Well after a year of blogging, I finally have decided to create an about page.
I was born in Chicago, but moved to Houston at the age of 6 with my mom and stepfather. I had a normal lower middle class childhood that I look back fondly upon. In the late 70s and early 80s kids didn't spend the day playing with iphones and videos games, we rode bikes and shot BB guns. Money was in short supply, but I never knew it as a kid. Unfortunately my ambitions were underwhelming as a child and would develop only after I entered into the workforce many years later.
I enrolled in the University of Texas at Austin and entered the Mechanical Engineering program. The first year was great and the second year a total disaster. Courses like Thermodynamics, Mechanics of Solids, and a few other nightmare Physics-type courses were the death of me. Making C's were unheard of for me, so when I received a D and an F, I realized I was in over my head. I never had trouble excelling at school until that second year of engineering. Sometimes I wish I had applied myself more, but usually I am glad I got out of engineering relatively early.
I really wasn't passionate about engineering so the dropoff in grades wasn't that much of a surprise. I completely understand why so many engineers are looking to reach FI and get the hell out of the Rat Race. At the time, the competition for grades and the stress level was unbearable for me. Later on in life, in the workforce, I would understand what real competition was and I would have to up my game in order to advance in life.
Anyway I graduated with a degree in Finance, but also took 30 hours of Accounting, because I thought it would come in handy later in life. So far it has not. I could have gotten a job at large accounting firm, but I really didn't want to go down that path either. Strangely enough I wanted to stay away from what I thought might be overly constrictive careers which confined me to cubicles.
After graduating college, I decided that the best path to success for me would involve sales. I jumped into a field that was totally unrelated to my degree and made $50,000 in 1995 at 23 years old. In 1995 there weren't many 23 year olds making that kind of money college grad or not. Sales typically involves very fierce competition and can be very Darwinian in nature. Many people get freaked out about this type of environment, but I thrived in it.
Within a few years I was married with a mortgage, two car payments, wave runners, new furniture, etc. So in other words, I was strapped in tight to the American dream.
By 2000 I was 28 years old with $35,000 in credit card debt, payments coming out of my ass and a bleak future staring me in the face. Something had to change or I was going to have a pretty shitty rest of my life. The next five years would be an about face from the previous five
2001-2006 The Gauntlet
Driving a new car each year, buying expensive clothes, and blowing all kinds of money eating out all the time had to stop. It's difficult to make radical changes cold turkey, especially when you are married. These were not fun times, but we finally made great progress.
I'm not going to lie there were many six day work weeks and a lot of mental drain during this period. It was in my opinion extreme sacrifice, but well worth our efforts as you can see below. What got me out of this mess was the combination of higher income and much lower expenses. I don't think I could have made much progress without achieving both...or at least the progress would have taken many more years.
2001 Debt-con 5
- $75,000 mortgage --- payment $915
- $37000 credit card --- payments $750
- $42,000 auto loans --- payments $950
- $6,000 student loan --- payment $250
- $71,000 mortgage --- payment $915
I am pleased to say that once the credit card debt was eliminated back in 2006, I have never paid one penny in interest to a credit card company since. The years between 2001 and 2006 were pivotal for me and laid the framework for bigger and better financial progress. I still was not thinking about early retirement or FI, but I was determined to get on the fast train to extreme savings and wealth accumulation.
After having made many disastrous decisions until age 30, I finally was gaining some traction and had reached a net worth of $100,000 by 35. I was way behind many of my peers, but I was about to push the turbo button and not only catch the rest of the pack, but create some massive separation from them. During the next eight years, my net worth number would increase by sevenfold.
I wrote a somewhat lengthy post (lengthy for me at least) in November which explains more about my recent activities in my quest of FI.
In late 2015 I went through a divorce and liquidated 90% of my portfolio. It's time to start climbing the mountain once again. I've done it before and will do it again. I have no doubts in my mind!!!
This post summarizes my last few years activities.
I'll update this page as anything new and exciting develops.