I’ve always been big into personal finance. As a young kid I would save all of my change in jars. Put away a large chunk of my weekly allowance into my safe that was buried inside of my closet. Hoard jars of quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies. I didn’t have any real fixed costs so I just hoarded away all of my money.
When I got older I started selling random goods. I flipped Pokémon cards in elementary school until the superintendent shut that down. When I got older I sold skateboards, clothing, hats and really anything I could buy in bulk and mark up that my friends would want.
After graduating from college I moved to candy machines and selling junk I would find at Goodwill on eBay. I even sold my time to write articles on the internet.
During this time period a 9-5 job has always been a constant. A way to pay the bills like any other average American. Sell your time for a quick buck. The traditional way of life in Western society.
During my formative work years as a minimum wage employee I saw my co-workers struggle. Single moms working for $7.50/hour just to live paycheck to paycheck. The 65 year old man struggling to come into work everyday to do hard labor that his body can’t handle as well as when he was 20. Poverty and depression.
Everyone I worked with spent the majority of their time in this small little supermarket struggling to make ends meet. Day after day. One month they might be ahead $100 bucks and the next month they were in the hole $500 because the radiator on their car blew out. An existence of anxiety directly correlated with the lack of resources in their bank account.
When you are living like this five incremental dollars per week will do wonders. twenty incremental dollars per week could be life saving. One hundred incremental dollars is game changing.
Thankfully I never had to struggle to earn one incremental dollar. I grew up in a household that never had problems with money. My parents had decent jobs and saved 25-50% of their after-tax income every year. These lessons from my father in front of a computer guided me like a light in my adult years.
My dad would sit my brother and I down to watch him calculate his net worth on excel. It was boring, but a great lesson to engrain the art of compounding in someone’s head. If you saved money, you will have money trees in the future. These lessons taught me that the more I save, the faster it will compound. Compounding interest was a literal money machine.
During the Great Recession the idea of saving as much money as quickly as possible hit me like a ton of bricks. I grew up in a small Midwest auto town. When the Great Recession hit our town, I saw many families lose everything.
One of my friends lived in a nice house in a desirable part of town. His dad was a housing contractor and killed it during the real estate boom leading up to 2008. They had one of the biggest houses in town. All of the toys they could want. New trucks. Snowmobiles. Dirt bikes. But when the housing bubble crashed they lost everything. All of the mortgage and consumer good debt could not be serviced when the work dried up. Eventually, they ended up losing their house and moving into a trailer park.
This exact moment is when I realized having a nine to five job is one of the most risky things you can have. If you rely on a single source of income which you have zero control over you are living on thin ice. If you are levered to the tilt with personal debt, a mortgage and a car payment, you are just one step away from losing everything and moving into the trailer park down the road.
It’s hard to blame the average American for their own financial disasters. According to economic theory everyone has their own agency to make rational decisions. Was my friend’s dad irrational when he took on a ton of high interest consumer debt? In his mind, probably not. On a relative basis, maybe, as I would see piling on consumer debt as highly irrational.
We are trained at a young age to think like the herd. Do this. Complete that. Hand everything in on time. Become a yes man. We are not taught to think outside of the box. You need to fit in. Learn everything that everyone else is learning. The same standardized tests for every single person despite how different each and everyone of us is.
Going to college and getting a job is what makes someone successful in America. Don’t take risks and do what you are told. Personal finance is not taught in the public schools. Neither is entrepreneurship.
The traditional path to success out of school is not a path to wealth. You will never become a wealthy man if you have to work for money. The way to become wealthy is by planting money seeds early in life and letting them bloom into money trees. Diversify out of your 9-5. Learn how to make a buck on the internet. Then make another. Then make ten more. Then a hundred more.
There is a lot of power in becoming an entrepreneur. There is even more power in becoming an internet entrepreneur. The internet is a great equalizer and a powerful tool allowing anyone to create their own digital real estate. The internet has created thousands of new ways to build something and create wealth. An ever expanding digital realm where anything is possible.
I’m guessing over the next ten to fifteen years the internet will continue to revolutionize the way money is created and even better, the public school and job market.
Why would universities still be around in the future when everything can be taught and learned online? Why spend $50,000 to $100,000 when you can learn everything for free? Universities will slowly become the “join my real estate investing course for $10,000 to learn to buy cash flowing properties from day one.”
Even if you don’t want to make money on the internet there are a thousand of other things you can do to diversify out of your risky 9-5 with limited to zero startup capital. Take control of your destiny and diversify out of that 9-5.
Start small and start now. If you want to make $100,000 per year, all you need to do is find a way to make $273 bucks everyday. If you need $50,000 per year, just make $136 bucks per day.
When you make your first buck outside of a 9-5, you will find out how to make more. It then starts to snowball and your creative mind will get to work. Becoming an entrepreneur isn’t something we are born with. It is a practice. If you want to get good at doing pullups you need to practice. If you want to get good at making money, you need to put in the work.
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Thanks for sharing. My parents never ever discussed money except when it was to tell me they didnt have any, except we 100% did and my father was a massive con. Regardless, I've wondered if it was "appropriate"/"healthy" to share that type of financial details with your child.
What age were you? Was there ever a concern they would go to school and you would tell all your friends something "mom and dad are loaded" etc ?
Thanks for sharing. I love my 9-5 just because I enjoy my unique job. It also pays well. But, I do have plans to give it up for more freedom.