How Dumb Luck Made My Husband a Rich Man

My husband is a special guy. He is 29 years old and has $950,000 in total net worth. Hmm, OK, we’re not that deluded. $50K shy of a $1,000,000 doesn’t make him a Rockefeller but I still think it’s a fascinating journey. Things tend to work out for him more than you would think especially because he didn’t know what he was doing.

He’s really only a semi-functioning person. Jared’s not very good at conversations or eye contact. He’s very bashful. He is terrible under pressure and he cries easily. He cried during Lion King, RuPaul, and once a Disney movie with Zac Efron in it! In addition to that and some other things, he also walks funny. It’s a leg length discrepancy. He is 6 foot tall on one side of his body and 5 foot 11 ¾ on his other side.

God made my Hippo1 a little lopsided. 🙂

I told my mom in Chinese that he walks slightly lopsided so she wouldn’t be surprised when she sees him. Months later, when my mom finally met him in person, the first thing she said to him was:

Where is your wheelchair? My daughter said your legs didn’t work.

Apparently my Chinese translation isn’t very good…bawawahahahaha.2

I love my guy. He is very boyish. He likes to sings and he likes to dance, randomly. Just like me. He has heaps of other good qualities but for the narration of this post, I won’t mention it just yet because the list would be far, far too long.


Once upon a time…

baby-with-blonde-hair-baptism
Infant Jared at his baptism — HE WAS BORN WITH A LOTTT OF HAIR.

When Jared was in his mom’s tummy, he had too much fun doing back flips in there. He tied a knot in his own umbilical cord which cut off his nutritional supply. He was a small, underdeveloped baby. It happens in 1 out of 2,000 deliveries. The doctors approximated damage to be more observant later on. They said Jared would only grow to be 5’4 in adulthood whereas the rest of his siblings ranged from 5 foot 11 and to 6 foot 3.

That’s not all for the little angel. When Jared was an infant, he contracted bacteria meningitis, a bad case of it. Had they delayed discovery or hospitalization any later, it would have done further damage to his spinal cord and brain region.

Baby Jared, all hooked up to the IV.

He was hospitalized for a very long time. Jared taught himself how to walk and run using the IV monitor. He spent his first and second years inside San Francisco’s Children Hospital. The doctors gave a very depressing prognosis on his survival rate initially. Thank goodness he DID survive!!! Although not without scarring his mother off having children forever.

Had Jared been the first born, I would have stopped having children. – Mom

Jared was the last of the 4 Prudhomme children. From there, you have the typical childhood bumps and scrapes like rocks up the nose, flips off the bike, catapulted from a skateboard, getting kicked in the face by a big brother, fractured leg…arm…ribs.

Typical rough and tumble boy things. 

Dumb Luck = Survival + Family 


As Jared entered university, he got a full ride with the Bank of Daddy. He didn’t have to fill out FAFSA or any scholarships. He had a breezy time at UC Berkeley as an engineering major. Jared only drove home on the weekends so mom could do his laundry. Typical boy!

He was immediately picked up as an intern at Amazon in his junior year. Back then, Amazon’s stock price was hitting around $98 a piece.

He went to work for Amazon because when he went to interview at another tech company, he got lost in the building and was too shy to ask for help.

He decided he didn’t want to “shop around” anymore and just went with what he knew: Amazon. He was promptly hired at Amazon full-time with barely a put together resume.

For any new graduate, 2010 would have been a very tough year to start adulthood. Everything was in the toilet at the time. Jared was given a fat sign-up bonus, a great compensation package and a lot of stock at Amazon (vested if he stayed for 2 years). Most graduates don’t stay at Amazon for more than a year because Amazon’s not considered the best place to work.

Jared didn’t like working at Amazon either but he stuck around with what was familiar. For the next 6 years, Jared allowed his Amazon stock to rise, fall and stall. Not because he was an investment genius or he had faith that Amazon would become our overlords today but because he forgot/didn’t care that he had them.

He forgot he had half a million dollars.

Jared didn’t know a lick about investing and he didn’t care to find out.

jared-the-frugal-gene
College years (:

He went to work, went for a beer at the pub with his friends and went home. His rent was dirt cheap because he was too lazy to move. Jared didn’t know how to cook so he mainly ate pasta, eggs and zucchini for all of his meals at home. This made his grocery bills very inexpensive and shockingly simple. He’s just a simple happy-go-lucky guy. Netflix is cheap, video games are fun, he didn’t drive/travel/do anything that would involve leaving the house. His work lunch and beer with the guys were the only expenses beyond the essentials like zucchini and shampoo.

When I came along, Amazon stock was in the 600s I believe. I didn’t think much of it either honestly. We weren’t married, we were just dating. I didn’t push it at the time. I honestly didn’t think much of it because I didn’t know how stocks worked either. Jared apparently had around 500-600 shares of Amazon. He also saved 80% of his net salary by living a simple, quiet life. He wasn’t aiming for FIRE or had even the slightest clue about personal finance.

Anyway, Jared’s lucky I’m not a carnivorous gold digger.

He was so pure and innocent. Do you know how easily I could have blown all his money on Chanel bags and Cartier watches?

