Skip to main content

"Growing Up" in the Military and why Financial Literacy Matters

I was different during my time in service. At 19 years old my peers were barely starting college, lived with their parents and joined to pay for college. Not sure exactly why, but I wanted a Career. Classic case of the board game Life if you ask me. 

Early on it was pretty easy to tell that college wasn't going to be the best choice for me. I just felt uneasy about sitting down the school counselors to sign my life away on a bunch of loan papers and government assistance. I didn't want the pressure of those loans hanging over my head for the next 10 years not knowing how I was going to get them paid off. I knew I was a hard worker and could go far in Tech if I was given the opportunity. 

This put me in a very different boat than my peers. Again, I wanted a career that I knew I would be good in and take me very far in life. I was not confused about my life, nor did I want to spend 4-8 years in college "figuring it out" while I racked up debt every year. I got myself my first credit card for my 19th birthday before shipping out to basic training. After I returned from my IT school I proceeded to use that training to start that career. I actually started my career for my 20th birthday believe it or not, at $10 per hour taking calls.

The Importance of Financial Literacy 

It was always funny watching my friends brag about their credit scores being 50-100 points above mine until push came to shove and a single inquiry dropped them into the low 600s. I began building my credit at the first chance I could think of and by the time I was a year out of basic training I had 3-5 different accounts and had requested for 3 credit limit increases to start up my credit journey. It doesn't sound like much, but the people I was around didn't worry about credit until they were ready to settle down and purchase their dream home. This is the story of millions of Americans today, but hopefully throughout these pages you see that you don't have to be this way.

Follow the page for future updates including my list of accounts, both personal and business!

Of these accounts includes a small starter car that I paid off in a two year time period, a furniture card for my first apartment that I paid off in less than 12 months, and a few other strategic accounts that will be covered in the future. During that same time period most of the people around me were getting drunk in college, opening store cards to buy clothes and sitting at home playing video games. Money management and finance has always been a big part of my life and is one of the major reasons for where I am right and where I'll continue to go. This isn't a unique story, and it all starts with treating your bank account with a little more care.

Good Money Habits

This is what has set me apart for the longest time from my peers. I've always been fascinated by finances and I've made it a point to make it a focal point of my life and my future successes. I challenge you to do the same. 

  • Begin monitoring your credit score through - An account through these guys is completely free and has amazing tips on getting a good score and keeping a good score while showing your current standing. The reason you need a decent credit score, around a 690 or above, is for any money moves you're looking to make in the future. 
    You want the bank to trust you as much as possible to keep you from paying an outrageous amount of money for a car like many military members do these days. It'll also make it easier to get loans through peer 2 peer lending services like lending club which require a very high credit score to expedite and automate the approval process.
    This will also help you with making major decisions in your life. If you're moving into a new apartment it's almost impossible to get in somewhere nice because they require high deposits, good credit, and great rental history. You most likely won't have that rental history starting out so if you can bring a little bit of money to the table and a decent credit score with a couple diversified accounts you're much more likely to land that flat downtown.

  • Start contributing to a 401k retirement account or TSP as soon as possible - I mention this because it's a great place to start. About 98% of the people reading this are currently employed or self-employed and have the opportunity to contribute to tax advantaged savings. If you don't do anything else throughout your career to boost your earnings or can't figure what you want to do yet, then contributing to a 401k will give you that nest egg for the future while you figure out what you want to do with those funds. 
    If you contribute $150 per month to your 401k, I recommend Roth, and you do that from 20 years old to 35 you'll be putting away $1,800 per year. Over the life of your savings you will have put away $27,000. The goal of this is to give you something. Over time you'll educate yourself and improve your career stance or start a business. At this point you could either increase these earnings, cash out to fund your ventures, or take a loan against your 401k. The point is to give you options.
    Using that funds properly will require weeks of research and talking to experts so please don't make any decisions based on this post. You do have options though. I recommend leaving the money and taking out a loan against your 401k. The interest you pay on that loan goes right back into your 401k in the place of earnings you would have received from the market during that period.  Even $20,000 is enough to get you into a smaller investment property and start earning you extra passive income. It could also be used as a great startup fund for many business ventures. On top of that it gives you a healthy asset for the bank if you're just looking for a regular loan. 

You can do it too

With a couple simple changes to the pages you scroll on facebook or the blogs you read before bed, a huge financial boost could be right around the corner. Make sure to stay on top of your credit score by being responsible with your spending, paying your bills on time and checking your credit score weekly with Credit Karma. Start saving in any way that you can to plan for future expenses and set you up for an easier life down the road. Get a couple accounts and implement your own Envelope System. Start pouring money into your 401k or start saving up to start a business. Keep saving, and tell your friends. Happy Spending!


Popular posts from this blog

I'm Debt Free! - ...Now what?

So you've taken the plunge to eliminate debt in an educated way . You've dedicated hours to reviewing finances and cutting expenses. You stopped going out and drinking designer coffees every morning wondering "when will it end?". It's always nice getting that final email notifying you of your $0 account balance, but now what?  You've probably noticed it's a little easier to come up with extra money each month, because you're not slowly being eaten away by credit card fees, payments and monthly interest charges.  You can finally take a deep breath! Below I'll outline a couple great ways to spent that extra money that continues adding to that retirement fund, and also let me know which topic I should dive into further in the comments! If you're struggling getting to this debt free point, then now is NOT the time to stress and start impulse buying . You're doing great! Emergency Fund I know this isn't the most exciting part of becoming deb

Historic Lows?? Is a Home Refinance the Best Move?

This has been a year full of ups and downs across many different aspects of life. Since COVID-19 has started people have lost jobs, started jobs, changed career paths, and gone on unemployment. This has been some of the worst months for certain people and some of the best for others. Due to all of the changes going on right now and that continue to happen one of the biggest questions on everybody's mind is, "Should I refinance my home?", "Will a lower monthly payment help us get through these harder times?", "Will a shorter loan term give me more money for the future?", "Does paying less interest matter to me?". Everybody has questions about this new uncertain future and hopefully some of the information belong will hope answer that for you, and if not feel free to reach out  and we can discuss your specific situation.  How much does a refinance cost? This can be the biggest hurdle for many people when it comes to changing up their mortgage.

J. Money Inspired Millionaire To-Do List

It's finally time to get this on paper for the first time ever! Of course I have various spreadsheets and apps talking about my expenses, assets, and my goals for increasing one while minimizing the other(honestly could go either way), but putting out a list to the universe of what needs done to break the ceiling on a 7 figure net worth is totally different.  Obviously this awesome idea comes from  J. Money over at Budgets are $exy and his Millionaire Club . We're all wannabes just out here getting it done. From the looks of it though, several have crossed that threshold and I'm looking to follow closely behind! In order for me, Ryan, to become a Millionaire, I pledge to do the following (each year): Start contributing to my 401k - My company currently does an automatic match of 3% so I don't have to contribute any minimums. I'm not currently contributing due to limited funds and my drive to purchase real estate at a young age. I'm slowly realizing putting all o