Image by Foto-Rabe from Pixabay

Most people would admit the epitome of the American dream is to make a million dollars with hard work, dedication, and definitely not because they were given a loan from their rich father. However, ask anyone who's currently a millionaire the hardest part of becoming a millionaire is holding on to being a millionaire. It's incredibly easy to lose your foothold, as any of the stories below illustrate.


Reddit user, u/HypnoticMushrooms, wanted to know how not to handle your money when they asked:

Ex-Millionaires of Reddit, what made you lose all your money?

An Expensive Habit

$1500 a day drug habit got me high for a few years. Then the other half was when the dealers infiltrated and took me for 10's of thousands at a clip. Oh and a sibling stealing 400k was a dent as well. It's truly a miracle I'm alive. 9 years removed and finally dug myself out and back on top.... kind of lol

JooseyJayrod

Wealthy Overseas

Well, I see a lot of stories here, but here's one that's a bit different. We moved from the USA to Lebanon after college in order to be with my husband's family, they were close. Surprise, his parents died before we could get there, his dad a few months before we left and his mom unfortunately passed away during our flight and was buried a few hours before we arrived. This was not a good omen. However, we had moved every last possession with us and were determined to stay nevertheless.

After 30 years and close to retirement, we had several houses, apartments, good jobs with benefits and ample pensions. It had been a tough road and we had really starved at first. Now, we were looking forward to living where we wanted, whether in the USA or Lebanon, and living off of a modest retirement income.

All that was wiped away due to the current economic disaster in the country, worsened by covid but mainly due to financial mismanagement of the country and corruption on a grand scale pretty much unparalleled in modern history.

Everyone in Lebanon wants to emigrate now. There are no renters with money to inhabit our apartments. The lira is worthless, and our pensions are worth almost nothing. We could have spent those years in the US building up 401ks and buying a home.

mistmanners

A Rapid Change

My dad. He was extremely successful early in his life. Skipped university and went straight to work. Had multiple businesses in his mid 20s. Became a millionaire before turning 30. My 3 siblings and I had a very comfortable life. We had a very large house, chauffeured cars and several house help.

How did we lose everything? Gambling. A friend of my dad introduced him to gambling. And he was instantly hooked. Within 5 yrs we lost everything.

We're lucky my mom had some savings and got a house of her own so we didn't end up homeless.

Our life are much better now, thanks to my mom. And all of us avoid gambling of any sort. We'd refuse even for a 10$ bet.

Genestah

Keyword: Diversify

My dad, not me. He made some really shrewd stock market investments after he retired. They were options on an oil refiner at a time when the USA had a real shortage of them. My dad had done a lot of research on this and studied the situation carefully. He got rich to the tune of maybe $2 million. He could have been set for life. My dad was already a really smart guy. He has a PhD in mathematics and was a highly respected big-brain professional all the way back into the 1960s.

However, he thought this took him to the next level. He bought a lot of newer options in the same company. I suggested to him that he diversify, put a bunch of money into something closer to an annuity or another conservative investment that would give him plenty of income forever. I told him if he did that, he would always be rich. Well, he is pretty far from that now. I haven't said a thing about that to him since he lost everything. I did what I could, at the time, to save him from himself. But who was I? It pains me to see how it played out for him. He did a lot of things right in life. He deserved better, but there's no "deserve" in securities investing. Morals of this story:

  1. You aren't an investment genius after your first blockbuster win. You need a track record.
  2. Diversify.

Unable To Let Go Of Control

My dad is an Ex-millionaire.

He's a f-cking wizard at starting successful businesses...

His problem is he can't let them go. He's the boss/owner who never hires a manager that's not family because he just doesn't trust anyone else to run it.

He drove 3, million dollar companies into the ground because he couldn't keep up with his own success, and refused to hire people to do it for him.

xxkoloblicinxx

A Little Too Honest

I built a business worth ~3 million, had a house worth 1.4 million, Investments worth more than 2 million, 4 nice cars.

Divorce laid me low. An ex wife, a lawyer, and a judge stripped me of at least 3/4 of that. Left me with a Miata race car, a bit of money and 51% of my company. Still had to pay alimony.

I gave up. I negotiated my way out of alimony by giving up more of the company, liquidated everything else, bought a boat and f-cked off.

26 months later I sailed back into my life and started over. I've earned enough to live a modest retirement, and that's where I am today.

Don't get married boys, it ain't worth it. I've done it twice, the first time was a disaster, the second time was an annoyance.

Just my opinion and experience.