One of Jared’s friend wanted to pre-order a Chanel sheepskin flap bag so she took me into a Chanel store with her. She then asked me if I wanted anything reserved since “Jared could just buy it, riiiight Jared?”

*Cue Jared standing around looking at the shiny bags on display and then gently smiling at me.*

I could have done anything with Jared at the time and he would have stilled liked me – that dumb, sweet, sweet man.

Obviously, I said no.

I remember the look on the 2 beautiful store ladies’ face. They looked…so perplexed? It’s like they never heard a woman say no to a Chanel bag.

P.S. I had a hard time telling if the Chanel associates were models or really just counter clerks. They were like paintings! The fact that they’re working at a Chanel counter probably means they have to be doll-like beautiful, huh?! 😍

Dumb Luck = Wealth + Decent Girl 


They Lived Happily Ever…Sorta.

I came into the marriage with about $22,000 in my bank after working two jobs for two years out of college. Not bad for my age and being 100% debt free too! Jared came into the marriage with about 35 times that and blew me out of the water.

When our finances were combined, I started becoming more focused on the topic of investing/frugality after reading Financial Samurai and Mr. Money Mustache. I came from a Chinese fishing village and raised in a Chinatown-poor family so learning about money was like re-learning the alphabet. I had to start from scratch with the most basic principles.

After I read a few books from Bogle (borrowed from the library like a good frugal girl) I asked Jared,

“Hey honey…how much of your portfolio is in Amazon?”

“I don’t have a portfolio…”

“Oh…the book says you have to invest and diversify…”

“Umm, I don’t invest…and that sounds complicated.”

I fought and tantrum with Jared for two days and then a stalemate of another week because I wanted him to start investing his large 6 figure stash of cash.

He was very adamant.

It was the biggest fight we’ve ever had to date. It was ridiculous!!

He was afraid of everything. I had to fight him to start fully contributing to his 401k too, although that took much less time for me to win. I was sure investing in Vanguard was the right move for his money.

He said no and wanted to keep all of his money in his credit union savings account. We delayed the decision to invest even longer due to our stalemate. The market started to dip and I gave one last speech and he finally folded.

It was because of that delay that we were able to throw our money during the 10% market dip. It looked like things were heading for the toilet before the markets bounced back up again. That dip has probably made us $75K dollars more than if we had invested even a week or two earlier.

We weren’t timing the market. Just dumb luck on Jared’s part to fight tooth and nail with me over investing money in mutual funds…whoo, that was an intense week!

He admits now that it was stupidity and fear that made him fight with me so hard. Jared has trouble with new things and anything that requires action or risk.

We finally dispersed the near 100% allocation of Amazon out to other means. Our Vanguard looks a bit complicated, at the time I manually searched for small, mid and large caps even though most of the time you really only need 2 or 3 funds.

The next fight was about our house and AirBnBs. We also locked in our low-interest rate for our house during a similar interest rate dip too! Anytime something new happens, Jared likes to be on the defensive with any change and it somehow makes the timing perfect. He has a bias against action and change. It has to do with not functioning well under pressure I think, or he’s psychic.

Still, I deserve a war medal for my endeavors!!! 🙂

I had to throw tantrums of massive proportions for what most people consider two of the biggest wealth building secrets.

Dumb Luck = Well Timed Ignorance 


Working at Amazon has always been stressful. Amazon is a very cheap frugal company. There’s no budget for decor, lunch and their benefits used to be on the lower end until they bumped it up recently after many years of complaints.

The decor theme for Jared’s building was…Amazon warehouse.

How Dumb Luck Made My Husband a Rich Man

EPIC FACE PALM. It looked like prison.

How does anyone think making an Amazon office into an Amazon warehouse is a good DECOR idea?

Eventually he made the jump after years of saying he would. I nudged him on that as well.

Jared only received such a strong offer at Google because this other tech company wanted Cloud talent badly.

His ex-manager and friend back at Amazon was one of his interviewers. One of the other interviewers had a run-in with Jared too. They were both in the lobby getting coffee on the day of the interview. Something happened to the coffee machine and it made a mess everywhere when the interviewer was using it. He was trying to clean up the mess in a hurry, Jared offered to clean up for him so he could run to his next appointment. The guy find out later – he was interviewing Jared!

Talk about good first impressions. Talk about dumb luck!

Google gave a horribly low-ball offer in the beginning3 but once they saw that the other company was not low-balling him – they immediately bumped and matched Jared’s plan. From that it was deciding the future prospect of the company and of upper management.

Jared is now working for Google.

Dumb Luck = Work 


Oh, oh it was by dumb luck that Jared and I met too but I’ll leave that story for another time.

Related: The Influential People of My Life (Past & Present)

If anyone (besides myself) accuses me of being mean to my husband, you should see what I’m willing to do to protect him! 😛

 

 

  1. *That’s my nickname for him in real life. Mr. Hippo was the name he used when I met him. This personal finance blog was very, very close to being called HippoFinance.com at one time.
  2. We started working on his walking and he’s walking like normal now! It was just training the right muscles.
  3. From what I’ve seen: Google always low-balls. Get a competing offer on your table and they’ll totally play ball.


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