Many 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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”.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 🙂
- 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.
- 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?
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.
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
- What is a quote or mantra you live by?
- What is the worst financial decision you have ever made?
- What is the best financial decision you have ever made?
- 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?
- 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).
- What is your favorite online financial resource, paid or free (i.e. mint, personal capital, blog, podcast, TastyTrade)?
- When it comes to building wealth, do you spend more time figuring out how to cut expenses or increase income?
- How many hours a week do you watch TV?
- If you had to recommend 1 book, what would it be? And why?
- What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
- 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 email@example.com
Have fun with this and pay it forward.
– Gen Y Finance Guy
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