So since this site is about financial education, I would love to know, who does answer my questions and everybody elses. Everybody can do it. Literally everybody. I am doing it too, also I don't always have a clue whether this is completely right or not. The best thing that speaks are the results. I wouldn't take swimming lessons from a guy who never went into the water and tried it himself. So my question is, did anybody reach their desired financial freedom and wanted level of wealth and can he speak of experience or is everybodys bark much bigger than their bite?

Edit: I just saw that someone, ( how funny ) just 8 days ago asked the exact same question: Is anyone on Personal Finance and Money actually Wealthy? I am sorry for the duplicate!

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    >I wouldn't take swimming lessons from a guy who never went into the water and tried it himself. In that case, please do not take any advice from me (one of the top two dozen referred to by JoeTaxpayer) on 401k plans or Roth IRAs (neither of which I have) nor on current mortgages either (not had a mortgage for almost 20 years). If you ever attended a classical music recital and read the program notes, you will find that almost all singers, pianists, violinists, etc. claim to have been taught by people whom you most likely never heard of as performers in their own right. Feb 20, 2015 at 20:07

3 Answers 3


I understand the question to be similar, but not identical, to the one you referenced.

As with any open message board, you should do further research and not trust strangers. On the other hand, the nature of the scoring on the StackExchange site gives you a bit of confidence. The top rated two dozen of us have a collective excellent track record. And you can be sure, if we make a factual mistake, another will quickly point it out. The other question did discuss the varied backgrounds of the members, but at the end of the day, it's possible to build one's knowledge in this field with no credentials at all.

Those who have reached their financial freedom, as you call it, likely had a 30-40 year road to doing so. Money.PF hasn't been around long enough to be the cause of one's success, but its goal is to be helpful in this regard. It takes that long journey to reach one's goals, but a few hours here can help one know if they are on track and if not, offer some great advice to get there.

I know you edited out the 'millionaire' reference, but it's worth a mention. In the US, $1M is no longer what it used to be. It will offer $40K/yr (according to the 4% withdrawal rule), less, post tax, and less than median income. It's not 'rich' by any means.

  • Re: "less than median income", indeed, but I wonder, what's the median for investment income, vs. earned/employment income? Feb 19, 2015 at 22:03


"I wouldn't take swimming lessons from a guy who never went into the water and tried it himself."

Well put. As the guy who had the, um, brilliant idea to start this place, I'll avoid speaking in the abstract and instead I'll actually give you some facts about my own situation:

  1. My family is debt-free. We have no outstanding mortgage, loan, or credit card balances of any kind other than revolving credit on cards that we pay off in full each month. We like the convenience of credit, and use no-fee cards with points.

  2. We have a net worth that places us, statistically, somewhere (being purposefully vague) in the top quintile (20%) with respect to other Canadian families—and that group includes families with breadwinners at more advanced ages (i.e. closer to the end of their wealth-accumulating years.)

Both of those facts at least suggest to me that we're on our way to meeting our goals.

On the other hand, I know we're not there yet. It isn't hard for me to calculate that if we didn't work at all, we would drain our financial assets well before we'd reach our own retirement ages—and even if the markets were to reliably provide decent (but not spectacular) returns.

So, we've got a long way to go before we are financially independent, i.e. depending on no source of income other than what our investments generate. I continue to hope for, but not count on!, many years of spectacular returns so the way can be shorter, but more realistically there will be (and have been) rainy days along the way. I've enjoyed the flexibility and luxury of taking some, ah, "calculated risks" with my career that I might not have otherwise taken if we lived paycheck to paycheck.

But I can say without a doubt that practicing—most of the time—the kind of advice I teach has had a significantly positive impact on our family finances, and I know when it comes time to send the kids to university that we won't be scrambling to pay the tuition*.

(* Assumes tuition inflation won't exceed a well-diversified, low-fee portfolio's returns. :)

  • Being "debt free" is not necessarily the best measure. I'm more inclined to look at the overall balance sheet rather than just the $0 liability line. The bottom line should of course be positive, but sometimes the bottom line will be much larger amounts with debt than without. That's what is called "leveraging". If done smartly, loans are a tool.
    – littleadv
    Mar 13, 2015 at 6:39
  • @littleadv Agreed. Yet, given the career risks I've been inclined to take lately, leverage has been shelved for now. More income stability and/or an opportunity in equities like early 2009 would change my mind. I avoid real estate investing. Mar 13, 2015 at 13:18

There are many better measurements of financial literacy than accumulated wealth.

Philanthropy, expensive lifestyles, folks who made mistakes and learned quite a bit during their recovery, people who manage money wisely and stopped before you would have because, hey, happiness is happiness.

There are also some pure basics to financial health that aren't exactly common knowledge. There are those who work in the industry and are literally experts but haven't accumulated wealth.

You are right to be skeptical; use what you get as answers as a starting point to confirm what is best for you. But that last line of advice is for the Internet in general.

  • Go not to the Internet for authoritative answers, for it will say both "mu" and "Ni!"
    – keshlam
    Jul 1, 2015 at 7:05

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