We’ve all thought about it, haven’t we? Money. Not just some money, but a whole ton of it. Trucking it into our bank account to the tune of $75,000 a month. Imagine that – a month!
Personally, I have no idea what that feels like – I never made more than about $130,000 annually. But, Michelle does. And, she blogs about making a ton of money over at MakingSenseOfCents.com.
I had the opportunity to chat with her about what it’s like making that much money, and I had to write about it. Believe it or not, she lives just like the large majority of us. She values money at least as much as I do. Even with her incredibly high income, she still thinks about every purchase made.
What is it like making over $900,000 a year?
First, let’s see how much Michelle brings in.
How much money does Michelle earn in a year? Last year (2016), she earned $979,000 – which adds up to over $81,500 every month. Incredibly, she’s already banked more than a million as of the end of September 2017.
How many hours does she work in a typical week? Go ahead, take a guess.
Believe it or not, she rarely puts in a full work week. “The hours I work vary but, in general, I usually work anywhere from 10 to 40 hours a week. Lately, it’s been more around 10 hours a week and it could be even less.”
She’s an incredible side hustler, but that’s beyond the scope of this article.
This article is about money. Pure green. Something that a lot of us personal finance bloggers think a lot about.
I asked Michelle if she ever thought that she’d earn this much. Definitely not, she said. Then again, I never thought I’d pull in $130,000 in a year either, but hey, we gotta start somewhere! 🙂
How long did it take Michelle to achieve this level of income? She details her progression on her blog, but she started her blogging business in 2011 as a means to earn some extra dough. Things…umm…snowballed a bit. She quit her job two years later and focused entirely on earning a living with her blog. I think she succeeded.
What about investments? Michelle and her husband spend less than $5,000 a month to maintain their lifestyles – which is significantly less than a lot of people who don’t earn half of what she does. She reinvests several thousand into her blogging business every month and the rest gets saved. This year, that amounts to at least $50,000 a month straight into savings.
Her dad’s passing is a big reason why she still lives a frugal life, even as a high-income earner.
“I’ve been on my own since I was 18 (my father passed away when I was 18 – no inheritance, by the way), and due to that, I like to save a significant percentage of what I earn since I have nothing or no one to fall back on.”
Like many of us, she uses a CPA to file her taxes. “I am fairly knowledgeable in the area since I have two undergraduate business degrees, one Finance MBA, as well as I used to work in business valuation. However, I like to have another set of eyes looking over everything.” Especially at her income level, I can definitely see how helpful another pair of eyes could be!
As you might expect, her life changed dramatically once she started pulling in the greenbacks by the truckload. They worry less about money, of course, but you wouldn’t necessarily know it when you meet them. They dress like regular people. They drive regular vehicles. In fact, they live full-time in an RV, just like my wife and I.
“Many people actually assume that we have money problems since we live in an RV.”
I was most curious about how her family treats her. Since she publishes her income reports on her blog, everybody knows she earns a ton of money. Luckily, her family rarely brings it up. No awkward conversations.
No lost friendships. Well, except for one.
Sadly, Michelle lost a relationship to a close family member because they believed that they were entitled to her money. Why? Because…family. When one family member succeeds, all other family members are entitled to the fruit of their labor? Not in my family. And, not in Michelle’s, either.
“While some would say I should have just given them the money, most people, including myself, realize that enabling a person is one of the worst possible things you could do to someone.”
In fact, she said that losing that relationship with a close family member has been the biggest downside in all of this high-income stuff.
Next, I asked Michelle if it’s possible for someone to go from, say, a $50,000 yearly income to somewhere north of $900k. A huge jump!
“Of course”, you might say! She did, after all. But, what about in only a year’s time? Are there enough hours in the day to support that much of a jump?
The answer, to her, is still yes. “I definitely think it is possible. If you would have asked me just a few years ago, I probably would have said no. I had no idea that I would ever earn the amount of money that I am earning and I still remember when I first started blogging and seeing other bloggers earning $10,000, $20,000, and even over $100,000 a month and thinking that was just NUTS.”
She’s met a lot of those people. She’s listened to their stories, learned from their motivations. She knows it’s possible. Side hustles can – and do – explode into something huge. Way bigger than most of us ever imagine.
Lastly, I asked if she’s ever made a purchase just because she could. Because, hell, why not? You earn more than a mil a year. Why not spend a little? Her answer was one that I can totally relate to.
“I really cannot think of anything. Because we live in an RV, everything has to have a purpose. We have no room for junk or waste in our lives, and I don’t like to contribute to all of the waste that is in the world.”
When you live in an RV, your purchases tend to replace things rather than add to them. Meaning, your storage space is limited. The things you buy must have a purpose – and a good one. You can’t simply accumulate when you live full-time in an RV. That just ain’t gonna work!
And there you have it! A little insight into the lifestyle of someone who earns a ton of money. She lives just like the rest of us (okay, except for the RV part). She buys regular clothes. Drives typical cars. She isn’t going out for $100 dinners every night. In fact, she saves well over half of what she makes – and the rest either gets reinvested in her business or funds their relatively moderate living expenses.
Any other questions for her? Ask below.
Steve is a 37-year-old early retiree who writes about the intersection of happiness and financial independence. Steve is a regular contributor to MarketWatch, CNBC, and The Ladders. He lives full-time in his 30′ Airstream Classic and travels with the country with his wife Courtney and two rescued dogs.