Best path to hit $10 Mil by 35

Hi this may be a bit of an unconventional post, but I'm going to Stanford next year and I have a disease that's going to make it hard or near impossible for me to work past the age of 35. My goal is to make at least $10 million by 35, so I can hopefully retire and have a comfortable amount of money to live off of through investments etc. I know going to Stanford opens a lot of doors for me in terms of IB/ Tech/ VC and I was wondering what would help me hit my goal the easiest. BTW I don't mind East/West coast and my disease will not hinder my ability to work.

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Comments (19)

Jun 6, 2021 - 6:33pm

I would say 

1) Create a startup (you're at Stanford, you can make it happen and find good cofounders), there's never been a better time to be a founder, money is cheap, you're right by Sand Hill Road, scale it and try to get an exit in the $100-500M range (and don't give out too much equity to VCs). Low probability of success, highest potential payout. 

2) Become a FAANG SWE, live frugally, invest in crypto 

3) Work for an early startup that you think would give you an Uber/Airbnb exit and get equity (low probability of success but if you get in the right place, you'll be set for life when you get liquidity). 

I would lean towards the second option, some Senior SWE's are making close to 7 figures a year in their twenties, live frugally, invest your salary in crypto and stocks that have the potential to 10x and you're well on your way. 

IB / VC / PE could maybe get you to $10M if you're a genius with investing (including crypto) but that would be hard. None of these options are anything close to guaranteed, but you're at Stanford, you're smart, if you work hard, make connections, and utilize the fact that you're at the best school in the world, I think you'll have a good shot. Good luck!

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Jun 7, 2021 - 1:17pm

You're going to need multiple income streams to pull this off. Career income is going to contribute less than 40%. I also wonder why you think you need $10mm by 35. $2-5mm is a lot more attainable. 

Banking to IBD/ PE/ VC for 5y. Launch own fund.

Work in SWE at FAANG for 5y. Launch startup.

Work in quant trading for 5y. Launch own firm.

You also likely need to move to Puetro Rico etc. 

Jun 7, 2021 - 1:53pm

you said 2 things: your disease will not hinder your ability to work AND that it will be hard/near impossible to work past the age of 35. I'm curious, how do you know that with such certainty? I don't claim to know what you're going through, I've just heard a lot about doctor diagnoses on chronic diseases both personally via family and professionally via clientele, and I'd suggest being a skeptic here. it's possible they're being charitable with you and you'll die by 35, it's possible they're being overly morbid and you'll be fine for a long time, it's also possible they totally underestimated it and you'll be wheelchair bound when you're 25.

REMEMBER THIS MANTRA: do the things today that when you have no days left, you'll wish you had done more of

this is not to say "nobody died wishing they spent more time in the office" because I love what I do so I don't feel work is a chore, but too often people are a passenger in the ride of their own lives. avoid this as best you can

I'm going to help you without answering the question. absolutely chase financial independence, everyone should. the way you do this is by what YOU want to do. if you don't want to be a SWE, don't do that. if you don't want to do IB, don't do that. but the combination of equity ownership (either by being a founder or early employee at startup or having large chunks of equity comp), living FAR below means, and aggressive investments (this can be the same as your equity ownership) could give you the best chance at this. 

I'd also suggest that getting to 50% of your goal plus a lot of travel/study abroad/other things that interest you and create memories are more important than the next $5mm. the difference I've seen in people's lifestyles coming from nothing to $5mm is monumental, but the rift between $5-10, much less so

Jun 7, 2021 - 3:49pm

You didn't say what your age is. Obviously this will be a lot easier if you're starting B-school at 25 then 31. Pick the absolutely highest paying job with the best job growth you possibly can. Take the vast majority of your savings each year and invest it into real estate with a 15 year mortgage. Investment properties typically require 20% down, so you need 2 million upfront to be worth 10 million 15 years later, and that doesn't include appreciation. Of course that means you need to be investing between 250k - 500k over the course of 4-8 years, which doesn't seem feasible to be honest. 

Let's halve your expectations. 5 million instead of 10 million, and say you have 6 years after B-school to do it. If you can put 170k a year towards real estate, you'll have 1 million invested over those 6 years, and given a 20% down payment that means the portfolio is valued at 5 million without appreciation. The problem is that most of the money you make from rent will be going to the mortgage and expenses for 15 years. So you need something to hold you over for 9 years if you can survive off the rent of 1.7m worth of properties. Given the 1% rule, when all of your properties are paid off you can expect to make 50k a month minus expenses. You can always invest some of that back into new properties to slowly grow to 10 million.

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