What’s So Bad About Bank Of Mommy And Daddy, Cry-baby?

Street Fighter Bay To BreakersWe're back again with what's turning out to be a really entertaining series showcasing curiously angry comments from readers who find my site through online search. Just to give you some background, roughly 75% of this site's ~500,000 pageviews a month comes from new readers through search engines such as Google. Many of these visitors hit the site once, don't subscribe to my e-mail feed or RSS feed and never bother understanding my background or going through the archives. You wouldn't be so silly as to not subscribe would you?

I really enjoy highly opinionated comments. The more extreme the comment the better because I think points can more easily be made when we go to extremes. For example, I like to tell personal finance clients, “Consistently spending money they don't have is like jabbing a long needle into their left eyeball.” They can still see out of their right eyeball, but life is going to be one big bloody mess if they continue their poor money habits.

This latest comment comes from “James Morrison” on my post “The Average Net Worth For The Above Average Person“. The post has 400 comments and is somewhat controversial because I provide a chart for what I think “above average” people have in terms of net worth. The people who are most upset are those who think they are above average, but are not within my net worth range. Because the construction of my above average net worth chart is very thorough, I feel it might have enraged some people because truths hurt. At the same time, the figures are based off my opinion. There is no law that dictates what one should have.

It's always fascinating as a writer to figure out how to engage the audience. What's more fascinating is the fact that commenter James Morrison says he is “in the top end of my above average” range for his age, yet he still went berserk. Furthermore, he left a derogatory URL address that I won't share. Let's have a read!

James Morrison's first comment:

Here is a statistic for you kids . . .

I would say 80-90% of you are LYING!! The author included.

Now if even half of these are true then it was CLEARLY a case of “mommy and daddy are rich and gave me everything.”


I have multiple friends whose families have net worth in the millions and they have good jobs right out of college and aren’t even CLOSE to these numbers.

It seems like you just made this up to make yourself feel better. I would highly doubt if you are making that much you would even bother to write an article like this. . .

This is obvious. . .

You people are in reality, just trying to make yourselves feel better.

It’s true, really reality check yourselves and maybe you’ll see that living in a fantasy world is NOT the same as a basis in reality.

Trust me, and I am in the top end of your “average.”



My response:

Thanks for your kind comment.

Can you share where your anger is coming from, even as you say “I am in the top end of your average”? Are you saying that it’s OK for you to be in the range, but not everyone else? If so, why do you think you are more special?

There’s a lot more money out there than people think. People are just practicing the Stealth Wealth Movement.

James Morrison's response:

Sarcasm noted, thanks for trying to “act like the bigger person” by deflecting the negativity with a “positive” comment, textbook psychology.

I am just saying most of these posters are lying about their TRUE LIQUID net worth, home equity is not stable as we all have seen from the last decade and the same is true for stocks. But of course this is common knowledge for all of you “20s millionaires.”

ETFs, mutual funds, bonds and other supposedly “stable” investments are at an all time low return, and unless you have at least a cumulative 1 million in one of these type of accounts accounts, after taxes, you make little to no meaningful money. (Still better then nothing.)

I am just saying that if even half of these stories are true there was OBVIOUSLY A HELP FROM THE PARENTAL SIDE OF THEIR LIFE and I would guess that zero to no one came from “nothing.” Yet everyone of these “success” stories, no true logistics are mentioned, just random numbers.

If these stories are indeed accurate then your “net worth of the above average person” should read “the net worth of daddy and mommies money helped me.”

As I stated previously, all of my friends whose parents I would consider “well off,” aka 2+ million in worth still graduate with debt, even if it is just a little bit, and MOST of them immediately continue the lifestyle their parents success afforded them their entire lives, meaning your “goals” are pretty much unreachable unless you started out with a substantial nest egg right out of college and forgo having children until your 30s or later.

I was looking for a real article with some depth and strategy and instead I find a generic “shift your assets from A>B>C (early in life) to C>B>A (late in life).

This just feels like a jack off thread where people can come to sniff their own excrement and try and make others, who might actually be looking for some real guidance, feel bad.

Articles like these are pretty worthless, and I would have not been angered at all if I was not just looking for something you can learn from common sense.

Like I said, the fact that you still try and maintain an active posting thread in such a retarded article I would guess that your TRUE net worth isn’t even over 200k and your age is much older then you imply.

If I am wrong then go ahead and feel good about yourself, but I seriously doubt your current job writing “feel good about lying to yourself” threads pays the bills, let alone allowing you to build any kind of meaningful wealth.


First of all, I have no intention of writing posts to piss people off. The “Above Average Net Worth Post” was written in a way to provide some idea of what net worth targets to shoot for by age. I carefully break down pre-tax, post-tax, and property equity to arrive at my figures. If you read or re-read the post, I think you'd agree with me that the post doesn't insult your mother. I'm also flattered he thinks I'm much older than I imply. Maybe all this time writing has made me a better communicator, despite all my typos.

Second of all, I just don't understand why he is so angry when he's in the top end of my above average ranges for however old he is. Doesn't his net worth therefore help justify my calculations? He's part of the mass affluent class so what's the problem here? I understand that we all believe we are special, but the law of averages don't work that way. Is he angry because he felt that he was super special for the longest time, yet once he stumbled across my post, he now feels average, even though the estimates are for above average people?

Finally, it sounds like he was severely neglected by his parents with multiple references to the bank of mom and dad helping everyone out. It's as if his parents left him to fend for himself, naked against a pack of wolves in the middle of the woods. If this is the case, I feel bad for James. I had two parents growing up who did the best they could to make me a good citizen. I've had plenty of mistakes and indiscretions in the past, and would have many more without my parent's guidance. And yes, my parents did pay the $2,800 a year in public university tuition between 1995-1999. I'm very grateful to get such support.

James isn't a long time reader of Financial Samurai, but even if a post really pisses me off, I don't think I could be bothered to write a 700 word comment. There needs to be some serious demons in my head or time on my hands to be able to expel so much energy. I'm very glad he believes that my net worth “isn't even over 200K” because that means I've been able to properly position myself to blend in. But, James attributing all of my success to my parents is also disconcerting given how angry he is.


It's OK if everybody's getting rich at the same time. But as soon as you stop getting rich and you see other people continue to get rich, that's when things stop being OK. Wealth creation doesn't go in a straight line upwards over time. We'll have periods of tremendous financial dislocation as we saw with the 2008-2009 crash. Perhaps we'll get laid off and stay unemployed for a year, thereby depleting our savings. Or maybe some of us will take a leap of faith and do something on our own, while earning practically no money for a couple years.

Someone is always going to be richer than you. Deal with it. Trying to put them down or discredit their achievements to make you feel better is not going to help your financial well-being. There are many lucky people out there with supportive parents, trust funds, good looks, fantastic timing and natural talents. We should focus on doing what we can with what we've got. Is growing up a poor orphan the only legit way to succeed?

When I was looking to buy my first property in 2001, I would regularly see 23 year olds walk around open houses with their parents. Not only would their parents pay for the 20% down payment on a $500,000+ property, some would even buy the property for their adult children out right. Complaining why the world isn't fair would do me no good. Instead, I had to figure out how to save more money by working harder and hustling more to find that one ideal property. In 2003, I finally plopped 25% down on a $580,000 condo due to determined, aggressive savings habits and that was that.

I strongly encourage people to get motivated instead of get pissed off. Learn from the people who are ahead of you in whatever field you choose to improve. Think about the law of karma and how all these more fortunate people did something great for others to help them get ahead in their lives. Finally, just learn to be thankful with what you have. As soon as you are mindfully thankful, your jealousies and rage will start melting away.

