Millionaire by 30

By Slow Dad - October 10, 2016

My second grade teacher once asked the class what they wanted to be when they grew up. I said a millionaire. I reached that first million aged 29.

This is the story of why I became a millionaire by the age of thirty.

My second grade teacher once asked the class what they wanted to be when they grew up. For the most part the answers were as you would expect from a bunch of seven year olds, plenty of astronauts, firefighters, princesses, and professional footballers. One kid even wanted to be a mortician!

When it was my turn I took a deep breath and announced “Millionaire”.

For a couple of seconds there was stunned silence. Then laughter. Followed by the inevitable heckling.

Eventually the teacher regained control of the class.

“Being a millionaire a job! It isn’t something a person does. It is something a very few extremely lucky people are” she sneered.

“I know being a millionaire isn’t a job” I replied. “That is precisely why I am going to become one.”

The teacher erupted. I spent lunch hours for the remainder of the week in detention for being a smart ass

That evening I recounted the day’s events to my parents while asking them to sign my detention slip. I always suspected detention slips were a teacher’s way of getting their own back at a kid, knowing they would get in trouble again at home for something they already been punished for at school. Sure enough my father grinned at my wit, acknowledged the question hadn’t been well phrased, then belted me for talking back to the teacher.

Everybody loves Gordon Gecko

A few years later I saw the movie “Wall Street”, and realised that I wanted to be Gordon Gekko. Not because I wanted to win at all costs, or loved the thrill of the chase, or even had any real desire to be ridiculously wealthy.

I wanted to be Gordon Gekko
Gordon Gekko from the movie Wall Street
The scene that spoke to me showed Gekko in the middle of a working day having a late breakfast with his family, and then racing dune buggies along the beach with his friends. To me that scene symbolised Gekko as having made it. He was free to choose how he spent his time, and still young enough to enjoy it.

It pained me to admit that my teacher had been partially correct. Being rich is an enabler, not a goal. However I was determined to prove that it wasn’t just the very lucky who could enjoy the benefits.

Being rich is an enabler, not a goal.

Armed with a clear idea of what I wanted, I set out to make it happen.

At the time I had two posters decorating my bedroom. The first kept me focussed, displaying the mocking caption “My first million”. The second kept me humble, reminded me to “always look on the bright side of life”.

My first million.Always look on the bright side of life.
My first millionAlways look on the bright side of life.

It was an interesting journey, not nearly as difficult as I feared it would be.

Along the way I started working aged 10, stock investing aged 18, and property investing aged 24. I entered full time employment aged 20, went freelancing aged 21, and founded my own business aged 27.

I reached the first million aged 29.

Of course by then a million no longer bought what it once did, so the journey continues.

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  1. Well that was a bit of teaser... Hopefully there will be more details to come on how you did it in future posts? :)

  2. Congratulations on your many successes, surly guy! When I was 30, my net worth was right around zero. I've made up for lost time over the last decade, but a million by 30 is impressive. Is that in pounds or dollars?


  3. Thanks PoF. It was in Australian dollars, which was the currency I thought in back when I set the original goal.

    It took about two years longer to pass the million pound mark, by then the snowball had started to roll down hill. While the original milestone felt like the stuff of fireworks and ticker tape parades, I must confess by the second milestone passed by largely unnoticed. By then I'd put in place the approach and systems that quietly ticked over in the background, which gave it a strange feeling of inevitability.