Millionaire Interview 9. I have started a series called Millionaire Interviews. There is no better way to learn how to build wealth than from those who have already done so. Along those lines, I ask millionaire bloggers or even millionaires who are not bloggers a series of 11 questions that they answer. The questions are highlighted in bold and the answers are below each question. Hopefully, the answers are enlightening and will help you on your journey to build wealth and attain the $1,000,000 mark and beyond.
The millionaires in the Millionaire Interview series became millionaires at a younger age than the Secret Dividend Millionaires. This comes down to mostly having higher incomes. Second, they are not very frugal to the point of austerity as some of the Secret Dividend Millionaires but certainly save more than they earn and save more than the average person. Lastly, most have multiple sources of income.
Before we start with Millionaire Interview 9, if you are a millionaire blogger or even a millionaire who doesn’t blog and want to be a part of this series, just send me an e-mail or message me on Twitter.
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Millionaire Interview 9 – Million Dollar Journey
Millionaire interview 9 is with the anonymous author of the Million Dollar Journey blog who goes by “FT”. He lives in Newfoundland, Canada and is an engineer by profession. He blogs about saving money, building an investment portfolio, and reaching financial independence. He reached the $1 million mark at the age of 35 by investing in Canadian dividend growth stocks. His current net worth is about $1.7 CAD million including his primary house and a rental property and about $1.2 million not including his personal house and emergency fund. Now let’s take a look at Millionaire Interview 9.
- Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hi, I go by “FT” and I’m in my early 40s. I come from a small town in Newfoundland, Canada. I prefer to remain anonymous on Million Dollar Journey so that I can be more open and honest with my specific financial situation.
I have two children and am an engineer. I enjoy the simple things in life!
- What is your net worth? At what age did you become a millionaire? How many years did it take to become a millionaire? Do you have any debt?
My net worth is conservatively about $1.7 CAD million. That would be broken down as approximately $1.2 CAD million in stocks/equity ETFs, and the rest in my personal house and an emergency fund.
I am almost completely debt free, but I have not emphasized paying down my mortgage given the current low interest rates. I expected to be mortgage-free within five years.
I became a millionaire at age 35, so I guess you could say it took me 35 years. I first started investing as a 19-year-old.
My basic thoughts on debt are that it needs to be understood from a mathematical perspective in order to make the most logical decisions. So many people make emotion-based decisions when it comes to debt, and it often leads to less-than-optimal outcomes.
- How did you become a millionaire?
I became a millionaire chiefly through investing in Canadian dividend growth stocks. I also use more broad-based equity ETFs to give my portfolio some instant diversity.
My asset classes were chosen based on reading more than 100 personal finance & investing books. I also love the taxation benefits and “moat” characteristics of Canadian dividend growth stocks.
I’ve always made solid middle- to upper-middle-class wages as an engineer. One of the keys to quickly building my investment portfolio was my ability to earn these solid wages while living in a relatively low-cost part of Canada!
- What is your investing philosophy, and do you use a particular strategy?
My investment philosophy basically boils down to embracing buy-and-hold investing through both a growing dividend stream and a diversified portfolio. I probably have a little more love for dividends than the raw math dictates I should – but I simply love the idea of a growing passive stream of income. I believe that love has motivated me to save and invest more than I otherwise would have, so I rationalize it that way.
If I were starting again, I think I would actually have spent a little more along the way! I know that’s a weird answer, but in hindsight, I’ve enjoyed some very good years on investment returns. At the time you obviously don’t know what future returns would be, but in a perfect world I would have treated myself and my family a bit more over the last 10 – 15 years knowing that there was a pretty low opportunity cost involved.
Oh – and I would have bought more Tesla (TSLA) and Amazon (AMZN) stock! 😉
- What was your best investment? What was your worst investment?
My worst investment decision was starting a leverage strategy known as the Smith Manoeuvre right before we hit market turbulence in 2008. That said, the Canadian dividend stocks that I chose weathered the storm well, and of course have provided us with some substantial returns since that point.
My best investment has been Canadian bank stocks. They are just so solid and steady, that I’ve never worried about them the entire time that I’ve been an investor. They are so rock solid and have not experienced some of the up-and-down dividend behaviour of their American cousins.
- How much time per day or week do you spend reading financial news and going over your investments?
I probably spend about 2 – 3 hours per week reading financial news – but the vast majority of that is just leisure reading for curiosity purposes. Almost more of a hobby.
I do make use of an accountant each year, not because I couldn’t do my own taxes – but simply because the opportunity cost to my time would be so high. I can get expert help for a reasonable price, so I’d be crazy to pass up the great value there.
- What habits helped you become a millionaire?
I think the main habit has simply been to understand how much I personally would value financial independence for both myself and my family. Having that “guiding star” really allowed me to focus on what was most important and ignore the rest of the noise. I tend to be pretty loose on monthly or weekly budgets, and instead have simply put in place solid processes and decision-making tools that I trust to give me a pretty darn good outcome at the end of the day.
No doubt this was all made easier by a whole lot of luck. I got to grow up and work in a great country. I enjoy working in a field that is well compensated AND I enjoy living in an area that is quite affordable.
My most expensive splurge is definitely family holidays – and I don’t want to cut one penny off of those spending decisions!
- What are your three favorite books related to investing, personal finance, retirement, and financial freedom?
The Wealthy Barber, One Up On Wall Street, and The Millionaire Teacher.
- Why do you blog about your investing and journey to millionaire status and financial freedom?
Million Dollar Journey is simply my way of holding myself accountable, making a little side cash, and most of all trying to make wealth-building a little more accessible to the average Canadian. I truly believe that if many Canadians understood that they could live a much easier life with a few tweaks here and there, they would make much different choices.
- Besides investing what else do you like to do?
I’m a pretty simple guy really. I enjoy going for a run, hanging out with my family, and reading (both fiction and non-fiction). From talking to other young families, I think hobbies are a luxury that many of us feel we will get back to as the kids get a bit older and independent (or we reach semi-retirement levels of financial independence and no longer work 40 hours per week).
- Anything else you would like to add?
Final Thoughts on Millionaire Interview 9
I hope you enjoyed reading about “FT” who blogs at Million Dollar Journey in Millionaire Interview 9. Check out his blog when you get a chance. His blog is really focused on building wealth and attaining financial independence using dividend growth investing. His story shows that by saving, building an investment portfolio in dividend growth stocks and ETFs you can make it to millionaire status. FT from Million Dollar Journey has shown that it is possible to reach $1 million by age 35 and go further from there.
In an earlier article I identified the three principles of dividend millionaires: spend less than you earn, invest your savings, and reinvest the dividends. Your odds of becoming a millionaire are about 3.6% in the U.S. Achieving FIRE is a process. But I would argue that through careful planning, high saving rates, and investing you can improve your odds. FT from Million Dollar Journey has showed us it is possible at a fairly young age of 35 in Millionaire Interview 9. Recall, in the U.S., the average net worth is about $728k in 2016 dollars for those between 35 and 44 years old. I have written previously on net worth targets by age.
As a final note, I have another series called Secret Dividend Millionaires. This one is about ordinary people who became millionaires by investing in dividend paying stocks for the most part. Most of these people were only discovered after they died and left their money to charities and other non-profit organizations. Often, they became millionaires through very frugal if not austere living, investing their savings in stocks that paid dividends, and reinvesting the dividends.
Thanks for reading Millionaire Interview 9 – Million Dollar Journey!
You can read Millionaire Interview 8 – Wolf Report as well.
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Prakash Kolli is the founder of the Dividend Power site. He is a self-taught investor, analyst, and writer on dividend growth stocks and financial independence. His writings can be found on Seeking Alpha, InvestorPlace, Business Insider, Nasdaq, TalkMarkets, ValueWalk, The Money Show, Forbes, Yahoo Finance, and leading financial sites. In addition, he is part of the Portfolio Insight and Sure Dividend teams. He was recently in the top 1.0% and 100 (73 out of over 13,450) financial bloggers, as tracked by TipRanks (an independent analyst tracking site) for his articles on Seeking Alpha.