Hey everyone! I'm so excited about this M$M reader interview. I think that this is an interesting scenario that a lot of people don't even think about (myself included). What if you became a millionaire overnight through an inheritance?
I mean…what in the world do you do? While obviously, the money would be nice. But how do you deal with the fact that someone had to pass away for you to receive the money?
The amount that this M$M reader received (she asked to stay anonymous) is more than most people see in their lives. But the fact is that more and more Millennials are going to have to face some variation of this scenario in the coming years. I hope you enjoy this story and interview – I know I did. ~M$M
I've always been interested in stocks and business. Back in the 90's I got a guide to NYSE symbols and was so excited about it. Super cool 7-year-old haha! My father was one of my money mentors, but it took a while (of course) to appreciate his knowledge. Both of my parents owned their own companies.
My mother “retired” when I was 13 and began doing hobbies for income. My father had a successful construction business. In college, I majored in business administration with a concentration in finance because I knew one day I'd have some money that I'd need to know how to deal with.
But honestly, dad was pretty quiet about how much money he had.
Growing up, I knew we were very comfortable but was taught to never tell anyone what we had or owned. He always joked with me he would be donating all his money to charity, and I never knew if he was serious or not because I didn't like talking about that mess.
Now let's fast forward to when I was a newlywed working a career in finance making much less than I did as a waitress the year before. I found out my father was sick and he only had a few months to live. I spent all the time I possibly could with him while working my 50 hour per week job.
We were 6 months pregnant with my first son when he passed. My father knew my son would hold his name. Once we realized he was very sick, we were forced to start talking about the finances. There were businesses to run, farms and gardens to tend, rentals to manage, and houses being remodeled. We had to talk about my least favorite subject.
It made me cry everytime it had to come up. The will, the estate, the executors. I wasn't ready.
He had already decided all the details and told me that four stellar employees would be included in the will, as well as his long-time girlfriend, me and my half-brother.
I would be getting 20% of a decently large estate. Not Bill Gates money, but certainly enough to keep you up at night.
I'm sure you wonder how it's possible to worry about something like that. Money makes things easier, right?
My current net worth is around $3.5m.
I try to diversify best I can. I have commercial real estate, several residential rentals, other passive income due to his old business, stocks, mutual funds, IRAs, CDs, managed funds, self-managed funds, and annuities. 12 different bank accounts to manage. At least. And cash. Far more than I feel comfortable with, honestly. I'm 31.
I want so badly to be a good steward for my family. That's my main fret. I don't want to sound ungrateful at all, but what do you do with it all? We bought a couple of toys and had decent cars. All our remaining parents have no debt. We give to the church and heavily in the community.
My dad worked so hard from complete poverty and made sure to teach me good work ethic. Right now, I'm a stay at home mom, but continue to manage about eight side hustles (maybe more). I've perfected the four hour work week and could not be more appreciative of my situation.
My dad worked so many hours a week until he died. I often wonder if he would be proud of the financial decisions I've made.
1.) You said you were “very comfortable” growing up, but that you were taught to keep financial success (wealth) a secret. How did living this way color your mindset about money?
Being secretive about money is ingrained in me, and it's hard to say why it's there. It is so taboo to talk about anything and it's almost embarrassing that we have no debt. We are out of that loop and can't just tell people you don't have a mortgage. No one else I know is in a similar situation, so it gets lonely.
I suppose it would be different if the money wasn't given to me. My parents always said that people will treat you differently if they know you have money, and I can absolutely say that is true for many individuals.
2.) You went from “very comfortable” to waiting tables! Did you work through college? Whose idea was that (yours or your parents), and what did the experience teach you?
I worked throughout college from waiting tables to middle management. My 1st semester I didn't work and had the lowest GPA of all 4 years. While working I had to use better time management skills and it paid off. I worked from 35-55 hours a week.
It was my idea so I could have more play (beer) money. My parents said I could do whatever I wanted as long as I made decent grades and graduated in 4 years. They would not foot the bill for an extra semester. I was the only person of my friends to finish on time.
3.) Did going from lower-income newlywed to multi-millionaire in a short period of time significantly change the way you viewed money?
Becoming a millionaire overnight (literally) didn't really change the way I view money. I worry about it more now probably because there is so much more to do. Back when we hardly had a $30k net worth, the budget was easy, small, and manageable.
Some years, my tax bill alone is 6 figures. I never know what high dollar issue could come up. I think because I was raised with money, I still see it the same. It has to work for you or it will disappear.
4.) What advice would you give someone who is about to come into a large sum of money?
My advice for someone coming into money through inheritance is put your business mind on immediately. I was mourning (obviously) and didn't want to make decisions for the first couple weeks and days. Well, not the same decisions I would have made a year later.
I missed out on several great opportunities because of that. Also, seek guidance from others even if you have to pay. I have professionally managed accounts and think they add great diversification to a portfolio when done in accordance with your strategy.
5.) You mentioned good stewardship as being your biggest desire. What is your goal for your finances?
My goal for my finances is to leave my children in a better financial position than I've been left with. That may be difficult because of the hand many Millennials have been dealt. High healthcare, low pay, no pensions, etc. I hope to have ongoing income streams for myself and husband for life.
I manage about 8 side hustles, hadn't counted actually, but I can lay them out here with commitments:
- 2 residential rentals ($22k yr)
- commercial property ($70k yr)
- farm lease ($2400 year)
- multi level marketing business ($350 yr)
- buy/sell stocks (varies greatly)
- dividends ($30k yr)
- silent partner on fathers construction company ($50-70k)
- flip houses with husband ($25k yr)
There's always more little things to do, but that's mainly it. We manage our own rentals and I'm always looking to purchase another. It seems like I'm working on and off all day with calls or emails about things.
I solely manage the 7 properties we own.
And everybody thinks I'm just a stay at home mom. 🙂