Stay fierce and focused!

by J. Money - Published March 16, 2020

muscle man

Morning!

Lots of scary and anxiety-filled news going around us right now, but there’s also a lot of POSITIVE stuff happening in our community too!

Here’s a bunch of notes I’ve saved up from people killing it these past handful of months, and I just know there will be MORE coming because y’all are fierce and focused!

Don’t let this madness beat you!! Your freedom is still in range!!

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Morning J. Money,

This morning I made my final student loan payment! I paid off $86k in debt between my student loans and a car loan in four years.  Man does it feel good to be debt free by 33 (I turn 33 next month).

Cheers from Richmond VA.

– Kevin

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Hey J!

Just have to share… Sold my expensive and costly condo. Moving into a modest 4 bdrm ranch in town next door with low property taxes. Going to save about $7,500 a year and pocketed $62,000 profit. Took out a $109K mortgage. Payments are $480 a month. Retirement here I come!!

(Not really. Still enjoy working but my retirement will be less stressful when it does happen. Woot Woot!)

–  B.

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Aloha J Money!

Your emails are the first thing I read every morning and have inspired me to reach F.I.R.E by the time I’m 45 in order to pursue my passions without the 9 to 5 (or 6 to 6 in my case since I’m in the construction industry).

I just turned 37 and have $228,000 in investments between my wife and I. Three years ago we had over $60k in debt plus our mortgage and and less thank $20k in investments. I’ve now started a side hustle renting Jeeps on Turo and investing as much as I can in our Roth IRA’s, 401k’s, brokerage accounts & real estate crowdfunding through Groundfloor.com.

Thank you for the inspiration, knowledge and motivation!

Mahalo!

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I just wanted you to know that I paid off one of my credit cards!!  Now I can take what I was paying toward that one and put toward the other one!! I’m anticipating being credit card debt free by the end of the year!!  (I will still have school debt and a car loan).   Anyway, thanks for all the encouragement!!!

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Good Afternoon J. Money,

My name is Andrew Lander and I’m a Professional Voice Actor thanks to you!

I was desperately searching for a side hustle last year and landed on your “70+ Ways to Make Extra Money on The Side” article on your blog.

Side Hustle #60, featuring Voice Actor Carrie Olsen, took me on an exciting road where all I wanted to consume was everything about the voice over industry.

Feeling positively obsessed with my new life goal, I invested in one-on-one coaching, practiced day and night, and once I was told I was “demo ready” began auditioning for everything I could!

Fast-forward only 6 months later and I booked my first gig in an indie video game!

While Carrie was the guest, I want to thank you for giving her a platform to share her story that inspired me to pursue a dream I didn’t know I had.

With great thanks and many more booked gigs to come,

Andrew Lander
Business Casual Voice Overs

Andrew Lander

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Hey J,

Had to share this with someone.

Just a minor step on the road, but it’s the first time my 401k balance cracked a half-mil. :)

Have a great day!

Gene Roberts

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J$,

I downloaded your Net Worth template in 2016 and it has quite honestly changed my life. Since then my net worth has tripled, my savings have skyrocketed, the template has grown into a massive beast of my own creation, and I actually know where my money is coming from, where it goes, and how much it makes. I just want to say thank you.

<3 $tickyWicket

P.S. When I showed the NW file to my CPA he turned giddy and said, “Oh yay!! You’re my favorite kind of client!”

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I’ve been in and out of credit card debt since as long as I can remember, but this is past year, I finally paid off all of them and am vowing not to use them for the whole year. I took them out of my wallet and put them in a safe place in my house.

While paying off all the credit cards I have managed to max out my 401k and contribute to Roth IRAs for the last 4 years! Go me! This year I’m really planning on sticking to my no credit card year!

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Hi J$; read every day but rarely post.

I picked this up from an old post of yours, but the idea is often repeated. I went on a no-spend month. Paid my house payment, power, etc BUT no going-out, entertainment, wander through the mall shopping. I filled up my gas tank on the 1st, bought some fresh fruits & veggies, eggs, and milk, and decided what I COULD spend on that month.

Milk, eggs, fruits, veggies-all okay. Otherwise, very little. I raided my freezer, pantry, friends’ brains for bright ideas, and spent less than $100 on food for the month. Sadly, I can do at least another month like this because my pantry AND freezer are still full. Walked a lot, read a ton of books, took advantage of free wi-fi; stuff like that. Paid cash when I went to the grocery/farmer’s market.

