January 17 Financial Review

January 2017 Tracking Report

Alrighty so here we are at tracking report numero dos: January 2017

 

I am excited to start off my first full calendar year of tracking. This is a pretty solid month to aspire to in regards to spending, Income not so much. Things were relatively quiet in regards to plans and going out, which allowed me the opportunity to not spend an ungodly amount drinking. That will likely change as the winter thaws. It amuses me to think how not 12 months ago I hated the thought of tracking due to my dislike of YNAB and now I cannot live without it. It helps calm me. Zen time.

Transactions

 

Bills – $2,258

The always fun credit card bills. Pretty standard here after paying off most all debt last month. The main big items here are $500 each for rent and student loans, and a further $400 for a half year of car insurance. I use my vehicle so infrequently that this is somewhat of a waste, but at $800 a year, I value the freedom that the car enables much more highly than the missing money. This is likely a silly stance, but I rationalize by saying that this is pretty much the lowest car insurance I have ever heard of for someone with my demographic profile. The car has been sitting on bricks at my father’s house, and will do so for the foreseeable future. Considering that’s the biggest bill for transit I will have for some time – I will survive.

 

Business – $45

A very unique interesting month due to stresses at work and the seasons. I have not had the time I was hoping to have to devote to my own independent projects, so hopefully this category will increase in time. For January this just covers snow gear for my rental property. Multiple snow shovels and ice melt right before flurries, gives piece of mind and a moderate tax deduction.

 

Eating Out – $178

This category saw some moderate reduction this month. I did not go absolutely crazy, but I focused on maximizing the benefits my company gives me. I managed to use the $20 a week budget they give and stretched it over three days instead of the typical two. With that I got one further day a week with free lunch. I pay nothing for breakfast, and now with 3 lunches a week covered, I should be able to push this number down even more.

 

Gifts – $400

The last of 2016’s weddings. I keep hearing that I will get all this money back when I get married, but considering I plan to have a destination or something unusual that will be unlikely.  The wedding was a blast and I value this friendship for the future, but I hope this year isn’t as hectic as the last. With 5 weddings in 2016 – it started to become an all too common line item on my budgeting. And a large one at that.

 

Groceries – $150

Standard delivery groceries worked out well. Unfortunately the same cannot be said of February. I have had a couple of SNAFU’s in regards to my groceries this month that makes me dream about January’s ease.

 

Health – $55

Gym and cold

Standard gym and some minor cold medicine.

 

Home – $244

I was a good tenant this month. Our poor person penthouse is fantastic, with kind neighbors and a clean building. Our landlord is entirely absent however. We received a somewhat nasty text message in which the water bill for the whole building was through the roof and had we been letting things leak. After some searching I found that while there was no major leaks, the toilets parts were corroded to the point in which water could at times continually run. After waiting for a few weeks, I could not handle it anymore and bought and fixed everything but the porcelain itself. $50 gone, and no landlord in sight. I do not mind eating the cost as I expect we will be able to avoid a minority stressful visit from him, whenever he does manage to remember us.

 

Snacks – $47

I managed to control my snacking this month. Hopefully I can eventually segue this entire budget into groceries safely.

 

Transit – $104

I wanted to let my pre tax transit card fill up a bit, so this month I covered bus fare for the most part. Never too expensive, the commute is one of the best parts of our living arrangement. For New Year’s Eve we did some light numbering to get a free ride with some friends out to the boonies of NJ.

2 people commute and Nye etc

 

Vice – $150

Drinking friends bday. Networking. Thrown out

Drinking and partying was relatively light this month. One of my friends had a birthday, he is the oldest and closest to thirty so we all tend to get slightly inebriated as the bellwether of age for all of us.

Thoroughly enjoyed myself up until I got kicked out of the bar. I had been drinking for some time so I can hardly blame them, but I was in complete control and mainly just insulted the waiter a few times for bad service. Eh what can ya do. I wanted to leave anyway at that time

 

Total spend

 

Payday – $2448

And this will go down as my worst commission month in 3 years or more. December just did not go my way at all. I know it comes with the sales territory, but it certainly stings. Thankfully I had cleared most of my bills and cut spending right in time. This sort of lull in sales has never bothered me to much, one has to hope that it is temporary and forge on. It helps to have things tracked to see these sort of fluctuations in order to make more educated decisions.

 

Invest – $800

Standard auto savings I managed to survive. With small paychecks there is some lagtime so I may need to halt these partially next month.

 

401k – $700

Not bad. Not good but not bad.

 

ESPP – $750

I love this program so much. Next month in March is my bi annual sell off in which I get a smooth deposit of hidden savings every so often. Always right into the brokerage account far away from my spending.

 

HSA – $241

Finally! I have wanted one for some time and finally transitioned to an HSA. I do not like going to doctors generally, so I am going to hope that I can avoid anything but the annual checkup for a full year in order to get the full $3k plus in there to start growing. All these pre tax deductions devour the paycheck!

 

Assets and Liabilities

 

A

Cash – $980 + $2500

 

401k – $59,000

 

IRA’s – $21,000

 

Brokerage – $201,000

 

RSU’s – $21,000

 

Rental – $36,600

 

Car – $6,900

 

Total – $350,000

 

L

 

Mortgage – $0

 

Student loans – $4,000

 

Chase – $770

 

AMEX – $135

 

Total – $4,900

 

NW – $345,000

 

Change – +$9,000

 

Stoicism and FIRE

Stoicism and FIRE – a Perfect Match

For some time now I have been a follower of the Stoic philosophy of life. I generally do not label myself and do not go to extremes in anything, so I do not call myself a Stoic out loud ever or even mentally. However so much of my personal mindset was already in line with the way of living that slowly I have practiced and read and I feel like it has had an extremely positive impact on my life.

 

I want to be clear that I understand this is likely an egregious oversimplification of Stoicism, mainly in that money is not a driving force of the philosophy. Also as I am an amateur, my understanding of the source material may be wrong. I have adopted what I have learned for my personal situation and use so I most likely do not care. However there is so much crossover, and I personally have found so much utility in both, that I thought it at least worth mentioning some of the parallels. I encourage you to study and read more of both subjects to make your own judgement.

 

Main Tactics of Practicing Modern Day Stoicism

 

Negative Visualization

This is the easiest place the similarities begin. Mainly the first step any person is told in the financial independence community is to build up an Emergency fund. There are caveats like reaching 401k matches and pay yourself first and so on but really every person needs to be able to cover basic living expenses for at least a few months of no income. You need to plan ahead and think about the possible negatives that can occur. One of the important pillars of Stoicism is that of reflection on the fact that things could be worse. By constantly thinking and reminding ourselves of the inverse of anything good in our lives, we appreciate them incalculably more. Negative visualization is planning ahead for the one real constant in life, change.

