The Path to A Million: Moving to Move Up
Hello $wanigans! Welcome back to The Green Swan. Today is part 2 to the path to a million. In part 1, Finding the Elevator, I went through some of the keys to my wife and my success in laying the foundation of our careers which has since fueled our Net Worth Explosion. And as I mentioned in the prior post, this two part series came as a recommendation from Finance Solver. As always, I appreciate the comments and recommendations, keep ’em coming!
In retrospect, my wife and I would categorize our path to a million as two distinct phases. After I completed my night and weekend MBA program and my wife Lucy put in her dues at work, we were both ready and looking for the next opportunity to advance our career.
In the first 4 to 5 years of our journey beginning after college, we didn’t necessarily expand our net worth all that much. We were still less than 20% of the way on our path to a million. But we laid the ground work, found the elevator and we were ready to ascend! That leads us to part 2, Moving to Move Up!
Finishing my MBA in December 2010 was perfect timing. It had been about two years in my current position and with my tenure at the Company being about 4 years, I was eligible to apply for a temporary position which I would then rotate out of into a more senior role wherever I was needed by my employer across the country.
My end location wasn’t completely up in the air; I would have the opportunity to apply for various openings in many different business units. While I would still have to compete with others for those positions, I did have flexibility in where I would apply.
What made this such a tough decision was how it would affect Lucy’s career. The easy choice would have been stay put where we were, but we knew that would limit my overall career advancement. So we took a leap of faith.
In 2011 I accepted a temporary position out in San Francisco, still with my same employer. And after the position in San Fran I could then be heading anywhere in the country.
Lucy and I didn’t want to live separately until we knew my final landing spot, so Lucy began searching for a job in SF and moved with me. Given Lucy’s great work ethic and reputation with her employer, she was able to find another job in its SF regional sales office shortly after the move. While it was a major leap of faith, it worked out very well for her. As part of the move, she too received the promotion she deserved.
As I completed my stint in SF in late 2011, it was yet again another trying time for us. I was in search for my next resting spot, interviewing across the country. And when we settled on a position in Charlotte, Lucy was once again searching for her next job.
Fortunately Lucy was able to work from home in Charlotte for the SF sales office temporarily, and after just a few months of searching in Charlotte she found her next job. As fate would have it, she received yet another promotion as part of this move, all while staying with her same employer. This was no doubt much deserved given her work ethic and the skills she had developed in previous capacities. Just like me, she was being rewarded for her hard work and willingness to move to create advancement opportunities.
At this point we were both valuing the fact our employers were national companies, which did allow us to advance and make geographical moves together.
As fate would have it, our search for career advancement (and our personal “gold rush”) aligned perfectly with the two American cities that had experienced gold rushes. San Fran’s famous gold rush began in 1848 and Charlotte was the original gold rush in America when a 17 pound nugget was found in 1799. Crazy huh?
Coincidentally, these the two cities resembled our personal gold rush. And in Charlotte we finally found our gold mine. The rest of our path wasn’t all that exciting, but it is where the magic happened. Our salaries have continued to expand nicely. We are very valuable employees for our respective institutions and we are now cashing in.
From a personal standpoint, we’ve put down some roots in Charlotte. We finally bought a house and had our first kid, but we haven’t let lifestyle inflation creep in too much. We’ve continued to manage our expenses tightly and push all our incremental earnings into our retirement accounts. And if you’ve followed The Green Swan for a while, you know we Invest to Win.
Reflecting on this phase on our path to a million, while lasting just over 5 years we saw our net worth expand approximately $800K. While the length of this phase wasn’t much longer than the first phase, we expanded our net worth 4 times as much. However, it wouldn’t have been possible without the groundwork that was laid in the first phase.
The key was that we didn’t let the groundwork built in phase one to go to waste. We didn’t need to take the risk moving to San Francisco and Charlotte, going out on our own and moving away from family, friends and support structures we had in place. We took additional leaps of faith, and moved geographically to facilitate our career growth.
Many of the things that helped us “find the elevator” in phase one were instrumental in “finding our gold mine” in phase two. We accepted challenges, got outside our comfort zone, embraced change, made ourselves valuable and took leaps of faith.
Ready to find your path to a million? Check out the millennial’s guide to a million.
Are you on or have you completed a similar path to a million? What were some of the keys that helped facilitate your growth? Let me know in the comments below.
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The Green Swan
Work Harder, Work Smarter, Retire Earlier and Find Your Beach
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