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Yeah, I know what you’re thinking.
ANOTHER clickbait article?
I’d have to say unashamedly, yes.
Please bear with me though, because this post is in response to a question I received recently from a dear reader, Rennie, who asks:
Interesting blog. I am most intrigued by this statement in your ‘About Me’ section:
“Recently, I achieved a goal I set early on of $1m in net assets before 30.”
This is really remarkable, and truly newsworthy on its own. But I couldn’t find much further about it in your posts. I think you would have many more interested readers if you made a post which told us how you got there.
-Whether you went to university, if so what degree you did.
– How old you were when you started full time work and, roughly, how much you earned each year and what you did with that money e.g. how much invested, how much saved being frugal?
– Did you work for an employer or run a business?
-What key investments you made? e.g. property in Sydney? shares in specific companies?
– Whether you got any help from parents or other family?
– How much you borrowed, at what rates and whether you needed a guarantor.
– I think it would be really fascinating if you told us more about your achievement so we could see if it was achievable for us. Because when I read that sentence about 1M net worth by age 30, the first thought was whether I could do what you did!
Thank you for the comment Rennie, and for calling me out for not posting on it earlier!
To be honest, the reason I haven’t is that I’ve always been a bit embarrased talking about my “achievements”, or accepting praise, or even acknowledging “good” work.
I do better with criticism, constructive or otherwise. There’s always something better that can be done.
But of course, sooner or later I had to share how I got to where I am…so here goes…
But First, Some Background
Firstly, a mini-disclaimer of sorts.
I was extremely fortunate to have grown up in a country (Australia) with a lot of freedom and opportunities afforded to a first generation immigrant boy, who aspired to bridge financial classes.
By that I mean, we have free primary and secondary schooling, free basic healthcare, clean and safe environments to live and grow in, as well as a social safety net in the form of welfare payments for those down on their luck.
I was also fortunate to have grown up in a close and loving household with two parents who treated me as an equal, to this day.
So it’s important to acknowledge these factors as circumstances which have played a big part with any financial achievement.
Although the rest of course, is mostly up to the individual…
I’ll skip my childhood years and fast forward to school…
HEY! I actually didn’t do too bad at school… primary school that is.
Which earnt me a place in one of those “selective” high schools – selective in the sense of the academically gifted, not because we were special cases society had to keep an eye on.
Unfortunately, as the years wore on in high school… I simply could not compete academically with my smarter, better hard-wired and more aesthetically pleasing peers.
All that arithmetic and integers and calculating triangles via old Greek guys meant I couldn’t keep up in Mathematics.
Never mind stuff about imaginary numbers and sin and cos and tan.
Mind you, years later I found sin alright, but that’s another story.
Same with Science – I wasn’t very good at dissecting plant species with scapels or separating mixtures using a Bunsen Burner.
Or knowing that Sodium Chloride is 2 Na (s) + Cl 2 (g) → 2 NaCl (s) 2, and remembering Niels Bohr remarking “Electrons should move around the nucleus but only in prescribed orbits”.
Yeah, good for you Niels ya NERD.
Although I did find some element of joy with English – specifically using words and grammar to construct sentences in a coherent and often times witty nature.
I would argue that the English subjects were my favourite and maintain that my marks would have been higher, if only the markers could read my handwriting… however we now live in the digital age, and I am blessed.
And so it came, despite a relatively poor showing in the final school exams, punctuated by my aforementioned weak grasp of Maths and Science, and the unfortunate predicament of no one understanding my handwriting – I scrapped into a Bachelor of Commerce degree at Australian National University.
I had an uproariously good time there.
Academically though… I would be considered “average”.
I dunno, I mean ever since high school – I felt more and more disconnected with the textbooks and what they were trying to teach me.
I felt I had a basic understanding of the concepts, but all the advanced theory, I was either too dumb, too impatient or too bored (probably all 3) to learn.
To be fair, I think I am mostly right in saying that your marks at school and university does have an impact on where your life trajectory goes. However the bigger influences are your networks, work ethic and of course, luck.
Looking back, your academic achievements whether high or low, doesn’t necessarily determine success or failure in life. And certainly does not have an out-sized role in your financial well-being.
Maybe these words resonate with some of you reading this – but I’ve always learnt best by doing, and especially from the school of hard knocks.
Which is where work and career comes in.
And boy, what a difference the real world makes.
This big (extends arms wide)
But you’ll have to find out in part 2 what that means.
That, and my investing journey and much, much more!
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P.S. Just a friendly reminder that this is not financial advice guys. It’s just the ramblings of a humble personal finance and development blogger in response to a dear Reader’s question, hope you’re enjoying the read!