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Salama2017

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Sep 12, 2017
73
89
126
California
Hello FLM fam!! It's been a while. I first joined this forum in 2017 and was desperate to make money. I learned a lot from the MFL and the Unscripted as well as from this Forum.

I still couldn't focus on one thing due to mounting debt. I would start working on an idea but then would find myself working overtime to make ends meet.

Paid off Debt!
Well, in August 2020, I sent my last check to the Department of Education in the amount of $36k. Once the funds were withdrawn, I was left with $256 only - however, I felt like a millionaire!

I've always carried debt since I was 18 years old. Now at 33, I am debt-free! My wife and I took an overnight trip to Reno to celebrate. After the brief celebration, we started a plan to build an emergency fund. I kept working full-time at my job and picked up a part-time position. These are not professional jobs. I stock merchandise and drive a forklift at one job while I work as a customer service specialist at the other job. I have work 4 days at one job and 3 days at the other job - No days off! My wife has also been working at her minimum-wage job and started a medical assisting program.

Started saving!
We've funded our emergency fund up to $15k cash, and put $5k into Vanguard - VTSAX which we put $100 per month. I also bought some Tesla shares before the split and have watched my investment triple. I started with around 3.5 shares and now I have about 14 shares. Not a lot but this is a whole new experience for me. I also have about 36k in Dogecoin that I bought back in 2018 when I was so desperate. I don't like the volatility in cryptocurrency and I rarely ever count it when determining our net-worth. My credit score is over 780 with $49k worth of credit (just 2 credit cards). It's funny how the credit card companies kept lowering my credit line while increasing interest rates when I was in debt but now they keep offering more money. I want to cancel them but that might lower my score which I will need if I decided to invest in real estate. I shredded the cards and now only have the accounts.

Cost of being a workaholic! I Quit!
Recently, I hurt my back at my stocking job and was out for a few weeks. I only worked at my customer service job since I didn't have to lift heavy stuff. My body had given up and needed a break. My wife demanded that I resign from one of the jobs. This was hard for me as I love watching more money coming in than going out. My doctor also advised me to stop working too much and to take a break. After my back felt better (but not fully healed) I went back to work but this time I had a 2-week notice for my stocking job. My last day is coming up soon. I will only be working 3 days per week at my customer service job. The job provides health insurance and is not as hard. My wife is almost done with her medical assisting training and should be getting a better-paying job soon.

Now What?
On my last day at my stocking job, the company will cut me a $5k check - (last paycheck, vacation, bonus, and sick/personal time). We also filed our taxes and will be getting a $6k refund. My wife wants me to use the 11k to start a business or to invest it somewhere. I also have a lot of free time since I only work 3 days a week. I have a lot of ideas but they are all useless until I put them into practice. I could get another job but after 14 years of work, I don't see myself working for someone else. My body cannot take any more abuse from working for someone else. I'm currently more concerned about my well-being than I was before.

I know this sounds boring but like most people, my wife and I want to travel much of the world before settling down to start a family. We also don't plan on owning real estate unless it's for investment. We also don't want to own a lot of stuff because we need to be mobile. We own two old Toyotas and will be getting rid of mine since I can ride a bike to my job. I'm just not sure where or how to invest the $11k at the moment.

Lessons Learned!
Being in debt taught me a lot about the value of money and time. I learned a lot about the difference between needs and wants. When my wife and I made it a goal to pay off our debts, we got rid of most of our 'wants'. we only bought what we needed and threw everything else into debt. I wanted the instant feeling of being debt-free. So instead of paying little by little, I kept paying the minimum payment and threw a curveball at once. I probably paid more in interest but I didn't care about that!

Another lesson is on having a good partner on your side. My wife agreed to my plan and was supportive throughout the process. She made sure that I was not losing my mind and even worked overtime to help pay down the debts. I was in debt when we got together and she had $0 in debt and $0 in cash. She is also from a different cultural background (African) and very terrified of debt unless it's good debt (such as real estate investments). She doesn't care much about luxury stuff and would rather spend time working than shopping. She also loves traveling and that's our goal once we have enough to settle down. I don't have a clue on exactly how much is enough at the moment. What I do know is that having a good partner on your side is a good thing.

Lastly, I learned that sometimes it's okay to take a break. You only have one body and if you abuse it, you can't order another one. I should've stopped working at my full-time stocking job after building an emergency fund. However, I loved watching our money grow. My body, at the same time, had reached a breaking point. Injuring my back was a wake-up call and my body was reminding me that I only have one back. I can't travel the world with a f*cked-up back. Some flights can be 15 hours long. A bad back can't handle that. Work hard! Pay off debt! Build an emergency account! But remember when to stop or slow down. Take care of your health. You can make so much and die right before you spend it.

Current situation
Currently, as I'm researching how to invest our $11k, I've also started volunteering some of my time at an NGO. I have a Master's degree in International Development in which I studied a lot of global issues. I'm interested in human rights and that is why I chose to volunteer some of my free time at the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in their human trafficking department. I volunteer 9 hours per week while I spend the rest of my time planning my next move. Volunteering helps me feel good for some reason. The work that I do can be stressful sometimes but knowing that I'm helping make someone's life better is one of the best feelings ever!

