Hi. You probably don’t know me, but I’m famous. Everybody has thought of me at some point. I’m the wild animal feeling of exhilaration you get when you realize you just paid off one credit card, and want to tear into the next one. Okay, not really, but that’s our little secret. In reality, I’m just a pretty normal guy like you that realized life would be be better if fewer of the people he knew were stressed out about money. The truth is, few people want to have a frank discussion about finances. Whether it’s out of fear, embarrassment, or shame, these discussions are some of the hardest people can ever have. Growing up, I had a poor understanding of money, and my parents were, admittedly, poor role models for good financial decision making.
By the time I was 21, I was a college drop-out that was spending money faster than I could earn it. I defaulted on student loans and credit cards. At one point, I totaled a 2-year-old car, and when I made the mistake of going to get a new one, I had a beacon score of 385, and signed my name to a 23.99% interest rate loan. This was rock bottom. This was the last place I wanted to be. Finally, I decided it was time to get my act together and solve the problems. Over the course of three years, I paid off my defaulted student loans and started cleaning up my credit. In the summer of 2008, I quit my job, cashed out my 401k, and decided to go back to school full time. As luck would have it, I picked a good time to get out, and I avoided the financial crisis, while investing in myself. in 2011, I graduated with my degree in economics and took the lessons I learned in the class room and in the school of hard knocks to heart. Now, I’m saving significantly more than most, and trying to put myself on track to retire much earlier than people ten years younger than me.
The advice I preach can seem like it’s equal parts Dave Ramsey and Gordon Ramsay at times, but don’t confuse it for a lack of caring. I don’t want people to go through the things I have to be financially stable. What I do want is for people to make solid, rational economic decisions with their personal finances, and learn how to make a system that seems to be stacked against them actually work in their favor. The odds are stacked against anybody getting rich quick, but you can make changes in your life that will let you get rich quicker. All it takes is making small changes in lifestyle and your habits while keeping your eyes on the ultimate goal: being free.
What does free mean? Free means being free from bosses you hate at a job you hate with a commute you hate because you have debts to pay. Free means being able to live where you want instead of where you have to live. Free means being able to not worry about keeping up with the Joneses because they have to trudge out to their jobs while you can spend your day pretending to be a pirate and building a blanket fort if you want because you finally have enough passive income to pay your expenses without being bothered to go anywhere that you don’t want to go.