Bank Of Mommy & Daddy Anecdotes That I Know Of

* 10 year old has a $3 million trust fund.

* Parents paid $60,000 a year to go to a private university for four years so their daughter can work in the arts making $25,000 a year.

* Dad bought his 23 year old son a $65,000 car for graduating from a very mediocre school.

* Parents pay $900 a month for tennis lessons for their sophomore in high school son. He has a $2 million trust fund.

* 34 year old has lived for free in a $1.2-$1.5 million dollar condo his parents continue to own for the past 10 years because his parents gave him the place after he spent 6 years in college.

* Classmate received a front-office Goldman Sachs job in WHQ because his father was a Managing Director and 25 year veteran, despite the son going to a mediocre university.

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

Updated for 2019 and beyond.

116 thoughts on “What’s So Bad About Bank Of Mommy And Daddy, Cry-baby?”

  1. Frankly, I enjoy your subtle takedowns of the whiner posts that you occasionally get in the comments. I’m always astounded by the ways people react to what I think are straightforward topics. At the very least, you have engaged readers! Enjoy it!

  2. Hard work pays off.

    Some people are lucky enough to be born to rich family. Others strike it rich through hard work. Or you just win the lottery…

    Being middle of the road for my age, I’ve had my ups and downs along the way. But I’d much rather use a set back as inspiration to work harder or smarter than a reason to get bitter.

    Much more envious of your monthly page views than your net worth, but I know the dedication that takes to achieve. If I want it badly enough I’ll work for it.

    After all, you never appreciate something as much unless you’ve struggled to achieve it. Those who have it given to them will never understand.

  3. Like Sam says this is his opinion, no reason to take it so personally.

    I think it all depends on what household income level one considers the above average person has. Based on Sam’s chart I would say at least $200,000, seeing that the average household is 2.6 people. For example if husband and wife both worked, and had a salary of 100k each then both should have no problem maxing out 401k at $17500 each, and also saving 10k in after tax.

    Based on 2012 census, 200k household income puts you in the top 5% of this country, (we
    ‘ll use country since it would be too difficult to use the regions of the country were 200k in NYC is top 8% in one area and 2% in another.

    In my opinion I would say: (Of course I would also say you would have to average these income limits for a decade or more.)
    Above average person(household) has income of 90k to 400k.
    This would be about top 25% to top 1%.(2012 census)
    Average person(household) 50k to 90k (50% to 25%)
    Basically, I would say the Above average person is another way to say Upper middle class and Average person would be considered Lower middle class. So, I would somewhat agree with Sam’s charts but maybe have the lower end lower and the higher end higher to adjust for 90k and 400k.

  4. So why is so mad? I wonder? He does mention he is on the top end of the chart for the above average net worth… he should be happy? I guess he is just mad because he thought he was doing greater than most. So since a lot of readers of FS are above average he thought he was some thing special? Because of that everyone else that’s doing above average they must of got it from the bank of mommy and daddy. I sense bigger issues here…

    Well its like a lot of things… there are groups of friends that I hang out with that compared to them I am well above and beyond them in terms of net worth for my age. Then I have some sets of friends, that just blow the above average out of the waters.

    Like you said, there will always be some one richer than you. You can either bitch and moan about it… or pick they’re brain about how they got there and from them.

  5. Wow. That was quite a crazy read. Definitely some deeper issues going on there. It made for an interesting article though. I do think some people fall into the “the way I did it is the only respectable way to do it” trap. If your parents are willing to help you out as much as some of the examples you gave, you’re not a bad person for taking the help. You may be judged, but you will be judged while still having a nice car or an expensive education. People are silly.

  6. Bryce @ Save and Conquer

    I think your analysis of James Morrison was probably correct. While he has a high net worth, which is great, he is upset because it might be considered average by some people. I am always happy for “nice” people who are reaching their goals and my be making more money than we are. I have a close friend who likes to own private aircraft. That is way too expensive for me, but I am more than happy to take a ride with him. I am much more upset when I see friends and family struggling. I do what I can by passively sharing my investment knowledge on my blog, but you sometimes just can’t help everyone.

  7. I admit I was the lucky ones who has ‘rich enough’ parents to pay for my school fees, I’m not from this country and the tuition for the international students is 3-4 times the in-state tuition. So when I graduated from college, I started out with 0 not minus. It did took me sometime to start accumulating wealth especially on the 401k amount (which is why I’m a little lagging on my retirement savings, I should start catching up on that since I’m contributing 30k last year and 53k this year on SEP IRA)

    When I replied to your post (above avg net worth) earlier this year I was at 3.5m, and now I’m almost hitting the 4m mark due to aggressive savings (80-85% savings rate).

    One thing I learned alot from my ‘rich enough’ parents is not the money they gave me (tuition) and they going to give me (it will probably double my net worth after they passed on), but the life lessons they gave me from young. They taught me work hard (not settling on 1 good paying job), save aggressively, invest wisely (stocks and real estate), money makes money. So now, we are blessed with 2 good paying jobs plus a side business that generate 3-4 times our income.

    As for JM mentality, some posters commented that he’s probably young and talented. He said he’s higher income earner, so he probably has ego issue that ‘I’m better than the rest of you’.
    When I was young, I too envy of those who parents give them everything, like bought them a new Mercedes, bimmer, NSX, supras in college. After I graduated, I move to DFW and happens to know a few people that live in University Park/Highland Park area. My envy never turns to hate though, so I always ask the question ‘How can I afford it?’ and not ‘I would never afford it.’ This very question is my drive to earn more and continue to build wealth.

    There are probably people are lying in this forum, since it’s so easy to hide behind your pc, like they guy who said he got 35MM working for Samsung and everybody working for samsung has more than that. But I admire those young people who start early and save aggressively, they have the discipline that I never had at that age. Even if people are lying, use it as the inspiration and motivation. I like to read the billionaires life story on how they get there and their life lesson as well. You will always learn something valuable and applies to your daily life.

  8. He went high and to the right, but I think I understand his sentiment and the point he was attempting to make.

    You spent years of blood, sweat, and tears in an attempt to earn something. You hold your goals dearly. You deeply admire top performers. You have great work ethic and respect for money. You have absolute reverence for the process of attaining your goals.

    Richie Rich has everything you have been working for and more. He has never struggled and barely tried. He doesn’t understand or appreciate what he has. The way he lives his life is irrelevant because he has nearly infinite funds and opportunity available to him. Yet, there he is, taking a job position that could be filled by someone more competent and eager. His organization would probably benefit from replacing him, but they don’t want to ruin their relationship with his father the client/partner/donor/politician.

    Richie Rich comes to this page, reviews his assets and sees that he has the right numbers. He comments to pat himself on the back, assuming these numbers automatically give him the title of “the above average person” that you wrote about.

    1. I agree.

      And I think the biggest test for anybody is to actually just press the EJECT button from a job and see whether he or she can survive based on absolutely creativity, execution, and sheer will.

  9. Sam – I have been reading your blog for few days. I want to congratulate you first of all on great articles – no wonder you have 500 K monthly visitors. Your article on “Average net worth for above average person” was one of the best articles I have read in a while.

    I can see the point Brian and others were making earlier about genetic lottery (born to educated families) and advantages that accrue from it. And then what Sunil and Nishant said about just being born in United states should be considered a lottery if you are from certain other underdeveloped countries.

