Today is my 30th birthday.
I remember turning 20 thinking how far away this day seemed. As I reflect back over the last decade, it feels like that day was just yesterday.
Seriously how does time seem to move faster as we get older? It’s crazy!
I don’t want to go all philosophical on ya, but I did want to take some time to share the nine decisions from my 20’s that I feel helped me get to where I am today financially.
(6-figure net worth and on track to reach a million-dollar net worth in this decade in case you’re wondering)
Stopped Trying To Impress Others
So much of what we buy is to impress others. This pressure is definitely there when you land your first real job.
Personally, I felt the need to upgrade my wardrobe and even buy a brand new car within my first month on the job.
I didn’t actually need these things. And sure I liked the car and the clothes, but deep down I really just wanted to look like I had it together in an effort to make an impression on my new co-workers.
We don’t just spend money to impress with work either. We do it when we enter new relationships, to keep up appearances with friends, or to even maintain a lifestyle we were known for under our parents care.
The best cure for this is creating financial goals with a monthly budget that has your spending aligned with those goals and focusing solely on that instead of what everyone else may or may not be doing.
Always Lived With Roommates
Today is my 30th birthday and I have literally never lived alone. I lived with my parents until I decided to get a place with 2 of my sisters when I was 20.
Once that lease ended, I moved into a 3 bedroom house with a couple and another guy.
After that there was the time I shared a 4-bedroom house with 6 people.
And the list keeps going until I got married.
I don’t know exactly how much money I’ve saved in rent over the years by always having roommates, but I know the number is significant.
Paid Off My Debt
My wife and I paid off $61,000 in 16 months. You know what that breaks down to?
An average of $3,812.50 per month spent on cleaning up our past money mistakes.
That much money invested every month would net us millions in retirement. I know because that’s where our extra money goes now that we’re consumer debt-free.
Maybe you don’t even make $61,000 in 16 months. That’s okay. Start with what you have right where you are. Paying off $61k in 36 months is just as worth it.
Did Good Work At Work
I’ve mentioned this several times on this blog, and here it is again. There is so much value in just doing good work while at work.
I have been referred or recruited to every single job I’ve had since 2013 and my income has tripled in that time.
Why? Because I make sure my work is high quality and I focus on bringing value to the organization I’m working for.
This looks like stepping up and taking on added responsibilities, showing up on time, and being a good teammate to your co-workers.
Just doing these simple things well has helped me triple my income in just a handful of years.
Started Investing For Retirement
Retirement seemed so far off in my early 20’s. But that was because I viewed retirement as an age instead of a financial number.
Had I known at age 20 that I could “retire” once my nest egg was 25 times my annual expenses, I would have jumped at the opportunity even earlier.
Thankfully we did start investing once we were debt free and have gotten to watch our portfolio grow significantly over the years.
Kept Good Health Insurance
Good health insurance can be expensive, but not having it when you need it can lead to financial devastation really quick.
Having a spouse with a chronic illness makes it mandatory for us as Taylor needs to see a specialist on a regular basis and has some pretty pricey prescriptions.
Not only does our insurance keep those costs down, but our total out of pocket expenses for the pregnancy and birth of our daughter was only $500. This was with Taylor needing to see even more specialists due to the high-risk nature of the pregnancy.
Selecting the right plans at the right times has saved us thousands of dollars over time and I’m glad I took time to learn how to select the best plan for our family each year.
Avoided Student Loans
The student loan crisis in America is growing. I hear so many horror stories of young 20-somethings with close to $100k in student loan who aren’t able to work in their fields.
That’s why I’m an advocate for junior/community colleges and trade school alternatives.
Not needing to take out student loans saved my wife and I big time. Our debt could have easily been double what it was when we decided to pay off our debt.
Surrounded Myself With Good Influences
I’m thankful for all of the people who have mentored me over the last decade.
Could I have gotten to where I am today without them? Possibly. But it definitely would have taken a lot longer with a lot more headaches.
I’ve always been eager and willing to learn from other people. Through these relationships I’ve learned things like how to maximize my strengths and develop my weaknesses.
This has led me to be better in business which created additional earning opportunities.
A good mentor can also point out blind spots in your plan that may not be so obvious to you.
Not only that, but the wisdom I’ve gained just from being in the room with some of my mentors has made a profound impact on my life and, subsequently, my net worth.
Never underestimate the power of a great mentor.
Started A Business
I’ve always had the entrepreneur gene.
I remember being in middle school walking around with a huge binder filled with the most popular songs in the world and letting people customize mixtapes for $5.
At the time I didn’t understand the negative impact this illegal activity had on artists, writers, etc. and once I became aware I ended my little operation.
All I knew was that my parents didn’t have much money and if I wanted stuff they couldn’t afford I had to come up with the money myself.
I believe that’s why I gravitated towards sales in my career as well.
Having complete autonomy over my day and, ultimately, my pay has always been exciting to me.
Now I have Winning To Wealth LLC which is not just this blog.
We also have a full-fledged financial course for families looking to learn how to manage their money with confidence.
We create tools like coloring charts to keep people excited and motivated about reaching their financial goals.
I’m excited to grow this business and to create even more businesses that align with my purpose and skills.
My 20’s were filled with a lot of learning experiences.
While I’m certain my 30’s will be too, I’m excited to kick off this decade having accomplished a lot of what I set out to accomplish in my 20’s.
The best part: I get to bring you all along with me for the whole thing!
Let me know in the comments below some of the money moves you’re proud of from your 20’s and 30’s.