When you're free to openly plan your day and your future, a whole new world starts to open up to you. What once wasn't clear … is now clear.
That's how the young millionaire Trip Seibold from Financially Possible described it to me in today's interview. As a financially independent 30-something millionaire, Trip has the ability to spend quality time with his family and pursue his dreams.
Let's learn more about his path, his new motivations and how his family is at the center of all of it.
How old are you? If you have a family, tell us about them and their ages.
I'm 38. My wife, Nina @ MsFinancialLiteracy, is 33. Our 2 children are 4 and less than 3 months. Nina retired at age 31. I retired just after turning 37.
What part of the country do you live in? Do you own your home or rent?
We live in central Texas and own our home. We lived in the Bay Area for 4 years recently, but other than that have lived in central Texas.
When did you start tracking your net worth? What was it at that time?
I dislike the term “net worth” and use the term scoreboard instead. Everyone on Earth has amazing worth, but our societal institutions and educational systems do a fairly poor job of lifting many up to their true potential (i.e. best possible self).
I have some ideas on how to bring about a transformation to lift up many more in society. I began tracking in October 2007 before I met Nina. At the time, the market had hit a relative peak and my scoreboard was at roughly 260k.
What is your current net worth? What are your assets and what are your liabilities?
As of early June 2018, my family's scoreboard was at $1,753,200. No liabilities other than having to pay property taxes annually. Assets are stocks, bonds, and a house we own outright. We aim to keep the stocks at 75 percent and bonds at 25 percent of our asset allocation. The stocks also consist of international funds. The house is less than 300k.
What are your current sources of income?
Dividends and municipal bond interest.
Nina retired 6 months before I did. Roth conversions — converting money from a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA — are also considered an income source for us, but that money's not accessible yet of course.
What has been the single best thing you’ve done to increase your income up to this point?
Moving from Texas to California and changing companies in the process allowed me to increase my income by 21 percent. When we returned to Texas, I was able to retain the California income up until the point when I retired. Negotiating starting salary in 2002 and 2013 was also important in increasing income.
What ways do you invest your money?
Primarily index funds, but individual stocks do make up about 10 percent of our asset allocation. At one point, they were about 18 percent. We made efforts mid-year in 2018 to reduce our exposure to individual stocks.
Did you receive an inheritance or windfall of some kind during your life so far?
No, but both sets of my grandparents taught me some about investing before I entered college. They had lived through some of the Great Depression, so having their point of view about a need to save is an inheritance of sorts.
What debts do you have (if any)? If so, what are they? Which have you paid off?
We have no debts.
The last time I had any debt was mortgage debt which I paid off in October or November of 2007.
Related Article: $400,000 Home Paid Off in Less Than 4 Years
How do you track your net worth?
We use Personal Capital and find many of its features very convenient. I preferred the previous interface that they had in place more than a year ago.
What are your annual expenses?
Our big 3 expenses are housing, travel, and food.
Transportation is lower because we have a single vehicle that we paid cash for in 2011. Operating with just one vehicle for so many years saved us a ton of money.
We enjoy traveling and organic food.
Property taxes in Texas and home insurance are enough to bring housing costs into the top 3.
Other major expense categories include electricity, water, internet service, cell phone service, clothing, and educational materials for our children.
What is your favorite fintech tool that helps you grow your wealth?
Even though I was a software engineer, I consider myself somewhat of a luddite.
Related Article: 7 Free Money Tools That Will Help You Build Wealth Today
Why is it important for you to build up your wealth?
It's important to build wealth so that you can free self from self. Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants. We're all on a journey of becoming (what we're meant to become).
It's my belief that being tied to a job and needing to earn an income significantly inhibits or slows the process of becoming. Achieving financial independence significantly accelerates one's process of becoming.
What is one financial mistake you’ve made during your young millionaire journey?
Paying off mortgage debt too aggressively and not maximizing the use of retirement accounts.
What book has been most influential to you?
How Soon Is Now by Daniel Pinchbeck. This is the best book I've ever read.
In the financial realm though, my most influential book was Buffett: The Making of An American Capitalist. Reading that book in 2007 prior to the financial crisis was crucial in terms of how I responded throughout 2008, 2009, and 2010.
What is one financial hack that has helped you that you think most people don’t know about?
Having an ability to tune out the noise around you and focus. Tune out the noise from financial markets. Tune out the noise from social media. Tune out the noise of tracking every little last expense and focus on reducing your biggest expenses first. Focus more of your energy on determining ways to increase your income.
This podcast is dedicated to helping you grow your young family's wealth. Let's create the lives we've always wanted.https://t.co/BOUKjhRrAW
— Andy Hill (@AndyHillMKM) October 5, 2018
Check out my podcast dedicated to helping young families thrive!
Where do you find the most joy in your life?
This question took me a while to find my best answer.
Simply having the freedom to experience joy in new ways which typically involves slowing down. Some days it's been feeling amazement at how quickly my 4-year-old daughter is learning and how her brain extrapolates on existing knowledge to reach new conclusions. Recently, it's seeing my son smiling at me and Nina very frequently.
On other days it's been listening to homeless people share the story of their lives with me and sharing some bread, chocolate, or other food. Many days it's been attending meetups and connecting with people I wouldn't have likely met as a full-time software engineer. I'm naturally very curious and have been able to immerse myself in a wide range of learning activities. Even if they have no value to anyone else (i.e. money), they still have value to me so I go down the rabbit hole and learn.
Not having to deal with the obligations, which any job demands, creates these unique opportunities to explore. That leads to a greater sense of freedom yielding this joy-of-the-day approach.
For the 20-something with a $0 net worth, what advice would you give them to become a millionaire in their 30's?
Overcome any fear of investing in the market. Fear is the mind killer. Time is your greatest asset in your 20s and you have to begin investing in order to start making mistakes and learning from those mistakes.
“You don't have to be great to start, but you do have to start to be great.”
You can have too little fear though and take outsized risks. You don't need to hit any home runs to become a millionaire. The more certain path to getting there is to consistently hit singles. Be patient. If your income is above the median and you exercise disciplined control over your expense, then you can get there much quicker than you may think possible.
Where are you in your net worth journey?
Please let me know in the comments below!
Track your net worth today for FREE with Personal Capital. It’s the first step on your journey to becoming a young millionaire!