What it boiled down to was… I learned that I can comfortably live on a hell of a lot less than I’ve been spending. *shudder*. And my budget needs some tweaking, so I redirect those $$ where they will be working for me.

Like I said, I’ve been reading your blog for a long time. I’m grateful for the kinda oddball ideas you collect from all over, along with your own. I can’t tell you what motivated me to do a no-spend month but I can tell you, it was well-worth the education. Thanks again for keeping the fire burning; I’m working toward improving my finances every day!

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I started tracking my net worth in March 2013 after finding your blog – $66k. We are a little over 6 years later and at ~$450k. I’d honestly love a freaking recession so I could pile some more money in though! [Got his wish there! – J$]

– Chris, FlippingADollar.com

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We finally got to the half a million net worth mark last week! And I didn’t even know until my wife told me this weekend! Considering we met 6 years ago and at the time I had a $5,000 net worth and my wife said she had something like $30K, I’d say it’s been pretty good!

Although there was a $75K inheritance there in 2015. So we can take credit for roughly $400K in about 6 years (Still can’t believe those numbers!). Sorry, you’re probably one of the few people who can understand how crazy that sounds! I lived paycheck-to-paycheck until I hit 30 and now I’m a half a millionaire! Wooooo!

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Thanks to the Money Show podcast my life has turned 180 degrees. I went from overspending, underinvesting, and accumulating debt to being in a strong financial position.

In less than 1 year since discovering the show and the FI community both my significant other and I have paid off all our debt (totaled $49,000), put away over 6 months in emergency savings each, and now comfortably save/invest over 53% of our income.

I grew up in poverty so I hope you know that having others to learn fiscal responsibility from makes a world of difference to people like myself. My life will forever be improved thanks to the resources I’ve found such as bloggers/podcasters like yourself!

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I found an old excel file from 2008 where I was tracking my cash tips from the waitressing job I had in college (I’ve always loved excel). In that file I noted I had $3,221.13 in my bank account which was the extent of my net worth.

Today my net worth is over $215k!!! I’ve been tracking it for 2 years since finding your blog so I know how much it’s grown but it’s extra awesome to see how far I’ve come since college.

– Shawna

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I started reading your blog while I was at my last job where my boss did not like me because of my political affiliation. I became unhappy at work and I felt I had to stay because I had expenses and just “adulting” that I needed to do.

I left that job and started my own business and never looked back. I left them a 200 page exit memo, but leaving was the most freeing thing I did and I never again wanted to be in the position of feeling trapped at work.

While I was consulting I was looking for the next right fit for me. It took about 7 months which I was fine with. Thanks to your blog, I had an emergency fund and I did not need to tap into my savings at all. I was prepared to take my time until I found a role that worked for me. Usually people find the job then leave, but this place was so toxic that I felt better off not having a job than being there.

Fast-forward to today I am at such an awesome place where people are truly so friendly and love what they do. I make just over $67K from my day job of which I save 50% and just over $73K on the side of which I save 100%. (Note: Waiting for a $50K contract to be finalized which would bring me up to just over $120K in side hustle income)

You lit a FIRE under me to hustle like no other. I save, invest and challenge myself to focus on goals and how to crush them. These all kind of happened at once but honestly, waking up, reading your blog and having the right mindset is what is doing it for me.

– “Jeremy”

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J. Money –

Because of you I started tracking our net worth and we are at $750,000.

We got here through diligently saving $$$, and especially have ramped it up the past few years. My current employer matches 18% of our salary/bonus which is incredible. We have T. Rowe Price and they consistently say we are the top company out of all their retirement plans. So, that has helped me bank away $50,000 into my retirement TAX-FREE each year.

I’m hoping to hit $1,000,000 in net worth around 40 years old….. 2.5 years away! I love the articles and ideas they spur. Cheers!

Other details:

  • We have $200,000 in home equity
  • $100,000 in college savings
  • $250,000 in retirement accounts
  • $200,000 in other liquid savings (non-retirement)
  • I drive a 15 year old beater (paid off) and the wife a 7 year old minivan (paid off).

