Nominated For The Liebster Award

In General Information by Gen Y Finance Guy20 Comments

liebster-awardMany of you may be asking the same question I did after Brian from Debtless in Texas nominated me for the Liebster award on Twitter the other day. After doing a little research I discovered that this is a cyber award that has been circulating the web for at least a few years now. The intention of the award is to get to know the nominated blogger and to discover other really cool blogs that you may have never heard of. It is another great example of how so many bloggers in the personal finance arena pay it forward.

I would like to first thank Brian from Debtless in Texas for the nomination and for serving our country. It is the service from stand-up guys like Brian that allow us to enjoy the freedom and opportunity we have in this country. There are big things ahead for Brian, and I am excited to serve alongside him in the personal finance blogosphere as we make our own dent in the universe.

So what are the rules?

During my Google Search adventures, I found there is criteria for accepting the nomination. I am including the criteria here, in an attempt to save future nominees a bit of time figuring out what the award is and how to accept it properly. I encourage anyone I nominate to include this criteria in their acceptance post. In a new blog post you are required to do the following:

  • You are to share 11 facts about yourself so readers can get to know you better.
  • Mention has to be made to the person that nominated you.
  • Answer the 5-11 questions that were asked by the person that nominated you.
  • Nominate other bloggers to receive the Liebster Award and ask them 5-11 questions.
  • Let your nominees know either by leaving a comment on their blog, sending them an email, calling them out on social media, etc.

11 Fun, Random, and Interesting Facts About Me

  1. I once ate a 3lb lobster while vacationing in Hawaii. It was a cool experience getting to hand-pick my dinner before the chef took Big Red back to the kitchen for what I can only imagine was a screaming hot bath. That eventually led to a heavenly bath of buttery goodness, before being served to me with even more…well, butter of course.
  2. As a kid and teenager I made $90/hour as a magician. Yes, I absolutely love magic. Nowadays, the only time you find me doing card tricks is after my closest friends liquor me up before breaking out a fresh deck of bicycle cards (the only cards I will perform with). If you love magic, then I highly recommend that you check out The Magic Castle in Hollywood. This is a hobby that I plan to come back to later in life.
  3. I am a fitness fanatic. Some may even say I am the P90X evangelist. I was a competitive swimmer through highschool and college. But during my first 3 years out of college, I found myself working way too many hours and commuting almost 3 hours a day. Needless to say, I gained 50 lbs, which was not a good look for me. Since fitness has always been important to me, I committed to P90X and went from 240lbs @ 28% body fat down to 188lbs with 8.5% body fat – all in less than a year. If you want to get in the best shape of your life, I would highly recommend P90X. I love the program so much that my license plate says “GET P90X”.
  4. I am a self-proclaimed Foodie. Wikipedia describes a foodie as someone who “seeks new food experiences as a hobby rather than simply eating out of convenience or hunger.” If you have read any of my financial reports (linked here), you already know that this is where I spend a lot of money. In fact, in 2014, we spent $14,000 eating out and trying new restaurants. That doesn’t even include the $6,000 that we spent on groceries for the meals we ate in. Which by the way, it has been hugely beneficial to be both a fitness fanatic and a foodie.
  5. Some say I have super Excel Powers. I would even go as far as saying that I am pretty much a ninja in Excel. My whole life is planned out in and across many excel spreadsheets. I spend 8-10 hours a day at work in a spreadsheet, and yet I still love this robust application. I often tell people that “the path is all math” and with excel there is no quantitative problem I can’t solve. Over time you will get to see a lot more of my handy work as I leverage Excel in other blog posts, like I did here and here.
  6. I met the girl of my dreams in high school. We have been together 10 years this coming August. The funny thing is that we went to different high schools and met on a club swim team. We actually didn’t start dating until the summer of our freshman year in college (2005). She is the most gorgeous red-head you will ever meet. She made me the luckiest guy alive when we got married in 2012.
  7. I am a prolific reader. I didn’t always enjoy reading and I am embarrassed to admit that I really didn’t read my first book for pleasure until my freshman year in college (2008). I now proudly read 40-50 books a year. I personally prefer to read non-fiction books. I love books that fit into the following categories: Business, Personal Development, Inspirational, Motivational, Biographies, etc. I do read the occasional fiction book, but it has to have some sort of lesson I can take away from it like The Alchemist.
  8. My Favorite Book of All Time is “The Slight Edge” by Jeff Olson. This is the only book that I re-read every year. It’s the book that I recommend and give the most. This book changed my life the first time I read it in 2011. The philosophy taught in this book is both simple and timeless. If you haven’t read it, do yourself a favor and click here and go order it on Amazon now.
  9. I used to trade professionally for an oil company with upwards of $25M in capital. I did this for almost 2 years. Unfortunately when tensions got heated in the Middle East, they got scared and decided to shut trading down. I had the opportunity to go back into Finance, but instead decided to move on to another company in a completely different industry. However, I still actively trade and invest my own money. I just wish I had $25M to work with 🙂
  10. My favorite board game as a kid was Monopoly. I guess that probably makes it no surprise that I have a big hairy audacious goal of building a net worth of $10M by the time I turn 48. The difference between Monopoly and the real world is that there is an abundance of opportunity. In the game of monopoly there are 28 properties you can own, but in the game of life the opportunities are endless. So get rid of the scarcity mindset and embrace an abundance mindset. It is not a zero sum game.
  11. I am insanely optimistic. I truly believe that things will always work out. My friends and family have often said that I could “fall in a pile of shit, yet still come out smelling like roses”. Some may say I am a pretty lucky guy. But luck is only found at the intersection of preparedness and opportunity. I truly believed Zig Ziglar when he said, “you can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” My glass is always half-full my friends.

