You Want to be Rich? Become a Craftsman

This will go against everything you know about becoming wealthy and your education choice. But if you are just about to leave school. And you don’t know what you want to be. Becoming a craftsman is superior if you want to be wealthy. 

The normal advice would be to have one of the following educations if you want to be rich: 

  • Doctor
  • Lawyer 
  • Engineer 
  • Banker 

These are all high paying jobs. But they are still not superior to be a craftsman and here is why.

It only Takes 3.5 years 

Going directly from primary school to a mason apprentice means that I was done when I was 20 years old. 

At the age of 20, I had a take-home pay of about 20.000 DKK/month and no student debt. 

Because I was a part of the national rowing team I decided to study as a building constructor because it was to tough being a mason and a rower at the same time. 

I finished my building constructor studies when I was 26 years old. Which is a normal age of being done with a normal high paying education. 

If I had Continued as a Mason

As I’m writing this my net worth is about 500.000 DKK but I do have 100.000 DKK of student debt from building constructor studies. My entire net worth is from working as a building constructor. I have never heard of FIRE when I was a mason. 

If I had heard about FIRE as a mason I would have had a 6-year advantage on the constructor me. Which could be a networth of 858.000 DKK, compared to my 100.000 DKK of student debt as a constructor. 

Said in another way, I would almost be 1.000.000 DKK ahead. 

As I’m turning 30 years old in a couple of weeks means that I would have been working as a mason for 10 years. Even though I spend every dime I had. My spending could have been just the same as today. I lived in the same cheap apartment and would eat the same way as I do now. 

If I had managed to save 60 % of my 20.000 DKK/month for the last ten years with a 7 % return on my investments I would have a net worth of 1.700.000 DKK and no student debt. 

Or 3.4 times as much money invested as I’m currently having.

I Will Never Catch Up

On top of my 12.000 DKK/month savings from my work as a mason, I would have a 7 % ROI on my 1.700.000 DKK which is 120.000 DKK. 

144.000 + 120.000 = 266.000 DKK/year

My take-home pay as a building constructor is about 300.000 DKK year. That means my savings rate should be 89 % just to have the same investment as the “mason me”.

With an 89% savings rate, I would only have 2700 DKK/month to live off. I don’t know about you. But I would find it very difficult to live in a big city on 2700 DKK. 

2021 The Mason and Constructor 

This how my 2021 could look like as a mason:

Invested: 1.700.000 DKK
Return on investments: 122.000 DKK 
Saved from salary: 144.000 DKK 
Total networth: 1.966.000 DKK 

And this is how my 2021 could look like as a building constructor: 

Invested: 500.000 DKK 
Return on investments: 35.000 DKK 
Saved from salary: 200.000 DKK 
Student debt: 100.000 DKK 
Total networth: 625.000 DKk 

The mason me is increasing his networth with 266.000 DKK/year and the constructor me is only increasing with 235.000 DKK/year.

Let’s have a look at what my networth would be in 2055 where I will be close to my normal retirement to see if I will catch up. (Both get a 7 % ROI.)

Constructor: 31.800.000 DKK 

Mason: 34.800.000 DKK 

Yep, I was right. I will never catch up.

No Student Debt 

The superior thing to be an apprentice compared to studying is that your pay increases as the year goes. 

When you start as an apprentice you will have similar pay as a student. (If you are Danish, it is even more superior if you have to pay for your education) 

If you come from primary school to an apprentice job, you are probably still living at your parent’s place because you are young. 

But if you are an adult. You will have a higher starting wage due to the reason that you are an adult and have more expenses than a kid. 

But almost everyone I know from my mason school didn’t have a student debt when they were done. 

Compared to my building constructor friends where it was normal to have +200.000 DKK in student debt. 

Not having a student debt to pay is a super advantage to build wealth, but it is also a super nice feeling being debt-free. 

Coast to The 1 % Wealthiest in Years 5

What if I told you that you can become a part of the wealthiest Danish people in just 5 years as a 25-year-old?

The wealthiest Danish people is about 70 years old and have a networth of 14.000.000 DKK.

If you are like me and finished your apprentice when you are 20 years old. You will likely have 20.000 DKK/month. 

If you save and invest 50 % of your salary for five years with a 7 % ROI you will have: 

690.000 DKK 

Not too bad. But it gets better. 

If you just leave that money invested (7 % ROI) from age 25 to 70 you will have no less than: 

14.500.000 DKK 

And you have only worked five years to get there. From that point on you can work part-time, or seasonal for the rest of your life. 

You can only do that because you started early. At age 30 you need to have 1.000.000 DKK invested to have the same results. And I currently only have half of that.

You Can Do Maintenance Yourself 

We are more than likely the end up living in an apartment or a house. And I can’t tell you how much money I have saved on doing stuff myself. 

A small renovation of a bathroom can cost a fortune if you let somebody else do it. But the materials can be bought for a bargain. 

Even if you want to live one a boat. It becomes handy to know the basics of any craftsmanship. 

Easier to Invest In Real Estate

As I’m writing this I’m about to do my first real estate business. Even with my background as a mason and building constructor, I find it terrifying to take out all of my hard earned money into a real estate deal like that. 

I can’t imagine how it would be to do a real estate investment with no knowledge at all. 

You Will Always Have Work 

Look around you. 

Everybody lives in a building that someday needs some sort of renovation. You will NEVER become unemployed for more than a couple of months. There is no pseudo work here.

And it is one of the easiest places to become self-employed. 

And it is something you can do all over the world. Even philanthropic.

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