My humble beginnings towards Financial Independence

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When I started writing this, it was meant to be The Road to My First Home, which will be the next blog. I decided to break this into two parts, because, damn, I’m long winded. It’s all in an effort to give you a real peek into my life. Questions are welcome! If you are hoping for clarifications, please comment at the bottom.

My love for homes goes back as far as I can remember. Although many would not label me as such, I seem myself as an introvert. I love deep conversation, small group interactions, watching/analyzing before interacting, and I am a homebody. I love the warmth and comfort of homes. I have always seen them as a sanctuary, a place to rest, recharge, and be with yourself. When I was a child, we moved a lot. Although it was mostly within the small island of Maui, I frequently changed schools, which forced me to get out, make friends and push my comfort zone edges. Even though I hated the uprooting process of moving and gathering all our belongings, packing and transporting; I loved the resettling, decorating and nesting process. Every space was a blank canvas with endless possibilities.

Over the years, I had considered getting a Real Estate license. I knew I loved homes and was always curious to tour them, to see their hidden possibilities. I am also a social, people person, so it seemed like a natural fit, but... I have never been one to go the traditional route. A serial entrepreneur, I remember early businesses I had in middle and high school selling print outs of celebrity photographs and reselling candy bars from Costco to my classmates. The desire to determine a need, find a product, analyze profit margins, etc lives deep in my bones. Maybe I’m also stubborn, or rebellious but in my investigations of what the business structure of being an agent was like, it seemed difficult and I have always been resistant to the struggle.

Sometime in high school I read “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” and although I can barely tell you what it was about now, and only know that real estate investment was one of the topics because Robert T. Kiyosaki has real estate investment courses out now; I suspect that was where the early seed of linking Real Estate to financial freedom, was planted. I was raised by parents who struggled and who weren’t great with money. My mother was all about hard work, sacrifice, and giving away any extra she had which kept her in that cycle. My father, who would occasionally experience financial windfalls, held limiting beliefs which caused him to self sabotage; spending it all frivolously only to quickly crash down to a lower place than he began from. Even though my parents separated when I was young and I mostly lived with my mom, the environment they displayed was hugely unsettling. I made an agreement with myself, at a young age, to find another way. Struggle would not be a part of my vocabulary.

In my late teens my mother started getting interested in finance, which sparked my curiosity. At the age of 20, when I was home on college breaks, we would watch The Suzie Orman Show together which led me to read her book: Young, Fabulous, and Broke. I opened my first Roth IRA and begin socking away small amounts. I could see the light, my way out. Although my current opinion is that Suzie is too conservative; she will help you have a retirement nest egg, but she will also keep you working for 60 years, I am eternally grateful for her message to just get started. She stressed the importance.     

At the time, entry into a Roth was only $1,000 with a $50/mo. minimum commitment (now I believe it is $3,000 initial investment and $100/mo. minimum commitment, although the goal is to max it out), with the good grace of time on my side, I could see that if I could figure out a way to make the maximum contribution, that alone would bring me to over million dollars at the end of the retirement road because of the magic of compounding interest. And yet, I remember feeling really confused about how much I would need for retirement.    

Enter Mr. Money Mustache. Fast forward to 2011 when I discovered his blog and got super inspired by the example he led, and the idea that someone could actually retire by 30. Now armed with a much more realistic and attainable retirement goal number, I was ready to move full steam ahead.

Challenge Accepted! I was determined to follow in his footsteps. Although I was already accustomed to living a frugal life as an investor, traveler, and student, I really turned it up and exercised my frugality muscles. This led me to read other fun blogs like: No More Harvard Debt, which helped inspire me towards snowball debt pay down and preached the side hustle, that I’m obviously quite fond of. Stay tuned for my next blog detailing my journey towards owning my first property and a future blog on how my side hustle, became my main hustle; re: Airbnb.