It’s been a long time coming, but we finally did it, we hit the million dollar net worth milestone.

Our million dollar journey started in 2006 with a family net worth of about $200,000.  While that is a significant amount of money for a 27 year old, the balance sheet, or net worth statement, was full of consumer and student debt. My wife and I graduated in 2003 with about $45,000 in student debt.  Of course, we needed a new car to celebrate our new degrees, so we racked up an additional $25,000 in car financing.  To top it off, we threw a new mortgage onto our first house (a two apartment house) all in the same year.  Although we both graduated with professional degrees, our starting salaries were relatively low, so our cash flow was very tight after debt servicing.

Despite this, I had ambitions of becoming financially free while I was still young – that is, to have enough passive income to cover our living expenses.  To achieve financial freedom, aggressive goals had to be established. So, in 2006, I started this blog to keep me accountable and set a lofty goal of becoming a millionaire by the end of 2014 at the age 35.

There are many paths to financial abundance. Inheritance and winning the lottery are a couple, but reserved for the lucky.  What about regular working guys and girls like you and me?  In my mind, whether you are an employee on salary and/or a business owner, the only sure fire way to build wealth is, wait for it… to spend less than you earn.  We’ve all heard that cliche a thousand times before, but it is tried and true.  Living within your means helps generate positive cash flow which is a key ingredient to aggressively paying off debt and buying long term appreciating assets.  With long term appreciating assets comes the power of compounding which can significantly accelerate wealth if used properly.

What really helped us accelerate our wealth is living a sensible lifestyle within our means and, at the same time, being open to ways to increase our means.  As an example, when we graduated, we created a budget, found tenants for the basement apartment, I took a second job and my wife worked overtime when available to help build our cash flow.  At that stage in the game, our focus was on debt repayment.  We attacked the car and student loans which were repaid within 5 years. During this time, we purchased another rental property which further generated cash flow.  In 2005, I stumbled upon financial blogs, and decided to start my own in 2006. While it initially started off as a hobby and online journal to share financial ideas, Million Dollar Journey started to attract readers and soon became a healthy side business.

To help grow the personal finance community further, in 2009, I partnered with Canadian Capitalist to start Canadian Money Forum which also grew into a robust community.  With the success in the blog and forum, the online business expanded further with online consulting and web site strategy.  All of this while maintaining a 9-5 job and attempting to spend quality time with the wife and kids.

With the career and side business going strong, we maintained our lifestyle which helped continue pushing our net worth in an upward trajectory.  Finances were good, but the hours that I was putting into the business was not sustainable.  I started to burn out, and being a Dad of two young children, my work/life balance was suffering.  To help resolve this, I scaled back my online consulting business, and in May 2014,we made the tough decision to sell Canadian Money Forum. While I can’t get into the details of the sale, the proceeds from my share of the sale was enough to help meet the million dollar milestone a few months before the deadline. While I can happily say that we reached our net worth goal, there is still a lot of work to do before we can call ourselves financially free.

Readers have suggested to chart my net worth progress over time.  Below are the net worth values since Dec 2006 with data points taken semi annually.  If you cannot see the chart, please click here.

chart_1 (2)

If you are on a similar journey, or would like to start, my advice would be to set a big goal for yourself, then break up that goal into baby steps and you’ll be surprised at what you can achieve.  Just make sure to keep that goal in front of you – whether it’s on your computer/smartphone wallpaper, or sticky notes on your mirror, constant reminders are key.

Right now, it feels like a big transition point in my life.  Selling the forum and completing our million dollar journey has me asking myself – what’s next?  A better question is, what direction should I take this site? As I’ve mentioned, reaching the million dollar mark was a financial milestone within the longer journey of financial freedom. My focus going forward will be building a portfolio of income producing assets to hopefully one day achieve financial freedom. Perhaps, rather than continuing net worth updates, I can share with you passive income updates and my journey towards financial freedom.

Since you are the ones who have kept me going over the years, what would you like to see on MDJ going forward?

