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Why Financial Independence (FI)?

I am always intrigued to find out the origin of how members of the FI community first became hooked. For me, this all started when a friend of mine who I worked with told me to read Rich Dad, Poor Dad, the very famous novel by Robert Kiyosaki. To say I am not much of a reader would be an understatement. English was by far my worst subject in school and the thought of using my free time to read a book didn’t sound so appetizing. The friend who recommended it to me was making over 6 figures though, so I thought what the heck and gave it a shot. My mind was absolutely blown. Everything I thought I knew about finances was completely flipped on its head. The way Robert Kiyosaki broke down expenses and income were something I had never fathomed. Growing up I was always a saver with the classic advice from my Jewish mother being to get a good degree in college and then go work in the corporate world working 9 to 5. At the time I read this book I had recently graduated college and took a job as an engineer for Walmart in Bethlehem PA. I was headed down the path to work for 40 years and then hope to retire around age 60. I was the lead onsite engineer on a brand-new construction eCommerce facility making $60,000/year and having no idea what I was getting myself into.

My Financial Outlook After Graduating College:

  • Owned a 2008 VW Jetta paid in full (again, thank you mom and dad!)
  • Graduated with no student loan debt. The two main drivers of coming out of school with no debt without a doubt had to be my parent’s ability to set me up for success along with receiving both athletic and academic scholarships.
  • Purchased brand new furniture for $2,500 to furnish my apartment
  • Renting a one-bedroom apartment for $1,100 per month in the best part of town 5 minutes from work
  • Putting 6% of my salary to my 401k thinking I would do the minimum to receive my company match
  • Keeping money I wasn’t spending in my bank account earning almost nothing

Overall, I would have given myself a B- for where I stood. The crazy thing is, I literally had no idea what I was doing, and I was simply taking the advice from my parents on everything that was happening regarding my money. After reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad I started to change my perception of money.  I now realized that renting a place was not the best decision, but I was stuck in a year long lease. Additionally, I was coming up on a promotion at work that would relocate me to another part of the country so the last thing I wanted to do at the time was investigate purchasing a home.

 

I am now 22 years old, realize that real estate is an incredible vehicle to use for financial independence, and I am working 13-14 hours a day trying to focus solely on my career an increasing the ability to earn more money as an employee. Nobody in my family had ever spoken about real estate with me before and I was very intrigued to learn more. I decided to get on google and searched for the best real estate podcast available to listen to. This is when I ran across the incredible podcast called Bigger Pockets. After only 5 episodes I was completely hooked, listening to everything they were putting out, and reading their online blog daily. Never had I heard of the real estate concepts Bigger Pockets was discussing, but the content was so intentional, motivating, and actionable. I had finally caught the bug of thinking more about my financial future and trying to map out what would come to be the path I am currently on.

I highly highly highly recommend, if you haven’t already, to do two things if you haven’t done so already:

  1. Buy and read Rich Dad, Poor Dad. This is a great foundational book to get your mind thinking in the right way
  2. Begin listening to the Bigger Pockets podcast as well as Bigger Pockets Money podcast as both have incredible content to consume. I challenge you to listen to one podcast a week on your drive to and from work.
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