Today we have our 20th Freedom Fighter interview in this series.
Our guest today recently started his own personal finance blog about the trade offs between living life and earning money. At 33 years old Will recently paid off all his student loans and is using his blog as a turning point in his financial life. He calls San Francisco home and although he pays a premium to live in such an expensive city, he has a high six figure salary to support it.
I will let Will take it from here in his interview below:
Who are you and what do you do? What is your story? How are you fighting for your Freedom? Where did you start, where in the journey are you, and where do you ultimately want to end up?
I graduated from business school and only recently paid off my student debt at age 32. First time in my life my net worth is positive… That said, I recently began thinking more about my financials and where to actually invest my money now that I have some, which led me into the deep dark world of personal finance blogs. After being thoroughly inspired by yours truly, among others, I’ve decided to put my financials out into the public blogosphere and begin my path toward financial freedom and wealth. Ultimately, I hope to generate enough passive income to buy myself the freedom to do what I want when I wake up.
What is your favorite Quote or Mantra that you live by?
One that I think about often is “every morning is another chance to start over”. If you don’t like the life you’re living, or you’re not happy with the direction you’re taking, you can always start over the next day!
Where in the world are you from?
Currently living in the very expensive city of San Francisco. Not the most savvy in terms of cutting costs, but I can rest assured that I have plenty of job opportunities nearby. Also, I’m in love with the Bay so have been willing to pay the premium.
What is the worst financial decision you have ever made?
Probably paying off some of my student debt. In hindsight my debt was only around 3% interest, but I now realize I could have generated a far more significant return in the stock market had I invested that money instead. Then I could have paid off the debt and had plenty left over. Also, I probably would have had enough cash to make a down payment on a house at some point, and given the huge increases in SF real estate I could have not only built an asset, but also realized huge gains on the home price.
What is the best financial decision you have ever made?
I think it is starting my blog. It would be easy to say going to school, however I’ve seen too many people making plenty of money without paying expensive tuition. School in general was rewarding for other reasons, but financially I probably wouldn’t say it was the most rewarding (as of today anyhow). So I’m hoping that starting this blog is a turning point in my life to build the wealth I need to achieve the lifestyle I want to live.
Are you a morning or a night person? What time do you wake up and go to sleep?
Much more of a morning person generally. I definitely prefer hitting the gym early, grabbing coffee and a large breakfast. Mornings are the best part of the day, when I feel most awake.
What is your definition of Financial Freedom? And what is your FREEDOM number?
My definition of freedom is waking up every day doing exactly what I want, whether it’s traveling to Europe or going for a jog or working on a startup. I believe my number is accumulating $1M to $2M in investments generating a return of ~5% to 7%. This would enable me to have a fairly lavish lifestyle, especially at $2M, by living off approximately $50k to $100k each year from the passive income. After spending a couple of years in retirement, I have no idea what I would do with my free time, but I’m excited to find out. I can assure you I’m not the type to sit around and be lazy, but I’m more excited to imagine what I’m capable of if I were actually doing something I’m passionate about.
What is your favorite Asset Class to invest in (i.e Real Estate, Stocks, Bonds, Peer to Peer lending, etc)? Why? And what platforms do you use (i.e TD Ameritradefor stocks, Realty Shares for Real Estate, Prosper for Peer to Peer lending, etc.).
I use scottrade and my favorite class to invest in is stocks. I enjoy researching companies, economics, trends, and share prices.
What is your favorite online financial resource, paid or free (i.e. Mint, Personal Capital, blogs, podcasts, Tasty Trade, etc.)?
I read Financial Samurai quite a bit. Wealth of information on his site as well.
When it comes to building wealth, do you spend more time figuring out how to cut expenses or increase income? Why?
I’m planning to spend most of my time cutting my expenses over the next several months, primarily because it is the lowest hanging fruit. Once I get my expense levels down low enough, I’ll focus much more on increasing my income.
How many hours a week do you watch TV? What’s your favorite show?
Probably 2 hours or so. Love all the HBO series – The Wire was the best.
If you had to recommend 1 book, what would it be? And why?
This is a very tough one. I’d probably recommend something by Ernest Hemingway, mostly because you can really feel like you’re living in his adventures when you read his books. They really pull the emotions out of you. One of his best is the Old Man and the Sea.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received or what advice would you give to the readers?
You can do anything you set your mind to. Literally, if you want something bad enough you can achieve it. If you can’t, then you just don’t want it bad enough. Especially for those of us living in the US with access to opportunities.
What does living life by design look like to you? A typical day, week, month, year, or whatever?
20% Exercise, 40% Learning, 20% Socializing / Entertainment, 20% Eating. Something like that.
What is holding you back from living life by design?
I want to travel around the world and live a life of financial freedom (i.e., staying in decent hotels, eating good foods, exercising, learning). I don’t want to travel around cheaply, and I want to ensure I have financial security.
Where can we find you online? If you’re a blogger, this is the perfect plug to talk about your blog and why it’s great.
I just started my blog at www.lifetimeandmoney.com. It’s all about the tradeoffs between living your life and earning money. This is what my blog will explore as I try and find the right balance for me. You can follow the decisions and options I’ll explore as I work toward building my nest egg of a couple million dollars.
I have to agree with taking the low hanging fruit first for wealth building by concentrating on cutting lifestyle cost first. Clear the waste, focus on what really brings happiness, create a sustainable and enjoyable life, and then save/invest what was previously wasted.
I loved the Wire as well so much. Well good to find someone who likes the show. $1M to $2M generating 5-7% would be great as the dividend income would be $50000-$70000 for $1M portfolio and $100,000-$140,000 for $2M portfolio. My first goal is $1M and the final goal would be $1.5M generating 7% of dividend which will give me $100K of dividend income per year which is plenty for my family.
Thanks for sharing!
Yeah thanks for your post! $1M feels soo far away for me… Hoping I’ll be there by 2026.
All the cool guys live in Cali… I might have to consider a geographic change and move to California to grab that six figure salary(just kidding, don’t think I can afford the state tax!), maybe someday. Texas winters aren’t bad, though I wish I was closer than 8 hours to the closest ocean.
$1M is a great first goal. Set out a plan, stick with it, and eventually you will get there.
Haha, no state taxes and much lower cost of living is very attractive in TX. I’m starting to think we’re in another bubble here in California, so don’t come over too soon! Haha thanks for your post!
Nice to meet another financial blogger who enjoys some good old fashioned literature. Old Man and the Sea is still one of my favorite books. Welcome to the blogging club—I look forward to following you on your path o financial independence!
Awesome, yes I went back and started re-reading some of his books recently and still enjoy them all! Thanks Mortimer look forward to following you as well!