You’re Just Lucky

I had a thought the other day about being lucky, and making your own luck in life.

I was talking to a friend the other day, and as many of my friends know how passionate I am about budgeting and finances, the conversation started heading in that direction. He was telling me how he would love a house like mine, and the conversation went into the equity I have in my house.

I Just Bought At A Good Time and Got Lucky.

It’s true! I purchased my house and immediately had about $30,000 equity (not including the down payment). The housing market blew up that year and in a short time, I had close to $80,000 (again, not counting the down payment).

But then my friend told responded in a way that made me think:

It Wasn’t Luck, You Prepared For It

The truth of it is that I wasn’t exactly saving to buy a house. I was 27 at the time and was happy to live in my condo (which is now my investment property). My brother had recently purchased his house a few blocks from my mom’s house that year and thought it would be awesome if we all lived near each other. He told me there was another house for sale in the same neighborhood, but I dismissed it because I was going to wait a few more years until I was closer to 30. My wife wanted to at least check it out though, so we did.

We Fell In Love With It Immediately, But Banks Don’t Run On Love

We imagined a space like this that we can upgrade and make our own, and raise our future children in. But loving a house is one thing, being approved for it was something entirely.

We went to try to get a mortgage on the house, by sitting with a broker. The broker took a look at our numbers and advised us that the only way we would be able to make the purchase was to put down a big down payment. We would have to put down more than $45,000 towards the house.

Luckily, We Could!

Throughout my childhood and teenage years, I always saved money. It wasn’t easy in a city that loves material things, and with family and friends that didn’t really understand. I had been saving from my first job at 14 years old. By this time I had learned how to invest to keep growing my money. We had the money in the bank to be able to put down into the house without having to touch our retirement money!

A Bittersweet Moment

Not So Lucky
This Really Hurts

As a side note, it hurt seeing my account go form over $45,000, to about $800. It was a great investment, one that I would do again. We love our house and can see us getting old in here, but saving money your whole life to see it disappear from your accounts is not easy. You can see in my net worth that I haven’t even gotten close to recovering from that on the liquid money or investment side of things, but it helped my net worth tremendously.

Be Proud Of Your Discipline

I saw things differently after this conversation with my friend. If I wouldn’t have been disciplined from a young age I would not have been able to buy it.

When you focus, set goals, budget, and plan for the future, you set yourself up for a world of possibilities. Not everyone has the discipline to do it, so don’t credit luck for the things you’ve worked so hard for! After all, we are making our own luck, aren’t we?



Published by Gabe A

Gabe A. is the creator of The Shiny Dollar. Besides writing and helping others with their finances, he loves to travel and spend time with his family.

11 Comments

Great post, Gabe! There is definitely a connection between luck and being prepared. It always seems like successful people are lucky, but they’ve usually put in a tremendous amount of hard work that prepared them for the opportunity when it arrived. It’s awesome that you were a saver from such a young age. I always had a side of me that was a saver, but I dipped into my savings too often and spent a lot of money while I was young. It wasn’t until I was about 25 that I began to take saving seriously. It’s awesome that your discipline allowed you to buy your dream house. That is the perfect example of making your own luck. Have a great weekend!

Reply

Thank you Graham!

Yeah it seems like those with an emergency fund don’t often have emergencies to use them towards to doesn’t it? I just think that the emergency is less of a bigger deal when you’re prepared!

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Man I wish I could have been a diligent and disciplined saver my full working life! I’ve gotten serious with this saving/budgeting thing about a year ago and find that myself and shaky self-discipline are my biggest obstacles. Any tips on developing self discipline would be greatly appreciated!

Reply

Hey Alex!

Honestly I think there are a few things that have kept me disciplined.

Tracking my net worth , having goals on how much I want it to grow every year, and allowing myself some room to spend some money on the things I like on my budget.

I really model my ‘Basic Steps’ to what has helped me though this long journey.

Like you mentioned on your blog, not giving yourself room to breathe is probably what makes a lot of people revert back to their old ways.

Good Luck!

Reply

I wish I had been more disciplined in my younger years. I was never too much in debt but I wished someone had guided me through making smart investments and such. I would be worrying less about my retirement right now lol. BUT. I am proud of myself of how my upbringing made me who I am today. 🙂

Thanks for sharing such an insightful experience!

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Well I wish I was as disciplined as a lot of the debt free community… but I spend a lot of money on non debt related things lol. I believe in life having a balance.

And also, I can tell you for a fact that most people start thinking about retirement in their 40s, so don’t beat yourself up! You’re ahead of the pack!

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That’s amazing you were saving before you knew what you were saving for. That definitely takes a lot of discipline. I think for many, the concept of saving doesn’t really occur until you realize you need a large sum of money. Or they need a discrete goal. You were prepping way earlier!

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Well I loved (And still love) investing. Theres something magical about your money making you more money! So I think I was saving just to keep growing it quicker. Either way, the experience showed me that I like having a good amount of liquidity in case another great investment opportunity comes around!

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You know that old quote from Seneca?

“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

So maybe after all you were lucky. Since the quote fits this situation to a T. 😀

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Lol as long as I made my own luck, I’m ok with that!

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[…] Stick to the plan somewhat! Keep paying debt down, especially high-interest debt. If you like the snowball method of paying the smallest ones first, then go for it. But don’t miss opportunities. Don’t miss free money because someone said you should be investing until you pay off your house or whatever the situation might be. Take advantage of great deals along the way, and set yourself up to be ready for the next deal. These opportunities aren’t created by luck. […]

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