 

Lens of Control

Stoicism teaches us to relax our minds by paying attention to the three circles of control. We should focus most of our attention on things that we can actively effect, less so on those we have less control over, and little to no focus on that which we can’t control. FIRE adherents are HUGE on this. We all know that it takes someone with a large ego to think they can stock pick and market time their way to independence. It for sure has happened but that is not an effective long term plan. Instead, we set up our auto investment plans and then focus on enjoying life or whatever we so wish to focus on.

 

Fatalism

Death and taxes. That is all that is certain. The FIRE enthusiasts I know are ones that know that life is dwindling away in our hands. The seriousness of life seems more pronounced here as these are people that have the feeling that they are not finding fulfillment with the standard work situation that the rest of people seem to be  okay with. Being cognizant of how much time you have left and how much value you place on your time makes life choices much clearer.

 

Self Denial

Financial Independence as a mindset is built on self denial. One of the pillars of the lifestyle is delayed gratification. By denying our search and access of pleasures or putting them off for lengths of time, we give our future selves both mental and financial power. Financially we avoid frivolous purchasing and allow our hard earned money to grow and compound for future growth. Mentally we become stronger as we control the urges of the consumer mindset. We see what really is important to us, what is a need versus a want.

 

Meditation

Conscious reflection and conscious spending go hand in hand. Both Financial Independence and Stoicism are about making purposeful choices, purposeful action. Frivolity and waste are simply not in line with the ideological principles of either thought framework. In FIRE you determine what you really need to survive and what actually brings you happiness relative to its monetary value. With Stoic meditation, we reflect back on the choices we have made recently to see how they have affected our mind and emotions. Being aware of how your actions impact both your mind and wallet allows you to parse what will be worthy of your focus.

Long Term Goals

Long Term Goal Planning

I love the freedom that this mindset gives. My monthly outlays are so low that I could do most any job and still easily support my standard of living. Half if not more of every dollar I earn currently goes towards savings and investments and I hope to continue to grow that savings rate further.

Currently I live in New York City with my girlfriend and two cats. We work six days a week and love most every minute of it. I am in a highly competitive tech sales field and she works double duty in books and fitness. We have kept a pretty heavy pacing of work over the past two years and do not see an end in sight, but I know change is always coming. I often think about how people at the New Years are planning the next year. In reality we already know what that is generally going to look like very often because it is extremely close! We have planned vacations or dates, life events are planned months in advance. We don’t have time to take a long view because it creeps up on you very quickly.

I would prefer to take the New Year to reassess my five year plan out to 2022, and I invite you to do the same. I have no idea the next steps along the path of my road to success however I think it is prudent to plan the end goal to have at least something to aim at. I do not think it best to pin ourselves down or be too hard on ourselves about our goals, because we could die any day and enjoying life should be a major priority. Having goals and drive however, will help you enjoy life as well – experiencing the feelings of effort, stress, and accomplishment.

It will be interesting to see how this piece looks in retrospect, and how they evolve in the future. 

 

Poverty Level FI by 34

I currently operate from a mindset of freedom, but by mid 30’s I expect to at least be at the poverty line in regards to the 3-4% rule. I do not plan to sit back and retire early, but I will feel more comfortable shifting to riskier and more interesting ventures at that time. My girlfriend’s current debt level of $100,000 in student loans makes this a bit more difficult, but we play Life on hard mode and don’t worry about complaining. I do not expect to stop at this point but I may be able to relax a little bit more mentally.

Timeline: 34 – 35 years old

 

Married with Kids

I grew up with a very small immediate family. Father is an only child and my mother’s only brother is a childfree child himself. I generally prefer not having a typical large family as my experience is that they tend to get in the way and take up time. At this stage of my life I generally cannot afford to give my time up to anyone, I barely have time for myself to be frank. However some day in the distant future I fully expect to settle down and want to teach mini versions of myself how to survive and thrive even better than I have. I love animals and for now I can only handle dealing with cats, but I do believe sane and educated people have a responsibility to propagate purely to combat the teeming masses of mouth breathers born daily.

Timeline: 29-32 years old

 

NYC Home Base

NYC is my home and it is difficult to explain the hold it has over me. I generally am more of an outdoorsy person that hates crowds and other people. Something about New York though, you can just feed off the energy that is everywhere in the city. I can’t imagine leaving for good and I expect to be here for a few more years at least before the next move. Having my family based in the metro region as well as my current real estate investments and contacts makes it likely I should plan for a base of operations in the most cost effective manner for the coming years. This will likely occur gradually as I build up my rental portfolio as I do not see value in the SFH market in the tri-state currently. Spreading my rentals across a few towns in the region will help for variety as well as diversification to some degree. Its very difficult to tell what is going to be nice with some of the systemic problems, and extremely difficult to afford the desirable places in this wealth accumulation phase. 

Timeline: 33-35 years old

 

Masters Degree Abroad

One of my major goals and reasons for aiming at financial independence is my desire to pursue education abroad. I was unfortunately a terrible student in college and was not eligible for any Study Abroad programs. I wasn’t studying at home so why would they let me study abroad eh? My extended family is all mainly still situated in Bavaria in southern Germany, and every time I visit I fall more in love. I did my undergrad degree in a business discipline because I wanted to have a secure future, it would feel the height of luxury if I were able to go back and study Enlightenment era philosophy or European Public Policy purely to satisfy my own interests. Reading and taking life easy in the farmlands of Bavaria would be blissful and also extremely cost effective. In comparison to US degrees, Europe costs pennies on the dollar. My girlfriend feels the same way so while it may be crazy its not impossible. This is a more out there goal to be sure, and requires a good degree of hustle on my part to get to a comfortable financial position by then.

Timeline: 35-38 years old

 

Bi-Coastal

I do not like to travel too much so this may be a bit of a stretch but I hope to eventually set up some measure of home base in the nicest beach city I can afford. Growing up, the Jersey shore is the main hotspot for clean and enjoyable beaches within some realm of accessibility of Manhattan, but I am not the biggest fan.  There is not much appealing on the East Coast that I’d be interested in, so it is mainly looking like a California future is ahead. I am often told I would fit in well out west with my mannerisms and mentality, so in my near future I expect to start visiting the major spots on my list to be able to accurately plan further.