    How do you differentiate hard work from luck as far as a driver for success is concerned? Being lucky is very relative term and when does luck even out to make it a even playing field is the key question? e.g One can argue that even a person born in India in very poor families is much luckier than somebody born in North Korea or parts of Africa from where there is no escape.

    Real financial success stems from not just pure luck though – understanding money and how money works is an important aspect of being financially independent. This is reason why many professional athletes, musicians, rock-stars end up bankrupt even though they earn in millions. Here is a theory: if all the wealth in the world is spread equally among the people, in few years say 15-25 years huge chunks of money will most likely gravitate back to people who actually understand underlying principles of money (tax structures, cashflow basics, compounding etc etc). With luck you can make money but it takes a lot of hard work to keep it with you so it can compound over years and become the “juggernaut” that provides you the financial cushion for material trappings or for giving it to your offspring’s or your favorite charity.

    Sam – this could be a great topic for your next article maybe “Role of Luck v/s Hardwork in achieving financial freedom” :)

    Sam – Keep up the good work! Fantastic blog.

  10. Well I think alot of people don’t realize the value of money. Today, money is too abstract to understand. Sure a billion is alot of money…but exactly how much is it?

    If a millionaire could buy a single house, the billionaire could buy up the entire city section of houses.

  11. The Doors front man sounds a lot like one of my tenants. Terribly angry, and sure everyone else is cheating, especially his landlord, who has bent over backwards to be beyond fair. What’s the scripture? The anger of man does not accomplish the righteousness of God?

  12. Sam, I’m a new reader as of a month ago and wanted to post a reply to this great post. First of all, I want to congratulate you on a great blog – it’s very addicting. I’ve gone through and read most of your posts dating back to 2009.

    As far as your post on average networth of the above average individual, I feel that it’s very realistic depending on how you define “above average”. For me, I went to a top 5 school and graduated with no loans due to a combination of scholarships and money I made through my online business while in school. I made six figures coming out of school the first 2 years, then doubled my income by starting a consulting company. No help financially or otherwise from any family members. I’m 29 now and have doubled your high end of what a 30 yr above avg networth should be (pre-tax+post-tax+equity), and I know that a lot of my schoolmates are doing even better than me (28-32yrs old, 1mm+ networth, no family seed money nor help, mostly working in financial services).

    I think Morrison is upset because he thought that he’s accomplished something unique which was diminished by your calling it just “above average”. The reality is hitting your avg “above avg” networth of 240k by 30 is very tough for everyone except maybe the top 10% of college grads (or even less) as it takes immense discipline in both savings, hard work to earn more money and move up the ladder quickly, and luck (the avg 2013 college grad is earning 45k/yr according to shrm.org).

    1. Welcome to my site. Going back to 2009 is a lot of reading! My writing has changed over time right? I got everything out in the first three years and now I’m looking for new angles in the last two years.

      Graduating from a top 5 school with no debt is impressive. What is your business consulting about?

      1. I focused my consulting on digital strategy and eventually transitioned into more management consulting as my experiences changed. I will have to say that while I’ve done well, I’ve not been invested in the market at all in the past 4 years so no asset appreciation of any sort for me. I actually even lost 100k shorting the market in 2011 when the technicals broke down in Aug but the markets had a miraculous hockey stick save. Had I been all in like everyone else, I’d probably be a lot closer to FI now! Unfortunately, now is a very tough time for me to jump in as markets are again at all time highs, economic indicators have continued to decline (GS and JPM forecasting negative GPD Q1 14), real estate growth is slowing, mortgage apps have tanked, consumers are tapped out, and asset bubbles are forming all over. Interest rates are already at near 0, and the fed, while they’ve cut back MBS and TSY purchases, are still doing 45B and reinvesting all of their interest on their 4T of holdings. Simply put, I’m not seeing where the growth will come from to warrant current valuations let alone any additional multiple expansion as earnings growth more or less have stalled.

  13. Quite often, the anger is misdirected! It generally has nothing to do with you or the article. I went to school with very wealthy (many of them were old money) who were highly motivated to outdo or surpass their parents. Some even did! It is a lot easier for children of wealthy or successful parents to do well. Nature and nurture is a huge part of it.

  14. This is my 2 cents. In JM’s case, my guess is that mostly from environment and culture. If you look into certain affluent city/town/ZIP code in this country, most people will be in the range (or even high end of the range). If parents have 2M in the bank but decide to let their kids to borrow money for college, I think that’s their choice and a good one actually. JM might not form one of those city/town/zip where young folks who have major in certain jobs (e.g. IT) and also from a “saving” culture. For example, Taiwan, as a country, has 29% saving rate. So even an average saver (whose parents are from Taiwan OR she/he was born in Taiwan them came here in 20s), she/he could easily make to the high end of the range later in life because the influence from the culture. Of course, the % to total population is not high but we are still talking about one million or two (i.e. Asian background with good education, good job and high saving rate). Just making an example here.
    The other point is that JM feels people are lying about their net worth…which is entirely possible, of course. BUT at the same time, those who care to come here and read your articles usually are those who care and do better (money wise) than average Joe. So personally, I believe most reader’s comments.
    In the end, we believe what we know and see. So, Sam, it is possible that what you see and know is very different from what JM has been seeing and knowing.

    1. Here’s the thing. Even if someone said they had $10 million dollars at age 30, I would be happy for them. And I would want to learn their story on how they didn’t. I would not be envious of them b/c that feeling is no good.

      Learn from others or be happy with what you have.

  15. I don’t mind if someone gets a car or house from their parents. I take a lot of pride in buying my own things, and wouldn’t feel any sense of accomplishment from having my parents buy those things for me. The drive to buy my own things has led me to be a super saver, and I could easily purchase these items right now in my mid-twenties.

    However, I find it downright annoying when someone brags about buying their own home and talk all the time about how they are building equity, when their PARENTS paid the downpayment. Either buy your own home or let your parents buy it but don’t go on about how responsible you are and how much of an investor you are when you don’t even contribute a dime.

  16. SavvyFinancialLatina

    I do get envy eyes sometimes. I live in a very affluent part of DFW. I remember moving here after living with my parents. I thought everyone was rich, millionaires.
    I am appreciative of my parents for making some sacrifices so I could progress in my education. I, am, also proud of myself for recognizing I did not want to be stuck in a circle of poverty, and I’m working on this.

  17. Sam, the reason I really enjoy reading your site is that you are one of the only people that I have come across that has the balls to actually document real numbers out there on various topics. They are your “opinion” and people who freely choose to visit your site get fired up about it. Admittedly I get fired up about stuff as well, but I completely respect where you are coming from. Different opinions is what makes the world interesting. For the record, I moved out of the house at 18, was a self made (liquid cash in the bank not house or business equity) millionaire by the age of 32…I remember that day like it was yesterday…11 years ago. It can be done, and the number of people out there who are just like me would shock people like Mr. Morrison. Life is good, keep the good stuff coming Sam!

  18. Well, if you ask someone if they agree half the population is below average they’ll typically agree with that point (whether it’s statistically valid or not). Then ask if they think they are above average. I’ve never run into a person who doesn’t say they are average or above, they may say a “little above” or “about average” but absolutely noone says they are below average. So I guess part of the issue is if you just gloss over the writing and basic assumptions about the person you’re considering above average who is actually way above average IMHO I can see how someone could feel insulted in being considered less than “above average” even when their gains may otherwise be considered impressive.

    I’ll use myself as an example. I meet none of your assumptions with respect to 401K, aftertax, and real estate savings even on the low end for either my age or my years of working and I am woefully short with respect to overall net worth.

