[J$ is recovering from beach week and shall return shortly… While he’s away, enjoy this inspirational post by Will Lipovsky of FirstQuarterFinance.com. Proof again that it all adds up! And that you’re never too young, or old, to get started…]
At age 21 I graduated college with $100,000 sitting in the bank. Scratch that – most of it was invested elsewhere… but you get the point.
I’m not writing this post because I think I’m cool (beatboxing skills, aside ;)). I didn’t earn $100k before even getting a “real job” because I’m special – I was just intentional.
What I don’t get is most people wait until a quarter of their life is gone before they start worrying about money. I didn’t wait until I was halfway through my 20’s and deep in student and consumer debt to start paying attention to my finances. I blog to help other people create wealth early in life.
How Did I Get Here?
I worked, saved, and invested of course! How else does one create wealth? I started working early and often. So early that I used to measure my money in the amount of Skittles packets it could buy!
I had 3 requirements for my jobs and side hustles: must be fun, pay well, and look snazzy on my resume. Tick, tick, tick and I was almost always eager to get out of bed! Whenever I worked borderline illegally long hours, I did so because I wanted to. I began investing the money right away at age 10.
I had so few expenses as a kid. I didn’t need to work or invest. Heck, birthday money would cover any ‘expenses’ I accrued. The reason I worked was because I knew life outside my parents’ house came with expenses. I wanted to be ready. Why fall out of the nest when you can soar?
Everyday I’m Hustlin’
As I got older, I sold a lot of stuff on eBay, forums, and Craigslist. My stuff, my parents’ stuff (for a commission), stuff I would flip… clothing, electronics, you name it. I started doing this before I could legally have a PayPal account! I convinced mom to create one using my email. To this day, my PayPal homepage greets me with, ‘Hi again, Victoria!’
I asked my parents to pay me for any crazy odd job they had available. I remember picking dandelions for 5 cents per head. It was great because they grew right back! Talk about job security! However, they soon told me my position had been eliminated…
In one of my gutsier moves, I found stuff in the attic, garage, outbuildings that mom didn’t use anymore. I announced a garage sale outside where she could buy back her stolen forgotten goods. Making money as a kid is way easier than as an adult. To seal the deals, I would include free home delivery. Good thing I was a cute kid.
When I was 14, I found a neighbor who hustled like crazy. He took early retirement from the FDIC to start 3 businesses. I wanted in on the excitement. I knew he likely needed help. With a lot of encouragement from mom, I created a resume and gave the guy a call. I learned a lot about how to win at life from that man and he paid me! He even let me live in his investment house for free after college.
Fast and Furious Side Hustle
In high school, I started a pawn shop out of my high school shop class. Kids who ‘needed’ money for whatever silly reason would sell their stuff to me. I had cash. Business eventually got so good I started making them do the market research to prove I could resell their stuff online for at least a 50% profit before we would make a deal. Easy and very fun! The only downside was how mad mom would get when every few days I filled the living room with packing peanuts and car parts…
Work and Pay Should Correlate
In college, I would schmooze alums to donate money to my school. They would give to our scholarship/ campus renovation/student organization programs. My target age group was 40-60-year-old ladies. We had a great time chatting and I made my school a lot of money – which helped keep tuition down.
It felt like being self-employed. I earned commission in this role. Seeing my efforts directly correlate with my earnings has always been motivating to me. I worked every night I could. Again – having fun while working. I really miss talking with some of those ladies!
Cashing Checks and Fighter Jets
I had some pretty awesome internships. One was a financial advising firm (go figure) and the other with the U.S. Strategic Command (I think it’s okay to tell you about this?).
Working for the financial firm was okay but honestly, Vanguard > traditional financial salespeople – I mean – advisors.
Working on an Air Force Base gave me a shot of adrenaline each time I pulled through the gates. Armed soldiers, jets ready to scramble, security clearances, top brass… oh yeah. That’s the stuff. Once, while going to a base picnic, we crossed a runway and had a pair of F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jets come in for landing right above our car. This job was fun, paid well, and boosted my resume!
Ways I Saved
My biggest purchase prior to my car at age 16 was a $40 stereo I bought from my cousin. Honestly, I was sweatin’ bullets after the purchase because I felt like I wasted a mountain of cash. Good thing I still use that sucker today!
Most kids buy all sorts of stuff on a whim. But our hobbies and passions change fast as a kid. Buying a lot of stuff is pretty silly. I always thought to myself, if I want it bad enough, I can wait for my birthday or Christmas. Cap gun obsession followed by NERF obsession followed by airsoft obsession followed by paintball obsession… Makes me tired just typing out all the ways I could have piddled away my $100k! Seriously!
Man, I could go on and on about what I did to save… Maybe J. Money will let me guest post again. Hint, hint, comment below. :)
Paying for College
I hustled through college in 3.5 years (not impressive, anyone can get a bachelor’s degree in 3 full-time years). I took summer classes to keep the costs down – apparently getting the same education in the summer is 80% cheaper! I used some tricks to get A’s from professors almost no matter what – that freed up my time for earning money and learning about investing. Retaking classes was definitely never an option. It was a private school which gave me a good education. I hacked my way through college in a million different ways. That’s another post for another day.
Back to Present Day
As I write this, I’m 24-years-old still hustling to earn, save, and invest my way to financial freedom. My current savings rate is 85%. I should quite easily become FI by 30. But all in all I’m pretty normal. My views align pretty closely with J. Money’s (is that normal???). Sometimes I want to buy something useless but I stop myself. I would rather buy freedom than pointless stuff.
That initial $100,000 was not that difficult to achieve. Most people just don’t bother putting in the effort.
Thanks to my early efforts, I have huge head start in life. Compound interest should not be underestimated. That $100k will stay in my investment account forever – helping sustain my eventual life of freedom. My portfolio is similar to a restaurant that frames their first earned dollar bill. But by age 67, it’ll look more like a $3.2 million dollar bill!
Now what’s stopping YOU from hustling your a$$ off?
Will Lipovsky writes about money at FirstQuarterFinance.com, where he helps others create lifelong wealth ASAP. Outside of writing, Will enjoys cycling, cars, the internets, the outdoors, exercising, and sweets. Good thing his writing isn’t so full of contradictions.
[Photo cred: Bryan Jones]
Killer resources and apps:
- Best Budget Templates & Spreadsheets (FREE)— The best free budget templates from around the community! Including the ones I use :)
- Personal Capital* (FREE) — A great app to track your investments and net worth. You can see an in-depth review we did here from a millionaire who checks it daily 😂
- You Need a Budget (YNAB)* (FREE TRIAL, then $14.99/mo or $98.99/year) — One of the BEST budgeting methods in the space, with new users saving $600 on avg their first two months, and more than $6,000 over their first year! Check out my friend Vic’s review of YNAB here that went on to completely change his finances 💪
- Digit (FREE 6 mo. Trial, then $5/mo) — This is one of my favorite apps for automatically saving money, and I even came on board as an advisor I believed in them so much! You can see my full review on Digit here.
- Acorns* ($3-$5/mo) – Similar to Digit, this app helps you automatically INVEST money by rounding up all your transactions to the nearest dollar and then investing it right away for you. My full review of Acorns can be found here.
- Honey (FREE) — By far my favorite coupon service out there! Click the Honey button any time you're about to buy something online, and BOOM - any discounts it finds will be automatically applied at checkout. You can see my write up on them here.
- Credit Karma* (FREE) — An easy way to check and monitor your credit score AND report! See my full review of these guys here.
- My Favorite Blogs + Books < -- Click here to see all my other recommendations!