Timeline: 35 – 40 years old

 

Volunteering with Animals

Another main reason why one should focus on Financial Independence is the freedom to give back to the community and country that has allowed us to attain this level of success. I have spent much of my life volunteering with Animal Welfare organizations and fully expect to throw myself deeper in as I get older. Unfortunately I need to focus on becoming financially stable now, so this will have to wait, but I expect to at least go back to regular volunteering if not a more in depth community organizing role. I have been around presidents of these organizations to the extent that I can feasibly see myself not wanting the headache of running one, but I will cross that bridge when I get there.

Timeline: 35 – 40 years old

 

Digital Marketing

I have no real belief in the myth of passive income. I read a classic book when I was younger that coined the term TANSTAAFL.

There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.

If you think there is then you are dreaming. So my goal is not to pursue the mythical sit back and do nothing money, but to aim at a more lifestyle friendly business. I have been in Marketing and Sales for almost a decade at this point and I want to develop my capacity to work remotely. It is no secret that half of the draw for digital marketing and internet related jobs is the work from anywhere on your computer setup. In the future I see us heading towards it would be embarrassing to not have a more in depth hand and presence in the Internet. There is so much opportunity online, slowly but surely I will continue my education and testing to break in.

Timeline: Present to Perpetuity

 

Real Estate

I enjoy physical labor. Limited amounts to be sure. Having a renovation project or a home to get some sweat equity in excites me. I really enjoy grabbing a beer, some music, and painting and sanding till two in the morning. I do not see myself purchasing my own primary residence any time soon but I do expect to continue to comb the market for good deals on small multi-family homes with my business partners. There is so many future synergies with anything regarding real estate, I plan to buy and hold as many strong cash flow units as I can until I can create a property management and development company to take care of the grunt work. The tax benefits are also amazing as well and I am lucky to have found similar minded partners to pursue these goals with. Full dream would be to end up with a few higher cash flowing ones possibly trading up into small apartment buildings. Ideally at least one multi family on the cliffs overlooking Manhattan – the possibility for multi-generation style housing with a view sounds like a win to me.

Timeline: Present – 45 years old

 

Conquer

It’s messed up but this is what New York does to you. It’s not FIRE. You can’t even really think like that in the atmosphere. It’s designed to actively attack such thoughts about savings and fiscal security. Every day I wade through tourists at Times and Herald square that are frivolously spending money left and right. The whole city is about making and spending money. Now while I am not one for consumerism at all, I certainly do have the desire to just be able to fully enjoy everything the city has to offer. Food, shows, apartments, it is impossible to live in this city and not have big goals. This feeling is addictive and incredibly wasteful – generally not my style. Who doesn’t want to enjoy the best things in life at least to a moderate degree? Do we not work hard enough to deserve them? I will reassess as time goes but I think that it gives life a very strong edge – being out hunting. I could see myself dying from boredom if I retired at 35. 

Timeline: Always

 

The goal is very simple, freedom, it just requires some progress from my initial starting point. I am not one of those trying to retire early and do nothing from my early thirties on. Mainly I cannot abide the thought of being 40+ years old and not fully in control of how I spend my time. Where people initially used to focus on becoming C Suite execs or middle management, I would instead prefer to focus on location independence and minor entrepreneurial efforts. I never had a penchant for people management, and in my experience I have seen pay be distorted towards revenue driving roles and not management.

I have not found true enjoyment in my job in business yet, but I have found a skillset in Sales that will take me there – there is a way to make money and enjoy work at the same time. I believe the Tech Sales industry is going to explode in the near future even further than it has today. If I continue to work on my abilities and with market maturation I  hope to be able to sell the technology that furthers mankind – whether that be micro-satellite bandwidth or the first Robot Personal Assistant. I would love to be able to participate in a product or field where I truly feel that I am helping further our species and its growth.

What about you? Have you set your goals for 2022?

Look Back on 2016, 2016 Review

2016 Year in Review

With 2016 coming to a close I wanted to start my formal review process. I always love reading about how everyone else looks back at their year and plans the next so I figured one has to start somewhere.I did not have this writing space last year, but I do have some checklists and to do lists from January and February of this year. I use Evernote for all of my checklists monthly, half the stuff tends to get done and half the stuff tends to get perpetually pushed off.

This allows me at least some sense of satisfaction by continually checking things off, but I don’t know that it is the system which encourages actual productivity the most. The To-do lists have little rhyme or reason and not much organization. I’m starting to get better but perhaps that will go on my goal list for next year! Without further ado…

2016 Goals

Renovate and Fully Rent Out Property 1

Achieved

This was completed in Q1 of 2016. Out of the three units in the property, two of them have now had moderate full renovations in the past year and a half. The third tenant hasn’t cycled out yet and is quite happy for now. This property is in a B designated neighborhood, so costly upgrades and finish work would do little to affect monthly rental pricing and would likely be mistreated. All of this work was done by myself and my partners, only sub-contracting out electrical and plumbing as I prefer a professional for those. Any standard contracting work we generally can accomplish in house to get some sweat equity. It has been some months since I have heard anything from these tenants, it was a fortunate year in that regard. This property had some appreciation this year to the tune of 7% on Zillow estimations. Considering that everything comparable on the market right now is up 20-30%, I will use Zillow in a light manner.

Purchase Property 2

Failed

This is somewhat out of my control. Starting in Q2 of 2016, the Hudson County market exploded and frankly priced us smaller fish out of the pond. People are purchasing crack houses for half a million that need full gut renovations in very sketchy neighborhoods. For my long term plan I generally go by the rule of “don’t buy something if you would not live there.” It is also difficult managing a partnership to some extent and this failure I attribute to that disjointedness.

Move Apartments

Complete

Beginning of this year I moved into a new apartment with my girlfriend in order to cut down on costs and travel time between our apartments. It has worked out swimmingly so far with very little difficulties of living together. It helps that we both work a lot and have similar hobbies and friends of course. This move was a little different than most as it was during the holidays and the apartment was only a few blocks away. The holidays made it so that few people were inclined to help me or even in the country to do so! Instead, I decided to try to do a slow move in which I put my life on my back and piece by piece marched it half a mile north and up to the 5th floor walk up. This taught me one great way to purge, namely being, “I do not want to carry that for a half hour.” This move was accomplished and the only major loss was an amazing couch that was just not a one man job, he got left on the side of the road for the next guy to enjoy.

Back in the Gym

Achieved

This was a goal mainly due to a current fear I had. I have been a regular gym goer for some years now but in September 2015 I had busted my wrist in a Muay Thai class and never got it checked by a doc. I could not bear any weight and I stupidly thought it would just heal so I kept it lightly ace wrapped for months. I was concerned at the time that I would be so damaged that I wouldn’t be able to get back. I was relatively fixed by late January and I have managed to stay consistent. I am very laid back about the gym so in the new year I would like to push myself to be a little more focused on numbers and improvement.