    Of course I got started later (didn’t get a full time job in my career field until age 24, and even then at only half the average salary for the field), had no good experience with handling money (stock market was for rich folk and you were doing well if you could pay your bills every month), made some really bad decisions early on that took many years to dig out from, etc. and yet by many metrics I’ve kicked butt compaired to some of my friends and many of the folks I knew from the old neighborhood.

    So if I compare myself to the old neighborhood, every sibling and in-law in my family, and high school pals, I’m doing darn good and at the top of the heap. But compared to your charts, I suck. Then compared to a few of my friends who hit multi-millionaire status financially we are really poor folk.

    So am I envious of my few rich friends, or the duel income power couple my last three supervisors were part of, or even you and your success FS. Well, DUH! I’m human and I can be envious in my dark moments (and you can’t stop me from wallowing in evil envy, so there :P. It can be hard to hear from a boss complaining about college costs for their only kid when you know that not only do both he and his wife make much more than you, but he told you about that half million inheritance he got last year meanwhile you’re facing paying for your third kid’s college bills. Basically, after a good pity party, I get up, dust off, appreciate that I have no business in their financial lives and can only worry about my own, and let it go or see if there is something I can learn from them.

    1. Man, complaining about paying for college and then telling everyone he inherited $500,000?!?! Ummm… I would say it’s ok for you to sweep his leg, Johnny.

      All I have to do is look around the corner to see the mega mansions that I will never afford to buy. BUT, I do find inspiration in them, and as a result, try really hard to continue writing here and elsewhere, and never giving up.

  19. I posted a comment on that post before realizing maybe I should have posted on this one. I hadn’t read the article until today. I qualify as an above average person but I knew before I read the post I wouldn’t be even close to average savings or net worth of even average American. My main fault was the worst decision of my life – buying a house in 2007. Now I’m $43k underwater on it. I also didn’t start saving for retirement until age 25 ( a year ago) so I’m behind there too. Maybe some day I’ll catch up but for now my mortgage eats up most of my income!
    Anyway, I liked both posts and that guy was just ridiculous. Ah well, can’t please everyone and you can’t change up your blog to attempt to avoid people like that. Keep doin’ what you’re doin’!

    1. Hi Bex, thanks for sharing! I’m impressed you were able to buy a home at the age of 19, if my calculations are correct. How’d you do it? I had like $3,000 to my name from working at McDonald’s and saving up Christmas money gifts, that’s it!

      1. Yes, I was 19. I got an FHA loan and they were offering 100% financing. I didn’t have any money. I even bundled closing costs into the mortgage. I qualified because my dad co-signed (but I have paid 100% of the bills, I just needed his good name on it) I recently wrote a few blog posts about it if you care for more details

        1. Gotcha! I’ve been wondering about the FHA loan system and feel that it may be doing more harm than good?

          I’ve got a 30/30 home buying rule I like to followin, which is 20% down and a 10% semi liquid buffer to boot. The other 30% is having the mortgage be no more than 30% of your income.

          I’m afraid with the FHA loan system allows first timers to put down 0-3% it might be getting folks way in over their heads.

          1. I agree that the FHA loan process could be setting people up for failure. I did not have a lot of $ saved up after graduating from college and decided to do FHA to lock in the interest rate (3.25%) last year. The biggest downfall is mortgage insurance that you pay until you 80% or less of your home value.

  20. And as the commenter named Sunil so aptly describes above, most people commenting on this blog ( including , I assume,James Morrison) have been granted one of the greatest blessings of all. Citizenship rights in the greatest country on earth , which rewards you amply for hard work and ability. Being born a US citizen is the greatest lottery of all.

    1. I think about this almost every day, having grown up in third world countries like Zambia and Malaysia in the 70s and 80s. I’m thankful to have the opportunity to create write freely, earn some shekels, and feel free. Go #USA!

  21. Slumdog millionaire right here Mr. Morrison. 41 years old with a net worth of 1.5 m. I grew up in India in one of the worst slums in the world. I understand there is poverty in America and all that but I suggest you take a trip to any one of the third world nations to understand the meaning of poverty. It will forever change your opinion on how good we have it here. I worked really hard in school and graduated from college with full scholarship…. worked for few years, saved money to apply to US universities for graduate studies and bought a 280 sq ft apt with running water for my parents in India. Moved to US as a grad student with a research assistantship that paid $400. My school was in south with monthly rent of $300/month for a 3 bed apt. I took another roommate in my room to save on the expenses. So my monthly rent was $50. We used to share groceries (mostly rice and beans and top ramen) which added to another $100. Sent $100 to India to pay for the mortgage on the apt and used to save the rest. Yes! I managed to save some money at a monthly salary of $400! After graduation I worked for couple of years and hit the dot com lottery. Became a millionaire and lost it all due to reckless spending (mostly buying other crap dotcom companies). Lost my job and was unemployed for sometime. Then started my own business with most of the expenses on credit card. Sold my business, got my citizenship in 2008 (after waiting for 16 years!) My spouse and I only started to contribute to 401k in 2009 because of we didnt want to lock up our money till we were citizens. Our combined balance is 250k which is on the lower side. But I invested in real estate in 2010 to 2012 time frame which made paid off big time.
    Despite all its flaws I firmly beileve America offers the greatest upward mobility if you are determined to work hard (and smart). And all the people cribbing about not having handouts from parents, guess what! You already have the biggest lottery any person in this world can have can have: US citizenship! That is all you really need to be successful! God bless America!

    1. India is the one country that really shook me up, despite having grown up in developing countries like Zambia and Malaysia for the first 14 years of my life.

      I went to Indian in 2001 and then right before the terrorist attacks in 2008, and man, the trips affected my outlook and my eating habits.

      Here’s the post with an example of the poverty that I saw: A Weight Loss Tip To Die For

      Since that 2001 trip, I haven’t let myself gain more than 5 pounds because I’m always mindful of the poverty out there. We are truly lucky here in the US.

  22. I will admit that I am not a self-made individual. It did not come in the form of monetary inheritance but from the love and care shown by those who gave a damn. The last time I saw my father alive I was thirteen, sitting on a train getting ready to head back home after a rare visit to the “other half’ of my split family. We shook hands and parted. A few minutes later he was back on the train with me and showing me the proper way to shake hands with firmness and confidence.
    That’s all! It was enough.

    He was not alive for my high school graduation. I received a suitcase from my immediate family and off I went.
    I still have the suitcase which has served me well but not nearly as well as that one minute that my father spent that enabled me to stand tall with confidence for the rest of my life.

    1. Interesting article on a politically right blog. If I went to Princeton, I would just keep quiet. There’s no need to try to defend yourself for being a Princeton student. It should be a given that you are smart and worked hard to get into the school.

      But, going to a good school is not exactly an incredible accomplishment. What is more important is what he DOES with his degree.

  23. I enjoy reading PF blogs like FS (FS being my favorite, BYW) and also make money. But, at the same time, I think that financial wealth is so much overvalued in today’s US society. The angry commenter is an example of how much importance one can put on money. There are so many other more important things in life for one to be so upset about its own or other people money.

  24. I guess the question I would have for James is, what is ‘came from nothing?’. I am above the average net worth of the above average person, but I have to count my wife when calculating my net worth (so in essence I’m cheating). I started off challenged having student debt, working as a security guard for several years after I graduated before I got my break. It sure did make me hungry and I won’t ever forget where I started.

    1. Yes, you are cheating by combining your wife’s income and assets, but that’s OK :)

      I’ve told folks who want to follow my charts that combining income and assets is FINE b/c being married is being like one unit.

