Financial Independence For Millennials

Financial Independence for Millennials
Golden Piggy Bank

Do I remind you of yourself?

If you’re anything like me then you’re likely in your mid to late twenties or early thirties, a “millennial”, as they say. You went to a good college and graduated with a bachelors in a field that interested you because that’s what you were told was the smart thing to do. In order to get ahead in your field you decided that graduate school may be a good idea. Of course, to pay for school you had to finance it by taking out a federal student loan.  But that’s okay; you were on your way to achieving financial independence.

After graduating you got a decent job with decent pay. You’re grinding away 8:30 to 5:30 every Monday through Friday while settling into your cubicle. You like your job and the people you work with but can’t wait until 5:30 hits so you can get home and enjoy your own hobbies or spend time with friends or a significant other.

Keep reading or skip to the point.

Life is pretty good.

You bought or leased a new car not long after getting your first job. After all, it was about time to get rid of the early 2000’s used car you or your parents bought back in high school. Your new car payments are a little high, but with a 6 year loan and an introductory low APR rate you have the money to pay for it — and it looks really good.

After getting your job you moved out and rented an apartment or, as our generation loves to do, still live at home. Your apartment is not bad, maybe you live with a roommate or significant other just to split the cost of rent, though.

Now you’re comfortable at your job, you have a new car, you decorated your apartment, and you bought a few new expensive items for yourself (“Treat Yo’self”), you continue to think about what you’re going to buy next. What else is it that you need?

Every time you get a paycheck you already know what you’re going to be spending it on. You make a good amount of money but most of it creeps out of your bank account through credit card payments and all your monthly costs.

Does any of this sound familiar? If so, keep reading… or skip to the point.


The Reality Of It

What I just described is a fairly accurate portrayal of my life currently. I grew up in a Long Island suburb, went to a great college on the Island, changed majors, attended grad school for a Masters In Business Administration (MBA), all while studying to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).  All in all, it took about 8 years.

I’ve been working full-time in public accounting for a little over 3 years now. The first time I actually started saving money was less than 8 months ago. I first had the pleasure of paying off almost $75,000 in student loan debt before I could bring myself to saving anything.

No Loan. No Problem.

Now that my loans were paid off, I finally decided it was time to upgrade my car. Up until last year, I drove a used blue 2005 Nissan Altima that my parents bought me and my brother when I got my driver’s license. It was a nice car, it ran pretty well, and as of last year had under 100,000 miles.

Instead of making a somewhat minor repair to it, I decided to finance a beautiful certified pre-owned “Mars Red” 2014 Mercedes-Benz C300 4WD Sport Edition with a black interior and an amazing sound system. I was approved for a loan at the introductory rate of 3.5% through the dealer and decided to take a 72 month loan.

Living with a close family member due to complicated circumstances has enabled me to spend more money elsewhere other than rent; although I do pay roughly $500 a month in rent expenses.

Lastly, all my personal purchases. I am a musician, I’ve been a drummer and music enthusiast for well over half my lifetime. Ask anyone who’s into music and instruments, they will be able to tell you that there is never a shortage of new gear to buy. New drums, new cymbals, stands, pedals, bags, sticks… it never ends. Couple that with my foray into analogue synthesizers, craft beer, gaming computers, multiple nights out every week, and various other hobbies, I was spending like a madman.

“But I have the money,” I’d say to myself…

I realized that the more comfortable I got with my money, the more I was willing to spend on certain items. I remember my first year having a ‘real job’. Coming off of a long retail job stint at a music store, I was hesitant to spend more than $50 on anything. Now, I am comfortable spending $3000 on an instrument that I don’t even know how to play properly.

It wasn’t until 2018 that I slowly started thinking about what my future holds regarding my finances. In an effort to make some extra cash, I made a few unsuccessful drop-shipping websites, I was also into cryptocurrency for quite awhile and started a blog around it. I considered doing some driving for Uber on the side as well.

If I was making decent money, why did it always feel like I didn’t have enough?

This thought was constantly running through my mind. I went to a good school, I achieved a very high level of academic and professional achievement, I had a good job, so where’s the money? What am I doing wrong?

I started googling and watching YouTube videos about how to make money when I stumbled upon a video series entitled “Millennial Money”. This short video changed the way I thought about money and more importantly, spending money. It put into perspective why I was stuck in the position I am, and gave me enough sense to continue looking into how to achieve my financial independence.

Financial independence means something different to everyone.  For me, personally, it means having more time available to do the things I love rather than working to live and living to work until I’m 70.  It means not having to worry about a paycheck making or breaking my bank account.  It means self-control and living within my means.

The point of it all: I am writing a financial independence blog for Millennials by a Millennial.

The initial point of this blog is for me to track my progress. I’ll be writing at least one blog per month detailing any efforts I’ve made in changing my spending habits, preparing for my financial future, and remarking on things I’ve learned along the way.  I will do my best to explain all the financial terms you may not be familiar with and everything else as I go.

Secondly, I will use it as a teaching method. I am not claiming to be a guru. In fact, I am new to this world of “Financial Independence” just as much as you are, and I want to share all the information that I pick up along the way so that you can learn right alongside me. Every book I read, every podcast I listen to, every video I watch, I will be taking notes and reporting on them here.

There is a lot we can learn from the “gurus” of financial independence.  However, a lot of their progress and real-life steps taken aren’t apparent to everyone.  All we are left with are age-old truisms about saving.

This blog will serve as a real world example of the steps I am taking in real-time to achieve financial independence.

Lastly, I want to build a community where we can all help each other become financially independent and share our successes, as well as our failures, for everyone to learn from.

I hope you will learn with me.

-Chris

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