Answers to Questions passed on from Brian

1. If you could sit down and have a beer with anyone, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

PeerStreet

Does it have to be a beer? I think I would rather have a glass of wine or a Vodka Gimlet. Man there are a lot of people who are both dead and alive that I would love to sit down and have a drink with, but narrowing it down to one person is tough.

But if your holding a gun to my head and I had to choose one person, it would be Andrew Carnegie, one of the original “Men who built America.” I love how he spent the first half of his life building wealth and the second half giving it all away (as he feels the wealthy have this as a moral obligation). I don’t know this for sure, but he may have been the one that influenced the billionaires giving pledge. I truly believe that with great fortunes come great responsibilities. Now I don’t ever expect to make it to billionaire status, but giving back is definitely on the agenda. Would love to talk to him about “The Gospel of Wealth.” I would also want to know what habits he attributed his success too. 

2. What has been your biggest financial regret and what are you doing about it?

I have more than one financial regret. But the biggest and most costly was the first piece of real estate I ever bought. It was 2007 and they were giving loans out like candy. At the time I was 20 years old and still in college. As you can imagine, I was not making nearly enough money to get approved for a house costing $442K. However, an investor friend of my brother convinced me to go in on a house with him as his credit partner. The loan was 100% financed and I was supposed to get paid $1,000/month from this “investor” for using my credit. At the end of 3 months we were supposed to complete a formal loan assumption that would remove me from the loan and the investor was going to assume the loan. Once this was complete I was going to get an extra $5,000.

Well, it didn’t work out as planned. The supposed investor never made a single payment on the house and eventually I had to pay him $5,000 just to get him to sign his name off the title. I got the house rented for about $2,500/month. The problem was that the mortgage with taxes and HOA was costing me $3,500/month. To put icing on the cake, the financial crisis hit and the value of the house sank from $442K down to $280K. Finally, in November of 2009, I ended up letting it go into foreclosure. It tanked my credit score from 780 down to the low 500’s.

I was a naive college student excited at the prospects of making a quick buck. These days I do a lot more due diligence and take much more calculated risks. This mistake probably cost me about $35,000 after everything was said and done. My credit score has since recovered to around 770. 

The moral of this story, is if it sounds too good to be true, you’re better off walking away. Be in it for the long game. They say that every overnight success is 10-20 years in the making. I have come to accept this. If I happen to get a little lucky and meet my goals before 20 years is up ($10M at 48), then it will be a pleasant surprise.
3. If you could retire tomorrow – what would you do with your time?

I will make it my job to live life by design. My design and not someone else’s.

I think as human beings we have a natural thirst to produce. All we need to thrive is Autonomy, Mastery, Connection, Contribution, Vitality, Serendipity, and Purpose.

4. If you could only give one piece of advice to someone new to personal finance what would it be and why?

Plan the future you want. Because if you fail to plan, you are essentially planning to fail. There is a famous Jim Rohn quote that goes like this:

If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.

