32 – Reflections on Life

So currently my blog is called Debt Free 32 – ONE MAN’S MISSION TO GET RID OF 45159.35 OF DEBT.
I may be renaming it in the near future. The style of this post is more raw from the heart vs my standard super logical approach. I’m turning 32 in less than 2 weeks.

32

What thoughts are associated with 32?
Reflection for one. Relationships, loved ones lost at an early age. Completion of High School, each of my three college degrees, the incredible amount of progress I’ve made over the years with my personal fitness. Moving 1500 miles away to Dallas without a clue of fully knowing what to expect. Six months of applying to jobs  in a career where my passion was dead but just did because I that’s what I spent a half decade doing. Surely nothing wrong with that strategy right?+ Struggles with paying back a debilitating amount of Student Loan debt proportional to my income, five figures of interest accruing over the years. Interviews where I had a sinking feeling in my stomach that this job is going to be like torture. An MBA graduate at 24 there I was interviewing for a job paying $36k with no room for advancement and trying to sound jazzed about it. Almost getting a job paying over $50k a year only to have the HR people tell me they weren’t hiring for the next 3 months.

Then…. I reached a tipping point. NO LONGER would I let debt paralyze me. I’m intelligent,  maybe limited at times anxiety and overanalyzing situations where people are busy or don’t connect with me…. but…. Other people my age have been able to get out of debt. A long time watcher of the Suze Orman show since the early 2000s I saw their stories each week along with people who had a much deeper hole to get out of. I only had $47k of student loan debt. Some people have six figures and work as a barista at Starbucks. One guy on Suze’s show went to school to become a pilot. Things didn’t work out and he had $200k of debt making less than $20 per hour.

What advice would I give to myself? Move. GTFO Long Island. Too expensive to live, staying with your parents because you can’t afford to be on your own is not good for your emotional and mental health. Being in place where your neighbors stare at you 60% of the time going in and out of the house is crazy. Having shootings just a mile away from where you live and gas stations robbed at gunpoint is crazy. Seeing your folks pay $9k/yr in taxes on each of two houses each year is crazy. The amount of stress most people have and all the gang activity is crazy. DON’T be status quo. DON’T get stuck working that job you only took as a temporary measure. DON’T be the 30 year old guy who works at the video store and still lives with mom and dad because they never strived for anything else in life.

As far as things TO DO. DO invest in yourself both mind and body. DO make friends of the caliber you think will enhance your life not take away from it. DO invest at an EARLY AGE. DO be a contrarian and value investor, the media uses people as pawns in ways, when the stock market is tanking that’s the best time to invest (I would’ve doubled my money if I followed this advice). DO diversify and avoid expensive fees from financial advisors. DO listen to people smarter than you who have turned their lives around.

Last but not least…. 32 is still really young. I was chatting with someone on a dating app who is… Wait for it…. 57 years of age. Great guy, in awesome shape, established and very handsome. Just practically a guy who is probably going to retire in the next 5 years vs me having 30 left. If he was in his 40s sure but technically he is older than my mom and almost as old as my dad were he still living.

Ric Edelman has predicted many of us who are alive now will live to over 140 year due to advances in science and medicine. I don’t know about that but even if we shift closer to 100… Still a long time.
My main message to my readers / friends who read this is….

Embrace life. Don’t get stuck so much in thoughts that you forget to enjoy all the wonderful experiences out there. Many things are temporary in life including debt. Keep calm, smile, enjoy being single or with that special man or woman in your life. Be happy for who and what you are.

That’s all I got for now. Happy Sunday! 🙂

Month 24 Update – $32,140.58

Image

So here we are…April 5, 2014. Listening to some Fantasia and Aretha Franklin tunes on my Audio-Technica headphones while bf watches Scrubs and our siamese cat sits curled up a foot away completely unphased by both the noise of my typing and the television. I feel beat down by an irregular sleeping schedule, where I passed out around 10:30PM and woke up at 4:45AM. I was going to go the ambitious route and go to the gym / catch up on some reading. Instead I wormed around in bed for an hour before falling asleep again. Then I see the sun rise, check my phone and it’s 7:22. Oh crap, I’m late for work. So I go through the usual shower / iron routine, telling my bf to walk the dog and delaying breakfast until I get to the work cafeteria.

