People Who Suddenly Got Rich Share How They Made The Money Last

We all work to make ends meet. Throughout those working days, we all have at some point dreamed of winning the lottery, receiving a big inheritance, or just finding a large sum of money some place. We have also dreamed about ways of creating a more comfortable life with that money. But would you know how to make that money double or triple through the years? Or would you blow it all away in less than a year? In this article, people that suddenly got rich share how they made money last. 

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My great grandfather was a wealthy man with a lot of cash and estate. Thought that the inheritance would be squandered by his 11 kids. Only 9 were alive at the time of his death. He setup a trust with very complex language that would pay out some amount of money every year and every milestone. (i.e. when someone got married or had a child, or a grand-kid turned 18, etc). Much of the land and property is still held by various parts of our family. Even 3 generations down I got about $6k cash when I turned 18. My dad still gets a lump sum every year. It's not much, but although I've never seen him (we only have 1 painting of him and his wife), we remember him!


Simple living plus investing in real estate and stocks. I inherited about 400k back in 2011. Paid off student loans, spent 17k on a reliable Honda civic, bought a 100k two bedroom condo, went on one really nice vacation then put the rest into stocks and retirement accounts.

I live in the modest midwest and I'm a naturally frugal person, but I can't tell you how cheap it is to live when you don't have a mortgage and car payment. With those first two steps down I can put about half my salary into savings and I am well on my way towards financial freedom.


I inherited $3M. I paid off wifes student loans and put the rest in aggressive growth funds.

I do a withdrawal of about $10-20K per year for vacations or home improvements. Otherwise, we continue to live below our household income and save aggressively.

The goal is to retire at age 50 and pay for the kids educations.


My dad and I set up investments for me and my brother's inheritance. He doesn't even know how much we have coming/available to us right now. It's not huge (not like ... $40-50 million), but it's definitely sizeable. We both live off of our salaries (I make around 60K, and he's around 75K per year), and live modestly. My goal is to retire early, not spend it now. Could I drive around in a Porsche and buy a house? Yup. But I'd rather retire 20 years early.

We're both big gamers, so the only really nice thing we both have is a TV, and he has a gaming rig.


I knew about an investment account my dad set up for me when I turned 18. Every quarter we would go over the investments. It started at $150k when I first learned about it. When I graduated it was $200k and that's after paying for school.

I realized what it could be in another 10 years and decided to never touch it. My now wife and I live way below our means and we are extremely happy. We put $20k in the account each year (even after maxing 401k).

My dad made a point to me by creating an excel spreadsheet. He showed me if I saved $10K per year, how much it would become when I turned 60. Then did it with $15K, $25K, etc. It's amazing what $1 today will be in 30 years if you leave it in investments.


I inherited a significant amount of money when my uncle died a few years ago. It was a complete surprise, and I felt very uncomfortable about accepting so much money when I really hadn't done anything to earn it. I immediately dumped all of it into a retirement account and index funds, and honestly I don't even think about it.


I sold my startup for mid-9 figures. My share was worth low 8 figures at the time of sale.

I knew Id want to go at least a little crazy, so I set aside a small portion for that... the flashy car, expensive clothes, etc.

The largest portion (roughly 60%) I put into a trust to safeguard it.

The second largest portion went into a holdings company that would purchase and manage real estate for me and my family as well as starting my next venture.

The next venture failed, but I didnt lose too much. The following venture was very successful and was sold for 9 low figures. Not only has my money lasted, it has almost tripled in size by making smart investments and working hard since I sold the company that gave me the windfall.

The key is to live well, but dont go all out. I try to not spend more than 1.2-2% of my net worth per year.


I won a sizeable lottery jackpot with a friend. My share was mid-single digit in the millions. I quit working and budgeted $100k yearly salary (I pay myself $25k every 3 months) for the next 40 years, as well as bought a new house and a vacation house. With no mortgage and just naturally being frugal, that salary is plenty for me and my kid.


I got $3M saved from a business I started and sold. I then sold everything, moved to Central America for 6 months and lived out of a backpack. I learned to shed materialism and live simply. Then moved back to USA (way out in the country) and now live a quiet homesteading life while allowing myself and the wife to spend 60k per year total including nice vacations and farm equipment.


I came into a little over $10 million recently and it seems like it will be extremely easy to make it last.

