In Discussions, Investing, Money, Retirement, Wealth

My greatest money fear: To be a HENRY

My greatest money fear from the get go, has been to be a HENRY.

I didn’t even know this acronym at all existed, but HENRY stands for:

High Earner Not Rich Yet

I do not ever want to be told that I make a good income… but my savings does not reflect that, and I am not considered rich.

How can I possibly make so much money and not be rich? That sort of boggles my mind, and it makes me so fearful that I use it as my reason to keep my spendy self in check, and to keep pushing myself to save and invest, save and invest.

Squirrel away savings, but also live my life like a happy squirrel.

So what is rich exactly?

This is subjective.

I have no idea what “rich” is for me, or for anyone, but I daresay, closing in on $1 million in my personal net worth by my mid-thirties, I’m safely “rich enough” for my age, considering I have another 20+ years to go to keep building on that wealth.

The only indicator I have, is this article that talks about being rich from The Globe & Mail.

It seems like an average of $2.4 million USD is considered “rich”, or $3.1 million CAD.


I may be close to a third of that amount, but I’ll need the other 20 years to reach the $3.1M point and be considered “rich”.

And yet, the more money you have, the more stressed you are about it..

In the same article, tw0-thirds of the millionaires polled in 2015 with $1M – $5M net worth or less in their households, felt like they were just one setback away from disaster.

And those with $5M or more, one-third felt the same.

This is mind boggling to me.

To have that much money and feel like you aren’t secure?

Even now, with the money I have, I feel pretty secure. I’d need to be in some sort of serious health situation that starts draining money (but we also have universal healthcare here in Canada) to not feel  secure.

Millionaires’ two reasons cited for stress were:

1. Job Loss

This makes sense, if you make bank and you lose that, but your lifestyle is based on making lots of money, you’re stressed AF.

You make $500K a year? Great. Are you living on $50K a year? LIKELY NOT.

You are likely in a job that has long hours, is stressful, your spouse is at home, you have children and they’re in private schools, your huge mansion has a mortgage (?), taking big vacations a year and your lifestyle is expensive.

How am I guessing all of this? Because I see it in my family. My sibling has exactly this situation above.

I think they bank about $400K a year between the two of them, if not more, and they are in a huge million plus dollar house that is mortgaged (still) – I never asked for the numbers, their kids are in private schools about to head into elite universities, and drive decent entry level luxury cars. Not Ferraris or Porsches anything like that, but the smaller Mercedes-Benz and Audi cars.

They take 3 big family trips a year and then on top of that, they take individual guys’ and girls’ trips for a week in Europe or whatever alone without each other. Plus, date vacations, getting away for the weekend.. you get the picture.

They also have cleaners coming in all the time, their kids have hobbies which are also expensive (you have to travel to each city to play every weekend which costs in hotel, travel and food), and their life is just so overwhelming to hear him talk about it.

If either of them ever lost their jobs, they’d be hooped. Seriously in trouble.

I think they have a decent nest egg saved, but I do not think they are as mentally secure or as comfortable as they’d like to be.

I see that, and I model my lifestyle and expectations away from that as much as possible.

It is not that I cannot afford the big house with a mortgage (I can), I chose the smaller apartment that is manageable and with no mortgage at all cuz.. DEBT..

I also don’t have my child in a private school costing $25K/year. I could put him in one, but why? Why not save the money for secondary school or university so that it matters?


When they are younger, even if they ‘bond’ with the other kids there early, I don’t really see the benefit for now, and I respect parents who are willing to bust their @$$ and stress and work like mofos to make it happen for their children, but I am not one of them.

I didn’t grow up going to private schools and I turned out fine.

I knew kids who grew up going to these schools and they are ‘disappointments’ to their family, which I find extremely sad, as you shouldn’t put that kind of pressure on ANY CHILD to meet YOUR expectations for them.

As for vacations?

We take one a year, if that. Right now, no vacations, we keep it cheap and head on over to see family in Ontario. We aren’t the type of people who need fancy splurge-y vacations to relax or destress. Not having to work to constantly hustle and bring income, and the peace of mind you get from that, is already a vacation.

As a result of all of the above, if I lost my job, I’d just find another one.

My contract work brings in great money, but I can also (if I have to), pick up a job as an employee and still make a lower 6-figure income, which is for me, pure job security.

I can even pick up a job in another field completely but related to my industry. That’s such a relief… I am not so specialized that I have no value outside of what I work in.

Heck, even now, I could pick up a minimum wage job, and still be fine living forever like that.

