Not everyone can be Mark Zuckerberg and become a billionaire by age 23. But plenty of people have been fortunate enough to become self-made millionaires by age 25.
A Quora thread titled "What does it feel like to be a self-made millionaire under the age of 25?" asked young millionaires to share their experiences becoming so wealthy at a relatively young age.
All the people from the thread who are featured here posted anonymously.
With experiences like awkward encounters with bank staff and difficulties with teachers, we've picked out some of the gems from the thread — but make sure you read the whole thing for yourself.
Teachers treat you differently.
"A couple of my teachers found out that I had some success and it's just not the same. I can skip project dates and they won't even say anything about it, while they give other students a reduction in their mark. Doesn't seem fair to other people but I mean it's nice for me. Sometimes it gets annoying, they ask too many questions about what I do, how I got started, and then blap asking if it's possible if they could do what I'm doing etc."
A visit to the bank becomes an interrogation.
“Nearly ever [sic] trip to the teller becomes some sort of interrogation. 'What do you do, omg good for you, when did you start' etc … Just gets so annoying and some of these tellers have to scream it out so everyone in the bank hears.”
You feel uncomfortable with spending money unnecessarily.
"I am from a poor family and the way I was raised, I always made sure not to spend more than necessary. The weird thing now is that I can spend more and it doesn't really make a difference financially, but it still does psychologically. For example I booked a really nice (and somewhat expensive) hotel, and then I caught myself being reluctant to use the mini bar because some voice deep inside my head told me that mini-bars in hotel rooms are a ripoff."
Time is the enemy.
“Private jets are not what you do because you want to have fun, they're what you to do to save time (time = money). You do the math: a private jet makes sense if it saves you x amount of time and your time is valued at y.”
Economy is hell.
"The first few times it's really nice to fly business class. Then you get used to it. Then it's nothing special anymore, but suddenly economy class (which was fine before) feels like crap. This adaption is dangerous because if you indulge, you won't be any more satisfied in the long-run, but your standards will go up and you become incompatible with what's normal for everybody else."
You can comfortably donate money to charity.
"In my profession (entrepreneur) it turns out that making money is one of the by-products of being successful, so if I keep doing my job well it will likely result in making more money. Which I'm going to give away to charity, along with all of my extra millions (I've already given $5M and counting) after keeping enough to generate an "annuity" to support our very lovely lifestyle (around $250K/£170K a year after taxes) and saving for the kids' college funds."
You make a lot of new friends (kind of).
"One thing I can say is, always remember the people that were there before you were a millionaire, the people that helped you to get where you are. The biggest change I've noticed is the people around me (general acquaintances, not close friends/family), when they find out I'm well off, they just try to flatter me, blowing smoke up my rear."
You can hit your bucket lists, hard.
"I had been postponing so many experiences with the idea of 'doing it at some point in the future when I made it' that I just started tackling them one by one. Superbowl. Sundance. SobeFest. Africa. A month around Europe. Three-star Michelin dining."
I could have been just as happy when I was poor(er).
"Surprisingly, the goals I identified were mostly goals that don't require much money, such as: learn to photograph landscapes like a pro, become a good salsa dancer, learn Italian, learn to cook Thai food. Now I am working more consciously towards my goals. I found myself a private Italian teacher (whilst before I would have joined a course) but the most striking realization was that I could basically have done all these things with just a modest salary... and I didn't, because I imagined I needed to work so hard and make money."
You have to deal with awkward reactions.
"Whether it's a tour guide pointing out a hotel that costs $1000/night and everybody in the tour bus gasps (and it's where I'm staying) or taxi drivers making snarky comments about millionaires, or people suggesting it's my 'lucky day and I should buy a lotto ticket' — I run into it repeatedly and predictably, but I always tend to keep my mouth shut and not say anything."
Having kids comes in handy.
"Do you really want your kids to grow up never having seen their parents work, or worry about the cost of something? Do you really need five cars, and two or three houses? Is flying commercial really that inconvenient? Are your kids going to love you more if you give them everything? Answers: Hell no it makes them lazy brats, one semi-luxury car per licensed driver is totally sufficient, one sweet house plus a sweet vacation timeshare is more than adequate, private planes are only rarely worth it but business class is really nice on international flights, and no, they will actually love you less and be miserable grown ups."
Don't let a fancy car define your image.
"Once I asked my father when I was in college and his colleague gifted his son a Mercedes for his 20th birthday, 'Why do we shy away from buying things we obviously can buy? Why am I not allowed to buy things others flaunt?'
"His answer was simple: 'Only a fool would buy an expensive car like that in a place where there is no driving discipline.' Soon enough he would be worrying about dents and servicing and mileage. Don't let a car define your image, let your positive impact on others lives make an image."
Play it right and you can be set for life.
"The key is you need to be very conscious about several things, including your wealth itself, how you spend money wisely, what in life makes you happy, and planning for future. When you keep everything in control and not spend unreasonably, having even just a million dollars (which is arguably not much in modern days) can mean you're set for life."
It is a lonely journey.
"You're the youngest and most underdressed person in any restaurant you go to. You give money to parents who can't hope to offer you career advice. After achieving more than most people ever achieve financially, what are you supposed to do — retire for the next 50 years?"
You can really think about what you want to do in life.
"Many people like giving the advice that you should work at a job you enjoy; but most people are typically tied to one type of job or another as it's something they can do that also makes them the most money. But when money is entirely out of the equation, what do you really want to do? This is a question that I have been thinking about for over a year by now."