  25. Well, I am living proof that building above average wealth can be achieved regardless of background. My history:
    – Moved out at 16 (long story but lets just say I came from a really unstable childhood)
    – Went to school and worked to support myself
    – Finished high school, got a job in retail
    – Retail lead to commission sales jobs (cars, home improvements) where I honed my sales skills
    – Became a top sales producer while living below my means
    – During this time I was reading all I could about investing and retirement. Started saving at 19
    – Eventually was able to get a business degree part time while working in sales full time
    – Now at age 40, I have a net worth of $980,000.00. (300k paid off house, $680,000 equities)
    – No debt

    How’s that Mr. Morrison?

    1. Looks good to me. Great job on having no debt! I’m going the opposite direction and taking on more debt at 2.5% for this house I’m in contract. Fingers crossed the economy doesn’t implode again!

  26. I re-read Sam’s original post in the context of this post. I don’t agree with James’ approach of insulting the original post. James attributes that the ONLY way to obtain the #s that Sam represents in his tables is to have started with funds from the bank of mom/dad. I would agree that the #s that Sam shows in the “high end” of the tables are very challenging to achieve. If you don’t rely on the bank of mom/dad then how do you achieve these #s? I contend that straight salary + bonus on a single salary is probably not going to enable most of us to achieve the high end of the tables. In most cases, based on my experience, you are going to need some good equity to “supersize” your savings. If a couple is both working, the savings #s really get interesting if all of the following can happen:
    1. Save one entire after tax salary
    2. Save 50% of the other person’s after tax salary.
    3. Add another, for example, $50-$100k/year in after tax equity to your savings.

    Straight salary, even for 2 income families, is still tough to achieve some of the “high end” table #s that Sam represents. There are obviously exceptions to the rule like being in the financial services industry working for a great company like GS.

    1. Dave, we can always do better. I welcome a post from you on ways to reduce taxes, pay lower, fees etc.

      Here are a couple examples:


      As for Personal Capital, as a 2.5 year user of the product and someone who believes in the company such much so that I decided to take 100% equity instead of a cash compensation, I think I’m write in line with my beliefs and probably don’t do enough promotion.


  27. I didn’t get much help from the “bank of mommy and daddy” financially speaking, but they did teach me to work hard and appreciate what I have. Maybe James didn’t get those lessons?
    I do hope to help my hypothetical future children out with paying for their education, but it will not be a hand-out! They will have to work to earn it, and will have to contribute to their education as well.

  28. Well I re-read the “Above Average Net Worth” post…. It does seem to be more like “three standard deviations above average”.

    Although James(?) has some valid arguments, I’m not quite sure I understand the anger. I do think your post provides some goal posts to aim for (but you would certainly need a very high income).

    “Self-made” is a relative term. I believe that all successful people have had help along the way. If not from Mom & Dad directly…. Then at least by attending good public schools and living in more supportive communities.

    Median American Household income is around $52,000/year. So…. If they can manage to accumulate about $650,000 and keep it invested in a balanced fund with an average annual return of 8%, they would be financially independent.
    So saving $186/month for a 40 year career at 8% would do that. Doesn’t seem too daunting.

    Save 1.5 times that per month, and now you are above average. Even better in my opinion, keep saving the $186/month and work on buying an affordable home. Getting rid of rent payments will go a long way towards financial independence.

    500,000 readers a month? Wow! I’m impressed.

    1. There are so many factors, it’s hard to come to an exact range on a subjective definition.

      But, I would say on the flip side, for many, MANY people I know, my above average net worth range is seriously low.

      With home prices in Honolulu, San Francisco, Manhattan, LA in the $700k-$1.3 million median range… the math doesn’t really work if you don’t have this type of net worth. But, plenty of people own homes in these markets, so there is a lot of truth too.

  29. I have read your blog off and on for a while now and generally enjoy your points of view. As is the case here. However, I think there is more to Jame’s comment than you care to say. He probably said it in a bad way but I think he is talking along the lines what we came from impacts where we are now. I would guess that your general readers are white middle-upper class Americans who probably came from parents that are white middle-upper class American. In a sense most have already won the game or the birth lottery and just need not screw it up. So lets not kid ourselves that we are all self-made. Maybe we didn’t get handed trust funds, though I’m sure some people did, but the rags-to-riches mentality of nearly all the personal finance blogs is kind of comical. I’m sure some have had tough times but in your tough times you still had a computer and internet to blog on. Not directed towards this site.

    Back to you, I would think that someone with a background like yours would appreciate the idea of luck and connections a little more. Getting a job at Goldman plays heavily on those two factors. I think what Justin was implying was that we all like to pat ourselves on the back and think that we did it all ourselves, but it is rarely true.

    However, I think for the most part your net worth stats are spot on. I think it just gets annoying with the pat myself on the back mentality in the comments. Congrats you do deserve it but also give credit where credit is due.

    1. Sometimes luck is created. Sometimes luck is pure luck.

      As part of the Stealth Wealth movement, I’ve encouraged everybody to attribute ANY success to luck, and NOT to their hard work or risk taking.

      Furthermore, I’ve readily admitted in this post and in previous posts that my parents were good parents. So the question I have for you and others is: How bad do we have to start in life for people to stop being so angry about others?

      I’d love to hear your story as well. Thanks.

      1. I guess no one likes your story unless you grew up in a single mom house and then became president one day…

        I, too, had loving parents who gave me values like education and a work ethic. They also supported me heavily financially through school. I’d like to think I earned my success, but no doubt their help had a lot to do with it. However, I would say that neither of my parents went to college. They worked hard, took risks, and saved like there was no tomorrow, and then gave my sister and I the financial resources to get through school so we wouldn’t have to suffer and sacrifice like they did and continue to do.

        I like the stealth wealth idea. Some people will find fault with you no matter what. If you want to be angry toward rich kids who got everything and ended up at Goldman Sachs, then shouldn’t you also be angry toward rich kids who were monumental failures? Seems like the former crested their own success in part, and the latter squandered their benefits despite all the advantages. Thoughts on being mad at the unsuccessful wealthy too?

        1. I don’t mean to find fault. And I’m not angry or jealous of rich kids. I actually would not want to be a rich kid because there is most likely a inverted U shaped curve for parental wealth vs achievement. As far as the monumental failures, I am not angry with them, I feel bad for them. Again most of us have been given enough (living in america) that we just need not screw it up. I am pretty sure minimum wage alone in america puts you in the top 10% of income worldwide.

      2. First off, I am not angry and I didn’t mean to be offensive. Whether luck is created or not is a discussion I don’t care to have, too speculative. I think the stealth wealth is a great thing and I’m pretty sure that I was for the most part agreeing with you. I assume that what frustrated you was the comment about Goldman. Maybe too direct, I’m sorry. I was just trying to point out that there are things that we don’t control that help us significantly more than we think. I know how cut-throat investment banking can be and to get a job at the top firm a few things went your way. I’m not saying that you didn’t deserve it or that you didn’t work hard.

        As far as a requirement for people to not be angry: must grow up in third world county, no parents, raised yourself and swam to america. I don’t think anyone is saying there is requirements, I think they just want people to be a little more willing to accept that they didn’t do it all themselves.

        My story is irrelevant. Its the internet, last time i checked keyboards didn’t come with lie detector software.

        1. I’m not frustrated or angry either. I just enjoy hearing other people’s perspectives. Your story is always welcome if you care to share it.

          BTW, I did grow up in third world countries and went back numerous times throughout my career.

          Most of us born in the US or who have jobs in the US are incredibly lucky compared to many in the world.