I bought a new Cayman S and a house; the rest of the money is invested in a diverse portfolio of equities that bankers at JP Morgan manage for me. When I hear people saying they would put the money in safe investments like government bonds/savings accounts that seems weird to me. With this amount of money you can take on a ton of risk and still be very safe.


I sold a company for a few million in profit. Invested all of it and only draw a little each year. The most important thing I did was make sure no one (friends or family) knew I had the money. A lot of them know I sold the company but I downplayed it a lot and continue to work so they think I made almost nothing. It stops me from having to worry about people asking for money or expecting me to pay for things because "I'm rich.


I was in a bad accident when I was younger and the insurance money was invested by my parents on my behalf. I didn't find out about it until right before I turned 18. It is in an actively managed portfolio that is well distributed. My wife's father passed away when she was in high school. He left her a trust that pays out every 10 years. We bought our first house with it, a small fixer upper. We have saved aggressively since then and opened many other accounts to further diversify. We also bought a small farm that is already paying well just from the rent payments. Our plan is to retire early to a small farm and live a lazy life and be able to do what we want when we want to.


I came into about 30K from a life insurance policy. I paid off a rental property and used the rest to start spec home construction. I have now turned 20K into another 20K in just about 7 months and plan to continue and expand until I can quit my day job. Making the money last is easier for me when it belongs to the business and is immediately reinvested so it doesn't sit in the account long.


I inherited about 100K from my grandmother. I paid off 50k worth of medical debt, bought a house and bought each kid (6) something theyve always wanted. My husband and I each got Apple watches and new furniture for our house (Ikea). I also got braces. Although I wish I wouldve invested, Im glad I didn't blow it. I was recently diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma so it would have been nice to not have to work but the money came at a perfect time. The rental we were living in was foreclosing and we needed to move and found the perfect 5 bedroom house we could afford.


I inherited ~2.5m in a combination of capital and liquid assets. The liquid stuff I used to pay off bills and loans. With the capital, I hired someone to liquidate it. I lived like a king for 3 months and after that it went all to a consistent growth portfolio. 

I have a financial advisor/manager who I pay to prevent any stupidity from happening. I feel like people who come into great wealth think they can manage it themselves but have not proven they can. Just be aware of your own personality and limitations and lead with the brain, not the heart. I got some experiences and now I just work a regular person job and love my life.

It's a blessing to know that one does not have to worry about certain things like retirement so it allowed me to find a career I truly love and make a decent living. I only touch money from liquidated asset sales for fun and excitement but never the whole thing, so I don't feel I'm cheating my self. When I'm ready to buy a home, soon, I know which accounts I can use specifically for that reason. Have kids, pay for their education, etc. It's all just reasonable planning, and taking the control away from impulses.


I made 8 figures from stock options (tech startup that went public). Half of it went to taxes, $1 million to a house that I sold recently for $2.6 million. Probably $1 million over the last 15 years on trips and wine and a nice car. The rest invested in fairly conservative stocks. If you count the value of my current home and the stock, I am still at about where I started, plus all the great memories and fun.


My mom inherited over a million from her mother when she passed and never told us at the time. She just moved us to a new state and bought a big house. Now she's declared bankruptcy not a full decade later and owes me a couple thousand dollars that the government pulled out of my bank account. She opened it with me when I was fifteen so her name was still on it, eight years later. My mistake, I guess.

I'm never getting that money back. She sold her house, downsized, made a five figure profit, paid her debts and bought a car for her boyfriend.

Now she's broke again and still owes me money. Meanwhile I'm in astonishment that at the peak of her wealth she never opened up like a college fund or anything. Well before she went broke, she let me take out student loans when she had money in the bank.

If I think about it, I get angry so I don't think about it. We aren't close.


My husband and I are worth around 17 million, the last time I looked. We are in our early 50s and both of us still get up in the morning for work.

He runs a mid-size engineering firm and manufacturing company. I am a junior high school librarian (Media Specialist).

My big treat for me was getting my pilot license and a vacation home. His treat was buying a horse farm with a 21 room house as our main residence.

When I turn 55 I am done with this career and hope to be a Certified Flight Instructor in my next stage of life. I'm not sure if my husband will ever fully retire. 

We live on our salaries while our money continues to grow.

Our only child is living in our old house around the corner and works as our ranch hand/maintenance guy. That being said, no one wants to cut the grass so I pay a retired math teacher from my building to cut the front yard which is about 5 acres. He loves it!

