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LKidKyle1985's avatar

Are you financially successful? If so, how did you achieve it?

Asked by LKidKyle1985 (6540 points ) August 5th, 2012

Been wondering about people who “make it” financially. How they did it, if there are any patterns among you, and any other interesting information that might come out of this.

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22 Answers

Mr_Paradox's avatar

One word: Ph.D.

Bellatrix's avatar

Can you define what you mean by ‘financially successful’? For some people that might mean being extremely wealthy, for others it might mean being able to pay your bills every month.

chyna's avatar

For me, financially stable means not spending beyond my means. Don’t run up charge cards, don’t buy things you don’t need or can’t pay for with cash.

Coloma's avatar

2nd word: Entrepreneur.

However….there is no such thing as financial success in the long term. Money, like everything, is transient. It comes and goes. I have been on both sides of every fence there is, and you know what?

It’s all about really, REALLY, having a core sense of self that is not contingent on any outside circumstance. Being resilient, resourceful and having an optimistic and creative personality and being willing to reinvent yourself many times over. Remember that or when you suffer the inevitable losses your ego will crumble like a sugar cube under an elephants foot.

jerv's avatar

I am financially successful insofar as I am able to pay rent and eat regularly. That is better than I was doing, and better than a depressingly large percentage of Americans are doing right now.

@Mr_Paradox And how much debt did you take on to get that? Or did you have help?

@Coloma That is how I got where I am. If not for those qualities, I’d be in a cardboard box eating out of trash cans.

LKidKyle1985's avatar

I don’t want to be too restricting with the definition of “financially successful” but to me at a minimum it means, not living pay check to pay check, and at its ultimate, no longer needing to be a “wage slave” and if you stopped working tomorrow, your investments/money would be enough.

Coloma's avatar

@jerv Yep, me too, but, that cardboard box would be the envy of the homeless camp. lol

Symbeline's avatar

Well, based on your detailed criteria, I’m well off enough. At least I make the money I need for food and bills. If I mess up and loose my job, no real big deal, I can find another easy enough. Although like this current job, it won’t be anything major or career inducing. I also have a little money saved up I can fall on too, although it’s not a very big amount. I’d say for now, yeah I am.
I do got debts to pay though…or will, soon enough. Fortunately, I ain’t got fuckall the repo man can come and take, haha. I doubt I owe enough that this would even be considered though. Not that I don’t plan on paying these or anything. ­­

Bellatrix's avatar

Then I would be considered financially successful and thank you for providing this additional information. This is actually a very difficult question to answer.

I think I’m successful because along with acquiring a strong formal education, I also worked to acquire a range of experience to supplement that education. I wouldn’t have the job I have without the experience I acquired prior to and while continuing my education. I was always on the look out for ways to improve my experience and to make contacts and find mentors.

So, I think being strategic about your career, having goals and a clear sense of the direction you want to move in is important. Also being able to use your experience/education/common sense effectively. Seeing opportunity and not being afraid to take some ‘calculated’ risks. Making contacts and valuing the people around you. People can become financially successful with or without a formal education, but they have to have common sense, a sense of their own worth, to understand the value of strong allies and mentors and a willingness to try new things and to push themselves. I have always put myself out there in terms of my career. Finally, as @Coloma said things change. When one of those risks don’t pan out, you have to have the guts to get back up and start again.

I don’t think it’s wise to focus on the financial prize. If you focus on having a fulfilling and successful career, the financial rewards will follow. You may not be able to buy a yacht but if you can pay your bills and love your job you are successful.

Coloma's avatar

The most important “success” is having integrity. Nothing earned through deceit or underhanded doings. THAT is true success!

augustlan's avatar

I’m not now, but have been in the past. Both through no fault or success of my own, however. Judging from my ex-husband’s success (which I enjoyed the benefit of for many years), figure out what job will be hot in the near future, and train for it immediately. When we met, he was a minimum wage employee with no great prospects for a future career. After doing some research, he decided the thing to do was to become a network engineer. So, with absolutely no previous computer skills, he enrolled in a computer tech school and did it. His first job right out of school came with an impressive salary, by our standards. By keeping his skills current and always moving up when he had the chance, he has probably tripled that salary by now (many years later).

Mr_Paradox's avatar

@jerv I DID have a benefactor. I showed enough promise that if he paid half my debt I would have to work in his lab (my Ph.D. is in physical chemistry) for ten years after the completion of the degree. Well eight years later, still happy with the job and I only have another year until the debt is payed off!

JLeslie's avatar

Mostly I credit my husband for finding a career he liked, being very focused, and being able to pay the corporate game well. We actually both earned the same money when we were first married at the age of 25, but about five years later he was making 20% more than me. Not long after that I went part time, and he continued to make more and more money. Within a couple years we could live just on his salary and mine was extras like travel, savings, and emergencies.

This leads me to other contributing factors: We always saved money. We never had credit card debt, but always use credit cards for all purchases, unless a company does not take credit cards of course. Never buy anything you can’t afford at the moment you buy it, and of course always pay off your credit cards in full every month.

On our second house we had a 15 year mortgage, instead of the typical 30 year. This means you pay it off much faster, spend less on interest. Interest really adds up. Unless you are great at investing your money, making money from money, then being as debt free as possible is my big advice. Interest on mortgages happens to be very very low right now, but still I recommend when you buy a house to find out how much you will have paid for the house at the end of the mortgage payments, not just look at if you can afford the monthly payment. The eventual goal being no mortgage. Interest is like throwing money out on the street, especially on credit cards, but that was mentioned above.

Have short and long term goals for savings. Short term might be to have 6 moths of expenses in savings, so if you are laid of or have a slow time in your business you can float for a while. Long term might be when you are 65 you want to have $2million in the bank. Depends on the person, your goals might be very different. But, having a financial goal, just spending the time to think about it, is more than most people do.

Remember every 15 years money doubles at 5% compound interest. So if you have $1million at age 45, with modest investing, or good CD’s (if the rates ever come back up) by 60 you would have $2million even if you never saved again from your salary. Money gets money.

So, to sum it up. Find a career that makes decent money, don’t owe money, and don’t spend all your money. Money equals freedom, but it has to be available money.

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mattbrowne's avatar

Commitment to lifelong learning.

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