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Trying to Be a Millionaire by 30 Is a Nightmare

by | Feb 12, 2024 | Money, Personal Finance

“Get rich quick” is everywhere.

When it’s not directly said it’s implied or even subliminal. I’m freaking sick of it. I tried this age-old dream and it ended in disaster. Let’s discuss why.

Now, if you’re over age 30 then this essay still applies. This millionaire dream is now dished out to our children, too.

Money is the worst motivation in history

When you chase money you delude yourself.

Money doesn’t motivate you. When you hit a certain number you only want more. In my 20s I wanted to be a millionaire by 30.

I started several businesses with my brother. Our only goal was to make as much money as humanly possible. We were evil twins. We started the worst businesses and even ripped customers off.

We gave them bad quality products, like faulty air conditioners from China. We often delivered products and services late. And many times we took people’s money and delivered nothing.

I’m ashamed to admit that but it’s true.

I was nothing but a used car salesman and a charlatan. That’s what trying to be a millionaire by 30 did to me.

I had the worst role models too. Drug dealers, actual used car dealers, internet get-rich-quick friends and silly celebrity DJs. I thought reality TV show contestants were superstars.


Because they were most likely to get rich and I wanted to be around them for their fame and attention. Yuck. All of this led to a mental meltdown. I lost the businesses, trust from family, and even my friends.

I reached my 30s alone, desperate, dateless, and with no money.

Chasing money is empty. When you chase money you’re jumping at shadows and walking down dark alleys that have murderous risks.

Conmen can spot an “I wanna be rich by 30” kid from a mile away. And they will happily extort you. You’ll become a magnet for them.

The quickest way to not make money is by chasing the money — Gary Vee

I guess that’s it. Thanks for reading and goodbye. Okay, hold up! There’s more to the story…

Numbers on a screen don’t make you happy or fulfilled

In my 30s I managed to hit some big numbers on my internet banking app (multiple 7-figures). Don’t pat me on the back because it sucks.

Making a lot of money felt empty.

My life didn’t feel better. I didn’t become happier or suddenly feel blessed and fulfilled. I actually became a little ungrateful. Money is just a number, and the sooner you realize that, the better.

It’s what’s behind the numbers that matters more.

What are you doing and why are you doing it? Who did you help? Who’s inspired? What does it do for your legacy?

The sad part of the millionaire story

Trying to be a millionaire by 30 leads to hidden anxiety.

You teleport into the future. The present isn’t good enough…it’s too ordinary and boring. The sad part, I found, is you miss the journey when you try to make money fast.

I’d do anything to go back 10 years to the hard times. When I’d sit in my Holden Astra car next to Crown Casino in Melbourne (oxymoron, I know) and read finance books until after midnight.

Being poor and unsuccessful is one of the best parts of my life.

It caused me to do fake job interviews at investment banks. It caused me to take up public speaking and make the state championships. It caused me to send cold emails to Richard Branson and experience rejection.

The people I met along the way were extraordinary. It led me to today where I worship ordinary. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do to go back to my banking days and relive them.

Ignoring the fast path to wealth lets you live in the present and enjoy the journey.

Here’s what to chase instead of silly money

The topic of this essay came from a conversation Gary Vee started. I read the comments and it was full of cliches.

The worse one of all: follow your passion.

Passion is lukewarm. Doing what you love is even worse. Most people don’t describe their work or hobbies as cutesy love.

I’ve found chasing my obsession is a much better compass. It has more force and intensity. I don’t have to feel like doing it or pretend to do it for love with a smile on my dial.

The challenge is we often have an obsession but are too scared to label it that. It sounds too much like hustle culture.

Sometimes we just haven’t put enough hours into a skill or hobby to know how we feel about it. So, if that’s you, then spend more time on the thing that’s interesting but not yet an obsession.

Money rarely comes from following a passion because it’s not serious enough. We do things we’re passionate about when we feel like it or when there’s time.

We do things we’re obsessed with because we’re addicted or hypnotized by them. That level of intensity is more likely to help you cross the threshold of participation and make some real dollars without focusing on it.

“The money will come in due time” is a lie

Wait, what?

Sorry to disappoint you but becoming a millionaire by 30 is a stupid goal, and thinking money will just fall into your lap is worse.

“The money will come in due time” is based on wishing and hope. Hope is a bad business model.

Being a fast millionaire isn’t helpful but being perpetually broke isn’t much fun either. We all should aim to create moderate wealth. Not Lambo wealth, but enough money to live comfortably and travel.

That means you have to be intentional about money.

Build a career. Network. Write online. Create multiple streams of income. Turn active income into passive income. Invest in financial assets.

If you focus on these things, then in somewhere between 5–10 years, you’ll access personal freedom. It’s where money can help buy some of your time back, so work becomes an option instead of an obligation.

If I was giving advice to my 20-something self, it’d be this: forget trying to be a millionaire by 30 and start a family instead.

This article is for informational purposes only, it should not be considered financial, tax or legal advice. Consult a financial professional before making any major financial decisions.

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