So You Want to Be a Millionaire…

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No 18-year-old has $41,600, but that’s pretty much the only thing standing between a high school grad and them becoming a millionaire in their lifetime. Yep, through the magic of compound interest, that’s all it takes to get to seven digits. Here’s how much money you’ll need to become a millionaire by retirement depending on your age. This data assumes you’ll retire at 65 and have your money invested in something that generates 7% interest. (You can find my justification for that number here and here.) It also assumes that: 1) You make no further contributions toward your nest egg, and 2) you make no withdrawals until you’re 65. This is presented as data ONLY. I hope you find it as interesting as I did.

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All of these equal $1M:
18 – $41,600 x 47 years of 7% growth
19 – $44,500 x 46 years of 7% growth
20 – $47,700 x 45 years of 7% growth
21 – $51,000 x 44 years of 7% growth
22 – $54,600 x 43 years of 7% growth
23 – $58,400 x 42 years of 7% growth
24 – $62,500 x 41 years of 7% growth
25 – $66,800 x 40 years of 7% growth
26 – $71,500 x 39 years of 7% growth
27 – $76,500 x 38 years of 7% growth
28 – $81,900 x 37 years of 7% growth
29 – $87,600 x 36 years of 7% growth
30 – $93,700 x 35 years of 7% growth
31 – $100,300 x 34 years of 7% growth
32 – $107,300 x 33 years of 7% growth
33 – $114,800 x 32 years of 7% growth
34 – $122,800 x 31 years of 7% growth
35 – $131,400 x 30 years of 7% growth
36 – $140,600 x 29 years of 7% growth
37 – $150,500 x 28 years of 7% growth
38 – $161,000 x 27 years of 7% growth
39 – $172,200 x 26 years of 7% growth
40 – $184,300 x 25 years of 7% growth
41 – $197,200 x 24 years of 7% growth
42 – $211,000 x 23 years of 7% growth
43 – $225,800 x 22 years of 7% growth
44 – $241,600 x 21 years of 7% growth
45 – $258,500 x 20 years of 7% growth
46 – $276,600 x 19 years of 7% growth
47 – $295,900 x 18 years of 7% growth
48 – $316,600 x 17 years of 7% growth
49 – $338,800 x 16 years of 7% growth
50 – $362,500 x 15 years of 7% growth
51 – $387,900 x 14 years of 7% growth
52 – $415,000 x 13 years of 7% growth
53 – $444,100 x 12 years of 7% growth
54 – $475,100 x 11 years of 7% growth
55 – $508,400 x 10 years of 7% growth
56 – $544,000 x 9 years of 7% growth
57 – $582,100 x 8 years of 7% growth
58 – $622,800 x 7 years of 7% growth
59 – $666,400 x 6 years of 7% growth
60 – $713,000 x 5 years of 7% growth
61 – $762,900 x 4 years of 7% growth
62 – $816,300 x 3 years of 7% growth
63 – $873,500 x 2 years of 7% growth
64 – $934,600 x 1 year of 7% growth
65 – $1,000,000

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Well, how’d you do? Don’t worry if you fell short. Remember, THIS IS IF YOU MAKE NO FURTHER CONTRIBUTIONS. You could be 35 with only $80,000, and you’d still hit $1M if you put in $4,000 every year until you’re 65. Also, $1M IS AN ARBITRARY NUMBER. Here’s why I’ll never need a $1M net worth. For more proof that $1M is arbitrary, consider inflation. If I have $1M when I’m 65, that’s only a buying power of today’s $480,610!

Whaddaya think? Does this make you want to become a millionaire more or less? Does this seem doable now? Are you now dreaming of yachts and underwear models? Let us know.

It’s not that difficult becoming rich. That’s why rich people are everywhere!

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We Got a Garden!

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Pictured above are K and D. They’re essentially my partners in crime as I strive for better finances, increased life efficiency, and happier living. Over the past month, we lucked out hard and secured rental of a garden plot for only $50/year. It’s small, but it’s already WAY more room than we need. Will it save us more than $50 in a year? Probably not. I’m a garden noob, and I don’t think I’m gonna become The God of All Shallots overnight. Even these bloggers were only able to generate a yield of $47.96, and I know far less. What I’m hoping for here is a healthier hobby. Between gardening and video games, I know which is a better use of my time. Throw in the fact this garden is technically walking distance from our home – 4 kilometres? – and I’ve got a way to stay healthy, a way to potentially save money in the future, and a way to make my cooking habit infinitely more rewarding.

I’m taking it easy and concentrating on shallots this year, though I may enlist my garden-savvy friends to help me out with fresh herbs like cilantro and parsley. I won’t need much room for that, so K and D will be growing too! This is only the beginning of our garden project, but I’ll be offering updates as time goes on. In the meantime, got any tips? Tell us what you know on our Facebook.

