Immigrant Becomes Millionaire At 27 – The Old-Fashioned Way
Friday, December 12, 2014
He’s neither a tech genius nor the scion of a one-percenter family. Quite the contrary. Twenty-seven year-old Anton Ivanov is the son of middle-class Russian immigrants, who moved to the U.S. with his family in 2002. What’s remarkable about his story is not a particular light bulb moment or stroke of luck. Rather, Ivanov’s story demonstrates that you can still achieve financial success – if that is what you’re after – with goal-setting and hard work.
Ivanov decided at a young age, 16, that what he wanted to be was not doctor nor an engineer nor the next great Hollywood producer. He simply wanted to be rich.
He set a goal to become a millionaire as quickly as possible and began planning his rise to wealth before he was through with puberty. Ivanov read all the books he could find on wealth building (Napoleon Hill’s 1937 classic Think and Grow Rich was a favorite) and began saving all his earnings from a minimum-wage Subway job.
Ivanov’s drive for financial success did not develop in a vacuum. His parents moved the family to the United States on the heels of one of the worst depressions in Russian (or Soviet) history. His parents were mistrustful of the financial system and refused to discuss money with Ivanov. Although the family was able to move into a good San Diego neighborhood, it was clear to Ivanov that the families around him were wealthier.
According to Ivanov, in an interview he gave to Yahoo! Finance, “Everything I learned about money I had to learn myself.”
Taking advantage of living with his parents, Ivanov managed to save everything he made from Subway and treated himself to a Roth IRA for his 18th birthday. Rather than taking student loans to pay for college, he joined the Navy in order to qualify for tuition assistance under the GI Bill. With few expenses as an active duty serviceman, Ivanov managed to invest most of his military salary into mutual funds while taking paid-for college courses online and through distance education.
During the 2008-2010 financial crisis, Ivanov’s savings took a hit, but he saw an opportunity to invest even more at market lows as well as an opportunity to begin investing in real estate. He purchased a condominium and a duplex, which provide him with rental income. Ivanov describes himself as a “lazy investor” who relies on the managers of his mutual funds to do the heavy lifting when it comes to his investments.
Just before his 26th birthday, in 2014, the value of Ivanov’s investments broke the million-dollar mark.
Regardless of one’s goals, Ivanov’s story serves as an excellent reminder that there is still an “American Dream” for immigrants to the United States. Success is not limited to those who have already done well in their countries of birth, but rather can still be achieved through individual hard work and perseverance.