Now that we enter a new year it is always good to go back and look at everything I was able to accomplish this year. Below are the highlights of my path to Financial Independence:
Opened a Vanguard account and transferred $70,000 I had sitting in my bank account. Setup two auto investments to purchase $1,550 every two weeks in VTSAX
Started this blog to document my journey to Financial Independence: theyoungretireeby33.com
Started an Instagram account to supplement the blog. IG: theyoungretireeby33
Decreased my car insurance monthly payment by $100/month by negotiating terms
Cut the cord for cable saving $60/month
Stayed 100% rented out in the two additional bedrooms in my home renting one for $1,000 and the other for $900. My mortgage payment will drop to $1,750 beginning in February 1st, 2019.
Created a Personal Capital account to track my Net Worth in a very simple one stop shop
Created a detailed expense tracking spreadsheet that will project out net worth by the pay check. This spreadsheet even goes as detailed as to outline when I will place money into my 401k, HSA, and Roth.
Maxed out my 401k for the first time ever in my working career
Wrote out my goals both personally and professionally
Homestead my property to reduce taxes by approximately $700/year
Enrolled in a HSA plan at work so I can take advantage of what people in the FI community say is one of the best kept secret tax advantaged accounts
Received $1,700 in travel credit through taking later flights on busy days from Delta
Put a heavy focus on excelling at work and I was able to increase my total compensation from $119,165 to $177,424. Increasing my income continues to be a focus in my life so I can speed up my path to FI
Used tax loss harvesting to save over $10k in taxes in the next 5 years
I am super pumped to see what is in store for 2019!
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:
Buy and read Rich Dad, Poor Dad. This is a great foundational book to get your mind thinking in the right way
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.