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How a Teacher Can Become a Millionaire How a husband and wife, both teachers, saved up nearly $1 million in just 16 years.
Yes, it’s true! Ed Mills and his wife have spent the bulk of their working lives as teachers in Georgia. They’ve used some unusual techniques to become millionaires—all while living a life they wouldn’t trade for anything. Photo: Facebook page for Millionaire Educator
In 1996, the Mills family was $40,000 in debt. By 1999, their assets were even with their debts. In 2015, the family’s net worth is almost $1 million
But how did they do it? The couple’s journey is best understood by looking at five key aspects of their lives
Key #1 Teaching in Saudi Arabia (1996-2001)
The Advantages Though the salary was just $40k per year… It was not taxed! Use of housing and a car were included free of charge!
The Result After three years, their student loans were entirely paid off. After two more years, the couple’s net worth was $103,000.
Key #2 Teaching in Georgia: Maxing Out Retirement Accounts (2002-2015)
Supercharged Savings Back in 2002, the couple earned $85,000 combined. From 2002 onward, the couple maxed out their 403(b)s and IRAs (Traditional or Roth) From 2005/2006 onward, they maxed out their 457 accounts (which allow for penalty-free withdrawals), a Coverdell Education Account (for their son), and their school-sponsored annuity. From 2012 on, they maxed out a family Health Savings Acct. (HSA).
Key #3 Salary Bumps via Advanced Degrees Photo: Sarah Stierch, via Flickr
Advanced Degrees Ed eventually earned two Master’s degrees and a Specialist degree. His wife eventually received her advanced degrees as well. Ed estimates this led to an automatic 25% bump in their yearly salaries.
Key #4 Geographic Arbitrage
What is Geographic Arbitrage? A simple definition Saving money by living in areas with lower costs of living.
Examples of Geographic Arbitrage Saudi Arabia We already covered how this: Allowed the couple to pay off student loans. Amass a net worth of over $100,000 before moving back to the United States. Rural Georgia After teaching in LaGrange for seven years, the couple moved to rural south Georgia for 3 years. Living expenses were extremely low. The couple added $250,000 to their nest egg via savings and investment!
A Notable Side-Effect Because of constantly shifting jobs, they were allowed to roll over their 403(b)s. They had many more investment options. This also reduced fees significantly.
Key #5 Living Frugally
The Key to Savings As you might have guessed, Ed and his wife don’t need much to be happy. At one point, the couple earned $100K per year, and was able to save over 60% of that pre-tax salary! The couple splurges on travel—usually internationally. Last year, they took months off of work to visit Cancun for an extended period with their son.
The simple, yet powerful message can’t be stressed enough: By living well below their means, Ed and his family enjoy complete freedom of time, and are generally immune to financial stress. There is absolutely no substitute for this!
More Retirement Help Ed was able to help his family by doing extensive research on different ways to boost his retirement savings. We’d like to help you do the same. Check out our special free report…
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