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5 Lessons I’ve Learned From Making (And Losing) Millions in My 20s


Being a millionaire before age thirty is an appealing thought to most people. In many ways, that is justifiably so. There are the opportunities that significant sums of money create like traveling and buying nice things. There is the ego boost with all of your old friends who thought that they were going to be more successful. Plus, with a lot of money, you might be able to spend more time doing what you love. There are many lessons to be learned when making and losing millions. 

What is your gauge of financial success?

Some of the perceived benefits of financial success are more valuable than others. That being said, after both making and losing large amounts of money throughout my twenties, I have come to realize that being a young millionaire is not all that it is cracked up to be. Most people would be better off prioritizing in other areas of their lives.

When making important life choices, a crucial one is how much money to strive for. Here are five lessons I have learned revolved around money that can help with your financial decision making plus the enjoyment you might get when you obtain millions in your future:

1. Financial freedom is empowering.

It seems obvious, but not having to worry about finances is a huge bonus of making millions. You can go out to eat and order exactly what you would like (including drinks), you can take random vacations, and you can buy others nice gifts. This freedom eliminates a huge burden. That is especially true if you are used to worrying about money.

That being said, the amount of money that you need to achieve financial freedom is entirely dependent on the lifestyle that you want to live. Some people, genuinely, are most happy with a life in which they can take crazy vacations and throw money around.

Most people, though, are not like that. The novelty wears off and there is no additional value in your life when ordering a $50 steak for the fourth night in a row compared to an $8 Chipotle burrito.

2. Disassociate what society says about money and what you actually want.

Society does not typically put the people making $75,000 a year on a pedestal. People in that financial bracket, though, are very frequently just as happy as those making millions. There is a reason that most studies indicate happiness levels flatten out after someone is making roughly 75K.

As much as society tells us that we need to be rich, it important to decide your own stance independently. That way, you will be less bound by hitting a certain number in your bank account. Instead, you can focus on doing what you love each day. Plus, you can do so while still working to earn enough money to be comfortable based on your unique lifestyle.

3. Create a rainy day fund.

No matter how much wealth you accumulate, you should have easily accessible money if needed. If your assets  (and stuff) are not liquid and you need a significant amount of money all of the sudden, you will be in a rough situation.

Despite being wealthy, you are not impervious to needing a safety net. You might make poor investment choices or have a large expense you did not foresee. Without a rainy day fund, tackling those problems is significantly more challenging.

Upon accumulating millions, despite how enticing it might be to buy your third new car, you should first prioritize having a safety net.

4. There is a complacent life within reach.

Once reaching a certain financial level, I have come to realize the meaning of complacency. When you can live off of the returns from your investments, in theory, you could work very little for the rest of your life. For some people, that is ideal. Not working and doing more of what you enjoy can sound perfect.

On the other hand, though, it depends what you want to accomplish in life. If having a large impact on others or a particular industry is important to you, then becoming complacent is the wrong choice.

It, therefore, becomes invaluable to understand what will make you the most fulfilled. Otherwise, when accumulating wealth, you might be inclined to take your foot off the pedal. That could be despite the reality that hard work and a bit more stress will lead to the happiest version of your life.

5. Find hobbies that you love.

Many people in American culture are encouraged to work hard. There is often a positive connotation around bragging about lack of sleep or weekly hours. Once reaching financial freedom, though, I have realized that money is not going to make you infinitely happy. This is no matter what you might think. That makes it critical to find more activities that you enjoy doing. It is energizing to find those hobbies early on and pursue them.

Whether that be playing an instrument, running, being outdoors, reading, or countless other activities, you should find the ones that you enjoy most. Doing so will empower you to spend more time on things that add joy to your life. An extra hour working is often not worth it when you could spend that time on something that will dramatically boost your energy.

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