Today I am sharing with you my story on how I accumulated and saved $250k by 25. No silver spoons, no crazy investments — just a little bit of discipline, some good habits, and lots and lots of good ole fashioned saving.
Yuhhhhhhh oh. I know talking about money is taboo. But here we go!
Why Am I Posting This?
It’s my birthday week (woot!) and in honor of that I wanted to do a “big” post~! I originally wanted to make this post when I had turned 25 but for several reasons I didn’t. I’ve been going back and forth as to whether or not I should publish this post…it’s definitely a risk.
But! I decided to pull the trigger and so I hope you all find this post a little interesting…but more than anything, I sincerely hope this post is a little helpful. This post isn’t to “brag,” and it isn’t to “get attention” — this post is nothing more and nothing less than to help others. I wouldn’t post it otherwise. So with that said, I truly hope this post can be of help to you in some way. As always, let me know if you have any questions. Thank you.
Disclaimer: This post is probably going to receive a lot of judgment, especially from les h8rs (my AskFm is about to blow UP). But rly this is just a blog post, it’s not that serious. There are so many “finfluencers” who share a lot more of their finance details that you can spend your time picking apart instead of mine. Have a nice daaaaay~
“250K ISN’T EVEN THAT MUCH”
I’m fully aware that many people my age (and even younger) make more money than I do and/or have accumulated more wealth than me. But, I still think $250k by 25 is a tremendous accomplishment (especially given my background, more about that later). Let’s pull some quick stats for comparison:
- Forbes (using Federal Reserve 2019 data) shared that the national average in savings for Americans under age 35 is $11k while the median is $3k
- CNBC reported that 39% of survey respondents aged 25-34 have less than $10k saved while 41% have $0 saved
- Statista published (in 2020) that the top 1%, aged 18 to 29, had an average $93k – $101k in savings for retirement
- The College Investor calculated that the average net worth for Class of 18 (my class) would be around -$29k
Obviously take these #s with a grain of salt (plus these #s are prob much higher now these days), but it goes to show that there’s a wide spectrum — with some people who don’t have any money saved at all and some people who are even in debt — and that you should be proud of any savings you have started.
My Background & Upbringing
Not gonna write a whole autobiography, but long story short: My parents are very hard workers. They work humble jobs but at the tail-end of their working age they make not much more than minimum wage. With all that said, I still know we are very blessed, especially considering my parents immigrated here with little to no money nor English as refugees into the foster care system. But clearly, I did not grow up with a wealthy background and I also was not taught much in terms of financial literacy. However, what I did learn was the value of a dollar.
And while I don’t want to dive into the negative aspects, there were some good principles instilled that I think over time helped me to save as much as I did. I’ll list some out at the end, but one really important trait is that even though I may not have as much as others…I am always extremely and overly grateful for whatever I do have. But because we never had much, from a very young age I’ve always worked REALLY hard to one day try to earn/save enough money to take care of both myself and my parents and to help them enjoy some of the nicer things in life that they’ve never had.
We’re all dealt with different cards and have our own situations, but I think a lot of people can relate to at least some parts of my background/story and so if I can do it then so can you!!
Where I Started
Here’s a few bullets to cover some starting points…hope you appreciate the transparency!:
My starting salary – The #1 anonymous question I get is how much do I make…I don’t make as much as people think, I definitely have friends/family who make way more. But with my first job out of college, I was already making more money than both my parents combined so trust me when I say I am super cognizant of my privelege and the fact that I am above the average/median salary. My entire starting class was offered $72k — I’ve increased bit by bit each year so you can do the math as to a range of where I’m at now.
My job perks – While my job may have had a lower starting salary than other professions, its perks were really helpful. From nice bonuses, to random gifts and gift cards, to various subsidies, to free phones and laptops, to all-expenses paid business trips, to a shiny green corporate card that fed me lots of fancy expensed meals! I would say a lot of my expenses (maybe ~30%?) for at least the first two years of working (pre-covid when I was traveling full-time) were covered.
My rent – I commuted for college. After graduating, I traveled a LOT for my job and so there was no point for me to get an apartment or buy a place since I was literally never home. The past few months I’ve had to pay LA rent, but prior to that I never had any formal rent (I just gave my parents $ and helped them with lots of expenses) and so I’ve saved tens of thousands of $ in rent.
My schooling – I never received any financial aid. However, I did win a LOT of merit-based scholarships that paid for both my bachelor’s and my master’s degree and plus some (you can read how I won over $40k in scholarships here). This means I graduated with zero school debt. I’m very grateful for this because it would not have been easy for my parents (or me) to pay for after having paid for my brother’s tuition.
My car – I drive a hand-me-down car that my parents had originally bought for my brother. It’s 14 years old now but it gets the job done. Therefore, never had to pay for a car! (Not yet at least, my car is on its last leg lol)
My 3 KEY Saving Tips
I could say sooooooo much about this but this post is already damn long. I’ll make a separate post with all my other saving tips & tricks, but if I had to boil it down to 3 key points:
- Develop discipline – because of how I was raised, I’m naturally very disciplined in terms of not spending a lot money. If you’re not already disciplined, then develop your self-discipline. It’s like anything else you want to be good at (i.e. exercising, eating healthy, work) — you have to practice discipline. Money spending and money saving is no different. Shift from being a spender to a saver!
- Live frugally – for most of my life I didn’t have many nice things. Even to this day, I would say I relatively don’t have as many nice things — 90% of my “nice” things are gifted to me from friends/family/work. We all want and like nice things so I’m not saying you can’t spend any money, but try to be selective and prioritize. Like for me, I try to limit my materialistic splurges to just the tech category. Since I don’t spend much on other categories, I feel better about investing in my tech items. I also only allow myself to make a big ticket tech purchase (i.e. laptop, phone, camera) say once a year.
- Get scrappy – get creative with how you can save money. It’s not beneath me to try to find good deals, use coupons, or shop at discount places. You might have to put in a little effort, but it’s worth it. And maybe you’re saving just a couple of bucks, but trust me, it adds up over time. Why spend $100 when you can spend $50?
This post is just a drop of info, a little sneak peak. I plan to write more posts in the future expanding and going into more detail if you guys are interested, so let me know and this can just be the beginning.
To close this out: Don’t compare yourself to others on how much you’ve saved. Just. get. started. We’re all at different points of our finance journey but we can all get there slowly but surely. One dollar saved at a time.
Thank you for reading,