Write 2 Articles a Week

Failure

This is a fail because this was supposed to occur in January. I have been posting two to three times a week, but I only managed to get things started in December. Too early to tell if I can keep up the pace but so far I am enjoying myself and I have found time to fit this into my schedule somewhat painlessly. It took me months to get out of my head, analysis paralysis is a majority real thing. Also it does not help that I truly did start a writing project in January with a partner. I wrote a nice backlog of stuff for easy release, but relying on someone else allows it so that no one is stepping on the gas at all.

Get a Calendar/Google calendar

Achieved

I did start using Google calendar and I even synched it up with my friends and family. I just do not ever use it. It is nice to have a planner but the life I am currently leading does not have that sort of planning required. I know exactly where I need to be and when and generally I always leave to be at an appointment hours early anyway. Calendars either may not fit my current lifestyle, or I may just not have found the right one for me. Maybe when this blog blows up I will need something to track all the public appearances I will be making, but for now it seems that it’s not needed!

Acquire Furniture

Achieved

With my move into the new apartment came my disgust at the amount of scrap belongings and furniture that needed to be tossed out. Things I had spent good money on that was either out of style or splintered from use after a very short time. Seeing this frivolous waste of money I became obsessed with the idea of BifL or “Buy it for Life.” Instead of getting fashionable items that change as frequently as the seasons, I wanted each item to be of high quality and durability, so that I could buy it once and never think about again. Industrial furniture is very much in line with this mentality. The rough and weathered look of most pieces is relatively timeless. My style does tend to lean towards the steel piping and rough cut oak look anyway, and if these items ever get damaged all it takes is a quick sanding or coat of varnish to brighten them back up. Industrial furniture also has the benefit of often having highly visible and functional assembly processes. Instead of worrying about Ikea slotting fiberboard together, there is giant visible bolts holding half my stuff together. Likely a bit ugly and utilitarian for most, but aesthetics just is not really in my top 5 concerns. Buy it for Life for sure from now on!

Battlestation Home

Achieved

Every futuristic nerd needs a battlestation. I’m not talking about a Death Star or some crazy gun setup though those are great too. A battlestation is a nerds home, it’s where they hang their heart and happiness in a lot of ways. Having a souped up computer is only part of the factor in discussion, it’s more of having a place of pure ease and comfort that you are happy spending large swathes of time at. Each battlestation is individualized based on financial capacity and hobbies. For years I had dreamed of having a professional gamer setup of my own. The release of the Oculus and VR in general gave me an excuse to buy myself a present of the likes that I had dreamed about for years. Buying a full virtual reality setup was a bit aggressive at about $2,300, but I kept myself tame with the peripherals. This was rationalized mainly as a work purchase in that I game only very lightly these days and I want to be as comfortable as possible working from home. The key factors were a standing desk with studio chair and a cheap dual monitor setup. You can buy monitors for $70 these days. No reason not to have two.

No Lunch Spend

Failed

This was and will continue to be an important part of me bringing down my monthly spend. Just from a rough calculation it seems like 15-20% of my monthly spend is on eating out. This is to be expected eating and living in New York City. However I would like to make this more about discipline and directed spending. I will gladly spend $300 on a beautiful dining experience, there really is nothing like it.  However I am piddling away cash on the same meh lunch every few days or the same old okay sushi takeout night. I thankfully have meals highly subsidized by my work and I just need to be mindful to utilize it more.

Set Up Online Presence.

Half Achieved

I started and stopped and rallied and delayed on a million different ideas this year. I was relying on other people. I kept hoping that one of my friends or colleagues would take initiative for me and drag me along. That’s just not how it works. I learned it when I started in sales years ago, but it just needs to be refreshed daily. You eat what you kill. No one will do it for you.  So instead I moved away and started at least trying on my own. I launched my first e commerce store earlier this year just to see what would happen. I ran some ads using the minor nice new skills I had gleaned in General Assembly and proceeded to sell zero. I don’t really care though because it was fully operational, it got traffic, and I launched it basically on my birthday while dying of food poisoning. So I call this a half win. I’m not where I want to be but I am light years ahead of even last year.

2016 on the whole was really great. I have very few bad things to say about it or how I feel about my own performance throughout it. It is always important to look back and measure how you feel about your actions. Many of these goals were not easily measurable or given a time frame. How was your 2016? Do you give yourself an A or an F?

2017 is going to be fantastic. I have started tracking my expenses and really enjoying it so I hope to have a very organized year! I never was into Excel but I am learning how spreadsheets on Google Drive can change your life. With more organization, more projects, and more knowledge, I hope I can top 2016 and I hope you can too!

2017 Goals

2017 Goals and Looking into the Future!

Now that the year is coming to a close it is always nice to be able to formulate some semblance of a plan of attack for the next calendar year. Rarely do things work out in such a fashion but having a basis is useful as it will allow you a point to pivot from while always keeping in mind your core goals.  I will try to follow up the generalities with some measure of a S.M.A.R.T goals to more easily gauge success.

 

New Rental – Have One New Rental Unit by December 31 2017

2016 was a failure for me in this category. My partners and I acquired our first multi family in the Hudson County area in Q2 2015, and we were thinking to do the same in 2016. We were a little more delayed this year and then the market decided to go through the roof from Q2 2016 on, with the properties in our realm being 20-30% more costly on a per unit basis. This would place the required rents at nearer to NYC proper levels than they will currently support. So the property market should see some corrections soon. I think it likely that early next year everyone will still be struggling to fill vacancies that will cover the mortgage and more of a buyer’s market will come to the fore. If not, I am always reminding myself not to force any of the numbers. Find a better asset class for the right time.

Expand Digital Media /  Make 1,000$ online by December 31 2017

This was a repeat goal from last year and likely will continue to be one. I attended university and took classes on marketing that taught me nothing about the internet. It took me years to realize that Digital Marketing was really the field that I had always been looking for. This past year I took my first steps down this road and got some formal education through my companies Federal Education Reimbursement Program. Not only did I get free education that allowed me to put my head on straight in regards to this entire field, it also looks like I’m an engaged employee utilizing our benefits programs! I expect to double up the focus on all my online based efforts in the new year. The more I spend time with it all the more like second nature it becomes. Two years ago I couldn’t remotely imagine making my own web page. Now I can put one up in five minutes. Not that that matters in and of itself, but progress is progress!

