It all started when my Mom’s friend discovered that she and I had the same birth date – she was in her 30’s, and I was 5 or 6. It seems odd today, but apparently, she was so excited that she actually gave my Mom some money $19 in honor of my May 19th birthday. This was how my first savings account began, and since then, not a day has gone by that I haven’t thought about how to grow that money, how to add to it, and how to eventually live on my assets and become a millionaire.
I made $27,000…and almost lost my wife
Seriously, I was obsessed with money.
- At the age of 9, I built shoe cabinets and sold them at flea markets.
- By 12, I was mowing and weed-whacking the neighbors’ yards
- And, at the age of 14, I was working full-time in the summers at the local greenhouse.
The obsession began early, but didn’t end in those early years.
- By age 26, I had a college degree and paid off all my debts
- At age 30, my home was completely paid for and I had $40,000 saved in my retirement accounts
- A couple years later, I was married and soon paid for a rental house with cash.
I was on the road to millionaire status by age 38
It seemed that I was a complete success. From the outside looking in, it appeared that I was one of the “lucky ones”. My money was compounding and it seemed that nothing was going to stop me!
And then it happened…
The decision that almost broke me.
The 2nd rental house
We found a diamond in the rough. Actually…we found some coal in the rough and decided to try to shape it into a diamond…
All kidding aside, we found a house for $75,000 that was probably worth $100,000. And, all fixed up would be worth around $135,000. Our plan was to rent it out for about $1,300 a month, which would have netted us approximately 13% a year on our investment. Not too shabby!
The only problem (small details here)…it smelled like cat urine, wet dog, and smoke…everywhere.
I probably should have realized it from the beginning, but the house was a total gut-job. We tore down the paneled walls, the ceiling, and the floors. My wife and I handled the demo. That alone took us about 3 weeks…
The rest of this house project was mine…and it took approximately 8 months.
I worked mornings before my 8am-5pm job. I worked nights after our toddler went to bed. And, I of course worked most Saturdays and Sundays to try to make a dent in this disaster-of-a-house.
At about the 6 month mark, my wife was at her whits end
- I saw my daughter each evening, but was completely missing her life on the weekends
- My wife and I maybe went on one date during that time
- With her being pregnant with our second child, she was worried that this was going to be our new-normal…working, and then working some more, while working on the side (did I mention that I was running my blog during all this too??)
Our Marriage…Hanging by a thread
By the time I put the final coat of paint on that project house from hell, we were arguing nearly every night and needed to start counseling sessions so we didn’t take the “discussions” too far and do or say something that we’d regret for life.
We knew we wanted to stay together, but this house was tearing us apart. By the end of the project, my wife put her foot down and had me sell that house – mainly because she couldn’t look at it without burning up with anger and sadness.
Yes, I made $27,400, but I nearly lost a wife in the process.
While this was one of the lowest points in our marriage, the lesson learned was one that I am forever thankful for.
Like I mentioned in the beginning of this post…I absolutely love to make money.
- It’s a passion,
- an interest,
- and a thrill.
It’s not about buying cars, showing off my big houses, and it’s not even about offering my kids the best life possible. The whole thing is just a game to me (like Warren Buffett I guess).
- How quickly can I become a millionaire?
- What about a deca-millionaire?
- At the rate of 15% growth, I could double my money every 5 years…so maybe I could even make it to a billion! Wouldn’t that just be amazing??!
This was always my perspective. I could be uber wealthy and ultra-powerful, and everything would be perfect, right?
In fact, I’d probably be single, lonely, and severely unhappy…and still thinking about how to make more money.
In my heart, I knew that there was more to life than just money, but my mind was continually thinking of ways to acquire more, earn more, and be more. But what’s the point of working so hard for such riches if you’re just going to be left miserable in the end anyway?
Life is about much more than money
It so true. Here’s the list to prove it. There’s:
- spiritual practices,
- new friendships,
- intelligence, and
- career growth.
What is more important money or relationships?
Well, both are important. Life wouldn’t be beautiful with just relationships and no money. In fact, there are ‘n’ number of reasons money actually does matter in every relationship.
Does money matters in love and life?
Yes, but money is just one spoke of a 7-spoke wheel. If I would achieve that one goal and kill it like no other…The happiness wheel of my life would be left un-turned. I’d be stuck, unable to move because my life wheel would not be supported.
Why your relationships are more important than money?
Money alone cannot solve all the problems in your life.
During that terrible stretch of our lives when my wife and I were barely speaking to each other, I’m glad my thick skull was beginning to break down and understand this message. Since then, my focus has moved away from my money-only mentality…
- We run/hike more,
- We host more social events at our house (we moved recently and bought a place that made no financial sense…it’s been wonderful… ;))
- I read more than just finance books now. I’ve branched out to spiritual, relationship, and personality type books. I love it.
- Also, since I haven’t shown up to work looking like a zombie lately, I’ve been promoted once and I might be getting yet another one soon.
Your money or your wife
Ever hear of the book, “Your Money or your Life“? It’s a fantastic book that explores two major avenues that people can take. Either they can work for money and gather up a bunch of stuff along the way, or they can earn and spend only what they need and then enjoy a massive amount of their life actually living…and not working.
My recent experiences lead me to mentally change that title to, “Your Money or Your Wife”.
Either I could strive for success in the minds of millions on this world and lose my spouse, or I could reach for perfection in her eyes and truly be happy…even if it means a net worth of just a couple million and not billions…
Quite frankly, now that I look back on those moments, I just shake my head at all the money-chasers out there. At some point in their lives (most likely toward the end…), they’re going to realize that chasing money is a folly’s aspiration. Chasing after love, experiences, and helping others…now THAT will lead to a life of gratitude, contentment, and permanent happiness.
Which will you choose? Will it be your money or your wife??