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I’ve been following your journey for years now and has been an inspiration for my own journey. Congrats on meeting this big milestone at the age of 35.

Best wishes for the future

R2R

Congrats on reaching your goal! You are an inspiration to us all. Keep up the good work.

Congrats!!! On selling the forum too – that’s always fun and scary/relieving at the same time (I just sold two of my projects last month). Whatever the future holds, I do hope you’ll continue w/ the blog here motivating people – we need as much help as we can get! ;)

Congrats!!! I have been following your blog for two years. Please continue to share your progress on passive income producing strategies. Cheers

Congrats FT! That is a great accomplishment and you should be proud. In the future it would be great if you’d post updates on your passive income

Congrats, FT! I remember when I discovered your blog back in 2009 – I think I read the archives all the way back to 2006 before deciding to start my own blog. Your journey was definitely an inspiration to me.

Now that you’ve reached your million dollar destination, I hope you continue to update us on your passive income pursuit and quest for financial independence.

Well done. The first million is the hardest and only the start. Spend more time with your children since they grow up too fast. Diversify your investments too.

Congratulations FT!
I am very happy for you and look forward to hearing about your updates!
Jim

Great work! Should we call you 2MDJ now? :)

I always like to plan ahead (despite some people saying that “I act too old”) and I’m sure a lot of people reading this site are a few years behind you, so if you keep writing about what you’re aiming for next I’m sure it will still be relevant to many people. At the same time, new readers might be interested in hearing more about others who are closer to the beginning of the journey.

Congrats brother, I’ve also been following your blog for a couple years now. Keep up the great work! :)

Congratulations first off!! We are still young a few years away from our million dollar mark but we aren’t giving up. I had to start over when I moved to Canada from the UK with my education and finding a career which set us back but we never gave up.

So much can get in the way and like yourselves we’ve done the same, budget, investing, spend less than we earn, work overtime, take on second job etc., start a blog. It’s not easy but I’m hoping it will pay off in the end.

We just paid our mortgage off in April and are completely debt free. As for your blog…that’s tough because you’ve reached your milestone. I’ve been following for quite some time and I’m sure the fans would continue to enjoy reading about your journey past the million dollar mark or start a new blog :) Well done and congrats again.

Big fan of your blog.
Congratulations on reaching this milestone.
Wishing you much success in future!

Cheers.

Congratulations! I have been following your blog for a couple of years now and it has inspired me to take control of my own finances. All the best to you on achieving your future goals!

Congrats FT! I’ve been following almost since the beginning. It’s nice to see determination and follow through. As for selling the forum, a great idea. No one ever regrets scaling back to spend more time with family.

We still have 2 years to go in our MDJ.

Big Congrats! Truly a great accomplishment.

I saw that real estate makes up about 33% of your networth. I classify many as these days “artifically wealthy” from real estate because I chose to rent while many people at work only talk about their houses until I interrupt them to talk about investing… and somehow I get the weird looks. I don’t argue that it should be part of someones networth, and even with a Smith Manoeuvre it’s not the same as $1M in investable assets and houses costs more to maintain than a portfolio.

So just like you mentioned in the end of the article. I personally would love to read your story to financial freedom. That’s what everyone wants, to live off their portfolio.

If it was me, sell everything, invest in the most secure assets available, live off the income and travel the world.

awesome work!!

Congrats!!!
I’m so happy for you.
All the best to you and your family in the future.

Congratulations FT. You have inspired so many of us. The transparency you show in your posts has been an invaluable learning tool for me. Thank you and best wishes on your next big goal!

Way to go FT. For next milestones to track I would suggest starting with $1M in net liquid assets (a new million dollar journey) and then financial independence.

Congrats and best wishes for an even brighter future!

Congrats on reaching your target. I’ve been a follower for many years and will continue to follow for many more. Keep up the great work.

Congrats! I hope you continue to post useful information on investing, saving money, credit cards, tax tricks, and pretty much all the same wonderful articles you’ve done for us in the past!

First off, congrats!