Explore New Education Opportunities / Get One New Certification by December 31 2017

Continuing education is always a huge return in my mind. It not only allows you to learn something new – it helps you in a myriad of other ways. For someone like me it allows a socializing and networking window when I am normally not all that good at networking. Being in crowds bothers me, so having a reason to be there always helps. I have a few thoughts in mind, namely either starting Real Estate licensing to some form or another or to expand my Digital Marketing skillset with the adwords certifications. I still need to pin down which is more pertinent, likely the Google ones. We shall see.

Assess Q4 Spending / Spend 20% less by December 31 2017

This is the first quarter that I have ever had the stomach to sit down and manually track my transactions. For years my cousin has been trying to get me into YNAB in order to make financial monthly planning a habit. I tried it and hated it. Too much of it reminded me of balance sheet problems from Accounting 101 which I failed hilariously.  Instead I forced myself to make a life spreadsheet on Google Docs and to update it daily with my transactions. I have been doing this for a few months and it sure is disgusting. I hate putting line items down, manually doing it truly shows you how frivolously we spend money. I have not actually run the numbers on my spending categories, and my color blindness does not make charts Essendon the eyes. At the end of the year I will run monthly numbers so that I can be in good order for Jan 1 2017, hopefully I will be able to post some sort of rough budget for now and going for shortly.

Vacation Plans / Visit 3 new Countries by December 31 2017

The last vacation I went on was a two week trip to Europe this past summer visiting family. I am not the biggest fan of traveling due to my distaste for leaving my cats for an extended period of time. I would prefer to get to the point where I would be able to live in a few different cities for an extended stay rather than quick bursts of tourism. Part of my desire for financial independence comes from the desire to be able to slow travel throughout Europe in the somewhat near future. So while I don’t currently have much planned out for 2017 I do expect some 3 day weekend trips around the state’s and maybe an island hop to the Caribbean at some point. 

Purge / Have 25% less stuff by December 31 2017

If there is one thing that makes almost every single one of my to do lists no matter the month or year, it is the purge. I like to live in a state of perpetual purge because no matter what I do, I continue to acquire material goods that are unnecessary and wasteful. Having excess things in my life almost physically hurts me. It certainly mentally hurts as I feel encumbered by detritus from my past, and when you are living in NYC in a 280 square foot apartment, that’s a big no go. So mainly it is the closet that gets continuously purged as family members buy me clothing as gifts. This upcoming year though I expect to purge for the first time ever, the infamous sock drawer. Millions of mismatches eating my precious time, I plan to wipe it clear and get a bunch of extremely visible and match-able socks.

Small victories!

New Phone and Carrier by December 31 2017

I don’t want to but it’s about that time. I still use my 5 year old IPhone 4s and it works like a charm. I am very much of the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” mentality and my phone is still trucking along without even the slightest signs of wear. I think there is something to be said for the smaller screen being much more resistant to cracking but I would like to upgrade eventually. My current plan with Verizon is running me anywhere from 75$-95$ a month, and I am pretty limited in my usage. It is likely my phone is so old that the WiFi range has degraded some, by updating I will likely have lower data usage unless I find some more killer uses that I don’t currently have access to. Updating to a larger model could make me more likely to use my phone more instead of a tablet for daily on the go writing sessions, but I am also concerned that I will break anything as soon as I get it just due to karma! The 4s randomly drops from 40% battery to 0% whenever it can find the most inopportune time to do so, so while this is not a huge priority I expect to test out one of the newer low cost carriers like Cricket or Metro PCS in the near future.

Physical / Be able to hit Body Multiple Goals by December 31 2017

I have for years been pretty consistent with my physical fitness regimen, sticking to 3 days a week at minimum of heavy lifting and the odd cardio day. As I head towards my 30’s I would like to ramp up my health focus bit by bit in easy manageable chunks.

For a bit more than a year I enjoyed Muay Thai classes as a group experience and learned a lot about self defense and my physical limits. I chose Muay Thai for its upright style of fighting and lack of grappling, as I do not want to spend hours sweating on another male. Also helped that it was two blocks away! I was injured during one class and generally do not like being on someone’s else’s time frame, so this year I am looking for a viable solo alternative.

Trading Account / Be up 10% by December 31 2017

My go to investment has always been VTSAX, what I call the Admiral. I was always pretty bad at math growing up, so I appreciate the ease and automatic diversification that comes with just routines it into an index fund for relatively safe keeping. The Admiral is always trying his best to steer downwards and upwards, fractional portions of hundreds of businesses all vying for profitability. I have taken some deviations in the past when I was feeling particularly flush with cash such as buying penny stocks with friends or TSLA because I thought I had at least some sort of moral obligation to do so. I learned my lesson and have mainly stuck to my old Admiral instead.

So in 2017 of course I want to deviate again. I plan to take a reasonable amount of my uninterested cash and plug it into a Robin Hood account and attempt some minor swing trading. I don’t expect to gain nor lose too much as I’m risk averse at heart, but I think it will be a useful learning tool for my financial future. It will force me to delve into the analytics and lingo of the industry in a way that I have not before, and education is always a minimum 100% return on investment in my mind.

Clear Student Loan by December 31 2017

I am at the end of a decent student loan journey. After graduating college I was surprised by unexpected debt due to my parents timely divorce. Prior to that occurrence I had been debt free and planning to travel the world and volunteer. Instead I buckled down and worked. At the end of 2016 I have roughly $4,000 remaining on them, and while I have enough cash on hand to blow them away, my automated double-size payment has made this somewhat painless for the last few years, so I will give him the glory and be happily surprised midway through next year. Another account that I will get to cut from my life, after this experience I do not expect to put myself into debt for education ever again.

First Roth Backdoor / Complete by Tax Day

How many times do you think you read about Mega Backdoor Roth’s this year? If you run in the same circles as me the answer is “way too much.”  I am not as crazy about tax advantaged accounts as many others seem to be, and I do not want to overweight myself and lock too much of my money away. Sure you can get it back with some finagling but I want my money accessible. I plan to do this for two reasons. One mainly as a learning experience just to see how it all works out and the second being a love of simplicity. Executing the back door would leave me with one less account as I will have to roll my traditional IRA into my existing Roth for some tax basis stuff. I would love to have less accounts purely for my purge mentality!

