Thank you for joining me on my journey to financial independence!
“Execution is the secret to success, it’s what separates the dreamers from the doers” (self-made millionaire and CEO of Amobee, Kim Perell).
When I was 8, my dad told me that I was too bossy to ever work for someone and that I would have to own and run my own business like him. In high school, I’ve had a loose goal of owning a beach house by age 30 and would work as many hours as they would let me (at $7.25/hour) at the town pool.
In college, I changed my Instagram bio to “I can’t go out tonight, I’m saving for retirement”. I sacrificed many weekend nights in college when I got a job in the Student Union’s AV department (don’t tell my parents but I had definitely exaggerated my knowledge of IT) because it was the highest-paying on campus job available ($11 an hour!!).
I’ve come from a long line of financially savvy and thrifty individuals. My grandpa immigrated to the United States from Slovakia in the 1930s and had many tricks up his sleeve to financially support his wife and six children for decades. Anecdotes from my mom like, “I wanted braces so badly that I went to William Paterson University and volunteered to have a orthodontic dental student drill metal in my mouth cause we couldn’t afford them” made me realize my fate to be financially frugal from a young age. My favorite Saturday activity at age 12 was going to multiple thrift stores in Hawthorne and Paterson, New Jersey with my mom to scour the racks for hours.
In 7th grade, my dad made me join stock market club where instead of going to lunch with my friends, I dragged my feet all the way to the computer lab where me and a few classmates traded stocks in virtual stock market. (Picture ten 13 year olds in braces trying to pronounce “arbitrage”).
I have read up on the F.I.R.E. (Financial Independence, Retire Early) and F.I.O.R. (Financial Independence, Optional Retirement) movements, and thought to myself “Hm, I’ve got a solid foundation in frugal living, saving, and investing. This could be something I can achieve”. So, I have decided to make a concrete goal for myself to be financially independent by 35.
Financial independence is defined as having assets that generate income that is at least equal to expenses. Income you earn without having to work a job is commonly referred to as “passive income”. Business Insider credits people who are financially independent as sharing these 3 traits: spending below their means, finding a side hustle, and moving to self-employment.
I work at one of the largest companies in the world right now. Working weekends, 14+ hour shifts, getting shouted at, constantly coaching and firing people, has actually had a constructive effect on me. It has made me realize I need to be extremely savvy with my money and become financially independent as soon as possible before it kills me. That’s dramatic, but you get the idea.
I decided to write this blog because I wanted to share my knowledge and financial independence opinions. I also need something to keep me on track. So here is a letter to my 35 year old self.
I’m writing this blog post on January 1, 2019 to my 0 readers so I hope you will be re-visiting this letter on January 1, 2029 with a little bit more of a reader following. First and foremost, did you end up getting a dog and naming it Tofu like you’ve been telling everyone you will do?
Second, I want to congratulate you on the financial independence. I’m sure it has not been an easy ride – sacrificing buying a new car, bachelorette weekends in Vegas, etc., but now you have the freedom to do whatever you want. I hope you continue on this journey and are helping people become financially independent along the way.
Now that you have some spare time, get going on your next goal: 30 countries by 40? 40 countries by 40?
All the best,
Your 24 year old self