5. Who inspires you?

The late Louis Zamperini, Zig Ziglar, and Jim Rohn. Others that inspire me include: Warren Buffet, Peter Theil, Tony Robbins, Tony Horton, John Lee Dumas, Carl Daikler, Darren Hardy, and Tim Ferris. And of course the men who built America

My Nominations

To end this post I want to make a few of my own nominations.

First, I would like to nominate Adam Chudy. Adam is another fellow blogger that is keeping it real and bringing the human element to Finance. I don’t remember exactly how I stumbled on to his site, but I am glad I did. I have really been enjoying his latest post series “What I’m Reading.” Besides finance, he is really into gardening, which is rad because fresh fruits and vegetables in your backyard are amazingly delicious and convenient.

Next, I would like to nominate Felix Money from My Moneyfesto. This guy is hungry and working really hard to live life by design. He recently bought a business as one of just many steps he is taking to reach his American Dream. He started his blog to hold himself accountable and document his journey to freedom.

I also want to nominate Elroy over at Moi & Money. He came out of school earning $65K a year and is now bringing in close to $300K a year 10 years later (on a single income). His net worth is almost pushing double comma territory. He has a goal to reach $1M in net worth by the time he is 35 (he is currently 32). However, if he were to update the value of his house with his most recent appraisal he has already reached his goal. This guy is absolutely crushing it.

Lastly, I would like to nominate Josh over at White Collar Freedom. He is another Freedom Fighter that I found through Mr. 1500. This dude is only 23 and yet is wise beyond his years. You need to read his post on the 3rd option (simple, but brilliant). I am excited to watch Josh grow his Freedom Fund, which by the way has increased 4,000% in the last 13 months.

Questions posed to my nominees

  1. What is a quote or mantra you live by?
  2. What is the worst financial decision you have ever made?
  3. What is the best financial decision you have ever made?
  4. Imagine a life where money was no object, where financial freedom is no longer a dream, because you have already reached it? What is the number that would make this dream a reality for YOU and how would you spend your time?
  5. What is your favorite Asset Class to invest in (i.e Real Estate, Stocks, Bonds, P2P Lending, etc)? Why? And what platforms do you use (i.e TD Ameritrade for stocks, Realty Shares for Real Estate, Prosper for P2P, etc).
  6. What is your favorite online financial resource, paid or free (i.e. mint, personal capital, blog, podcast, TastyTrade)?
  7. When it comes to building wealth, do you spend more time figuring out how to cut expenses or increase income?
  8. How many hours a week do you watch TV?
  9. If you had to recommend 1 book, what would it be? And why?
  10. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
  11. When you’re not Geeking out in Finance, what else do you enjoy?

Bonus: Would you be willing to be a guest on my new podcast launching this summer? If so, please shoot me an email at mrgenyfinanceguy@gmail.com

Have fun with this and pay it forward.

– Gen Y Finance Guy


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Comments

  1. You married a redhead too?!!?

    They are TAKING OVER.

    Fantastic post as usual GYFG, thanks for answering and sharing more about yourself and passing on the blog love to some well deserving folks.

    1. Author

      Hey Brian, I am indeed married to a red head. If they are taking over the world, glad I chose right 😉

      Thanks for the opportunity to shine the light on some other awesome blogs in our community.

      Cheers!

  2. GYFG,

    Awesome background info. I read a lot of books as well. Like Jim Rohn says “Successful people have libraries, the rest have big TVs. I originally read the Slight Edge about four years ago and read it often…usually a couple times a year. Oddly enough I haven’t read The Compound Effect. Quite a few of the Amazon reviews seem to indicate that it is a poor man’s version of The Slight Edge.

    Anyway I picked up The 4 Hour Work Week for the Kindle last night for $1.99. The audiobook is excellent as well.

    Keep kicking ass over here!

    MDP

    1. Author

      Thanks MDP! Looks like you and I were introduced to the Slight Edge around the same time. I read it for the first time in May of 2011.

      Darren Hardy who wrote “The Compound Effect” actually was inspired by “The Slight Edge” when he wrote his book. Jeff Olson and he actually worked together creating a personal development TV station back in the day. Jim Rohn was also the personal mentor to Darren Hardy. Its a good book, I am not sure I would call it the poor mans version though. But if I had to choose I would pick “The Slight Edge”

      The 4 hour work week will definitely get your mind cranking.

      Thanks for stopping by my friend.

