Education

Millionaire Women Next Door

Every night before I go to sleep I snuggle into my bed and read on a book for inspiration and research. Some evenings I may only manage to read a small section but on other nights I can manage a couple of chapters. My progress seems incredibly slow but that’s okay.

At least I’m making progress.

You see, I have one serious disadvantage, and I know it. I find it hard to evenĀ conceive of owning $60,000 (the ballpark amount I would like to invest), much less understand a lot of the terms that they use in finance. I’ve no idea how in the world I’m going to pull this off or anything else. By reading as much as I can, I will be able to immerse myself in the terms of money. I’ll learn about people who have managed to make their fortunes starting with very little for inspiration, and eventually I’ll use the knowledge to figure out a practical way to achieve my goal.

Millionaire Women Next Door, I decided, was a good place to start. I already had the book and I loved the first book in the series when I read it several years ago.

It was a good decision. This book was filled with stories of women from broken and abusive relationships who had managed to rise above their challenges and build a net worth of well over a million dollars. I discovered that these women weren’t penny pinchers, either; wealthy women end up being significantly more generous to family, friends, and strangers than men are. They also managed to live beneath their means by dressing simply, living in homes far simpler than we expect the wealthy to live in, and primarily presenting themselves as middle class to the world at large.

That tells me that I’m already making progress. I live beneath my means, I’m actively saving money, and I’m not discussing my goal with anyone aside from my beloved Auntie, who has become my cheering section. Since I would love to become successful enough in this project quickly enough that she’s still alive to spoil a bit, just hearing her voice on the phone inspires me to keep working.

The most inspirational part of this book concerned Brian. He wrote a letter to the author on loose-leaf paper. His story was so motivational that the author decided to include it in a book that focuses on females to demonstrate that anyone can truly become wealthy.

Brian was considered a “dummy” in school. Being dyslexic (doubtless before we coined a term for the disability), he was a failure in school. He started washing cars for a local business, graduated to running his own car-detailing business by focusing on the high-end cars that he loved.

He made quite a bit of money doing that and had the toys to show from it but he wasn’t happy. That was when he decided to take the advice of a frugal friend, who encouraged him to sell all of the toys and invest in a four-plex “so he could live for free.”

Despite being uneducated and having a learning disability, this man has real estate holdings worth over $5 million and has a personal net worth of $1.6 million dollars. Wow.

So what can this guy teach me? He showed me that if he can become successful despite his challenges, I can too. He reminded me of the stories my father used to tell me about the days when he owned apartment buildings. My father spent the majority of my childhood filled with regret because he sold his buildings after he hurt his leg when I was six. He told me numerous times throughout my childhood that he had never been s well off as he had been when he had owned those buildings. He had been able to live rent-free in one of the units; despite the fact that it had cost a lot of money in maintenance and repairs, he confessed that he had made a small fortune when he had them.

I’ve read many books over the years that encouraged people to invest in real estate. People will always need a place to stay; in this economy many cannot afford to save up the money needed for a down payment, especially with the high-consumption lifestyle that is prevalent. When you toss in the fact that many people prefer to move multiple times instead of staying in a single place, it points to the fact that real estate rentals can be a profitable business.

I’ll have to think about that.

4 Comments

  • Linda Sand

    My sister bought a duplex. She rented out half and lived in the other half while remodeling it. Then she rented the remodeled half for more money and moved into the other half and remodeled it. Then she sold it and bought a small house in an upscale suburb. Then she built an extension on that house and turned it into an upscale house. I think you could do that if you could just get started.

    • Annie

      Your sister is brilliant Linda! I’m definitely keeping real estate as an option. I’ve turned it over in my head for years and at this point in my life, after learning once again the dangers of relying on a single source of income the thought of owning real estate calls to me in my dreams. My long-term goal is to have a number of somewhat passive investments; that way, if one of them drops I’ll be able to rely on the others as I regain my financial footing. The trick is figuring out how to get started, but that’s okay. I intend to keep my eyes open for my first piece of property. I don’t know when I’ll find it. I certainly don’t know how I’ll afford it, but I’ll figure that out as I go along.

      Thank you for sharing your story.

  • Cam Coogan

    I have owned a home, owned a rental property and rented from others. I am on my third move in three years so renting has worked out for me because it has given me the freedom to move. But it is getting pricey. I will not rent once I retire. Too hard to live on a ‘fixed’ income when you rent. As far as investing, property is certainly the best bet. Good luck, Annie. I hope you can become that ‘millionaire woman next door.’

    • Annie

      Ah Cam, you have hit upon my secret dream, the dream I haven’t had the guts to share with anyone. This girl is tired of being poor. I’ve pinched pennies my whole life and I dream of a time when I no longer have to. I’ve no idea how I’ll manage it but somehow I’ll figure out a way. I just have to keep trying.