I'm way too drunk and shouldn't have posted. Anyway. There it is.

_effed_up

Oh Yeah, The Worldwide Pandemic.

Covid. Built a business that was given a valuation of a few million back in January, but the industry is now down 80% and I'm doing all I can to avoid bankruptcy.

throwawayletsgetreal

Take Half The Money And Run

Divorce.

I was a millionaire, got divorced which nearly sent me to insolvency, buckled down and worked my butt off and am re-millionaired.

Guys, don't underestimate the pernicious impact on net worth a bad divorce can have.

Erioph47

So Close...

Crypto millionaire. Still worth a lot, with my accounts about $850,000 today (I have a lot of xrp) But in 2017 I was worth about 3.5 million before the crash. Lowest was $300,000. I'm a hodler so o don't day trade usually.

ProfRichardson

...Yet So Far. Maybe In An Alternate Timeline?

Hypothetical millionaire.

I bought $100 worth of bitcoin when they were about $1 each. I sold them when they were about $2.50 each and was so happy I made money from "internet coins".

As of the moment I am typing this those coins would be worth $1,855,000.

Dicktremain

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Image by tookapic from Pixabay

Can you see Harry Potter at a football game in the Midwest? Chowing on a corn dog, throwing back some good ole Pepsi-Cola? Or can you picture the Harry universe living and loving in the great U. S of A? What would casting look like against the backdrop of the great harvest plains? I have so many thoughts and ideas. The first thought, the change would never work. Keep the story alive on British soil.

But, for fun, let's chat about the idea.

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If Harry Potter was set in the United States, how would the story change?
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They say one man's trash is another man's treasure - and sometimes that saying is pretty literal.

Lots of people build entire businesses picking up cool stuff on bulk-pickup trash day, and upcycling it into something even better that people are willing to pay for.

Sometimes, you might even end up with something pristine and usable right away.

Reddit user JampackedAlborn1976 asked:

What is the most valuable item that you have seen somebody throw away or have found in the garbage?

And for real ... some of these people scored BIG TIME. Like big time. Like really big.

Like Refrigerator Big

just ask leslie jones GIF by Saturday Night Live Giphy

"Our current refrigerator is a double-door one with exterior ice and water dispensers. We got it for free, with absolutely no problems whatsoever. It's just a few years old."

"How we got it? My dad (civil engineer) was doing some work on someone's apartment when they said they had bought a new modern French door refrigerator and that they were just going to discard their current refrigerator."

"My dad simply asked if he could have it.. and they said yes." - SauloJr

Immigrants In Action

Dog Brazil GIF Giphy

"I immigrated to the US from Brazil when I was 12. And every Saturday, my mom, stepdad, sister and I would go out at night to upper middle class neighborhoods the day before trash pickup to rummage through the garbage they were putting out."

"We found perfectly good TVs, VCRs, microwaves, couches, lazy boys, tables, books and comics, etc."

"I couldn't believe these Americans were throwing out like that. We furnished our entire house with that stuff. The entire Brazilian immigrant community in my town did it. We were flabbergasted." - PhillipLlerenas

With A Note

Television Bunny GIF Giphy

"My wife yelled at me that someone put a big TV outside with a note on it. Walked across the street and it was a brand new Samsung 37 inch HDTV."

"They were actually renovating the apartment building and got an upgraded TV. Even had the remote taped to it with batteries, I guess I have really nice neighbors here in NYC." - MadLintElf

Life Hack!

studying busy philipps GIF by Drunk History Giphy

"If you want high end stuff out of the garbage for free, follow these steps:"

"Pick a city with a large university in it. If it's a school well known for its law programs, or medical, or engineering, all the better."

"Search for luxury apartment complexes that market themselves towards students. Look for things like included shuttle service, pools, fitness centers, etc. The more expensive and swanky the better."

"Figure out when finals week is at the end of Spring semester."

"Dumpster dive at those luxury apartment complexes during that week and the following weekend."

"Very wealthy international students will arrive in the US, fully outfit an apartment with nice furniture, big TVs, audio systems, gaming consoles, you name it, and when the semester ends they just junk it all because they aren't going to fly it back to wherever, and it's too much effort to spend the time selling when they do not care about the money."

"It's a smaller scale phenomenon a little like all the luxury cars abandoned at the airport in Dubai." - whattothewhonow

Literal Gold Treasure

valley of the boom david kim stanley GIF by National Geographic Channel Giphy

"I found a gold coin at goodwill for 5 bucks. It was in a case with someone's name and company name."