More VR Time

This is more of a silly goal but I want to spend more time immersed in virtual reality. I was one of the psychos that bought an Oculus Ready PC from their partnership with Best Buy for a lovely $2,500. In hindsight, not one of my better decisions for FIRE purposes, but with a savings rate of 50%+ I think I need to live it up a bit at times. I love being in the virtual worlds, but a number of factors come into play to the point that I haven’t put on the headset in months. I love showing everyone virtual reality for their first time, it truly is enjoyable to change people’s perceptions and blow their minds. However I work so much, and combined with the fact that I mainly just want to take my contacts out at the end of the day, wearing VR goggles and straining my corneas further has proven to be a bad move. I bought the rig telling myself I wanted to be an early adopter to suss out business possibilities, and I need to continue viewing it in that light.

Finish Home

I live in a poor person’s penthouse – a fifth floor walk up in an old building in a quiet neighborhood. The rent is exceptionally low for the location, my girlfriend and I split a one bedroom apartment for 1,000$ a month. This has been a godsend allowing us to drastically amp up our savings as well as our debt pay down. My concern is that I never want to put much money into a rental as it is not mine, and I never trust timeframe estimates as it is a month to month lease so things can change at any time. However we do hope to stay for at least another year or too, unless a housing market correction drastically alters pricing in the area for purchasing. I do not need the stress of a mortgage over my head right now, so I think it is best to just do some small improvements that can dramatically increase quality of life while we are there. Shelves, organizing, hangers, etc. I will be visiting Lifehacker.com a lot to plan out small accessible DIY projects.

 

It is always useful to plan ahead so that you give yourself something to aim at.This past year was a huge success in my book, and I want 2017 to be even better. I could put down Net Worth goals, but I would like to expand upon those in a post sometime soon. I try not to be too hard on myself in that realm, as savings is generally all I am thinking about on the broader scale. I just started tracking my Net Worth and collated all my accounts, so I should be able to start getting more accurate growth and return numbers this upcoming year.

 

Accounts of my current Financial Future

Accounts of my Current Financial Future

Current Accounts and Common Usage  for a Baseline

I thought it would be useful for posterity to list out my current accounts so I can compare usage and fluctuations yearly.

Also I feel like this is a decent background view into the organization of my mental state when reviewing my financials. I stand at my desk all day so I end up reviewing these a lot more often than I should.

 

Checking

Regular checking account at a National Bank which takes automatic deposits of my paychecks and has very few day to day transactions. Most daily life occurs on my credit cards, which get paid off on the 15th of every month in full. Other transactions on this account will be automated transfers to various online savings accounts and the brokerage account as well. I used to have a savings account at the same bank but found little use when they service charged me below zero because I was not using the account. I found that a savings account that was so simple to transfer back and forth to checking was completely meaningless to me. I needed some sort of Airgap between my accounts to discourage transferring cash needlessly and keep things in order. I generally have little more than $2,000-$3,000 in this account at any time, regular transferring out any round thousand figure that is in there.

 

Online Savings

I have 4 online accounts with ING Direct and I have loved them. Having a savings account that is ever so slightly more removed from getting it in cash makes a difference. I used to transfer money between my checking and saving at my main bank all the time, the money was one mess. Switching to an online savings bank, I rarely ever touch the money. I would rather figure out how to survive without or just plan more effectively than deal with the minor hassle of moving this money around in a swift manner. You can open numerous accounts for no cost an Nickname each of them for different savings plans. Then you set up automatic transfers and you try to lose the login info. The longer you forget about these the better. I have set up one for Emergency Fund, Business Fund, Investment Fund, and a Muscle Car Fund.

To be Honest -These names have become pretty pointless.The Business Fund and Investment Fund end up being a slosh account before sending the money to Vanguard and I put all business expenses on one credit card. The Muscle Car fund is slowly growing, but I already own one car and barely drive it – so this is a nice distant dream for a likely inexpensive older project car. In the Emergency Account I keep anywhere from two to five thousand liquid just in case. I have more available in my Vanguard as a cash position ready for market dips that is equally accessible if anything should occur. I am slightly unconcerned as of now with having a large E-Fund as I am young, healthy, employed, in a large city, and employable. Having a proven track record in a Sales job generally speaks for itself. I haven’t done the exact math on how many months the E fund would be – that would be more comforting. I am positive enough that if I were to lose my primary source of income, I would have enough runway to figure it out for a few months before needing to take a bottom level sales job to survive. I also have a large amount of available credit and I have a family to rely on nearby. 

 

Digit

Digit is a fun tool that fits my style of saving and investing. It is an account that you sign up for that will randomly take small withdrawals of varying sizes from your checking and deposit it into their own savings account. It is a free service and over time your account can get to a healthy size that they offer small bonuses for. The service is fully controllable by text message and one of my favorite aspects is that it messages you your available bank balance daily. My cousin hates it because he follows a more structured process utilizing YNAB and exact numbers. I admire his organization but I did not enjoy that software – reminded me of failing Accounting in college. This always comes in handy to round out numbers when investing or dealing with expenses. 

 

Venmo

I never see people talk about this tool for some reason and it blows my mind. This truly is the financial tool for the millennial generation. Begone cash, I either use a credit card or immediately reimburse through Venmo. This is an online service that just sends your money through your phone and if you attach it to your debit account it is entirely free. It has a minor social aspect in that you have to attach a description and everyone can see what you call the transaction and can like it. There are numerous extensions to this app that turbo charge it.

If you ever end up going on a group trip I recommend downloading Splitwise. It is an extension on Venmo that allows you to create a group, plug in how much each person spent and who took part in each expense, and it will automatically explains the most efficient payment split of who owes what to whom and executes it. I have used this on numerous bachelor parties and everything is more relaxed because no one feels like they are getting screwed over in regards to money.

 

Taxable Vanguard

All of my after tax savings ends up here after routing various ways. I have currently half of my holdings in VTSAX and this is where I will generally send most of my money in order to have it working for me. The other half is Blue Chip Veterans I acquired prior to hitting some bad runs in stock picking and realizing I knew nothing.  I have been lucky to have some money to catch the tail end of this bull market and I do not expect that to continue so much longer. I tried to time the market once and missed lightly, but I learned my lesson and will just have to be ready for other opportunities when that occurs. I tend to avoid ever selling out of this position, and if I need to liquidate something I will do so out of the laggards in my Blue Chip / Tech Kings portfolio. I rarely sell off, and just tend to wait till I accumulate the cash to do whatever I was looking to do. I try to keep a pretty sizable portion of cash on hand as I expect a dip somewhat soon and would like to purchase things at a discount. I do not currently need access to much cash, but if the next investment property eventually shows up I need to be ready. I have recently set up a small automatic transfer in order to transition more to automating, but due to the extreme variations in my pay I do most of the large transfers into the account manually.

