to reach – major props!

  4. David Folts March 9, 2020 at 5:47 PM

    Way to go: The power of focus, self discipline and hustle.

  5. Adam March 9, 2020 at 7:48 PM

    Wow, that’s awesome for both of you! I have to admit that some of it goes against the grain when compared to some of the standard advice I normally hear, but looks like the risk was worth the reward in this case. With today’s market changes it makes me wonder how things turned out or if the drop caused a lot of stress. Who knows, maybe he’s well diversified now. What do you do on days like today when the market tanks?

    1. J. Money March 10, 2020 at 7:35 AM

      I dump any extra cash I have back into it and then go for a nice long walk :)

      Though it does still freak me out from time to time, like with yesterday’s huge drop… Hard not to pause for a sec when it’s down 2,000 in ONE DAY!