Watch a Movie* in 10 Minutes

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For those of you who read “Read a Book* in 10 Minutes”, don’t worry. I’m not suggesting you read a synopsis instead, or scrub through a video at 10x speed with the subtitles on. As a former filmmaker myself – I directed my first short at 17 – I fully understand the craftsmanship and attention to detail involved in making a film, and would never suggest any sort of diminished experience over what the filmmaker intended. In what I suggest here, you’re still getting the real deal. It’s just a way of making our consumption of entertainment more efficient, and arguably, more free! It’s already saved me hours this week, and I’m more entertained than ever!

First off, I’m a bit of a horror nut, and though I love the genre, a small part of me wishes they could just cut to the good parts. Show me the asshole teenagers, then get straight to the killin’! Superhero movies too. Most of the time, I’m like “I KNOW HOW DEADPOOL BECOMES DEADPOOL! GET TO THE KILLIN’!” (I grew up with hundreds of Marvel comics.) We can worry about how much I like onscreen death some other time, but the point remains: I was looking for more efficiency in my entertainment! I didn’t want a movie to waste my time. Now, how the heck do I solve THAT?!? It’s not like I can just skip the first 45 minutes of every movie. I might miss something!

Enter, shorts. After years of suffering through the same setup tropes in horror movie after horror movie, I finally had what I needed. In all the shorts I’ve seen, their narrative arcs were distilled down to their most efficient. Most of them were less than 15 minutes long, and by golly, I was ENTERTAINED. Does one short suck? Screw it, it’ll be over in 10 minutes and it might even get better. Okay, but did it REALLY suck? Watch five more in the time it takes you to watch a full-length feature! I can’t even tell you the amount of times I’ve struggled with poor movies and just sat there like an idiot while 90 minutes of visual trash flowed over me. This way, I’m getting told multiple stories in a shorter amount of time, and I have more control over when I want to stop watching, leaving me more time to get important things done!

Even if the idea of cutting down on overall entertainment time doesn’t appeal to you, free entertainment should. I know some of you are thrifty enough that you don’t even have Netflix, so let me link you to countless hours of entertainment! I use Short of the Week most often, and particularly love their horror selection. Film Shortage is also good. Obviously, you can find a lot of these shorts on sites like YouTube or Vimeo, but the two sites I gave you are expertly curated and get you to what you’re looking for in seconds instead of minutes. Even though I have Netflix, I still find myself watching shorts far more. It’s allowed me to reclaim more time, get more entertainment for less money, and support smaller filmmakers as they tell great stories.

Here, check out “Exit”. This is the kind of thing you’re missing out on. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather watch 10 shorts like this at home over spending $15 on a movie ticket

How Your Ideal Day Can Make You Happy… Forever

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Remember my obsession with book summaries? I breeze through multiple books a week now. That’s how I found this summary of Joe Sweeney’s “Moving the Needle”. The book itself seems to be typical self-development fare, but one piece of actionable advice stuck. I’ve been thinking about it all week. Soon, you will too.

Early in the book, Sweeney calls on us to embrace personal clarity. I know that’s classic self-help bullshit, but hear me out. First, get quiet. Turn your music off, put the phone away, and picture your ideal day. This isn’t my idea. This is in the book. Think about what activities you’d include in your day. Is your family in there? Is work involved, or is your ideal day work-free? What about your leisure activities? Does your ideal day involve reading? Netflix? Eating at a nice restaurant? Write that shit down NOW. No excuses. This is literally an exercise that will improve the rest of your life. Write down every detail; morning, noon, night. When you’re ready, meet me back here. These words aren’t going anywhere. Don’t scroll ahead. Go and write. See ya in five.

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What you wrote down is what you live for. It’s why you work so hard. It’s what you strive for, and it’s what you should do with your free time for the rest of your life.

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Fuck, I struggled with that realization. My list was surprisingly close to A Normal Life. I actually included work in my ideal day. I believed my ideal day should involve making a little money. I also included cooking. In my ideal day, I saw myself shopping for ingredients and whipping up a shared meal with friends. I saw myself drinking a few bottles of craft beer, and surprisingly, NOT some hoity-toity $400 wine. Oh, and here’s the good part: Wait until you see what WASN’T included.

I did NOT include any PlayStation or TV time. I did NOT include anything with a romantic partner. I did NOT include spending money on new gadgets or toys. I did NOT include expensive travel to exotic locations. What the fuck, right? Aren’t those the kinds of experiences we work and strive for? Am I just thinking small?

Or did I just finally figure out what I actually need to be happy?

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Obviously, needs change and so do the things that bring us joy. I recommend this clarity exercise at least once every few months.

For now, I’m making direct changes in my life based on my results. I’ve realized my video game habit is just a way to kill time and the Time:Happiness ratio isn’t worth the investment. I’ve also stopped pursuing Romance for now. I may also continue donating my Travel opportunities to people who need them. I’ve given away two flights in the past year, and I don’t feel like I’m missing out yet. And somehow, knowing all this makes me feel… lighter.

Heck, it’s almost like figuring out what you truly want in life makes it all easier.

Imagine that.