Achieving a million-dollar net worth by age 35 is no easy feat.
For Drock, a lobbyist who lives in Washington, DC, it happened after 12 years of hard and focused work — and a lot of guidance from his mom.
In a blog post published in January, Drock, who uses a pseudonym online but has been verified by Insider, revealed that a month before he became a millionaire, his mom retired at 62 and hit a seven-figure net worth herself. Drock called his mom “the single biggest financial influencer in my life.”
Drock said there are five standout lessons he’s learned watching his mom navigate multiple marriages, setbacks, and careers that set the stage for his own financial success.
1. Diversify your income
Drock’s mom transitioned between a traditional W-2 job and entrepreneurship for most of her working life, she explained in a blog post. She did whatever it took to get by, often working nights and weekends and picking up freelance work well into her 50s.
“Her hustle showed me that you could do something beyond, or in addition to, the traditional 9-5 job,” said Drock, whose own side business is currently valued at around $40,000.
2. Leverage real estate
Drock and his wife, a school administrator, own two rental properties — a passive income and equity-building strategy he picked up as a young adult from his mom.
He learned about the cash-flow benefits and tax advantages of real-estate investing from her, and purchased his first rental property, a foreclosure, in 2009. He was working his first salary job at the time, earning just $30,000 a year.
“She taught me that even small investors could leverage real estate,” he said. In 2014, Drock and his wife bought a second rental property, another foreclosure, for $115,000. They put $10,000 into the property to fix it up and began renting it out. It’s now valued at $170,000, he said.
3. Invest in the stock market
Investing to build wealth has been a constant theme throughout Drock’s life, he said.
“My parents gave [me and my brother] a modest amount of blue-chip stocks early in life and had us track their value over time,” he said. “Back in the day, this meant looking up the price in the newspaper — can you believe it?”
Every year, Drock and his wife aim to max out their 401(k), 403(b), and health savings account contributions and make backdoor Roth IRA contributions (a strategy for people whose income exceeds the standard limits). Their stock investments are largely in low-cost index funds and total around $700,000.
4. Learn new skills
Drock’s mom navigated several job and career changes throughout her life. Not being familiar with how something worked didn’t dissuade her — it was a welcome challenge, Drock said.
“My mother is a jack of all trades,” he said. “She is good at computers, social media, home remodeling and design, gardening, finance, and marketing, just to name a few. She always seems to be able to learn the things she didn’t know, which always amazed me.”
Whether he’s fixing up a rental property, learning tax planning for his side business, blogging, or enhancing his professional skills, Drock aims to follow his mom’s “do-it-yourself mentality.”
5. Be resilient
Drock’s mom’s path to the million-dollar club wasn’t straightforward. More than once, she built up a successful business, and then lost it all.
“Obviously, everyone has their ups and downs,” he said, “but every time my mom had setbacks, she brushed herself off and kept moving forward. This trait — her grit — is something that I’ve strived to emulate.”
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