    2. Brian– that’s a really good way of putting it. While I don’t understand the extreme anger from the commenter, I do roll my eyes at some of the stuff I read on here and do agree that the rags to riches story is comical. Guys, if you have two educated parents raising you, paying for your education, more than likely you will do fine. That’s winning the genetic lottery right there. No one is saying you have to come out of a poor single mom household, but to not recognize how lucky you guys are to begin with is silly. I wager that if we did a poll of all the PF bloggers who are retired, most will say that they grew up in a good middle to upper class household. Color me unimpressed. Don’t worry, I’m far from jealous (I’m doing quite well and grew up on welfare, thanks), but a lot of times it seems some people here are all on their high horses shouting, “don’t hate, I worked hard for this, no way am I paying more taxes, etc.” and now when someone points out (in an extreme way though Brian did it better) that many times, there’s parental help involved (in whatever form that could take–trust funds, providing a safe stable home, food on table that you never knew hunger, time to study or do activities), people are bristling.

      1. Glad to hear someone thinks the same as me. Figured I would just take heat for telling people that maybe, just maybe, their success wasn’t the lone culmination of hard-work and pure determination. I know it makes us feel better when we think that but we need to stop kidding ourselves in to thinking that we are the unfortunate ones.

        1. My Mom and Dad survived Nazi Germany. They had barely a grade school education.

          Here I am today with a Master’s degree and part of the American “mass affluent” class. Do I feel lucky? You bet! I’m grateful.

        2. I’m with S and Brian above. While I think James has some anger issues, in a way I can see his perspective. I’m not trying to knock any pf blogger as I don’t notice much bragging going on. But in the corporate world, I think there are many people who are benefited from the bank of mom and dad and were born on third base…but believe their sh*t don’t stink and that when they reach home base, it was because they are better than you and deserved it. Yes, it is understandable that many who have lived a privileged and entitled life would have this perspective. Nobody is saying you have to be a Horatio Alger rags to riches story to be impressive. I’m sure many readers here and Sam, are impressive people who have done well. But in trying to understand the commenters anger, I think it is because of those who had advantages and are not as modest about it that initiated that anger. Not sure why he took it out on here though.

    3. That is quite a generalization you make.

      I for one grew up as the youngest of 9 children and my father died at 35 and I was 4 months old.

      I was very poor but never hungry when growing up and I am now way above average in earnings and net worth.

    4. Cindy @ GrowingHerWorth

      I think it’s a slippery slope when you start arguing who has more or less advantages, etc. If we dig deep enough, we all have had advantages and disadvantages in life. What matters is what YOU DO with them. In the end, we’re all responsible for ourselves, and what we make of our lives.

      I personally am not a high earner; My annual income sits below the national median. At 35, my net worth, etc. is at the very bottom of Sam’s charts (in line with 22-23 year olds, who are just starting out). I’m at the starting point of getting my financial life together, as are my parents, who are getting in to their late 50’s.

      I don’t come to Financial Samurai for a pat on the back, look at how great I’m doing! At this point, I realize I’ll likely never match up to Sam’s charts. And that’s okay. I’m not above average. I come here to learn from people who are above average. I can do the same thing as all of the below average people I know are doing. Or, I can learn something from above average people, and come out ahead of where I would otherwise be.

      So maybe Sam has had more advantages than me. Maybe I haven’t used the advantages I have had to their fullest extent. Regardless, in the end, we’re both responsible for where we are in life. Being part of this community is helping me to better myself. I find it funny how many people prefer to attack someone for what they have. I’d rather learn something about how they got it. I may never be rich, but I will reach my own form of financial independence. And really, that’s all I need.

  30. I think the problem with the “Average Net Worth For The Above Average Person” is The Above Avg Person title. I believe you more properly descrided the ” Way Above Average Person” .. Your stats are much much higher that the AVG person. So just being better than the AVG person stats is quite easy for most of us. But the stats for the Above Avg Person is quite hard for most people. No middle ground.

    1. Maybe. Again, describing above average people is subjective. If you were to use these charts and bring them to SF, NYC, London, Paris, Hong Kong…. these numbers are pretty low b/c incomes in these cities are really high, as is the COL too unfortunately.

  31. Your “Average Net Worth For The Above Average Person” blew my mind the first time I read it. Because here I was thinking (knowing) that I have more put away than friends and family, yet I didn’t even have 16% of what you listed. Didn’t make me angry though, made me swallow hard and think, “Damn–wow, guess I got a little catching up to do.” It was incentive more than anything. Am I angry about people whose folks helped them? I can’t spare them any thought, I got my own situation to deal with. This is like being angry at someone who plays guitar better than you do. Or (in this commentator’s case) angry at someone who’s equally good and saying the other person’s talent came naturally while he had to practice. Doesn’t make sense. Who cares?

    1. Well said!

      like Sam said his calculation is average for the above average – keep plugging and you will get there.

    2. That’s what will make you succeed, your positive attitude of getting motivated instead of getting angry. The positivity really is a wonderful thing. Fight on and never surrender!

  32. Many people are envious of others and just angry about their lot in life. Maybe they were really dealt a bad hand, or maybe they simple think they deserve better (regardless of bad choices they made). I honestly have no clue if you have the wealth you claim to have. I see no reason to doubt any of it, but perhaps all these stories are fake. Most of us come here to learn from you and others. We may not agree, but always fun to get a different perspective. But I have found that many people just want to offer negative commentary for some reason or another. Have a big enough audience and you are going to have a lot of crazy readers, angry readers, jealous readers, but also those of us who try to learn something or just get another perspective on things.

  33. The First Million is the Hardest

    Randomly capitalized words, sweeping generalizations & unfounded assumptions… It sounds like my uncle stopped by to comment in between sending his anti-obama emails!

    I’d take the angry comments as a compliment, Sam. Your words are reaching people & evoking an emotional response, even if it’s not the emotion you expect! I guess it’s better that some people get their rage out on Twitter and in comment sections to articles rather than in the real world

    1. I’m definitely not insulted. I’m actually really excited to get so much passionate commentary to be able to craft a new post and start a new dialogue. It’s like a virtuous cycle of new and entertaining new content!

  34. Comment commentary hurray! Wow that guy has anger issues. And a whole lot of jealousy too. I couldn’t even understand most of his arguments because they made no sense.

    Life is too short to whine and be jealous of other people. Some people may get help from their parents, and that’s fine. But that type of help will only take them but so far. They will have to become independent eventually. What they get help with shouldn’t really matter to anyone else anyway, it’s their own business. There’s no reason for someone to be so jealous of that it turns them into an angry person who sits and festers.

    We have to take control of our own lives and our own financial decisions and outcomes. Plenty of people have built their own wealth with minimal to no help from their parents. I paid for half of my college tuition as a student, got scholarships, financial aid, and have paid my parents back for the rest over time. And I’d say I’m in good financial shape now, which came from my own hard work and determination to become independent.

  35. Well, I think it is par for the course.

    Why? People STILL do not talk about money. It is a taboo topic.

    As a result, we tend to extrapolate how others are doing ( and how we compare) by what kind of car they drive, how many vacations they take and how often they go out for dinner.

    The problem , of course, is that most people spend every penny they have (and then some) to keep up with the Jonses. And the Jonses look like all is well on the surface– but more than likely they have a negative net worth as they are desperately trying to keep up with “you”.

    What we really need is an honest conversation about money. Lets pull back the curtain. If parents and friends were honest with each other about what they have ( or do not have) we could start to heal. We could start to learn from those among us who are actually successful. And we could start to fight back against the advertising, consumerism culture that dominates our lives and our airways.