We wouldn’t have vacations or anything extra, really, but we’d be able to make it. We would live without luxuries, with proper medical care, good bougie organic food, and have a comfortable life by many stretches of the imagination.

2. Huge investment losses

For huge investment losses, this is is all about diversification.

I don’t even get why we spend all this time making all this money and then drop the ball in learning how to manage and invest it.

I know lots of people who make lots of money, save it, and then sort of.. can’t tell me where it’s invested, why, how it’s doing, what they plan on doing with it next year and where it is going.

Look, I get it.

I have been there – you’re busy, the family is running you ragged, you have things to do and people to see, money is just the farthest thing from your mind when you come home and want to Netflix and Chill.

But if you don’t have a handle on this, this is your nest egg, and if you throw everything into the stock market, into one or two stocks, yeah you’re screwed.

So.. think about it.

Don’t rely on just your home to be your main net worth. I know people who only have their net worth as their home. Once you have your home paid off, the journey isn’t over. You still need money to pay for utilities, to eat, to live!

You can’t eat your home.

It is why I aim for having my home be under 50% of my net worth (yes!!! SCORE!), and I am aiming for my home to be 10% of my net worth as a lifetime stretch goal.

I want to be sure my assets are liquid, invested, and easily sold (and exchanged for edibles) when required.

Aside from that, have some cash like an emergency fund saved aside.

Have some alternate lending ideas that you’ve researched and are comfortable with. I use Lending Loop: Use my referral code { 7b03f0 } to earn $25 once you lend out $1500 to small businesses yourself. I have about $10,000 on loan right now. My yield is 12.4% right now (this is how you get started in private lending with Lending Loop).

I plan on putting about another $90K into Lending Loop over time to get it up to $100K, then $250K as my portfolio base grows bigger and bigger.

Invest in mutual funds, and make sure you know what you are investing in and why.

Don’t just throw money into some random fund and cross your fingers!

ASK QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR MONEY!!!

  • What is it returning you?
  • What companies does it hold in their portfolio?
  • What’s the risk?
  • What’s it costing you — the management expense ratio?

Aside from funds, put your money also in individual stocks, but keep it within $20K – $25K per stock so that if you do lose out on the stock, you may have lost a pig or a horse haven’t lost the entire farm.

Try to DIY yourself to save on fees. Like using Questrade: Use my QTrade referral { o0soehds } for $50 in free trades (this is how you buy & trade on Questrade)

…and don’t rely on the government pension. It is so unpredictable, it may be $3000 a month it may be $300 a month by the time you retire.

Don’t rely on anyone else, even the government, to take care of you.

So yes. All of my greatest fears about my money in one post.


What is yours?


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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

I got out of $60,000 of debt in 18 months using TheBudgetingTool.com. Since then, I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K (savings rate = 85%). I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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6 Comments

  1. X
    Xin

    Haha, the main context in which I’ve heard that term in the USA is basically just to describe newly-minted doctors and junior biglaw associates, people with high earnings and reasonably good future prospects, but who are – as a demographic – often burdened by some pretty extreme student loans and haven’t been working long, so they don’t yethave much savings.

    In that context, the discussion is usually about certain financial products marketed to us: For instance, one of my first firm’s clients marketed the associates discounted premium banking and wealth management services, even though we generally didn’t meet their eligibility criteria (i.e. a $50,000 to six-figure checking account balance). It also comes up with student loan refinancing, where a few companies offer us below-market interest rates, on the condition that we also start a banking relationship with them (so they’re hoping to keep our business later on, once we’ve had more time to build our assets and save).

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      I had similar approaches of lower interest rates and so on when I was a student.

      Reply
  2. SP

    I think your fear is maybe HENR… The “Yet” part is important! It is hard to be “rich” right out of the gate, even as a high earner. In fact, even saving 50% of your income, you still need to work for ~17 years to achieve financial independence with a 4% safe withdrawal rate (!). Although I think you could hit a reasonable definition of rich a long time before that.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Yes! Maybe a HENR.. doesn’t sound as catchy though 🙂

      Reply
  3. K
    Kellie @ Big Style Finance

    I work in government so I meet a lot of people who went to private schools, and a lot who went to public, and I can’t see that there’s a big advantage to people whose parents shelled out a fortune. There doesn’t seem to be any preference for this be over the other when it comes to promotions or salaries. Perhaps it’s different in private law firms or places where good contacts will go a long way, but I think people overestimate how beneficial it’ll really be in the long run.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      I think so too. I think maybe the NETWORK is interesting in terms of which university/college you end up in, and who you end up having as friends to get a job, but the actual schooling itself? Not so certain.

      Reply

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