 

IRA

I have both a Roth as well as traditional IRA from a 401k Rollover I never finished. The Roth is small as I only qualified for a few years and I was not focused on maxing it out. I expect to be dealing with these two shortly both for simplification purposes as well as testing out the Backdoor Roth situation. I will be able to beef up the Roth, but I believe that I need to finish the Rollover as the traditional needs to be “converted” and closed I think. Research for this upcoming Tax Day necessary.

 

401k

Decent sized but I have only known to max it for the past few years. Now that I do know though it is a highlight of my accounts. I luckily have access to a pretty broad amount of Vanguard options and they give a decent match. I love setting a sizable % of the paycheck to max this out quickly, as with a sales job it will take dramatic jumps each commission day. Having the money taken out before it’s even left the company’s hands is great and this account is going to be a core of my retirement planning, likely due to its inaccessibility with such good benefits.

 

Stock Plan

Hosted by one of the largest Multinational banks, my company has a portal to keep track of the various shares, RSU’s and ESP’s you have going on. This links directly into Mint which is great to see your stock value fluctuate. It is too easy to think about this as real money and limit your potential mobility. Unless it is a dramatic sum of money it is better to think about it not at all. The handcuffs that come with invisible contract shares is real and it can cause you to make poor decisions. Keep in mind how much is vested but generally this is more icing on the cake than anything reliable.

 

Acorns

Acorns is another business similar to Digit, except they round up your purchases and invest the change for you. You can make additional manual payments to juice this account, but Im just as happy to watch this slowly build over time. They allow you to choose your risk tolerance and they invest your change for 1$ a month service fee. This won’t change your world but every little extra way we can save painlessly is great.

 

Mortgage

I and my business partners currently have one Multi Family investment property in Hudson County along the Hudson River. Purchased in 2015, the property has been a great investment and a nice start into the Real Estate world. In a very short time frame we have dealt with a wide array of many of the time honored landlord experiences, but with multiple partners in general it has been pretty painless. This account purely is setup to autopay. We have a pre-approval from the same company ready for the next solid numbers to show up, so far we have had little luck looking in the past few months.

 

Student Loan

This is nearing the end of its life span. Only a few thousand remaining at a low interest rate. I have had these at double the monthly since graduating college. This never was too much of a concern as I made a point to sacrifice slightly to keep my costs down. Once this is paid off I plan to redirect this autopay directly into the taxable brokerage. This experience has put me off major debt on behalf of education.

 

Credit Cards

I currently have 2 main credit cards and all daily expenses flow through them. I generally carry little to no cash in a partial attempt at minimalism and partially for record keeping.

Chase Sapphire Reserve is my daily use and it has allowed me to build up a decent backlog of points that is sure to be used on upcoming trips.

The American Express Starwood is what I am currently using to keep track of any business expenses.

People quibble about yearly fees – if you pay the card in full every month – you win no matter what. These companies provide so many benefits to route your transactions through them it is amazing. I have these on manual pay, because i do not leave much cash lying in my account and I too like to live dangerously.

 

Asset Account

Vehicle / Alternative Investments – Metals / Watches

I place a note of limited liquidity and fluctuating value on these items as I tend to not have nice things. A 2000’s Dodge Charger sits unused 95% of the time and wristwatches generally feel too upscale for my lifestyle. I do, at times, day dream of buying a nice reward watch at my first Million – we shall see if I find value in it at that time. The one slowly growing asset in this account is the pile of physical silver I have. I used to have difficulty keeping cash and also had a bit of a conspiracy theory/Zero Hedge vibe going on – so I started purchasing Silver here and there and storing it as needed. I really enjoy this because of its history as hard currency. I tend to think about buying more really as purely an exchange of currency rather than an investment – I pretend that I can easily get spot in return for it. I know I cannot, but I like the idea of an illiquid Scrooge McDuck pool of bullion, call me old fashioned.


Future Accounts

HSA

I was excited to learn that my work would finally be offering this Account for me in the upcoming year. More tax free money is always a good thing. I am mildly concerned that my health expenses will randomly be higher, but there is always a measure of risk. I expect to keep full records and scan them into my G Drive and do not plan to reimburse until I fully figure out the numbers behind it all. I hear the HSA options generally suck investment wise with high expense ratios and weak choices – I will cross that bridge when I get there. I would feel extremely pleased if in a few years I had a healthy loaded HSA ready for any emergency.


Robinhood Account

I want a separate trading account to easily track my own progress with stock picking. I have tried in the past but never with the effort and current level of knowledge I have. I expect this to be a losing proposition, but an important learning one nonetheless. I will be pursuing this with a reasonable amount and trading guidelines for myself in the 1st or 2nd quarter of 2017 and will document progress accordingly.

 

The Saga of Echo (Briefly)

I generally dislike talking about myself much the less writing about it, but I always find the backstory of any author useful in coloring the story. Below is a short chronicle of experience and background. Hopefully this will be the last such needed.

I grew up in of New York City’s. Born to an immigrant father and a Brooklyn Italian Princess, it was a standard North-Eastern helicopter parent childhood. My mother was locked in the “Keeping up with the Joneses’” lifestyle, but we had a comfortable lifestyle and they afforded me all the books I could possibly read. I credit my love of books to much of my happiness and knowledge in life.

I attended an expensive Northeastern private university with no rational consideration other than it being one of the top business undergrads in general. Failed my way through most math related courses unfortunately, and proceeded to graduate with a degree in Marketing. . As I exited college Post-Great Recession; I had zero job, roughly 40$ to my name, and the added benefit of a perfectly timed parental divorce – and thus unexpected student loan debt.

Unemployment sucks. It somewhat seems cool, and sometimes it may well be. Some of you may have varying experiences, from good ranging to horrible. For me – being unemployed post college when everyone had somewhere to be all day and you are flailing and falling behind in the game of life…sucked. The psychology of that state in life is crushing and the 3 months I was unemployed is up there with the negative associations with “work” that has left its mark on my psyche. I can’t stand the thought of such a feeling again and this likely shapes my opinions making me more risk averse than I should be.

I eventually ended up getting my first job through a Facebook posting. Terrible. 35,000$ flat a year – it was my first foray into Sales but  it was a no name company with no future for me. The dying industry the company was in had me applying to jobs constantly and I quickly made my exit thanks to a college friend in a satellite office at one of the Big Banks. When they say college is worth it for the networking – it absolutely is. This is one of the people I purely drank with and never showed any real skill or value to any company, he was just looking to get a referral bonus out of me. This connection likely was worth the cost of going to school alone, as having a reputable name on your resume truly is powerful in terms of people taking you seriously for no reason. I have had many job interviews purely based on that company name, and up until I moved into my current job I literally and figuratively had nothing of value to offer a business.  

