How I saved $100,000 by age 22

Will Philippe be a millionaire by 2017?

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From the September/October 2014 issue of the magazine.

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Philippe Alberigo, 22, of Whitby, Ont. (Photo by Raina + Wilson)

Philippe Alberigo, 22, of Whitby, Ont. (Photo by Raina + Wilson)

I’ve been interested in making money since I was nine. I still remember my first job: Every Saturday morning I would put on my tiny apron and start washing dishes at a local cafe in Whitby, Ont. The owner paid me $5 an hour—cash—for helping out. Right after work I’d head over to the bank and deposit my hard-earned $20 into my savings account. My parents—also cafe owners—joked that I only knew how to use the “deposit” button on the ATM and they were right. In fact, the two most important things my mom and dad taught me are a good work ethic, and how to save for a rainy day. I still remember the local pawn shop. At age 12, I wanted to buy a guitar there for $250. My mother kept asking me, “do you really need it?” I still ask myself that question about almost every purchase that I make today. I didn’t buy the guitar and was fine with that.

My parents never spent frivolously. Growing up, all of our appliances were different colors and our computers were 10 years old. Yet my parents valued experiences and always spent money for family vacations. That was special.

In ninth grade, my history teacher saw my love of finance and suggested I read The Wealthy Barber by David Chilton. The book’s premise was to save 10% of your income and spend 90%. I always did the exact opposite—saved 90% and spent 10%. I had several jobs right through high school, including as busboy, banquet waiter and as a cleaner for several parking lots, something I did for several years in the early morning before school and on weekends. Throughout the summers in high school, I worked 50-hour weeks—saving almost all my earnings.

My first investment was a GIC in 2005. It paid 4.5% interest, or $30 a month. I quickly realized that if I had more money, I’d earn more interest, which motivated me to work harder. Then, in 2009, I was voted “Most likely to become a millionaire” at my high school prom. I was 17 and had accumulated $60,000—enough to pay for four years of post-secondary school anywhere in Canada. But my parents had a modest RESP for me so I decided to attend a local university. Living at home allowed me to keep expenses down, continue working four jobs and to keep saving.

In 2011, I discovered stock investing and started a $100,000 mock portfolio. I bought every stock Warren Buffett traded that year and earned a 23% annual return. That encouraged me to invest my own money and to take more business courses. I also maxed out my TFSA two years ago and bought $25,000 worth of stocks, mostly bank stocks. I’ve since added shares in Costco, Footlocker and Starbucks—investments in places I like to go to. I now have 25 dividend paying stocks, and I monitor them every day. Last year I averaged a 15% return. That’s pretty good.

This spring, I reached $100,000 in savings and started working full-time at my local bank. Were the 50-hour work weeks and delayed gratification worth it? Absolutely. I always enjoyed myself playing soccer and hanging out with friends—two things I love doing most. I never felt deprived.

Last month, as I was planning a trip to Mexico with friends, I looked back at a note I had written to myself years ago. My future goal for myself was to be a millionaire by 2017. That’s ambitious, but with hard work—and my money working for me—I feel up to the challenge. Check back with me in three years to see if I was able to accomplish that goal, too.—As told to Julie Cazzin

Tell MoneySense how you accomplished your financial goal. Email letters@moneysense.ca.

6 comments on “How I saved $100,000 by age 22

  1. Very inspiring. :)

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  2. Its very interesting to see someone my age that worked throughout his young life for his cash, but actually found a way to make his money work for him by investing it, not having it just sit there. Its also inspiring to see a young person that does not spend 90% of his money as he receives it. This makes me want to evaluate and restructure my current financial state.

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  3. I have to say he looks very good for someone who doesn’t spend any money! What I mean is that he is very presentable and put together and well dressed…all of which cost $. Having said that, I think it is an incredible testament to his parents and his upbringing to have accomplished so much at such a young age! Philippe, the only thing I would like to say to you is I hope you have some balance in your life. Not fully “invested” in making money alone as there is so much more to life than that…and it is FUN to splurge, once in a while :)

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  4. I can tell that this kid is in a complete bubble. If the market crashes, which it did in 08 and it will surely do very soon, he will discover that his discipline and lifestyle was absolutely wasteful. Becoming a millionaire in today’s age is different than before. You must understand that there is no middle class. To have a few million is nothing when there are people who make what you have each and everyday. Soon you will discover that your gamble investments are weak. Saving money while you were young is impossible when you grow up in a low income area. This advice is only suitable for someone who is upper middle class. A class that is soon to be forgotten. I would advise people to get knowledge on the upcoming society they will be faced with. The economic system we see today is OVER.

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  5. He had parents helping him out with housing, food etc. There’s no way anyone could save 90% of their income if they completely live on their own. I have to pay for housing, car insurance, gas, student loans, food, clothes, etc.

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    • “In ninth grade”, my history teacher saw my love of finance and suggested I read The Wealthy Barber by David Chilton. The book’s premise was to save 10% of your income and spend 90%. I always did the exact opposite—saved 90% and spent 10%.

      @marty Wow you were paying for housing, car insurance, gas, student loans, food, clothes, etc. when you were 14,…..impressive…………………..learn to follow a context my friend.

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