Hello from Michigan

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vezkor
Posts: 87
Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2016 9:51 am

Hello from Michigan

Post by vezkor » Fri May 06, 2016 10:04 am

Hello,

I'm a 26 year old male living in southeastern Michigan and I was raised in a family of hyper-consumers. After graduating from the University of Michigan in December, 2013 with a Bachelors of Science (major in Biology) and over $66,000 worth of student loan debt at an average interest rate of 7.5%, I started working for corporate America (in a position that has nothing to do with Biology).

Everything in my brain would just scream at me every day about how wrong everything was. Trading so much time for so few dollars, and giving those dollars to banks in the form of interest payments... I knew there must be a better way, so I started seeking answers. I've always admired Warren Buffett for his investing skills, so I read everything that man has ever written. I knew I wanted to be an investor because investors have passive income that they don't have to work for (think Rich Dad Poor Dad graphs... I was a novice) In my quest, I stumbled upon Jason Fieber and dividend mantra via google finance articles... and that opened a whole new world for me.

For the (literal) first time in my life, I was reading about somebody who was attacking the problem from BOTH ends, income AND expenses. For the first time ever, somebody (Jason) was talking about spending less and saving an OUTRAGEOUS amount: 50% of his income. Oh man. I didn't know it was POSSIBLE. I was inhaling 100,000 words a day on the topic of financial independence. Taken in alongside Buffett's teachings and the book about his life: The Snowball it all 'clicked'. This was rational... it makes perfect sense. Frugality+Investing is the route to peace and happiness. Through Jason's website, I found MMM.

I don't think I've ever been as high as when I first read through the entire MMM blog. it took me two weeks to plow through hundreds of MMM articles. If Dividend Mantra and Warren Buffett showed me what was possible, MMM showed me why I should design a life this way. I want to have a family and kid(s) of my own some day, and I certainly don't want to pay somebody else to raise them! In the MMM blog and comments, and the guest post from Jacob, I kept seeing "ERE" and people often referred to Jacob as the godfather/grandfather of the whole shebang. I investigated further and found ERE.

If MMM made me high as a kite with excitement, ERE was surreal and sobering in comparison. Having Jacob state, factually and rationally, the things that (once explained) are now so obvious re-wired my brain. I look at the world 100% differently know, through the lens of "do it yourself, save your money, and stop wasting the planet's finite resources on McGizmos and iBurgers". It's no secret that Pete is an optimist and Jacob is a pessimist/realist (depending on if you are an optimist or not ;) ) but Jacob and his book provided the how. I've read every blog post on ERE and purchased 4 copies of the book (they make great presents for sisters/parents/close friends who were also raised in hyper-consumer families) so far. I'm in for the long (short) haul on ERE and financial independence.

As for my personal journey, I've so far managed to take my net worth from -$66,000 to -$30,000 in the past 24 months. My credit cards earn money for ME, now, and my only debt is student loans. I've refinanced the ones with the highest interest rates using meetearnest and I invest money based on what I've learned from all sources mentioned above. My annual expenses are around $12,000 at the moment (a disgusting percentage of which goes towards student loan interest, still) thanks to a favorable living arrangement which is probably going to be changing soon. I'm also going to be promoted at the company I'm with in the next month or two, which will affect my income positively.

I've been holding off on making this post because of the upcoming income/expense changes... but I decided I'd do the introduction post first and start my journal once my income/expense changes have taken place.

Thank you to everyone who is a part of this community. I am still a member of a family of devoutly card-carrying Christian hyper-consumers, so this place is my support group as I try to resolve the inevitable conflicts that arise from my personal life. Coming to this site is a breath of fresh air after a day spent laboring in the sewers.

Have a great day and thanks for reading,
-Vezkor

George the original one
Posts: 4243
Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2010 3:28 am
Location: Wettest corner of Orygun

Re: Hello from Michigan

Post by George the original one » Fri May 06, 2016 10:26 am

If you haven't spotted Jason's journal on here, it's worth a read-through. He hasn't posted here in a long while, though.

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vezkor
Posts: 87
Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2016 9:51 am

Re: Hello from Michigan

Post by vezkor » Fri May 06, 2016 10:35 am

I haven't, yet! I'll seek it out. I follow his posts for daily trade alert, now, since he sold his blog last year.