Second, now I KNOW you were most definitely sandbagging! First, it’s the “sudden inclusion” of corporate accounts a couple months back, and now the “convenient sale of hitherto unaccounted for assets” to help you cross the line! It’s like watching a dude run the first 38km of a 40km marathon, then suddenly get in a car for the last 2km!

Lol in all seriousness, good stuff. I think you should still continue to post NW updates (you’re never going to STOP looking at that stuff are you?), but maybe add in some other stuff related to income as you say.

Congrats again on the success. I’m on a similar path and my only regret is not starting a few years earlier.

Hey FT good Job! Been following you for awhile now and your blog has been invaluable.

No more net worth updates?

Congrats. Nice move on the sale.
More proof that most millionaires are created via high income and/or business ownership, not via the stock market.

Now that you have your net worth nailed down, I’d love to see you hit the million mark in investable asset, marking you an almost true millionaire (“household”, but not yet “individual”…your third leg in the story, perhaps?).

Congrats on meeting your milestone. Why don’t you just keep writing on personal finance topics?

Wow…and congrats. I just tweeted that :)

I remember finding your site back in 2008 and I thought it was the great…been a loyal follower ever since and I hope you keep it running for many years to come. The Archives alone are worth gold :)

Your journey inspired my investing journey and to start my own blog, I haven’t looked back since.

I second what others have said – keep posting FT and I would love to see your passive income journey to financial freedom, the MDJ relates to your $1 M in invested assets. That would be quite a number for a 30- or 40-something, a number no doubt you’re going to get to sooner than later.

Best wishes for a bright financial future,
Mark

Congrats on this amazing milestone.
I’ve been following your journey for awhile now. It’s been inspiring. Great work.

Congratulations on reaching your goal! Take some time to celebrate, it’s quite a milestone to reach at your age.

Well done, FT.

I would enjoy reading about your journey to a passive income stream through asset building. I’ve always concentrated on passive income with net worth as a secondary measure.

I’m ten years older than you and my annual passive income right now boils down to (via real estate):
150,000 income with 50,000 HELOC interest. The excess 100k plus the majority of my salary (no personal debt) is used towards HELOC pay down.

I’m paying more attention to the stocks I own since they are becoming a smaller and smaller fraction of my assets. Extra attention to monthly dividend reinvestment (I don’t DRIP) to create more dividends and rebalance is modestly paying off though I’m striving to do better.

I look forward to seeing the how, what and why of your decision making regarding passive income because I’m sure it will help me optimize my own situation.

Glad you pulled it off. There was a time when i didnt think you would reach your goal before 35. I’ve taken much from your articles over the years so for that, thank-you for sharing the MDJ.
I think you have enough knowledge and experience to write about your journey in a book that would include the learnings along the way. There is nothing artificial here, you can straight talk the things that worked and didn’t work. A book like that i would share with friends and family.
I personally would like to see you venture off into the tax world and become an expert in that area. After you will need to manage your taxes going forward as a millionaire. I would certainly benefit from those learnings
Whatever you end up doing. Best of luck, cmjxj

CONGRATS Frugaltrader!!!

An inspiration to me and others truly.

Best.

I’ve been following your blog since I first realized I needed to learn about money management in 2009, Just wanted to say congrats and thank you for the help and inspiration!

Great accomplishment, FT.

I am very jealous of your achievement!

One downside though, I personally don’t think real estate should be included in your million net worth, as you will always need a place to live. So you still have ways to go ;-)

Anyways, I always found your articles the most useful for me and I certainly hope you will keep writing. The topic of income producing assets seems like a good one to me.

So, congratulations on being (almost) free !!!

Congratulation on reaching your goal.

Long time lurker here, thank you for the tons of information you posted on this website.

Congratulations FT! Like the other comments, I have been following for a few years. Seeing the total dollar amounts change monthly, and growing larger as the net worth grew, was what inspired me. I hope you keep doing this because those numbers are eye opening for beginner net worth builders and those of us who are on our own journey.
Thanks for putting the effort in to let us follow your journey and to show that good old fashioned hard work can pay off too!

