Net worth

31-year-old man with a net worth of $1.5 million shares 6 investment tips

On June 15, Sharon Tseung was fired from her job at a startup as a marketing manager. His annual salary was slightly over six figures. In her mind, she had planned for this post to be her last before retiring, but she hadn’t expected it to end so soon.

For Tseung, losing her day job was less about money and more about what she would do with her time. At the age of 31, having a paycheck was no longer a requirement for her, having spent a decade creating alternative income streams and investing in assets.

She says she has reached a point where her multiple sources of income are now paying her more than her day job. In a previous interview with Insider, she had five online hustles that earned her around $34,000 at the time. Most of the revenue came from affiliate marketing, advertising revenue, online courses, sponsorships, selling on Amazon and Etsy, and real estate.

But his journey didn’t start with big assets and multiple sources of income. When she started building her wealth, she didn’t have enough money to buy real estate or make big investments. Buying stocks was the most accessible route for her. She also got a head start after her parents helped her open a brokerage account in 2003, to encourage her to get into the investing habit. But since she had no job, not much was posted to the account for a while.

It wasn’t until she started working in 2011 that she started allocating funds to a Roth IRA, which is an after-tax retirement account. This means that contributions are not tax deductible at the time they are made, but the funds can grow tax-free over time. His original goal was to max out the $6,000 annual limit. As her income increased, she added more funds to her brokerage account.

In 2016, under the guidance of his accountant, Tseung opened a traditional IRA that allowed him to defer taxes. But in 2018, she decided to convert it back to a Roth IRA after realizing being young meant she had a lot of time in the market and wanted to accumulate after-tax value.

In 2021, she finally had access to a 401(K) after landing her last job. This allowed her to contribute to a pre-tax retirement fund, and it had a significantly higher contribution limit of $21,500, which she could max out.

To date, his Roth IRA has accumulated to $87,450; his brokerage account is now at $259,900; and his 401(k) is worth $24,700, according to records seen by Insider. She noted that her investments had decreased by around $150,000 due to recent market fluctuations.


volatility

. However, she is not sweating as she has given herself enough time in the market to go through many cycles. Overall, his Personal Capital account matches his investments and cash savings at around $497,000, according to records seen by Insider.

Its top holdings are Invesco QQQ Trust Series 1 (QQQ) and ARK Next Generation Internet ETF (ARKW), as they are focused on technology and growth. However, over time, his goal is to gain more exposure to index funds and broad market ETFs such as SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY).

She also owns a real estate portfolio worth just over $1 million, excluding her husband’s holdings. Their properties are primarily in Georgia, Texas, and California and are a mix of single-family and multi-family homes. The values ​​were derived from Zillow and synchronized with the real estate portfolio tracker Stessa.

In an interview, she shared her top six tips for accelerating investments.

Have the right mindset

That’s the first thing that comes to Tseung’s mind when asked what she equates her success to. She feels lucky that her parents instilled in her the importance of saving and investing from an early age. Her father taught her to buy what she needed rather than what she wanted. She also observed her parents’ behavior when they bought things on sale and avoided spending on anything too extravagant.

“I think the mentality part is really crucial because, for me, I found more joy in seeing the dollar amount increase than in buying new things,” Tseung said. “So I would always figure out how I could increase that amount.”

Consider time as part of the cost

When deciding if something was worth buying, she considered not only price, but also opportunity cost, which included time. For example, her first job paid her $15 an hour. If she wanted to buy a $300 bag, she would calculate how long it would take her to earn that amount. Therefore, the bag would cost him 20 hours of his life. When she considered making a purchase from this perspective, it deterred her from unnecessary spending.

Pay yourself first

For Tseung, that meant allocating money to his savings account. She followed Warren Buffett’s quote, “don’t save what’s left after you’ve spent, spend what’s left after you’ve saved”.

“People talk about the 50/30/20 rule. So 50% on needs, 30% on wants, and 20% on savings. I would even try to do better than that if possible,” Tseung said.

For her, this 50% would go to savings rather than “needs” such as rent or transport. With rent being the biggest expense, she lived at home until she was 25 and kept roommates when she moved out. If she had to spend for her desires, it was generally to travel because it was her passion.

“Even with travel, I try to have a big budget,” Tseung said. “I use google flights and try to find the cheapest flights, and find the date that’s least in demand. Hosting, I’m going to do Airbnb and figure out how to do weekly discounts to make it cheaper. If I’m going to Europe, I’m going to fly to the cheapest country, then fly to Europe for much cheaper.”

Track your expenses

One important habit that helped her stick to her budget was tracking her expenses on a spreadsheet. She did this to become aware of her spending, while blogging about it for her website called Digital Nomad Quest. Its spreadsheet categories included flight, entertainment, food and accommodation.

Doing this exercise motivated her to keep cutting things she felt were too expensive or she could save on.

“My peers, they were moving to town, like San Francisco, and living well, but I knew they had higher salaries than me,” Tseung said. “It made me sad. I wondered if I was saving the same amount by living at home and earning as much money as people who live in the city and spend most of their income.”

She continued, “But I actually found that a lot of them were spending most of what they earned and having fun. I guess that made me proud of myself that I really cared more about myself. what I was bringing home because it’s like, why would I trade most of my life and not even have anything to show in return.”

Boost your income

Earning more money was a key factor for Tseung as his first job salary was considerably low. If she wanted to increase her income, she had to find side businesses she could do online. She started by experimenting with simple things, like starting an Etsy shop that sold digital products like resume templates and wedding cards. Her growing income meant she could accelerate the amount of money she was saving and investing.

“I started looking for ways to earn more income,” Tseung said. “Over the past six to seven years, I have built several streams of income and it has helped me grow my


net value

quickly and have passive income streams and cash flow that allows me to free up my life.”

Learn the fundamentals

Tseung thinks most people don’t start investing early because they assume it’s complicated and they have to learn how to value companies. Understanding the basics of investing is key to overcoming this difficulty.

Tseung recommends reading and using the free resources available online to educate yourself.

Additionally, three books that helped change her mindset were: “The Simple Path to Wealth: Your road map to financialdependence and a rich, free life” by JL Collins. This book doesn’t complicate investing and depending on how far you are from retirement, it has a simple guide to what’s best, she said.

The second book she recommends is “I’ll Teach You How to Be Rich” by Ramit Sethi. This served as a step-by-step guide to personal finance, which included understanding things like your


credit score

she noted.

The third book that had an impact on her was “The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich,” by Timothy Ferriss. This reading helped instill in him the ability to work remotely and care about time rather than money. This inspired her to create additional sources of income.