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The Inner Money Thoughts of an Overnight Millionaire

If you become rich, your friends might look at you differently. What you tell the people outside might be very different from what you are thinking.

Say too much and people might take things the wrong way. You felt that there is a need to discuss some of this money stuff with others but you may have difficulty finding the ideal person.

This is a person who has a good listening ear, is objective, trustable, yet have enough financial sophistication to help you.

Last week, I came across the internal conversation of a millennial tech worker who suddenly became a millionaire due to where she works.

I am not sure how real this story is but I felt it is a really good piece because it reveals internal money thoughts that you and I have.

Our advisers should read this because if they wish to become really good wealth coaches, the first step is to have a good perspective about the thought process of someone that fits their niche.

She covered a lot of different money thoughts and this is how I would group them.

How did she come into wealth?

She joined a private tech company and in her own words not a technology role.

There are usually 3 paths:

  1. Being acquired
  2. IPO
  3. Implode

Her company went into an IPO.

Thus, her net worth will shoot up to $6 million.

Sudden wealth can be a happy and stressful situation

We have some clients who inherited a large sum of money when they are young. If you asked what they really think about it, stress seems to be the word that comes to mind.

It’s not purely a celebratory time. It’s a stressful time, too, because of the constant decisions. The amount of money is so large that if I make a 5 per cent fuckup, that’s hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Millennial tech worker

The sensible ones are worried that they are less than equipped to deal with such a large sum of wealth.

They are afraid that they will lose a large chunk of it. This is even more stressful if they inherited this from their relatives and they wish to steward the money well.

She struggles to connect with the boomer wealth managers

She interviewed wealth managers and was not too impressed.

She was sharp enough to see the lifetime value of herself as a customer to them (50 years) and how valuable she was. Yet, the money managers she came across was not hungry enough for her.

These wealth management firms are “old school” and she does not think these firms are designed for prospects like herself.

One thing I noticed is that she would equate how you handle certain things that should be very intuitive with the manager’s competency in managing wealth:

I was video-chatting with one guy, and he didn’t know how to do a screen-share properly, so he was showing his entire screen, including windows that I probably shouldn’t have seen. And I was like, I’m going to trust you to oversee my millions?

Millennial tech worker

At the bare minimum, you must show enough competency in evaluating technology companies:

I was asking another, “How do you evaluate a tech stock?” You can’t just look at the financials — you have to look at the market, how the technology is unique. There’s a lot of industry understanding they lack. They’re using principles from the 1990s.

Millennial tech wroker

This is something that made me a little uneasy. We have clients working in the tech space. You have to wonder: Are these thoughts running through their head when we provide our constant spew that these were individual stocks, not enough diversification basically very very general and basic statements.

There is less out-of-the-box thinking when it comes to sourcing for wealth management solutions

No matter which generation, we all take our cues on how to do certain things from very traditional sources.

There are things that rich people do, and hiring someone to manage your money is one of them. I’m wondering, Is this something rich people do because other rich people are doing it? Is this industry a farce?

Millennial tech worker

If you have a lot of money, the default option is to find someone who is more competent than yourself to manage your wealth.

Sensible people’s lives do not change much with sudden wealth

At this point in my life, nothing is going to change. What would I do differently? I’m only having as much fun as my peers are. I don’t know why I would buy a Tesla, which is the common reaction people have. I don’t want to buy a house. San Francisco feels like it has peaked and is going downward. I walk my dogs at 10 p.m., and I don’t feel fully safe, and I think that’s unsustainable.

Millennial tech worker

Greater wealth allows you little luxuries that create a lot of life friction in the past

In her own words, she was not a generous person as she watches her money.

But with the sudden wealth, she could do things she could not previously.

My sister’s love language is gift-receiving, so I got her a candle from a local boutique. The shipping cost $10. Normally, I wouldn’t pay to ship, but now I’m like, No matter. I’ll pay the $10. 

It’s been a lot of minor expenses. Like, I bought a boutique cheese from the farmers’ market for $15. Before, I’d be like, That’s a ridiculous amount to spend on cheese. I don’t even like cheese that much.

The newfound wealth created more security that allows her to live a richer life. She could pamper and treat her dog better.

My dogs are also getting dental work — they need to have some rotting teeth extracted. I’m going to a place with a pet anesthesiologist, and it could cost around $10,000.

I think if this windfall hadn’t happened, I would’ve still sprung for the operation. But would I have done it at the premier dental clinic for dogs? I probably would’ve explored my options more. The dogs are also going to see a cardiologist, and the cost is going to be in the thousands. So they’re seeing three doctors for dogs, which is more doctors than I’ve ever seen in my life.

With her newfound wealth she also talked about the kind of life she could live, which otherwise would not be possible:

Because of my parents’ divorce, I never felt like I needed to be with a partner to have kids. But financially, it would’ve been a huge burden to support children in the Bay Area, even with my current salary. Now I can maintain exactly the same lifestyle I grew up with, without a partner in the equation at all.

