Working at Walmart Could Help Make You a Millionaire in Just a Few Years—Here’s How
If you dream of becoming a real estate investor but work at Walmart, you could well be on your way to realizing your dream much sooner than you think. This comes with one important caveat: You’d need to manage a Walmart store to enjoy the financial benefits that could set you up with the cash needed to invest.
Walmart U.S. announced last week that it would be giving its store managers stock grants in the company. The announcement comes after Walmart also made the decision to raise managers’ salaries and introduce a new bonus structure that will allow store managers to earn up to 200% of their salary in annual bonuses.
How Much Will Walmart Managers Earn?
The company announced that starting from its 2024 fiscal year, which begins in February, the average store manager’s salary will go up from $117,000 to $128,000. The new salary range will be between $90,000 and $170,000, which raises the starting salary substantially from the previous $65,000 benchmark. In addition, Walmart will do a 3-for-1 stock split at the end of February—something it hasn’t done since 1999.
Where things get truly lucrative is in the new bonus structure and the latest decision to give employees in some categories company stock grants. Under the new policy, managers can earn up to $404,000 per year in total if they get the performance-based bonus on top of their salary.
The stock grants of up to $20,000 will be issued to Walmart managers, with a vested period of three years. The total amount of the stock grant will depend on the size of the store the employee is managing.
The full $20,000 will be given to Supercenter managers. Supercenters are the biggest Walmart stores, about 180,000 square feet in size, and require managers to oversee hundreds of employees. Managers of Neighborhood Market stores and Division 1 stores, which are smaller, will get $15,000 in stock grants. Hometown store leaders will get $10,000 in stock grants.
The beauty of the stock grant program is that it’s essentially free stock given to an employee by the company. You don’t have to buy stock—although that is also an option at Walmart, and the company will match 15% of the employee’s purchase, up to $1,800 a year. With stock grants, the vesting period is the period the employee must remain at the company in order to be able to cash in the stock. Walmart’s managers will be given the stock in installments, one-twelfth of the total each quarter until the three-year period is up.
So How Does This Help Budding Real Estate Investors?
The biggest stumbling block for people who want to invest in real estate is not having enough cash to invest with. Currently, BiggerPockets recommends saving $60,000 before you begin investing.
If you were a Walmart manager, how long would it take you to get there? We know that to be able to exchange the stock grant for cash, you’d need to work at Walmart as a store manager for three years. That would get you between $10,000 and $20,000, depending on the type of store you were managing.
The bonus money is a less reliable figure. First, 200% of your salary is the maximum bonus amount, and the bonus is performance-based. And the $400,000 total would only apply to managers earning at the top of the salary range.
Instead, let’s take the new average Walmart manager’s salary of $128,000. Imagine that you did get the full 200% bonus for three years straight. That would give you a gross income of $1,152,000.
But that’s before tax. On average, after tax, you can expect to take home around 75% of that amount. So, in reality, you’d get something like $864,000. How much of that you’d be able to set aside for investing will vary depending on where you live, but let’s say your living costs are close to the national average of $61,334 per year. Potentially, then, you could have a huge $680,000 to play with—and that’s before the stock grant money.
And if you didn’t get the bonus? You would only have $288,000 after tax at the end of the three years, plus the $15,000 (after tax). That’s $303,000; after subtracting your average living costs, you’d still have a very decent $119,000 to play around with. Therefore, in only three years of working as a Walmart store manager, you could have enough cash to build a real estate portfolio.
Of course, you would likely start off on the lower end of the Walmart manager salary range, at $90,000. But once you break into that average salary territory, you could have substantial amounts of money to set aside for your investments.
You May Be Closer to Investing Than You Think
The takeaway from this exercise is this: If you have a regular day job, you’re not necessarily locked out of the possibilities of growing your wealth through real estate investing. In fact, the vast majority of Walmart managers (75%) started out as hourly wage workers.
And while college graduates do work at Walmart, you don’t need a degree. Sure, it may take a while to get promoted to a managerial position, but it’s not out of reach, and it doesn’t require you to go into massive amounts of college debt.
So if you’re looking for a lucrative career that will help you generate wealth over a relatively short amount of time, working at Walmart could well be it. Or you can use the Walmart example to look for jobs at companies that similarly offer good financial incentives for staff retention, like performance-based bonuses and stock grants.
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Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.