– Debt Free in RVA

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And then lastly, which I now DOUBLY recommend doing:

Hey J.

Our podcast interview together inspired me to turn off social media from my life on Friday afternoon through Monday morning. It’s been great for my family. I’m going strong with it 4 weeks in a row now. Thank you!

– Andy Hill

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Keep it up everyone!!

This is the part of the journey that’ll make you GREAT!!!

Don’t stop!

dont stop believing

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

1 SWFL Financial Coaching March 16, 2020 at 6:57 am

Those are all awesome–from paying off one credit card to having a large chunk of money in the bank. Way better than reading doom and gloom all day long.

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2 J. Money March 16, 2020 at 10:23 am

Haha yeah – getting harder and harder to go online right now :(

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3 Francis March 16, 2020 at 8:20 am

1. Got my fed tax return deposit two weeks after submitting it. Waiting for my own “bottom of the market target to hit so I can purchase some S&P funds on sale.
2. Stopped looking at social media and headlines as they are churning old information.
3. Remaining sequestered, but getting outside to take walks and hikes in nature.
4. Spring cleaning within the house and boxing up stuff to donate or discard.
5. Washing my hands often,
6. Staying home and doing my yoga on my subscription app (Grokker.com) The gym is closed anyway.

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4 J. Money March 18, 2020 at 12:07 pm

A man with a plan!

How much farther does it need to drop for you to activate you buy?

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5 Christine March 16, 2020 at 8:53 am

Awesome to read everyone’s money wins!!! It was so nice to start the morning and week with positivity!

I especially related to paying off the student loan and car. When I did that a few years ago, it was the best feeling of my life…I assume until I pay off my mortgage.

And an FYI—I used to be able to click on the headline in my email and go to the blog, but haven’t been able to do that the last few days! it’s not hyperlinked.

Keep spreading the joy!

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6 J. Money March 16, 2020 at 10:25 am

I think a plugin is broken, sorry :(

Will have the team look into it!

FYI the images at the top of the emails will also get you to the direct post if you click it!

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7 Kay March 16, 2020 at 9:26 am

What a wonderful read this morning…. I’m so happy for all above readers!!! Congratulations!!!

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8 J. Money March 16, 2020 at 10:26 am

Glad you enjoyed!

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9 Becky March 16, 2020 at 9:41 am

Thanks for all the encouragement as it has been dissappointing watching my 401k drop for the last few weeks. I’ve been thinking about putting a small amount into the stock market outside of my 401k and see how it does for a few years. Obviously with the stocks dropping, it is a good time to buy stocks “on sale” but even within a market crash, is there a perfect time to buy before stocks go up or is it all just a gamble?

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10 J. Money March 16, 2020 at 10:35 am

Things are DEFINITELY on sale right now :)

No one knows whether it’ll continue to go down or when things will pick back up again, but if you’re someone who believes that ultimately things will be good again like many of us do, then I’d say it’s a great idea to have money invested in it for the future rebound.

I haven’t cashed out of a thing – only added to it.

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11 Lisa O March 16, 2020 at 4:00 pm

Good Reads….Good News! We need it right about now. Happy to say, I also believe we will bounce back from this flop! I haven’t cashed out of anything only adding too!

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12 J. Money March 16, 2020 at 5:06 pm

I like your style :)

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13 Gene Roberts March 17, 2020 at 2:19 am

J,
Your site (&insight) has inspired tons of people over the years.

Keep it up,

Gene

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14 J. Money March 17, 2020 at 6:32 am

And you’ve been a part of that too, my friend!

Gotta keep doing our part as we’re able :)

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15 TB from Midwest March 18, 2020 at 11:50 am

Hey J$ – We’ve always been in the “pay extra towards mortgage, rather than invest” camp (i.e. debt is terrible!!!), but given the economic downturn, we’ll be shifting that strategy at least for the next 10mos (maybe longer?). The way the numbers work right now, we’ll be able to add $5,000 into the stock market (over time) and only delay our mortgage payoff date by 5 mos. Luckily we have time on our side to take advantage of this discounted market. Stay focused, stay positive.

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16 J. Money March 18, 2020 at 12:09 pm

Not a bad strategy at all, my friend…

Especially as interest rates are only getting more slashed too! Perfect storm to jump into investing!

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