A very inspiring story this week! This young couple just crossed the million-dollar mark. Congrats.
What type of employment do you have and what does your comp plan look like? Any side income?
I'm a database administrator for one of the universities here in town. This is my safety net and plan A for my children's higher education. Employees and their children get significant discounts which we hope to take advantage of in the future. I also build apps and websites on the side and my wife does hair and piano out of our home. I'm salary at 120K with a 403-B w/3% match and Cigna insurance with a $1000 HSA contribution. My side income varies year to year but probably averages 20K or so. My wife has build a nice piano clientele with roughly 20 students at all times. She also does hair. Both services are done out of our home which saves us tons of money in rent and daycare. We pay a few of the neighborhood girls to help babysit on my wife's busy days. We estimate she makes 40-50K depending on the year.
When did you cross the million dollar mark and how did that happen?
We crossed the million-dollar mark over the past 12 months. My wife and I both come from great families that taught us the blessings of frugality and minimalism. We pay cash for our cars and drive them 10+ years, save and invest over 40% of our income and work very hard. (my wife especially) We've talked about her scaling back but she has waiting lists because of how good she is. Two incomes for 12+ years have been the biggest difference-maker. We also have never had any debt besides our mortgage. My parents helped me with college and I didn't take out any student loans. I'm very conflicted with student loans and my current employment arrangement. Probably best I do not elaborate further on that point.
What was the single best thing you have done with your investments?
I think the best thing we have done is not get sucked into the hyper-consumption movement that is so common here in Utah. We enjoy hiking, camping and other outdoor activities that don't cost a ton of money. We enjoy cooking at home and try to eat very healthy. (Vegan) In short, living frugally and saving a good chunk of our money seems to be working. At this pace, we should have several million dollars when we hang things up. I have maxed out my 403B and HSA for many years now. Having my kids attend college where I work should save us several hundred thousand dollars as well.
Where do you have your money invested and what are your debts? (account balances) Whats next?
High yield savings account- 200K
Home- Zillow says our home is worth 550K. Our mortgage balance is 309K. 241K in Equity
Betterment account- 280K
What is the biggest pitfall or mistake you have made with your money?
After reading each of the millionaires interviewed on utahmillionaire.com, it appears that real estate is the missing piece. I have been saving up cash to do something within the next few years. I also may need to consider raising my prices for website design work.
What are the primary tax strategies you follow?
We max out our HSA and 401K and use the TurboTax software to identify all the appropriate deductions. Much of my wife’s income is not reported which I am slightly embarrassed to admit.
Do you follow a budget and how's that going?
Absolutely. We track our income and expenses using mint.com. I'm very organized with our bills and use a debit, credit, and venmo account to track expenses. My wife always has cash with her business and probably keeps a little to take care of herself. I learned not to ask and take the deposits that come. :)
What steps have you taken to protect your money? (estate planning, trusts etc)
Nothing yet. Our kids are young and from the question, it looks like I need an estate or trust someday. I need to look into this soon.
Do you use a financial planner or software to track your assets?
No. I use betterment which automatically invests our deposits according to our risk profile assessment. Betterment pulls cash automatically from our checking and I review the performance quarterly. I don't think we will ever make enough to require a financial advisor.
What's your best money advice for someone who is just starting out?
I would work with a college counselor to determine what fields are in highest demand. This will help you understand what fields are growing and what you can expect to make. I recommend you live frugal mostly so you can have peace. I have seen way too many people live way outside of their means and have nothing saved up for retirement. Work hard, always ask for more projects, move companies if need be and always have a side income. My wife and I make an extra 50K+ each year through these side projects.
If you could do it all over, what would you do different?
Not much. I'm very happy with my life and money is not what motivates me. I enjoy time with my family, peace from almost no debt and the abundance of fun things to do here in Utah. I have chosen to be happy and honestly don't even consider myself a millionaire right now.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I'm up around 7 am and usually read, watch the new, help with breakfast and head to work around 7:45 or 8 am. I work till 5 and then drive the 5 minutes home. (love the east bench) We take turns cooking dinner, love walks, parks, drives and watching our favorite shows. My wife sometimes has clients until 6 or 7 which gives me some good kid time.
Any advice on life you can share? (school, career, family, personal development)
Get as many college credits in high school as possible. Consider a community college and transfer to a bigger college for your last few years. Try to do something you love, be a good husband, father, neighbor, friend, citizen. Travel as much as you can. There is a big world outside of Utah. Take advantage of all the free training at work. I'm going to take a few more classes where I work now that I am reading all these millionaire stories. I'm hoping I can update this profile as we cross the 2 million dollar mark? (please)
Any books you would recommend on money?
I promise to do better in 2020.
Do you have a retirement goal? What are your plans? Concerns?
My only plans are to have enough money to never live with my parents, in-laws or a nursing home. We would buy a single-story home, modify it to meet our needs in older adulthood and spend our money traveling. No concerns.
Favorite restaurants in Utah?
I never eat at chain restaurants and try to experience a new hole in the wall cafe monthly. We eat really healthy so it's not often.
Favorite golf courses in Utah?
I tried this once and it was not pretty
Favorite ski resort?
I'm getting up there in age but the Canyons/park city resorts are my favorites. I do enjoy these resorts more in the summer trail running.
Where is your favorite Utah vacation destination? Outside of Utah destination?
Moab for sure. We like to camp down there before it gets too hot. Outside of Utah, we love Colorado, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. We try to vacation twice a year. (road trips)
Favorite things to do in Utah?
We live in the mountains. Hiking, biking, concerts, walks, climbing, floating, snowshoeing and fitness. We also love that both our families are close enough to visit but far enough to let us live. :) Thank you for the opportunity and inspiration.