    We DO NOT need to buy every new gadget. We are not always better off if we move up to a bigger house with a wine cellar and indoor pool. Despite the playful phrase, —-he who has the most toys DOES NOT WIN !

    The comment that started this— it seems was a reaction. A jealous reaction.

    As Sam said– it looks like he thought he was better than the charts showed. And he whined about the bank of Mommy and Daddy as the only way anyone might have been able to do better than he has done.

    This is the world we live in. Teachers are supposed to give -every- student an “A”– so that no one feels lesser than. We are supposed to do away with trophies unless everyone gets one.

    This is where that kind of BS “you didn’t build that ” attitude leads us. If you have alot of money– you must have done something illegal or immoral. You certainly stepped on and took advantage of a bunch of other hard working people to obtain that wealth ( or your parents did).

    And most likely you are refusing to give credit to all the employees, banks and government programs that made it possible for you to get to where you are.

    If you are truly rich— do the right thing and immediately give it all to charity. Or voluntarily pay more in taxes so that Congress can put those fund to good use.

    1. The “you didn’t build that” quote by Obama is an instant classic. He is a supporter and potential speaker at my inaugural Stealth Wealth Conference in SF btw.

      I hope not too many folks try to keep up with me. I’ve got frugality disease and need to live it up more.

      1. “You didn’t build that,” says hard work, creativity, diligence, and endurance, are of little value. This is inspirational? This is leadership?

      2. I am lmfao! What a bunch of Marxist b.s. here – ha! Loving this crap. Wow – eating your own. (and I’m quite sure you don’t even begin to comprehend that). I think the poster was/is right. I think you’re lying thru your teeth, but I love that you’re eating your own. You have that a## in the white house as your guest. He’s about as truthful as you are and I am sure that is what the poster that pissed you off sensed. Lies, lies, lies, lies, lies!

  36. Mr. Morrison claims to be in the high end of your range. Perhaps he himself benefited from “The Bank of Mom & Dad”, and it hurts his pride to think that there could be folks out there who are completely self-made. Maybe he doesn’t want to believe that it’s possible to be successful without substantial parental assistance or inheritance because he couldn’t do it himself. Of course, that’s merely a speculative guess. But could hurt pride really account for such a degree of anger?

    Personally, while my net worth is in decent shape, I admit freely that the House of M&D had a lot to do with enabling me to get here. I feel neither shame in their assistance nor overweening pride in my own achievements through frugality and good choices. Both factors played parts in getting me to my current state. Had I abused the privilege of the reduced cost-of-living that they were able to grant me, I wouldn’t have saved any money. Instead, I took full advantage of that reduced CoL by living pretty frugally and saving like a miser.

    No doubt I could have been even MORE frugal, and more aggressive and creative in seeking a higher income, but all in all, I think I appropriately honored the support M&D gave me.

    Maybe Mr. Morrison’s just mad because he received a very poor education, which is clearly evidenced by his exceedingly poor writing/reasoning skills. I must confess, reading his post hurt my eyes!

    1. Actually, James’ comment is one of the more grammatically correct written ones out of the thousands out there!

      House of M&D sounds good. Might switch up the terminology in a future post.

  37. I agree with the comment from Mr. Frugalwaoods that “net worth is not equal to self worth”.

    We all strive to make money and have a secure life. You can be a park ranger making a low wage and love your job. You retire in your 70’s or 80’s with a low net worth but are ok with it. Perfectly fine.. It doesnt matter because they love their job and themselves and enjoyed life.

    I would rather do that than be a the guy profiled who hates a lot of people (probably including himself), feels a loss of entitlement for not getting a hand out and has lots of money.

  38. Very entertaining article. It’s very easy to complain about “trust fund babies” as some other race of people who have no problems. We’re all people just born into different circumstances and we all have our own problems to deal with. Instead of complaining about how some people have a head start in life, maybe we can focus on improving ourselves and our finances so we can produce our own trust fund babies!

  39. Alert! Angry person on the Internet!

    Money and especially comparisons of money tend to bring out deep seated anxiety in people.

    I’ve become a lot more relaxed once I accepted that having money doesn’t make me smarter or better than someone who doesn’t, and vice versa.

    It can be easy to confuse your net worth with your self worth. Happiness comes from decoupling to two.

    1. ^ Perfect response.

      Also, I note this guy mentions he’s looking for asset allocation advice and that he arrived on a dated post (most likely via a long tail keyword in search engine results). It makes me think that maybe you should add a lightbox pop up that pitches a personal capital signup for advising. You could test this for only posts older than x months and only for traffic arriving from serps (this way none of your regulars would be burdened by it on fresh posts). It would be interesting to see what the signup conversion is given that the traffic is targeted and also what it did to your site metrics (like bounce rate). If all looks well you could pitch PC on paying you a “cost per signup” fee and then perhaps they could replicate that marketing effort with other finance sites.

      1. One of my biggest takeaways from reading your material was that I needed to have the realization that I am moving into a different phase of my life which requires diversity in allocation. To make that idea present and tangible was a big “duh” moment for me. In years past I was 100% equities. Then I realized, in part through reading this material, that I was just undergoing a natural shift to diversify. This site made that realization evident.

  40. Wow, I don’t think he is going to keep his high net worth with that attitude. His anger most likely tells me he doesn’t really have that net worth and he is mad at those that do. If he learned to focus that anger into something constructive he probably would have a high net worth and be a much happier person. It is amazing how much some people know about every other person in the a post, without ever talking to them or meeting them.

  41. I am 31 years old , and I come very close to the top end of your range for the persons in the 30 year old group. Although I think those figures are a bit high end , a reasonable approximation can be achieved through determined saving and smart investing.

    As for me , right when I started working , I started saving , right from 10% of my take-home and investing it , whatever small amounts it may be. Right now I save around 40-50% of my take home salary and invest it every month. I have invested very heavily during market crashes and used the profits from the subsequent rebounds to buy plots of land.

    And yes, I have received substantial help from my mom and dad. Right from investing money for me to buying land in my name and gifting me an apartment ( which I have not included in my NW calculation), my parents have supported me substantially. In my case , it is a combination of my own efforts and my parents hard work that have led me to my current situation.

    1. Man, I wish I was gifted an apartment from my parents right after school! I hate you!! Just kidding :)

      Now that you are 31, do you have a desire to pay them back financially? I’ve been focused since age 27 or so to pay everything back and them some.

      1. Well Sam,

        No , I don’t. Reason being , I’m from India and the mentality in India is that we work hard and save for our future generations. So , my parents have done so much for me and I would pass it on to my children.

        And savings comes pretty easily to most Indians. There being no Social Security or Universal Healthcare , individuals have come to rely on themselves alone for their financial safety nets. Savings rate of 20-60% are very common for Indians.It’s the investing part that comes very hard for them.

  42. I have no idea why he is so angry. I do know people where their parents have helped them and they still don’t have the net worth you have described, but that is based on their personal spending habits (which I think are bad habits, but what do I know). Not everyone has had help from their parents by giving them millions of dollars, but I am sure that most parents have tried they best they can to help their children. Mine couldn’t pay for college, but did provide me with items I needed throughout the school year and taught me a good work ethic. I have thanked them. That being said, I am wealthier than my own parents and will help my kids by teaching them a good work ethic and hopefully by paying for some of their college education. If there is more leftover when I die, then it’s theirs. If not, then I hope I was able to use my funds for long term health care and not burden my children by having them take care of me in my old age. To each their own. Good luck to your negative poster!

