Case Study 1 – How Poly Lecturer became Millionaire

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Case Study 1 – How Poly Lecturer became Millionaire

December 31st, 2007

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This is a story of how a salaried person (and his wife) managed to accumulate a million dollars in cash over just 10 years.

And he did it without playing Toto or 4D, and neither did he dabble in stocks and property.

He started his working life in the private sector. During the Asian financial crisis, he switched to teaching. That was when he started accumulating the million dollars.

As a junior lecturer, he was making close to $5k a month (polytechnics especially like mid-career entrants with a few years’ experience and generally match their last drawn pay). With the 13th month bonus and a couple months of performance bonus, this came to about $70k+ in annual pay.

He also taught part-time in SIM. This gave him an additional $10k to $20k every year, depending on how many classes he took.

Over the years, he was promoted twice in salary grade. And his total annual income crossed the $100k mark.

He’s now in his forties. In the past 10 years, his income averaged about $100k a year, from both full-time and part-time work.

So, in 10 years, he collected $1 million. In cash.

Now, you ask, what about expenses? Doesn’t he pay bills?

Well, his wife is also working, though not making as much. As a manager in a statutory board, she’s making $50k+ per annum (averaged over the 10 years). This is more than enough to cover their total spending: utility bills, entertainment, classes for kids, car loan, allowance for parents, medical expenses, insurance premiums, taxes,  and once-a-year overseas vacation. And they pay their housing loan with CPF money.

Had he invested in a condo before the recent property boom, he would have even more money.

He has a million dollars (with help from his wife). How much cash do you have?

See other case studies.

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20 Responses to “Case Study 1 – How Poly Lecturer became Millionaire”


  1. Case Study 2 - How Engineer made Half Million | Salary.sg - Your Salary in Singapore Says:

    [...] (See previous case study.) [...]


  2. Error Says:

    Don’t need to pay tax? CPF?


  3. Chris Says:

    The $100K he got is after deducting CPF and taxes? Does it include bonuses?


  4. admin Says:

    Chris, it’s before CPF and taxes. Bonuses are included.


  5. JTK Says:

    Hi guys,
    can I make a summary for this case study?

    Q: How to make 1 mil in 10 years?
    A: You just need to make 100k per year. 100k x 10 = 1 mil already.

    Q: Don’t have to spend ah?
    A: His wife salary will pay for all the expenses.

    Alamak… so 100k x 10 = 1 mil already.


  6. yea Says:

    the formula is so simple, yet so many working professionals aren’t able to save enough to be called a millionaire. but what they have are nice clothes, fast cars, good food and nice photos of their travels.
    i guess its a matter of choice.


  7. David Seah Says:

    Indeed if this lecturer can be so prudent and hardwork…why cannot for the rest of us for example if we fall into the high income bracket.

    In fact, it is very easily achievable I will say if one’s spouse can be as understanding as the case study example.


  8. admin Says:

    David, indeed. But one doesn’t have to ask the wife to pay for all expenses. It’s just one way to structure the household finances.
    As long as the couple earn a combined income of $150k and save $100k every year, they’ll be a millionaire (as a couple) in 10 years.


  9. jiante Says:

    Millionaire as a couple is not difficult. Millionaire as an individual is.


  10. still not hard Says:

    Still not hard…. if you or the lecturer can save $50k/year for 20 years.


  11. jin Says:

    whats the point of become a millionaire, but you live as a poor man? LIve as a millionaire, that is more important. Money is to trade off for something valuable, not only for SAVING!!


  12. Jovious Says:

    I agreed with jin, I’m making over 100K per annum and also in the senior management post in a MNC, yet I’m able to bring my wife and child for holidays more than three times a year during the school holidays and live a wonderful family life.
    It’s all about priorities, remember you can’t bring your wealth to the grave but you can provide your love ones with sufficient insurance coverage on yourself to ensure they can go on in life.


  13. Zuijiadeai Says:

    Yes earning 1 million dollar whithin 10 years periods is possible, but saving 1 million dollar within 10 years is not possible. Don’t you consider buying a condos? buying a car? paying interest for your condos and car wich can rack as much as your condos and car price? paying your living cost, paying your children education? Don’t you know that getting your position as Manager or Director in an MNC company, that would be able to give you annual income of 100K, is taking more than 10 years already? And don’t you know that maintaining your position as Manager or Director is not easy with today’s office politics and economy?


  14. Preeti Anand Says:

    I agree,Every thing is possible!


  15. Sunny Says:

    $50k+ pa or $4k+ for expenses of the family – husband, wife & kids — I agree with some postings, it will only be possible if one assumes that the family doesnt lives a lifestyle simialr to those in such income category ie in the category of $150k+ aggregate family income pa. Econ 101 Opportunity cost. Life is about priorities. Nothing wrong if family decides to pursue this path but not everyone will want to.


  16. Jess Says:

    I beg to differ, to accumulate 1 million is simple take a look at simplyrich. She made millions by getting suckers into the game. The more suckers come onboard and suckers bringing suckers the more $$$ is accumulated. The law of this world is getting enough suckers to make you rich. Look at Madoff and Lehmann employees making suckers out of the rich and not so rich. Fattening themselves using suckers! Lets not be one of those suckers, wake-up!


  17. Jovious Says:

    Check out this article -

    So long, suckers (Guardian article).


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  20. zuijiadeai Says:

    This case study is lacking of facts. Just based on math but no sense of real life situation.

    Within 10 years of marriage: no wedding party? not buy house? not go for hospital? don’t have kids? don’t pay for kids study? no buy car? no job losses? no change job? …

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