You are reading this blog. By now you should know 1. How to get what you deserve 2. The impact that your cultural background has on you.
With this new section of the blog I want to share my journey towards financial independence. I will bring a unique perspective grounded in my Black culture background.
School forgets to teach financial literacy. TV series glorify a lavish lifestyle. Social media promotes fake happiness. You end up relying on luck to make the right money decisions. That is not a strategy to govern a crucial aspect of your life. I will never advocate obsessing about money. I aim to live my life by this motto “Money is a terrible master, but an amazing servant”
Now I sound financially mature. I am 40 and I have been blessed financially (and in my personal life). I am on track to achieve my financial target in the next 10 years. But it was not always the case. I only started one year ago. I was lucky that my mom instilled in me strong values against credit cards, and debt. So I have been debt free my whole life except for about a total of $100,000 in student loans that I always repaid in less than 3 years. You may think that this is pretty good. What if I told you that one of my colleague with the same salary, saved around $1 million. 4 times more than I. How?
- When his salary increased, he would not raise his lifestyle or spending. Same shared apartment.
- He optimized his life to cut his expenses. He lived in a state with low taxes, with a low cost of living and chose projects far away from home so he would live on professional expenses.
- He invested his money wisely. We never talk specifics, but I can tell you he was not worried during financial crashes.
It is that simple. And that hard at the same time. While he was living a frugal life, I was in London nightclubs from Wednesday night to Saturday night. I spent so much time in nightclubs that they would give me a free membership. No waiting in line, greeted by the club manager. And when I was bored of London nightclubs, my partners in crime would fly to NYC or LA and make it rain. My 30th birthday in Los Angeles was mad. Everything I had seen on TV, I wanted to experience. I Rented an Escalade, 5 stars hotel for my crew and I, table service 5 straight nights in a row. My bachelor party was even crazier. A trip around the world – NYC, Tokyo, Shanghai, Paris – over 10 days. You get the gist… It is all good, it was a great ride. Yet, was this “ride” worth $750,000? It is not like I made it rain with 3 quarter of a million-dollar. But $100,000 today, is worth $259,000 in 10 years if you earn 10% every year. Every $1,000 spent on table service, is money that will not work for me in my bank account.
Bottom line. I grew up believing that to be “the man” I needed to spend to show I was getting paid. Meanwhile, real millionaires are frugal, drive inexpensive cars and do not look for external validation.
By the way, the friend I referred to. By now he must be worth about $40 million. How? Well he kept making his money work for him. Even as a millionaire, he still lived in the same apartment, for a long time would not own a car, and he would book his vacation last minute and stay at hotels offering big discounts on the day. Wealth is a mindset. if you are broke but have a millionaire mindset, you will become financially independent. If you are rich but have the mindset of a Floyd Mayweather, you will eventually be broke. This section of the blog is to nurture your millionaire mindset.