How Financial Samurai Became A Multi-Millionaire

How Financial Samurai Became A Multi-Millionaire

Sam started Financial Samurai during the depths of the financial crisis in July 2009 to make sense of all the chaos. This is how Financial Samurai became a multi-millionaire.

Today, Financial Samurai is one of the largest independent personal finance sites in the world with over 1.5 million organic pageviews a month.

Sam helps people everywhere achieve financial freedom sooner, rather than later through personal experience, his expertise working in the finance industry for 13 years, and through story telling.

How Financial Samurai Became A Multi-Millionaire

Here's his story about how he became a multi-millionaire in his 30s.

Sam went from $4,000 to $1,000,000+ in net worth by 28 due to:

Luck. Got through 55 interviews over 7 rounds to land a job in investment banking at Goldman Sachs. Someone like me from a state school (William & Mary), had no business getting this job, but I got on 6am bus to go to a career fair one Saturday and one thing led to another. Base salary was $40,000, so that kinda sucked, but my experience taught me how to invest, network, sell, and build relationships.

Luck. Invested in VCSY in 2000, a Chinese internet stock that climbed 50X in six months. Turned $3,000 into $170,000 and sold at $155,000 when it started collapsing. The stock went to nothing a year later. At the time, I only had about $4,000 to my name, so this investment was a significant leap of faith. Never stop fortune hunting folks.

Luck. A headhunter called my VP to see if she wanted to work for a competitor covering West Coast clients. She said no and handed me the phone because I covered West Coast clients out of NYC! One thing led to another, and I got a new job after 2 years with GS as an Associate with a raise. Over the next two years, 90% of my GS analyst class got let go.

Rational decision making. After arriving in San Francisco for my new job, I decided to live like a pauper for a year and a half because I didn’t know anybody and didn’t know where to live. In 2003, at the age of 26, I put down $120,000 and bought a 2/2 condo in a nice part of town for $580,500. I figured, best to turn funny money (VCSY profits) into a real asset. Today, the condo is a paid off rental generating $4,300 a month and worth ~$1,300,000.

Became A Multi-Millionaire

Went all-in again. At age 28 in 2005, I bought a single family home I didn’t need on the north side of San Francisco for $1.52M. The $300,000 downpayment took ALL the cash I had. I needed a $50,000 bridge loan because it was December, and bonuses weren’t paid until February the next year. Things were good for a couple years until the financial crisis happened. I was sweating bullets with my $1,200,000 mortgage. So I rented out a room for several years.

Super luck. I tried to sell the house I bought in 2005 for $1.7M in 2012. NO TAKERS after 30 days. It was embarrassing, so I took it off the market. My agent said a couple people were willing to offer $1.5M, and I said heck no. I wanted to sell because I had just left my job and we had just recovered from the financial crisis. I needed to lock down costs. I ended up selling the house for $2.74M in 2017 after my PITA tenants gave their notice. I couldn’t believe how sentiment turned so positive just five years later. Now the market is softening in 2018 as inventory is up 70% YoY.

San Francisco house sales price history Financial Samurai

Unwavering consistency. Real estate has made me over $2 5million, but it is Financial Samurai, my personal finance site that has done the most for my net worth growth. I started the site in 2009 during the middle of the financial crisis and made a promise to publish 3X a week for 10 years in a row.

I figured, if I could stay consistent all these years, the site would grow, allow me to leave my job, and earn me some online income and equity in the process. Almost 10 years later, it has done just that. A couple of my peers just sold their websites for $6M – $7M, but I plan to keep going because running Financial Samurai is fun!

Don't Take Luck For Granted

So much of my wealth has been created through luck. The key was not taking my luck for granted by continuing to save and invest aggressively, as if my luck would run out.

I got crushed during the financial crisis and made a poor investment in a Lake Tahoe property in 2007, but I have kept on going no matter what. I expect misfortune to fall upon me again, but hopefully I’ll be better prepared this time around. I better, since my wife doesn't work and I've got a little boy to take care of.

It’s hard to keep the faith, but you must during the most difficult times. If you continuously put yourself out there, sooner or later good things will happen!

Here’s a snapshot of my various passive income investments to hopefully hold us over during the next recession. I’m focused on building my Alternative Investments, since I have more control over their outcomes. Real estate crowdfunding is the investment I’m most excited about after reinvesting $550,000 of my SF rental house proceeds in lower cost areas of the country with much higher cap rates.

Financial Samurai 2021 Passive Income Streams

Remember, you only need to get rich once. Once you’ve achieved a level of wealth where you never have to work again, focus on capital preservation. The last thing you want to do is return to the salt mines!

Recommendation To Build Wealth

Manage Your Money In One Place. Sign up for Personal Capital, the web’s #1 free wealth management tool to get a better handle on your finances. In addition to better money oversight, run your investments through their award-winning Investment Checkup tool to see exactly how much you are paying in fees. I was paying $1,700 a year in fees I had no idea I was paying.

After you link all your accounts, use their Retirement Planning calculator that pulls your real data to give you as pure an estimation of your financial future as possible using Monte Carlo simulation algorithms. Definitely run your numbers to see how you’re doing. I’ve been using Personal Capital since 2012 and have seen my net worth skyrocket during this time thanks to better money management.

Personal Capital Retirement Planner Tool

How Financial Samurai Became A Multi-Millionaire is a FS original. Do you know anybody else who became a multi-millionaire.