"It was their gift from the company for retiring. I assume the family threw it out when he died not knowing it was solid gold. It was in a in a thick solid plastic case that had to be cracked opened."

"It literally said 1 oz fine gold on it. I figured 5 bucks was worth the risk it not being real."

"It was a South African KRUGERRAND 1 oz coin. Everyone was just too busy to read it lol."

"Bought it and took it too a pawn shop and sold it for a couple grand." - streetmitch

The Best Day Of My Life

Will Smith Wow GIF by 1LIVE Giphy

"When I was a kid, I grew up right outside the Los Angeles area in the suburbs. My stepdad was a garbage truck driver for the city of Beverly Hills."

"I swear in the late 80s and early 90s we'd have so much basically brand new stuff (still in boxes) brought home on a regular basis."

"I'll never forget one day in particular. My stepdad came home and was like 'get ready, come to the car, I'll need your help.' So I go down there and in back seat of his car he had a few large black garbage bags."

"We haul them up to our apartment and he's like 'go ahead, open them.' Inside was what I could only describe as an 80s kids trove of treasures."

"One bag contained just about every Ghostbusters and GI joe toy you can imagine, they were played with but had every little accessory, there was a bunch the playsets and everything."

"In the other bag was pretty much every LEGO of the early 80s sets, still in their original boxes. I was a big LEGO nerd but was totally thrown off by the old school space ones because they looked nothing like the 90s space sets. I think they even said "NASA" the minifig's chests."

"That was like a random day in July, it felt like Christmas. I was 9 years old and it was basically like the best day of my life up to that point." - Zombgief

Who Throws Away Money?

spongebob squarepants money GIF Giphy

"A jar full of quarters."

"Annual spring cleaning projects happen in a lot of towns where anyone can put almost anything on the curb and it's taken away for free. It's to stop open dumping or stuff being dumped in ditches."

"Sometimes people deal with estates from winter by just dumping all their grandfather's stuff on the curb for the cleanup to get the house empty immediately. Most often they don't even bother to look at what they are throwing away."

"In 2012 on north road in Akwesasne I found an estate pile that I shuttled back and forth with my bike trailer getting lots of older tools like a scythe, hammers, saws, screwdrivers and wrenches, a 22 rifle with 100 round of ammo, a bunch of ar15 magazines, cast iron cookware, oil lamps, a hand crank food mill with all kinds of accessories, a black raven axe head (worth $100 easily since they are a collectable), and a quart size mason jar full of change mostly quarters."

"That was spring and the sheriffs office did a gun buyback in the fall where I took the mags and got $20 each for them (30 round mags suddenly illegal under the safe act of fall 2012. The buyback was a local political move). I still got the 22 and picked off a lot of woodchuck with it in my gardens." - Bogtrotterso1980

Filing Fever

Files Workload GIF Giphy

"I own a small company which is located directly in front of a state funded program facility. The state decided to have this office shred all of their files as they were going to switch to electronic data (exclusively)."

"We found two of these old rotary filing cabinets outside of their office. They're worth almost $3k each!"

"They just placed them there and we saw them and asked what they planned on doing with them. They said, 'Hmmm.....either donate them or trash them.' The state told them simply to get rid of them."

"We jumped at this and took the two into our already tiny office because there was no way in hell that we were going to let these gems go. (We do use paper files, unfortunately)."

"They wanted to give us two smaller ones but seriously, our office is very small. I made some phone calls and they were picked up immediately by other office workers/friends." - GlitzBlitz

This Sucks - In A Good Way!

mrs doubtfire vacuum GIF Giphy

"In the 1990s my moms work had a really nice high end Hoover that stopped working. They threw it out."

"My mom took it home because my dad tinkers and repairs things easily. Turns out since it was a bagged vacuum all the dummies had to do is REPLACE THE BAG."

"Like it never occurred to them to do the most easy and basic step. My parents were excited to have a really upgraded vacuum. Maybe like $500ish." - schweddyboobs

Tiffany's Trash

Audrey Hepburn Movie GIF by The Good Films Giphy

"My dad found an old stained glass window laying out by someone's trash. He thought it would look cool hanging in our cabin, so he stopped and grabbed it."

"It sat in our garage for a few years before he looked at it more closely and found "Tiffany and Co." branding on it. He got in touch with some stained glass window dude who figured it was worth about $40k fully restored, so my dad sold it to him for somewhere around $30k." - throwaway_stopdrink

Have you had any awesomely trashtastic treasures? Let us know!