How This Couple Paid Off $186,000 in Debt and Became Millionaires In Their 30s

how to become a millionaire
ladimir Pustovit under Creative Commons

Sure, we all want to be millionaires by the time we’re 35. Or, you know, ever. But how many of us do it? How many of us do it while starting off $186,000 in debt?

FrugalTrader did it.

The anonymous Canadian engineer and his wife paid off their debt and now have a net worth of $1m, all in eight years. They shared an inside look at their strategies with Forbes. Here’s how they did it.


Since he was 16, FrugalTrader has been investing, inspired by his stock-obsessed father. At the beginning he was only investing $20 or $50 each month, but those little bits helped and started to add up. He learned a lot during this process, but overall it taught him to risk big. “I believe in the long-term growth of the market,” he told Forbes.

Today, he uses both dividend stocks and index funds, “which he likes because they are cheap, easy, and beat active funds after fees. His tolerance for risk is high, though: Some 95% of his entire portfolio is in stocks, with just 5% in bonds,” writes Lauren Gensler at Forbes.

Live Like a Student

“Aggressive saving” was a huge part of the family’s road to millions, having regularly put 15-20% of their income into savings. Any raises, bonuses or tax refunds went straight into savings or debt payments. FrugralTrader told Forbes that unlike their friends, he and his wife “banked” their raises instead of extending their means.

Frugal habits didn’t hurt either, as the family resorted to typical student habits of bringing brown-bagged lunches to work and getting books for free at the local library.

Don’t Just Rely on Your Day Job

Both FrugralTrader and his wife work full time, bringing in a combined income of $105,000. But they didn’t stop there. By working overtime and taking on side jobs like consulting, the couple got out of debt faster than they would have otherwise. Now that they’re out, FrugalTrader is no longer working 80 hours per week and is spending more time with his family.

Within the next five years, FrugalTrader hopes to achieve complete financial freedom. At this rate, there’s no doubt he can do it. Can you?

For more ideas, read the full story at Forbes.

Your Turn: What do you think of the strategies this couple is using? Do you do something similar?

Marian Schembari is a writer and traveler based in Germany by way of San Francisco.