  43. Zee @ Work-To-Not-Work

    While I understand that the bank of Mom and Dad isn’t available to everyone, I think you would be a fool if you didn’t take advantage of every opportunity you could. I’ve never heard of someone turning down a trust fund, if that story exists I would really want to know why.

    I am fine with saying I’m part of the boomerang generation. When I finished college I moved back in with my parents to help get a better start and I’m very thankful for that. 2 years of being in my 20’s when I probably should have been going out to bars all the time and bringing random girls home didn’t really happen because I was with my parents. But because of that I was able to save up for a house early on and get ahead. I’m not trying to say that was a huge sacrifice to trade off my social life during prime “party years” but I was just taking advantage of the opportunities that were at hand.

    What’s funny is I just re-read your “above average net worth” post again and I realized that your #1 point about what an above average person is loosely defined as (A person who went to college and believes that grades do matter) is something I didn’t agree with. I think it probably matters more now for my field, but at the time, I don’t think it mattered that much for me.

    With my degree (computer science), for the most part at the time that I graduated, having the degree seemed to matter more than my grades. I also know that having a masters degree might have helped boost my starting salary, but over the first few years of working all that seemed to matter was work experience. My degree and grades very quickly did not matter at all. I actually wonder how much my degree matters now that I have a decade of work experience on my resume.

    Anyways, back to the point. The bank of Mom and Dad, while not accessible to everyone. Does not mean you should not use it. You’d probably be a fool to refuse help where you can take it.

    1. After no more than 5 years, I don’t think undergrad or a master’s degree matters anymore. It’s what you’ve done that counts, and your charisma and likability.

      It would be hard not to take advantage of one’s parent’s generosity. I do know some who have trust funds but never touch them due to the feeling of shame.

      But, knowing you have this huge financial buffer I think would be motivating to take risks and try new things.

  44. “Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt

    I have recently seen a number of comments on PF blogs echoing this same “you are not self-made!” theme; anybody have an idea where it comes from? (this time?). Sometimes these memes get a burst of exposure, and then die out when their pointlessness becomes evident. Interesting that poster “James Morrison” seems to think the problem is with others’ attitudes and honesty, and the “reality check yourself” implies…what, exactly? btw, this ‘you are not self-made!’ theme always comes from very young people who have some academic accomplishment but really haven’t done anything with their lives, yet, in the real world. The reason I say that, is because “James Morrison” doesn’t seem to know that the “fact” and “statistic” he lays out is his opinion, and people who can’t tell the difference are really frightening. (FS, please don’t take that for ‘bigotry’ because there are many very old people who blah, blah, blah!:-))

    People like “James Morrison” who complain about ‘trust funds’ or mommy and daddy always seem to compare themselves to the child who is the beneficiary. For a more accurate comparison, I would suggest comparing to the ‘mommy and daddy’ who have accumulated enough wealth through work and investing to be able to share it with whoever they want.

    Bottom line, it doesn’t impact you or your life what other people have, or don’t have. How they got it. How they use it. Everybody compares, sometimes it is fun or motivating or depressing or outraging. FS wrote a post awhile back about the downside of sharing your income with others; I really agree with that, once it happens you can never go back to the way things were. It is weird and rude when people talk about how they “got a great deal” as an entrée to revealing how much their car or house cost.

    Never Tell Anyone How Much Money You Make – https://www.financialsamurai.com/never-tell-anyone-how-much-money-you-make/

    1. “this ‘you are not self-made!’ theme always comes from very young people who have some academic accomplishment but really haven’t done anything with their lives, yet, in the real world.”

      You might be right. Anger seems to almost always come from someone under 35 vs. someone over 35. The over 35 crowd seems to be much more mellow and understanding. But I think more of the 35 crowd is within my estimates as well.

      1. FS, maybe so. There was one part of JM’s post that stayed with me, though…“…Sarcasm noted, thanks for trying to “act like the bigger person” by deflecting the negativity with a “positive” comment, textbook psychology. I am just saying most of these posters are lying about… This section, combined with your (normal) reaction to the post taking the message at face-value, sparked something I recall learning some time back.

        Upon re-reading, that excerpt is kind of chilling, because I have heard that kind of language and accusation and ‘I know what you are thinking’ type of communication before. It can come from people with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). Anyone interested further can google those terms. But the sweeping dismissal of a forum of posters in the FS reading community as “most are lying” is not something a reasonable person would think, let alone communicate. Anyway, watch out for these types; they thrive on drama, demand respect and deference without earning it, assert their will and opinion by claiming to do it on behalf of others, and lack empathy. There is no negotiating or reasoning, and nothing positive to learn from them. And the anger, may or may not, be real; either way, it is just a tool for controlling others’ feelings. Hope this is somewhat useful, and you are able to consider the ‘anger’ in another perspective. It goes without saying, but I will do so anyway; FS and posters on FS have done nothing wrong.

  45. Wow, I don’t even know what to say about him.

    Recently, I had someone comment on a post of mine saying that I was lying about everything and he claimed that my mom and dad bankroll me, and then he called me a bunch of names. If only he knew that my dad passed away and my mom is a disaster who I don’t talk to!

    1. “my mom is a disaster who I don’t talk to” — now **there** is a hard situation. Do you have any good articles on dealing with the prevalent social expectations of caring for those you had the (poor?) luck to count as relatives?

      1. Now that does sound like an interesting article idea. My mom was a disaster for a while and I lost touch with her for a long time. She is kind of better now. Now it’s my sister that’s a wreck and I try and try to help her but she never takes to my advice. And my dad – I love him, but financially he is in trouble and his health is degrading slowly so I figure it’ll be my responsibility to take care of him despite I am just learning to really take care of myself financially! Maybe I will write an article about my situation! I’d love to hear Michelle’s take on it too.

    2. Disappointing your reader didn’t bother to try and understand your story, or read your archives about some of the posts you wrote about your dad’s passing. Sorry about that.

  46. I feel sorry for the guy. He has some issues, clearly. For the record, after what I consider to be a late start, my net with is 1.5m today at 48 years old and I underestimate the worth of my house by at least 15 percent because you cannot eat your house.

    Anyway, I know people who have more than me and that is great. I know a ton who have less and there are usually a combination of 2 reasons – bad career management and/or not saving enough.

    I think the poster here falls into one, or both, of those categories and is seriously upset. Btw – I know very few people who received inheritances of any appreciable amount. The vast majority earn it themselves. I also think it is OK to inherit if you have that situation. I do not and that is fine.

    1. Bottom line is you can never really know how much someone has unless you examine their bank accounts.

  47. Well he really showed you didn’t he?

    I think this comes down to the fact that the US is a more resentful place these days. Politics and income disparity are really fueling the anger.

    1. Yes, but anger from someone who claims to be in a high income, high net worth group against others of the same is even more curious.

      So in conclusion, everybody hates everybody?

  48. You do get some crazy emails!

    A victim mentality isn’t pretty, even if it’s justified. You can’t blame people who inherited trust funds since it certainly isn’t their fault. Instead of being envious, the best plan is to work hard and earn things the hard way.

    I’m not sure I understand the commenters point of view since he seems to be a high-income individual as well.

    1. “You can’t blame people who inherited trust funds” — if one is disadvantaged, the starting point is a badge of honor and those discriminating against it are evil. If one is advantaged, the starting point is innate demonization warranting dismissal.

      Isn’t that how it works?

    2. I don’t understand it either, which is why I was hoping someone could help elucidate the situation for me.

      If you are high income and/or high wealth, why would you be angry at other people in your same position? Why would you think your status is so much greater than others?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *