Millionaire Interview 15. 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 15, 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 15 – LiveFrugaLee
Millionaire interview 15 is with Daniel Lee of the LiveFrugaLee blog. He is originally from Cranston, Rhode Island, but now lives north of Northern Virginia. He 36 years old and is married with two kids. He is now a part-time patent examiner and a full-time real estate agent. He reached the $1 million mark at age 35. His current net worth is approximately $1.3 million. Now let’s take a look at Millionaire Interview 15.
- Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Danny Lee, and I am 36 years old. I was born and raised in Rhode Island but moved to northern Virginia in 2008. I am married and have 2 kids. I have a degree in chemical engineering from Brown. I am currently a patent examiner and a realtor.
- 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?
Our net worth is probably around $1.3M. About $750k – $800k is in a paid-off primary residence SFH. We have about $400k – $500k in the stock market, mostly in retirement funds. We have some additional money in business accounts, Series I savings bonds, general savings, and a tiny bit in crypto. We don’t have any debt as we just paid off our mortgage. I became a millionaire at 35. It took about 12 – 13 years to become a millionaire once I started. I think debt can be useful, but it can also be risky. I try to avoid it when I can, but I think it’s usually necessary when buying real estate.
- How did you become a millionaire?
I became a millionaire mostly through owning real estate, working as a realtor, and working as a patent examiner. I’ve owned real estate since 2009 and bought and sold many properties. My first job out of college paid about $55k. When I reached the $1M mark, I was making about $140k – $150k at my government job and grossing about $150k – $200k as a realtor. I have at least 2 sources of income right now. Now, I’m working my government job part-time and spending a lot more time working as a realtor.
- What is your investing philosophy, and do you use a particular strategy?
My investing philosophy now is to buy and hold. I took a lot more risk and fooled around with options and day/swing trading earlier, but that didn’t really work out. If I could do it again, I think I would have just kept my strategy super simple.
- What was your best investment? What was your worst investment?
My best investment has been real estate. I bought a SFH in 2021 for $532k and sold it 16 months later for $661k. My worst investment was probably being too late on SPY puts as the market rebounded early on in the pandemic. I got a little caught up in wallstreetbets. Luckily, I didn’t fool around with a lot there.
- How much time per day or week do you spend reading financial news and going over your investments?
I spend about an hour or two per week reading financial news and going over investments. I am talking to a CPA today about my real estate business. I went through a financial planning program at UVA to learn how to manage my finances better.
- What habits helped you become a millionaire?
I was frugal early on, but I’m not so frugal anymore (got married and had kids). What helped me become a millionaire was using some of my free time to add another stream of income. I got into real estate and stuck with it. It was a hobby for 5 – 6 years, but I became a very active realtor in 2020. I don’t mind spending money on travel experiences and anything for my kids. My most expensive splurge was taking my family (wife and kids) and my parents to Hawaii in 2020.
- What are your three favorite books related to investing, personal finance, retirement, and financial freedom?
The Total Money Makeover got me started in personal finance.
Atomic Habits helped me realize that small habits over a long period of time make huge differences.
The Go-Giver was a great book on business and life.
- Why do you blog about your investing and journey to millionaire status and financial freedom?
My blog started as a journey to financial independence. I had a specific goal of becoming a millionaire by 2020. I was a year off. I wanted to share my journey to show that things like this don’t happen overnight. It took me over 5 years. I also added a real estate tab and write about real estate to educate potential clients and other readers.
- Besides investing what else do you like to do?
I like to be outdoors and play sports. I’ve run many marathons and ultramarathons. I play tennis, table tennis, softball, and many other sports. I coach my son’s little league baseball team.
- Anything else you would like to add?
I think one thing that has really helped me in this journey has been a lesson I learned in Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. He says that if you don’t know how to give, you’ll never really have financial peace. I 100% agree with him on this. Being a giver has always been an important part of how I manage my finances and now my business. Making giving a priority in our budget has helped us manage the rest of our finances better.
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Final Thoughts on Millionaire Interview 15
I hope you enjoyed reading about Danny Lee who blogs at LiveFrugaLee in Millionaire Interview 15.
Check out his blog when you get a chance. He writes about personal finance, financial independence, and real estate.
Danny Lee of LiveFrugaLee has shown that it is possible to reach $1 million by your mid-30s by living below your means, saving, and investing mainly in real estate.
In an earlier article we 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 US. Achieving FIRE is a process. However, I would argue that through careful planning, high saving rates, and investing you can improve your odds.
Danny Lee of LveFrugaLee showed us it is possible in your mid-30s in Millionaire Interview 15. Recall, in the US, the average net worth is about $728k in 2016 dollars for those between 35 and 44 years old. We have written previously on net worth targets by age.
As a final note, Dividend Power has 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 15 – LiveFrugaLee!
You can read Millionaire Interview 14 – Mr. Hobo Millionaire 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.