Are you one of the few, the proud: the women millionaires of the world? I’m not, personally, but it’s in the works!
I firmly believe that representation matters. And in a world with a racial wealth gap and a gender wealth gap, and growing wealth inequality where women live longer than men, I think we need a hell of a lot more women millionaires.
We’ve got a timeline to your first $1 million right here, but today, let’s hear from two women who have already reached that 7 figure milestone.
Women Millionaires: Meet Walli
Walli is a first generation college graduate, daughter of an immigrant, and a self-made millionaire. She’s utilized both real estate and the stock market to reach a seven figure net worth.
“I had a million-dollar net worth which included investments solely in my name at age 37. This was made up of:
a rental property I purchased at the age of 28 (as a single woman)
workplace retirement plans
Health Savings Accounts
taxable brokerage accounts
(It’s worth noting that I didn’t start maxing out my workplace retirement account until 2017.)
Now that Walli is married, she has assets in both her own name and jointly with her husband.
“However, in 2021, my husband and I reached a $1,000,000 stock portfolio. It wasn’t until we hit that milestone a couple of weeks ago that I felt like a millionaire”
Walli’s journey to becoming a millionaire started at her very first job.
“My first 401k was at a job I had for about a year when I was 21, and I was making $25,000. I contributed about 3% of my salary with a 3% match. Although the contributions were less than $2,000 that account has grown to $8,500. At age 25 I had a TSP (thrift savings plan) account with a 5% match at work, and at 34 I had a 403b plan. That was the first year I maxed out a retirement account.”
For Walli, hitting $1 million came from focusing on three main areas.
“I focused on three things to build wealth:
I never deprived myself of what mattered to me most, like travel. However, I got intentional and mindful about how I was spending money using values based spending. The easiest place to start wealth building is through tax advantaged accounts. Focus on contributing as you can.”
Women millionaires: meet Jenn
Jenn reached her first million at age 40, and she’s continuing to stack money today. After graduating college with a negative net worth thanks to
“Right after college I had a negative net worth due to consumer and auto debt. I tracked my net worth and made intentional money moves to increase my net worth. That lead me to real estate.
-Where is the $1 million currently? (Real estate equity, investments, business equity, etc)
35% is in real estate,
26% in cash (under contract on another real estate investment and searching for another existing business to buy after selling a restaurant in August)
13% Businesses/Seller Financing
Jenn got involved with real estate the year after graduating college.
I purchased my first piece of real estate in 2004, putting $4,000 down. I was able to get qualified for a loan a few years before the housing crash (one of the reason there was a housing crash!) It was a two bedroom condo and I rented out the second bedroom.
Jenn bought a second property that she then has to sell for a $5,000 loss during the Great Recession. But the next year, she was able to get back into real estate with a short sale, and then bought her first investment property in 2017. Jenn is currently under contract on her 14th real estate transaction, with a $100k down payment.
Jenn also credits maxing out her workplace retirement accounts in her 20’s and 30’s as a huge part of becoming a woman millionaire. And finally, having a partner that she can financially collaborate with has been key in building wealth.
“I met my partner in 2015. I was building my wealth through real estate and retirement accounts. He had experience buying and operating businesses. Having a partner with shared values and goals has made our personal financial journey more fun with more celebration and more accountability. In 2016, we set a big financial goal to retire by 2026, which we changed to be financially independent and create a cash flow goal. Because of our internal actions and external factors, we hit our cash flow in October 2021!”
3 Steps to Become a Millionaire
Jenn and Walli have some tips for the next generation of women millionaires.
Both women took chances early on in their life that have paid off. They both encourage other women to do their homework and take calculated risks. Walli’s first job’s retirement account was a chance she took before she deeply understood investing and it’s paid off!
Trim the Fat
Keeping expenses in check means funneling more money towards wealth building assets. The better you can align your spending with your values, the less you’ll feel like a budget is a burden in your life.
Walli advises women to literally trim the FATT “keep the amount you spend on Food, Accomodation, Transportation and Taxes low so you have funds to build wealth.”
Surround yourself with likeminded people
For Jenn, her relationship with her husband is both romantic and financial.
“Marrying a goals and values aligned partner has been one of the biggest factors in hitting $1 million,” says Jenn.
Finances are the number two reason for divorce in the US, so having a partner that you can be open and honest with about money is key to financial success in the long term. Talking about money and goals early on in the relationship can help you see if you’re on the same page, and heading in the same direction, as your boo.
Are you on your way to becoming a millionaire? What steps are you taking to reach that milestone?
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