I managed to struggle through a few years of back and mid office positions in a few offices in the Metro area. Though it did suck as i was being paid 47,000$ in basically the highest cost of living location – to be honest I was lucky to have gotten in at all. I lived at home with my father, paid down loans, bought a cool used car cash, started mild savings and did whatever wasteful stuff kids do. Getting your feet under you post-college and establishing some financial base  is extremely helpful. Also,  being with family is worth a million times more than wasting money immediately moving out for “independence” sake. The jobs were pretty menial, data monkey stuff. One of the key things I got practice at was talking on the phone for extremely long periods of time. I would say I can’t currently recognize much of my personal growth during this period, maybe it will be more apparent later.

Having survived numerous rounds of layoffs at Big Bank I figured I would quit while I was ahead. I took what I saw as a large risk at the time and I went to work in sales at a small Technology Startup. A colleague of mine had gone there half a year prior and explained the wonder that is startup land. I finally bit the bullet and it is difficult to imagine going back. Switching from a salary to a commission based compensation plan is something that I advise everyone to do at some point in their lives. Being paid for the value you provide is empowering and the freedom and personal responsibility is fantastic. You can feel the value you provide at a small organization, and it is so inspiring to be around the crowds those HR teams carefully craft. Monthly quotas with a short sales cycle product, I ramped up quickly and saved most of my large commission checks. I had moved out at this point – finding a bedroom for 700$ in a nice nearby neighborhood. The easiest way to ramp up quickly is to just work more than anyone else. I had broken up with a girlfriend and just sat in the office six days a week eating free PB and J’s and Microwaved Grill Cheeses. I broke six figures somehow at 25 and it is a constant fight to stay at the top.

In the interests of brevity, that about gives you more background than needed. I have continued to focus on being within the top 5 sales agents at all times, while avoiding most other responsibilities and enjoying as much time outside of work as possible. Living in NYC it is difficult to maintain constant financial vigilance, but I do my best to maintain a 50% or more savings rate. Through simple seemingly easy decisions about saving I have gone from roughly 30,000$ in debt to roughly ten times that in various investments and no debt over a period of 7 years. Now though as I age, I am more concerned with diversifying my income and have a number of different plans in varying degree of development which I expect to document here. I have attained a reasonable amount of savings with little financial knowledge or math capacity, and I want to help you do the same!

Welcome to the Future!

Welcome to the Future of Financial Independence

Welcome and thank you for stopping by and visiting my page. My name is Echo. I created this site to keep track of my financial journey just like so many others. I hope though to be able to add my own unique twist on the experience so that we can all have an amazing future.

I am a 27 year old perennial slacker who graduated post recession with a top 5 business undergrad degree, unexpected debt, and no job. Completely failed my way through magnet schooling most of my early life and failed my way through most of my early jobs. Some years later and I am currently employed and excelling in FinTech Sales living with my girlfriend in a poor person’s penthouse outside right New York City.

I will not limit myself too much in terms of the topics of this blog. I am extremely fiscally motivated so that will serve as a strong impetus but in the interests of broadening my writing horizons I plan to delve into an assortment of interesting areas. It will also allow me to have less of an excuse to stay on course and persevere as I would find it hard to regurgitate the existing Personal Finance tripe too much. Most people have covered it all in depth and I will certainly voice my opinions in some areas – but the amount of rehashed stuff out there is painful.

My view on personal finance and financial independence is forever under development. In my life you either keep moving forward and pushing yourself or you flounder, fall asleep, and get eaten. I struggle to get past what people call a poverty mindset, and I expect this will change in time. I have set up my life and made decisions in such a way that I pay myself first. Money vanishes so quickly even for the most tight fisted of person, it is necessary to be very aware in the wealth accumulation phase lest you end up like the Average American. I am somewhat defensive with my capital for my age, and have been aggressively saving and building skills and knowledge in order to force myself to take on further risk in my financial decisions. I have various projects in motion at varying stages of development and hope to document their progress at length. Saving in index funds is fantastic and I continue to do so, but more work needs to be done.  At some point you have to take the plunge.

I have various interests but an overarching one you might see will be those of Science and the Future of Humanity. How I will tie that to Financial Independence is going to be the fun part that we shall develop along the way. I am no scientist, just an avid reader of books and armchair philosopher, but I cannot help but feel extremely grateful to be alive in this era. Humanity is reaching such beautiful heights and we are so lucky to be alive to see the events that will occur to to shape our culture, species, and planet in the near future. A major part of my personal desire for financial independence is my desire to be completely free to dedicate much more of my time to helping shape a more amazing future for those who follow us. I work extremely hard and sacrifice now so that I can soon spend more time doing the things I love whether this be through contributing with Community Service, Philanthropy, or generally working in any capacity that meets my interest if not my financial needs.

It is important however, and I constantly must remind myself, that we all do need to enjoy life now mainly and not focus too much on the future. I think this community has a mild to severe case of binocular vision, in which day to day life easily becomes drudgery as you watch the numbers in your net worth tick up towards your goal. I was born and raised in New York City. The hustle is real here. I have difficulty with patience, and I know many of us struggle finding a measure of happiness with the current amount of daily stimuli being thrown at us. Often I have to remind myself I live in one of the most amazing cities in the world at the best time to be alive and just step back. People leave their countries and families just to get the slightest chance to succeed here. I will attempt to go over my current outlook on surviving and thriving in work and life, in the city and at home.

There are a number of other interests that I expect to explore at length over the coming months. I was a moderate to decent small tournament RTS gamer for some years until I lost some of my life to the beast that is World of Warcraft. I kicked that habit and mainly only allow myself to play the turn based Civilization series in rare free time. Turn based gaming allows moderate productivity in multi-task situations. I have two cats currently and have been around animals my entire life. My family owned a guard dog facility growing up, and as I got older i started to volunteer with rescue shelters. I have a massive personal library and I expect to give some solid book recommendations out as I tend to get access to certain advanced copies. I have a career in Sales with a monthly quota so you will get to see the rollercoaster that comes with being 75- 90% commission oriented. I also am a landlord in the New York City Metro Area, I have a multifamily investment property right outside of the city. Real estate has so far been a fantastic decision both as an investment and for my mindset. I have a inherent addiction to future tech, so while it may combat certain core values of mine, I purchased a kitted out computer rig and Virtual Reality Headset to treat myself to a milestone earlier this year. I expect our society to fully embrace VR and AR over the coming years and plan to invest accordingly. Also – Money Music Mondays.

Echo