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It’s a hot Texas afternoon and I’m sitting in the Houston Greyhound station waiting for a bus to Austin. The A/C is broken. A baby is crying. Two TV’s are on different channels and insanely loud. The fluorescent lights are so bright I can hardly see my phone. (Yes, I write some of these posts on my phone while traveling). I spend so much time in planes and airports, sometimes I like to mix it up and travel closer to the land.
I’m a huge fan of trains – I like the rhythm, starring our the window, and disappearing into the timeless pull from one place to another. But there isn’t a train that goes from Houston to Austin in less than 18 hours (ridic), so here I am waiting with a crew of characters from all walks of life. The bus was only $9. A Greyhound station is a different world, but one more representative of entire America, than the world I normally live in.
I’m stoked to get on the bus. I need some time to reflect and recharge. I’m planning to disconnect for the next 3 hours and simply watch the land and time pass. My life has been a whirlwind these past few months and I need to take the afternoon off. I move a million miles a minute, check my phone over 300 times a day, and only slow down if I’m meditating or sleeping. I’ve done 41 interviews in the past 60 days (yes I’m keeping track) and my Millennial Money story has been featured all over the world in the Washington Post, CNBC, NPR, and as far as Vietnam and Australia.
I believe everyone can make more money and live a richer life
I’ve received over 4,000 emails from readers and listeners who’ve just heard my story. This is great market research and feedback so keep sending them! Seriously, I love getting emails. While I haven’t yet caught up on all of them, there is a trend emerging from the outreach I wanted to share.
While 90% of the emails have been super positive (I <3 you all) or money questions, the other 10% is about how difficult it is for most people to get ahead and commentary on how most people can’t do what I’ve done.
I hear you. Everyone can’t do it. But I do believe everyone can make more money and live a richer life. The takeaway from everything I write is this – start small, build habits, invest instead of just save, and go at your own pace.
I personally chose a rapid pace to try and reach financial independence in 5 years. Did I think I would make it? I didn’t know but I wanted to try.
To do so I needed to make and invest a lot more money, so I started my financial independence journey and followed the $50 a day early retirement strategy with the specific goal of becoming a millennial millionaire. That was for me.
You need to decide your own path and go at your own pace. I am simply sharing blueprints and strategies that I, and others, have used to accelerate their financial independence.
It’s not possible for everyone. But if you want it, if you really want it, then it’s worth building. Start small – I started at $5 a day. Then build and optimize over time. There are many tried and true strategies that work. It all starts with building habits – here are the 51 exact money habits I used to build wealth. Pick a few, try them. It might be easier than you think.
Money fuels our lives. It’s everywhere in everything.
[easy-tweet tweet=”Money both limits us and contains our dreams.” user=”millennialmoney” hashtags=”millennials”]
The average household income increased 5.2% in 2016 to $56,516, which can be tough to raise a family on due to the significant increases in housing, child care, and food costs most places in the United States.
I’m still at the train station. It’s still hot. At least two people within an earshot are complaining about money. One woman is yelling into her phone at her brother, who hasn’t paid his portion of the rent in the past 3 months. Another man is talking about how his social security benefits aren’t covering his middle-aged daughter moving back in with him. A little girl sitting next to me just asked me for a dollar, her mother not flinching from her phone, as I pull out a dollar and give it to her.
Many of us tend to forget how little most people have and how hard it is to simply exist in a world with extreme income disparity and a wealth gap just getting larger. So many people have so little. The disparity is easy to see in this bus station right now. It’s expensive to be poor. I’ve read two books recently on the topic if you want to go deeper – Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America and Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City.
When I started my financial independence journey at 24 I started saving just $5 a day. That’s where I started and anyone can start. If you are reading this blog then you can probably save $5 a day. If you can’t, then reaching financial independence probably won’t be possible unless you can.
Unfortunately, a lot of people make really stupid decisions about money
I recently attended a wealth expo recently where about 3,000 of the 6,000 attendees couldn’t jump from their chairs fast enough when presented the opportunity to invest in insanely risky investments like tax liens. Sure some people make money on tax liens, but it’s the small minority and not an investment suited for someone who doesn’t first have tens of thousands of dollars invested. Here’s the exact investing strategy I use that anyone can.
For someone who has only $2,000 – $10,000 to invest it’s an insanely stupid investment. It’s like one of the dumbest things you can do with your money. I watch as literally thousands of people throwing their money into the trash. Here’s another perspective on the event and my views on money scams.
The attendees at the seminar are susceptible to being conned because they don’t know anything else. If we taught personal finance in high schools and colleges, and we talked about it with our friends, the popular narrative would change. It’s actually not that hard to get rich slowly – seriously it isn’t. But people go for the quick rich, or the gamble, instead of holding out and playing the long game. Or even playing the next year game. It’s all about today. How can I get rich today?
Want to get rich? Start talking about money and go at your own pace
We rarely talk about money. It’s hidden. It’s taboo. It’s frowned upon. The primary reasons I decided to come out and share my personal story of going from $2.26 to $1 million in 5 years, was to both show people that it’s actually possible, and to share what I’ve learned along the way. I’m passionate about breaking down barriers around money. Seriously, that’s one of the biggest reasons I write about it and share my net-worth. I’m a believer in radical transparency around money. Money isn’t complicated. There are simple strategies that work and good is often good enough.
There is also so much collective knowledge to share, but with money, we keep to ourselves. When we are broke we feel ashamed, worried, and helpless. I’ve been there too. When we are making money, we keep it a secret or show it off, but few people share how they did it.
The number one reason couple’s get divorced is over money – usually, because they have too little or one of the members spending gets out of hand. A lot of parent’s feel okay helping their kids out with money, but don’t know how, or don’t take the time, to sit down with them and explain how it works.
And friends? How many times have you sat down and chatted about Roth IRA’s over drinks with your homies?
Seriously, start talking about money as much as you can. Track your money closely use free tools like Personal Capital, test, optimize, and take control. But do it at your own pace. Focus on building the life you want first, and work to make enough money to live it. You might be able to live the life you want with a lot less money than you think.
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