Near the end of the MLF book, MJ mentioned the benefits of getting rid of debt. I'm glad I listened and took action. There are many ways of getting rid of debt. Just know when to start working on your dream after you pay off your debt. In my case, I wanted more and more while my body was saying enough! Not sure what I will do next but I'm certain it will not be back-breaking or in a cubicle from 8 to 5. Thanks, MJ, and every contributor in this forum!
 

Chris_Varick

New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Feb 8, 2021
17
14
17
44
North Germany
Quite an impressing story you have there. Congratulations for getting rid of the debt. Looking at this student loan system in the US from overseas perspective(me writing from Germany) it is really a horrible situation people are getting into but you have done it ! Great accomplishment - in my point of view I would not care so much about the 11 $k at the moment but instead try to sharpen your axe. To me it looks like you are to too much tight up into several jobs that does not leave you too much space to figure out a good business strategy. You have laid the foundation(by getting rid of the student loans and credit cards) and it should feel good already but now it's the time to figure out what you are really good at and look for people and companies that demand your qualifications. The jobs or business opportunity will then arise. All the best Cheers Christian
 

Salama2017

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Sep 12, 2017
73
89
126
California
Quite an impressing story you have there. Congratulations for getting rid of the debt. Looking at this student loan system in the US from overseas perspective(me writing from Germany) it is really a horrible situation people are getting into but you have done it ! Great accomplishment - in my point of view I would not care so much about the 11 $k at the moment but instead try to sharpen your axe. To me it looks like you are to too much tight up into several jobs that does not leave you too much space to figure out a good business strategy. You have laid the foundation(by getting rid of the student loans and credit cards) and it should feel good already but now it's the time to figure out what you are really good at and look for people and companies that demand your qualifications. The jobs or business opportunity will then arise. All the best Cheers Christian
Thanks! I think I will take a break and think about my options. I tend to overthink everything sometimes and it kills my motivation.
 

MachineEarning

Bronze Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Dec 13, 2019
173
224
157
26
Austin
Congratulations on paying off that debt! That peace of mind is a great feeling.

I'm interested in human rights and that is why I chose to volunteer some of my free time at the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in their human trafficking department.

This. You have a great mindset for entrepreneurship - how can you make a positive difference in the world? Human trafficing is horrible right now.

My body cannot take any more abuse from working for someone else. I'm currently more concerned about my well-being than I was before.

Just a warning, but this is not a good reason to start working for yourself. If anything, you might find that the work is more taxing than working for an employer. The difference could be the type of work that you do - if you are in an office vs. moving around, but you could do either for an employer as well. There's a reason why entrepreneurs are infamous for working 60-70 hour weeks. When you get a breakthrough and receive 100 email orders in one day, there's no other way to get everything done than to work really hard. That's what separates the successful businesses from the failures in my opinion.

Be careful about just investing $11k at once. That's a massive amount of startup capital. In TMF , Mj started Limos.com with $900. I started my business with $700 by hiring a person to make me a website. But then I spent about $20,000 over the next twelve months on rent, food, and other living expenses, and only $2,000 on business expenses. This was because I was creating the content myself.

It will be exciting to read about your progress in the coming months!
 

Salama2017

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Sep 12, 2017
73
89
126
California
Congratulations on paying off that debt! That peace of mind is a great feeling.



This. You have a great mindset for entrepreneurship - how can you make a positive difference in the world? Human trafficing is horrible right now.



Just a warning, but this is not a good reason to start working for yourself. If anything, you might find that the work is more taxing than working for an employer. The difference could be the type of work that you do - if you are in an office vs. moving around, but you could do either for an employer as well. There's a reason why entrepreneurs are infamous for working 60-70 hour weeks. When you get a breakthrough and receive 100 email orders in one day, there's no other way to get everything done than to work really hard. That's what separates the successful businesses from the failures in my opinion.

Be careful about just investing $11k at once. That's a massive amount of startup capital. In TMF , Mj started Limos.com with $900. I started my business with $700 by hiring a person to make me a website. But then I spent about $20,000 over the next twelve months on rent, food, and other living expenses, and only $2,000 on business expenses. This was because I was creating the content myself.

It will be exciting to read about your progress in the coming months!
Thank you so much for your advice! I won't mind working 60-80 hours per week as long as I'm working on my business. The scary thing is that after my injury at my current job, a posting went up for my position. If I hadn't given them my 2-weeks notice, they would've moved me to another "easier" position until my body gives up - or retire.
I feel like I have so many options given my experience and educational background. It's my overthinking that kills my motivation. I tend to overthink everything even when choosing something to eat on a menu.
On the 11k, I think you're right about not investing it all at once. I have a lot of ideas and must pick one and focus on it without overthinking.
Although I like to think that I'm free, the reality is that I'm still scripted and confused. But I am working on that.
 

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