Congratulations FT!
I have been following your website since 2008 but I haven’t made significant improvements in my financial balance sheet. I’m most commited to my mortgage right now and would like to look at the avenue of stock investing sometime in the future.
Keep doing what you’re doing – that’s what keep you out there. God bless and more power to you.

As an aside, and because I think a clear and precise understanding of financial terminology is required, statements such as this: “I had ambitions of becoming financially free while I was still young – that is, to have enough passive income to cover our living expenses” — are not exactly true.

Having your expenses covered by passive income may leave you “employment free/job optional” but your money is very much ‘financially bound’ to those income producing assets.

A truer definition of being financial free would be to have enough cash (yes, inflation adjusted) to cover all expenses for the rest of your life. As you can see, it’s a lot more difficult to attain true financial freedom than it is a state of employment freedom.

Congratulations on reaching your goal! That is fantastic.

Although we followed a different path, we also averaged adding about $100k per year to net worth on our million dollar journey. It can be done folks. 10 years to becoming a millionaire is absolutely possible. Set your goal, stay focused, get educated about finances and step forward.

Remember to stay humble. Do not be envious as everyone’s path is slightly different. You may not know exactly how you’ll get there but life has a way of putting opportunity in front of someone who is prepared.

Be willing to share your knowledge with others who show genuine interest so you can be that beacon of light up ahead to show them it can be done. We had an inpirational couple be role models for us when we were recent grads in our first jobs 20 years ago. Life throws you challenges and curve balls. Yet having someone up ahead on the path to show you that it is possible to be a millionaire for regular working folks as now FT you have been an inspiration for many is a huge encourgement.

Please continue your blog to share what the other side of the million dollar hill looks like. Best wishes to you and your family.

Congrats! This is a motivation for us to get on this path systematically. I will likely refer to some of your past posts over time to continue to inspire our journey.

Congrats! I’ve been following since the beginning have enjoyed seeing your progress as well as reading the posts on a variety of pf topics.

congrats,million dollar journey is a gold mine!Living the good life ft,the beauty is now you have a money machine!by 45 your portf will be a thing of beauty!Passive cash flow the holy grail!why don’t you retire from your occupation and pursue a new blog?take up self employment in the personal finance sector of social media full time and fatherhood?

I’ve been following your journey for the last five years. It has been inspirational and informational. Congratulations on reaching your goal. Can’t wait to see what you do next.

Congrats FT on reaching your goal, and thank you for sharing this and inspiring all of us.

I have been following your blog for a while and lean a lot from you. I am just doing my baby steps to reach the million dollar dream. I hope I can achieve in 10 years like you.

Congratulations on reaching your million dollar goal FT. I’ve been a long time follower of your blog and you’ve been an inspiration to myself and many others out there. I look forward to seeing you continue on your journey to financial freedom.

Congratulation – well done! I discovered this blog in 2007, around the time we started tracking our expenses, budgeting, and seriously working on our net worth. Being an immigrant to this country, I knew very little about MERs, index funds, etc. With everybody around us having no financial ambition and no interest in talking about money, this blog has always acted as a beacon of sanity and rational advice. It also managed to “pull” me along, since it always helps to compare oneself to someone better at a task rather than worse. And man, are you good.

What should be next? I see two options:

1) “Laters, suckas!”

2) A further chronicling of the route to financial independence. Most of the people on this blog are wondering when work will become optional for them. If you have any ambitions to get to that point, keep writing about them. I, for one, would read it. And how am I going to post about when I finally reach my million if this blog should cease to exist?

Congratulations, FT! Do you find you feel differently being fully financially independent?

My question – are you going to retire and enjoy life now? You calculated that you only need $550,000 for your retirement, and you have quite a bit more than that.

Ed

Congrats FT :) You’re probably the youngest millionaire I know. I like the idea of passive income updates from now on. Or let us know what percentage of your annual expenses can covered with your investment income alone, and keep track of that going forward.

Congrats! Also, typo in your ultimate post: search for “chiche”