Thanks for the tip!
-Vezkor

George the original one
Posts: 4243
Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2010 3:28 am
Location: Wettest corner of Orygun

Re: Hello from Michigan

Post by George the original one » Fri May 06, 2016 10:44 am


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vezkor
Posts: 87
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Re: Hello from Michigan

Post by vezkor » Fri Jan 20, 2017 11:04 am

Last month I broke above the surface of the water for the first time since signing my first student loan and paying for college classes in 2008. My Net Worth hit 0 and it made my face do this -> :)

Still in 20k+ worth of student loan debt, but on track to have all of the loans completely paid off before Jan 1 2020 (this is if I make NO extra payments beyond those I've already made... but I absolutely plan to make many extra payments). Less than $100 per month, currently, is being burned on servicing the interest. Looking back on my choices makes my face do this -> :oops:

Logically, this means I've managed to save 20k+ worth of assets since starting work in "the real world"® in 2014 and it makes my face do this -> ;)

Being 26 and hearing my friends start talking about monthly payment woes, bills bills bills and other "I can't really afford it but I totally deserve it and I should be making more money next year so I'm "buying" (they mean financing) it anyways" stories... I shudder and feel a mixture of :shock: and :? .... makes me very very very happy to have the assets in case I need to liquidate them for any reason. Late last year my car died unexpectedly ( :x ) and I had to do exactly that. I came up with $3000 on very short notice to buy a replacement from a friend.

I'm maintaining a ~60% savings rate (wife needs to find a source of income and then this should get to 75%+) and living an ERE lifestyle every day. Face is constantly doing this -> :D

It makes me very grateful to have found this community while I'm still young. Next update should be when I kill the debt! 8-)

ffj
Posts: 1458
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

Re: Hello from Michigan

Post by ffj » Fri Jan 20, 2017 11:19 am

Congratulations! I still remember how excited I was when my net worth was zero, sounds funny to say that, because from that point on every dollar I accumulated was going towards a POSITIVE net worth. Keep up the good work.

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Smashter
Posts: 93
Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2016 8:05 am
Location: NYC

Re: Hello from Michigan

Post by Smashter » Fri Jan 20, 2017 11:28 am

Awesome progress! I can't wait to get to net worth 0. Keep on keeping on.

halfmoon
Posts: 566
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:19 pm

Re: Hello from Michigan

Post by halfmoon » Fri Jan 20, 2017 11:26 pm

Good for you! That's a real milestone.

Keep updating as you work on the debt. Progress needs to be recognized and fertilized with praise. :D

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Dragline
Posts: 4449
Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2011 1:50 am

Re: Hello from Michigan

Post by Dragline » Sat Jan 21, 2017 8:19 am

Great job! You will find accumulation relatively easy if you continue hammering the debt as you have been doing, because when its gone all that money can go straight into savings/investments.

MDFIRE2024
Posts: 200
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2017 5:09 pm
Location: Germany

Re: Hello from Michigan

Post by MDFIRE2024 » Sun Jan 22, 2017 3:07 am

Well done! Good to hear from people who are willing to control their own financial future.

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Gilberto de Piento
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Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2013 10:23 pm

Re: Hello from Michigan

Post by Gilberto de Piento » Sun Jan 22, 2017 11:30 am

Great job! Debt sucks.

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vezkor
Posts: 87
Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2016 9:51 am

Re: Hello from Michigan

Post by vezkor » Thu Aug 03, 2017 11:29 pm

Net worth has recently hit $20,000. I started a new job in April of this year and it is somewhere between a 56%-92% pay raise (base salary + commissioned sales). Unfortunately I've been slacking and expenses have also gone up. My savings rate has stayed roughly the same as it was before, but the hopes on taking the new position was that ALL the extra was going to go towards investments.

Had to relocate, though, so we've been very busy. The new place is nicer, wife is happier (secret to a good life ;P ) but also more expensive monthly rent.

I've got enough cash in the checking account to pay off the rest of the student loans right now... but due to some really scary shit happening recently necessitating a hospital stay for myself and my wife (long long long carbon monoxide poisoning story [apartment complex is at fault] that I plan to tell sometime soon in another post) I'm holding at least the entire $5000 of my health insurance deductible until lawyers and insurance companies sort out a settlement.

So right now, I have 6 months worth of expenses plus $5000 sitting in cash with the rest invested and, from a financial perspective, life is looking really good. Truth be told, priorities are different after our near death experience, but financial independence has been absolutely solidified as priority #1. Life is too damn short to waste time making other people rich.

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vezkor
Posts: 87
Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2016 9:51 am

Re: Hello from Michigan

Post by vezkor » Thu Aug 03, 2017 11:34 pm

Gonna copy and paste my last two posts in the journal section as I think it would be more appropriate to have this information over there instead. Don't need to keep an introduction thread going.

MDFIRE2024
Posts: 200
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2017 5:09 pm
Location: Germany

Re: Hello from Michigan

Post by MDFIRE2024 » Fri Aug 04, 2017 12:04 pm

Welcome to ERE!

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