I hit an important milestone, on Month 24 of making straight payments to Sallie Mae. This shit is neither fun nor easy. I certainly see how some people can go for ten years of payments and still not have their loans paid off. Life can certainly get in the way of your plans to become debt-free. I have had some increased anxiety as of late with them. Going to Florida next month for a wedding. Bf reimbursed me most of the none I put down for that trip. $600 and change with airfare / hotel factored in. Then today he’s like you should really go visit your parents. Sure that would be nice but with what money, I have about $350 to my name right now. I currently have I hold myself to higher standards that I can get this paid off as quickly as possible while still enjoying life. Debt to me is slavery. I can’t turn back the hands of time but I can focus on my abilities in the pleasant to create a better life.

Another friend bought us tickets to the NCAA Championship games in Dallas next week. I don’t know any of the teams really, but it should be exciting. Never went to a basketball game before. Don’t lecture me, just because I lived an hour from Madison  Square Garden doesn’t mean I went. Same with the Statue of Liberty… or the World Trade Center back in the day.

I was thinking today maybe sell the car and drive around in an absolute piece of crap car until I am debt-free. Of course maintenance is an issue there and I’d always wondered how many years I could get out of a perfectly reliably running car of which I have full knowledge of all its maintenance records and overall treatment. Then I think about the $3k I put in the audio system that would not be appreciated by a 2nd owner or by the dealer / used car sales guy making me an offer. Last but not least I thought about how people get royally screwed over when trading in a car. Do I really want to put myself through all that again for a shiny piece of equipment that gets me from point A to point B. Even if it’s a hybrid or an electric car that will cut my fuel costs by half or a 3/4. I don’t want to be on the treadmill forever. I want to lose the weight and keep it off. My freedom, my sanity is worth more than material objects.

Also listened through the whole Millionaire Next Door Audiobook and stared going through Secrets of A Millionaire Mind. My goal is to shift my mindset to thinking more in terms of opportunities that exist instead of limiting thoughts in my head to generate wealth. Over the the years I’ve encountered systems of get rich schemes that sound good on the surface but upon closer inspection have either large inconsistencies or have so many negative things written about them why would I want to go down that path. MLM comes to mind, if people are going to buy something from me I want to believe 100% in the product / service and it must genuinely fill some kind of need or want in their lives.

I don’t think I’m a greedy person. I just know where I have fallen short in the past and want to see more of a payoff for my hard work and efforts.  Right now that hasn’t happened yet and it can be frustrating. I see myself farther along than I currently am. I feel beat down, tore down but I can and will get back up and do some amazing things with my life. A positive net worth would be a good first step. Last but not least along with getting more omega-3s, I find keeping a busy schedule is a sure-fire way not to get depressed. Simply put, ain’t nobody got time fo’ dat.

Was about to hit post, then I looked at Haha Money’s How Rich Are You article. Plugged my number in to a calculator and combined we are in the richest 0.4% of the world’s population and our income is 42 times that of the average person. For just me it’s in the richest 6.1% of the world’s population and income more than 14x the typical person. Kinda boggles the mind how I could be richer than so many people in the world yet feel so financially broke.

If anyone is reading this in their 20s, I have one bit of advice. Well two really. Start planning early and don’t let the time pass you by. I’m not old, but the years have taken a toll on me. Losing my dad and grandmother so young, watching them struggle with health issues for years, a decade of being unable to get traction professionally, racking up student loan debt. The most recent one was a former friend going clinically crazy last month & being checked into a mental health institution for self-destructive behaviors. He is out, but after some of the threats and obsessive behavior I no longer choose to associate with him.