In 2016, I took early retirement at age 35. At the time, I had saved $900,000 and within a few years was able to accumulate a net worth of $1 million.
An important factor in my success has not been the advice I have received, but the advice I have ignored. I built wealth the old-fashioned way – working hard at a regular 9-to-5 job and making strategic financial moves that a lot of people might disagree with.
Here are seven unpopular opinions that helped me retire early as a millionaire:
If you don’t change jobs regularly, you’re leaving money on the table. Taking a new position at another company is one of the best ways to get a substantial raise.
I’ve changed jobs five times in my 14 year career and got a 15-20% raise each time. It increased my salary well beyond the rate of inflation.
Employers will do whatever is in their best interests, and employees should do the same.
A report 2022 from research firm Ramsey Solutions found that 74% of millennials think millionaires inherited their money, and more than half of baby boomers think the same.
But many of the millionaires I knew built their wealth on their own, and knowing that gave me greater financial motivation.
In fact, of the 10,000 millionaires surveyed by Ramsey Solutions, 79% received no inheritance. Instead, most got rich through “regular investing, avoiding debt, and spending smartly.”
Many of my friends married young, in their early to mid-twenties. And now, a big relationship stress point for many of them is money-related, such as opposing spending habits or a reluctance to have conversations about money.
I chose to wait until I found someone who shared the same financial values - and it was one of the best life decisions I’ve ever made.
Being on the same page about finances with a partner might not be a priority for most people, but it was for me. Today, I have a supportive spouse who is just as enthusiastic as I am about investing and living a frugal life.
You might think hustling will get you rich quicker, but it also means having less time to take care of your body. And no amount of money is worth neglecting your physical and mental health.
To grow your wealth, you don’t need to be always on the move, producing and working. Prioritizing things like sleep, exercise, and good nutrition gives you the flexibility to fuel up for the next day.
I have always put my health first, and as a result, I feel happier and much more energetic, productive and creative.
I come from a very low income family. My grandfather was a pastor and barely got by financially because he was not good with his money.
My dad adopted these same habits and spent most of his early years living paycheck to paycheck. Luckily, he recognized his father’s bad habits and changed his ways later in life.
He taught me the value of saving and investing and told me that credit card debt would ruin my financial stability, just like his father did. I learned that even without a six-figure salary, you can still get rich.
Although your degree may help put your foot in the right door, it is what you do. after your degree that makes the real difference.
I didn’t have a fancy degree in an Ivy League. I saved an emergency fund and invested at least 10% of my income in the beginning. Over the years, this has helped me create a comfortable retirement lifestyle.
My best advice is to look for cheaper options – perhaps paying in-state tuition at a school that offers a great program in what interests you. Then take advantage of the alumni network and placement opportunities from there.
Wealthy celebrities will often tell you that they have succeeded by following their passions. But it doesn’t work for everyone.
It’s easier for most of us to make a living from our strengths than from our passions. Our passions tend to be more creative, and it’s usually more difficult to earn a high salary in a creative field.
My hobby was photography, but I chose a career in software development because that was what I was good at. The salary difference between these two career paths is drastically different.
Now, as a pre-retiree, I can enjoy my passions and devote more time to them.
Steve Adcock is a financial expert who blogging on how to achieve financial independence. A former software developer, Steve took early retirement at the age of 35. Follow him on Twitter @SteveOnSpeed.