Personal finances shouldn’t be hard. In fact they should be easy. My goal in creating this blog is to help people cut through the noise of what they hear on TV, read on web sites and are propositioned with via advertising.
I myself don’t use spreadsheets and barely budget, but what I do know is how to save and methods of simplifying the process.
A little about myself. I work the typical corporate job. Cube farmer or desk jockey, whatever you want to call it, and am in the $75 to $100k pay range. Not killing it by any means & my income fluctuates as I’m in a sales role, so there’s commissions that play into those dollar amounts.
June of 2001 I finished graduate school with $60k in school debt. Within a couple weeks I started a new job at the now defunct Sun Microsystems. I worked at Sun for a period of four months before my entire team was laid off during the dot-com bubble burst. After finishing graduate school and being laid off soon after, I had very little money to my name along with lots of school debt.
I kicked around from job to job. I started working in a program called NYC Teaching Fellows I learned about while riding the 6 train on the NYC subway sytem. The Fellows format is very similar to Teach for America, but based in NYC. We were placed in struggling inner city schools, and for our work we were put through a Masters in Education program while receiving full teachers’ pay and benefits. Seemed like a pretty good deal at the time. Well I lasted through the first summer training sessions. I could go into a long diatribe as to what’s wrong with the schools, but by the beginning of my first school year of service I decided this wasn’t for me, and I resigned my position.
Among other positions I worked while in NYC were street marketing, handing out University of Oregon footballs and game schedules in the Times Square area, renting apartments as one of the hated apartment brokers and stuffing envelopes at political offices. In other words, I was making no money.
I moved back to my parents place in upstate New York and decided to regroup. I was broke, worn out and needed a break. I knew I needed to find a job, but was wary of sending in resumes blindly through the web. I needed to get face to face with a recruiter. I was interested in financial services, and decided I’d apply to banks for bank teller positions. Now here I am with an MBA applying for jobs that pay in the range of $8-10 per hour. Did I want to be a bank teller, absolutely not. But I knew I had to get creative and find a way to get my face in front of a recruiter. I thought I’d increase my chances of landing a job if I was more than “just a resume” to these gatekeepers. One thing led to another, and the strategy worked. I landed a job doing sales and service at one of the largest banks in Boston.
That’s where the joy with that job ends, because it sucked! I got paid and had health benefits, but getting yelled at all day by people for the “bank taking my money” was pure misery. I lasted about a year, and got out. I hated it. I was this peon taking this abuse on a daily basis for things I had no control over, and truthfully when people were yelling at me “the banks taking my money” a little research would show that they had mismanaged their own accounts.
After bailing on my banking career, I basically “invented” a full work day for myself with much less stress. I started selling newspapers on the streets of Boston. Yes, I was The Paper Boy. Paid surprisingly well. If you’re a hustler, you can make decent cash for the amount of time required. I was making $20-25 an hour on average for a four hour shift from 5-9 a.m. But then what was I going to do for the rest of the day?
I knew I needed something. Thus I applied to a dog walking company. I’d walk 20-30 dogs daily in the Charlestown neighborhood of Boston. I loved this job, and really is one of my most favorite jobs ever. The dogs were great and always in a good mood. They didn’t care about fees. They just wanted to go for a walk and get some treats.
These two jobs combined paid more than I was making at the bank weren’t nearly the stress.
Cut ahead to February 2004, and I was visiting a friend in Los Angeles. Boston is in the middle of winter and it was cold and miserable as usual. Four months later I’m chasing the California dream on a one way ticket and a suitcase in tow. One thing that wasn’t with me was an excess of cash.
Within two weeks, I landed a job at a postage meter company. I covered South Central and East LA. These areas aren’t on the “Visit California” brochures, that’s for sure. Sixteen months of this and I left nationally ranked in sales, but still was only making $33k a year living in Los Angeles.
Next I was recruited to a company that combined my outside sales skills with banking know how. I stayed in this job for seven years. Made good money, had a great time and really started to get my financial footing under me in both education and actual savings.
I eliminated the $60k of student loans and actually got on the plus side of the ledger. Seeing that debt vanquish, and the money start to accumulate is a great feeling. It’s something anyone can do. There is no magic formula, just hustle and determination and discipline.
I want to share what I’ve learned with you, and what’s worked for me. Most postings will not be this long, because they don’t need to be. Running your finances can be very easy. Let’s get started!
“Please note, that this blog is for entertainment purposes only. I have no background or credentials in financial planning. Opinions are my own and what works for me, may not work for your particular financial situation.”