Life is good.


Well for my wife and I, we both come from fairly well off backgrounds. Our parents were both immigrants to our country and did well for themselves despite starting with nothing.

Our families mainly keep their money in real estate, bank stocks and Index Funds. It's a really boring answer but when it comes to these things complex investments are probably detrimental in the long run.

If you live within your means, you only need to do slightly better than inflation which is really easy when you have a decent sum to start with.

Although most of the wealth is still with our parents, I believe my wife and I both could already retire and live very modestly in our mid 30's if we don't decide to have kids. We definitely do not need to worry about saving for retirement.

We both still work because she likes her job. I mainly do it because everyone would think less of me if I decided to quit my stable well earning job and "be a bum."


My father passed away when I was 18 (I'm about to turn 26) and left me a large inheritance set up in a trust fund. The majority of the funds are diversified in low risk investments and a small percentage is in high risk investments with investors at JP Morgan.

I receive a set monthly distribution for the majority of my expenses and the trust will cover certain more expensive living costs. I receive a very good amount every month but my trust generates more money each year than what I'm given in my monthly distributions, so my yearly expenses don't really decrease the value of my trust.

When I turn 30 I'm granted access to one third of my inheritance, at 35, two thirds, and at 40 I'm given access to the remaining inheritance. I most likely will keep the money in investments when I turn 30 but will pull some out as needed to start a business.

I realize I'm very fortunate and am thankful every day that my father worked his butt off to give me what he did. I'm also lucky that my father was smart enough to set the trust up like he did because I surely would have blown through a large amount of the trust when I was younger.

I'd still give it all back in a heart beat if it meant getting my dad back though. 


My grandfather left me 250,000 a few years ago when he died. So far I have invested every cent of it and have made almost another 50K. I have a great financial advisor who keeps his eye out for good opportunities and has made some great changes to the account as needed. I pretend that I dont even have it. Im 22 and have a retirement plan that will set me up when Im older.


I inherited over $2 million at 20, at that point my last parent had passed. I paid off my college tuition and used some it for groceries/bills until I found employment post grad, the only serious purchase I made was a new car. 

I keep a salaries worth of cash liquid but the rest is invested, I make enough money now so I can pay all my necessities; rent, bills, gas, food and such. Making it last isn't hard, I don't find a desire to spend it on frivolous things and I don't really tell anyone about it. I plan on putting it in a trust/getting a prenup when I get married. Also, My parents were very frugal so I think that has been instilled in me from a young age. I also think it would be so disrespectful to my parents if I squandered all the money they worked hard for away. If I lost all of it I wouldn't have a back up plan, I have very little family to go to for support. 

With all that I still max out my personal IRA every year and contribute to my 401k. As I get older I will probably dip into it for a deposit on a house, another car, repairs, etc. Even though I have assets, my money is still subject to the ups and downs of the market and requires a ton of paperwork and taxes. I do plan on trying to retire early so I have as much time as possible to be with my loved ones and enjoy my remaining time on this planet. I would give it all up to have my mom back though, nothing can replace the love, comfort and reassurance I received from her.


I got a windfall of about $2 million in stock from a startup. Does that count as "great wealth" these days? I certainly think so, but my bar might be low. This was around 2009. I was a single guy. I stopped working, put 30% into an S&P ETF, put the other 60% into five or six large cap companies I believed in. Held on, for the most part, through ups and downs, and only withdrew about 5% per year, which I've lived off since then.

I did not increase my lifestyle much. I still have the same car I had before the windfall (a 2004 Toyota). I spend more on travel and food, but overall I live a pretty basic middle class life... except I have time to do whatever I want. And that's the greatest luxury of all. I write and record music. I learn about technology and fool around with it. I travel and get involved in volunteer projects. I watch movies with friends. It's a good life.

I've enjoyed the past 8 years thoroughly and now I have about $3 million. Money makes money. And having money saves you money. Life is not fair. I worked hard for what I got, but I know a lot of people that worked just as hard and didn't get a windfall. I also pay only 15% taxes. It's ridiculous.

At some point I helped my parents out by paying off their house. That money will come back to me when they pass on, so it doesn't change my long term financial picture much. I got married and have a kid now, so I got a bigger house, but kept it within budget. I currently do work at a small non-profit but it's more for the fun of being part of a project than for the money.




In life, sometimes there's wrong and "technically not wrong" - and the difference can often be hilarious.

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