  3. Fascinating story about the rental. Thanks for sharing that. I also resonated with your “I will make it my job to live life by design” quote. I spent the first ten years post-high school waiting for life to give me what I was owed. I’m not sure who taught me this concept that good things happen to those who wait and fall in line. Probably a mix of religion and Western entitlement. But since then I learned that good things happen to those who *make them happen. Claiming agency over one’s future is the difference between a life of bountiful security and peace vs. a life of quiet desperation and blame.

  4. Author

    Hey Simon,

    I actually was stumped at how I wanted to answer that question. Because when I think of retirement, I don’t envision life with out work. That’s when it hit me that my new job will be to live life by design.

    Like Ghandi said “Be the change you want to see”.

    Glad you enjoyed the post.

    BTW, Looking forward to listening to your podcast with Stacking Benjamins: http://www.stackingbenjamins.com/peer-peer-lending-101-simon-cunningham/

    Cheers!

  5. Excellent, another fitness fanatic! I’ve done P90x before but enjoy just pure weight lifting the most. I’m no power lifter, though. I might be one of the few people in the gym where pure and brutal strength just isn’t that important to me. I do it for the health and the physique.

    And yes, the red heads are taking over. Careful now, looks like they’re plotting. 🙂

    1. Author

      I enjoy the workouts that contain weight lifting, pushups, and pullups the most. But I do the entire program in order to incorporate a more holistic array of workouts. Things like Yoga and Plyometrics are not my favorite, but they help with the overall fitness equation if you know what I mean.

      Actually I am just finishing up with my latest round of the classic P90X and getting ready to start a round of P90X-2 which is geared towards working your weak spots by incorporating stability balls, medicine balls, and balance moves.

      Cheers!

    2. Oh no Steve, is Courtney a redhead too? Do all 3 of us have redheads for wives?!

      There must be some plot to marry brilliant personal finance studs in the redhead community. This is worth investigating further.

  6. Ah, I love the last one. I believe in finding the positive in everything as well. I also try to remain optimistic even on the days where nothing is going my way.

    1. Author

      Thanks Alexis!

      Optimism is my preferred state of being 🙂

  7. First of, thank you so much for the nomination. It’s an honor that you thought of me.
    I’ve enjoyed reading these things about you, I think it’s a great idea to get to know more interesting things about the bloggers you follow. I’m impressed that you’re such a prolific reader, I love reading but have to admit I have been slacking off lately. I read both fictional and non-fictional, and The Alchemist is one of my favorites too. Also enjoyed ‘Veronica Decides To Die’ by Coelho. I should really read more books by him, they are all inspiring.
    I like your idea of living life by design. I call that a purposeful, examined life. I always thought that life is so short, and if you don’t do introspection and self-examination, you could wake up one day and realize you haven’t really lived. That would be really sad. I often think about what I really want (hence I change my mind and path in life often) and what purpose I can give my life. It’s the hardest thing ever, figuring that out. Money is just a tool along the way, and I hope one day I’ll figure it out. Meanwhile, I’m just happy to be able to think about it and act.
    Great post!

    1. Author

      Thanks Felix! My reading has had a slow start this year as well, mostly due to all the extra time I have been spending with the blog.

      Looking forward to your post.

      Cheers!

  8. Optimism really works like a charm. Many successful people have that unlimited confidence and optimism towards what they do. You can easily tell who really makes differences whether at work, business, school whatnot.

    Cheers,

    BSR

    1. Author

      I don’t know if they have done any actual studies, but I would bet that that there is a sting correlation between optimism and success.

  9. If you love P90X so much, you should look see if they have an affiliate program OR if you could do a sponsored post for them. I’ve never done P90X myself, but I do weight training with the pushups. I have yet to be able to do an unassisted pull up. I love plyometrics! 🙂

    Have you tried TRX? I did a bootcamp of it at the gym and loved it.

    I HATED Monopoly as a kid, I was more of a Twister, Operation, Guess Who, Connect Four, Battleship game player.

    1. Author

      Hi Karen,

      Thanks for stopping by.

      P90X actually does have an affiliate program. Which I am a coach through the teambeachbody.com coach network. I actually have links on my recommended page.

      In the future I see an opportunity to write about my fitness passion as well 🙂

      How could you hate Monopoly?

      Cheers!

      1. Author

        Oh, and I have not tried TRX. But some buddies of mine swear by it.

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