What is Financial Security or Independence? (In her own words)

In my opinion, most of us seek security in one way or another. Having money independence is security.

And a lot of the reason why we seek security is heavily influenced by pivotal money episodes at a different phase of our lives:

For me, the whole thing about the money is that I just want to afford the lifestyle I grew up with. I grew up in a wealthy town.

When I was very young, my best friend’s parents got divorced. The mom had never worked; the dad worked in banking but blew all his money. And the mom relied on the dad, so her grandparents were literally paying for their groceries.

That freaked me out.

Then, in 2008, my parents announced their divorce to us, and two months later the market crashed. So, for me, this idea of financial dependency is so tied to the idea of being in a relationship.

Being dependent on someone financially is my biggest fear. With the IPO, I realized: My worst fear is not possible now. It’s the most liberating thing. I haven’t fully internalized it.

The biggest influence on her wasn’t something that happens to her but what she saw when she was young.

I always wonder if client’s real fear is not having their current above-average lifestyle or not having to go back to a traumatising quality of life.

The latter will cost much less money to help secure than if it is the former.

If you get what you want wrong, you might spend a lot more time chasing after the wrong things.

The thought process of well-educated women in selecting the ideal mating partner

I have no comments here. Just read and draw your own conclusions.

When it comes to dating, I’ve always been pedigree-focused. I’ve been obsessed with men who are smarter than me. (Even when I was younger, at sleepaway camp, I was fixated on the boys who went to the magnet public schools, because I knew they were hard to get into.)

Part of it comes from an obsession that my kid has to be intelligent, but part of it is about earning potential because smart men tend to earn a lot of money. I see my friends who are in these relationships where both people make more than $200,000. No kids and $400,000 combined? That’s a great lifestyle. So it’s always been in the back of my mind that I want somebody who’ll match me in income. But I have an extremely complicated relationship with it. I don’t want them to earn more than me, because then they’ll have more power, but if they earn less, I won’t be able to afford the life I grew up with. Basically, there was no amount they could’ve earned that wouldn’t have made me feel uncomfortable except exactly the same amount as me.

But now, even if they have more money than me, who cares? After a certain million-dollar mark, nobody is getting competitive. So at either end of the spectrum, I’m going to have the power, financially. Now, I can see myself dating someone who makes much less. I want to focus on their values.

Do you deserve what you made?

Back during my days in my IT job, this was a constant thought. Not exactly like hers but I think you get the idea:

My job, it’s all narrative. I don’t build anything. I don’t do any math equations.

I’m corralling a bunch of pieces together, so in reality, I’m doing everything and I’m doing nothing.

It’s all about the perception of how you’re doing. It’s very intangible.

So I constantly ask myself, Do I deserve this money? Why would I deserve this?

Money is a taboo subject

But it’s hard for me not to talk about it because it is on my mind.

My dad said, “You don’t know how your friends are going to look at you, so don’t talk about it with them.”

He also said, “Don’t talk about it with these relatives or your siblings; you don’t want them to feel insecure.”

My mom has gotten bitter. She said, “You’re going to have more money than your dad and I combined, and we’ve worked all our lives.”

Not many admit that they don’t know what they’re doing with the money

The last comment she makes is rather interesting:

People fall into two camps, I’ve noticed:

  1. There are people who don’t know what they’re doing but feel very excited.
  2. And there are people who feel like they don’t know what they’re doing with the money, and what the money means, and they’re encompassed by anxiety.

They don’t realize that nobody else knows what they’re doing either.

As with a lot of things, people are trying to figure things out.

You can read about her thoughts in full in Confessions of an overnight millionaire.

Debuting my Telegram Channel

Some new developments have forced me to think of new ways to share some of my thoughts about different money subjects.

I often wondered whether it is a good idea to have a Telegram Channel but it is time to stop wondering and just set it up and see how it goes.

The Investment Moats Telegram Channel will be a sort of micro-blog on the various money stuff that keeps me curious or that I have an opinion on.

This includes:

  1. Individual stock investing in Singapore, United States, Hong Kong
  2. Portfolio allocation and strategies, factor investing
  3. Financial data and ideas on Wealth accumulation
  4. Financial independence, and financial security, research on spending down money
  5. Materials of financial planning, financial marketing and wealth advisory
  6. Insurance stuff that I came across.

There will be even portions of each. You cannot tell me to post more of something and less of others. What you get is a mixture of the above.

Subscribe to my Telegram Channel here.

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I break down my resources according to these topics:

  1. Building Your Wealth Foundation – If you know and apply these simple financial concepts, your long term wealth should be pretty well managed. Find out what they are
  2. Active Investing – For active stock investors. My deeper thoughts from my stock investing experience
  3. Learning about REITs – My Free “Course” on REIT Investing for Beginners and Seasoned Investors
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