Here are some quick facts about me:
- Got into $10K of credit card debt and dug myself out by getting real with myself about my depression.
- Blew $30K foolishly modifying a car.
- Bought too much of a house at the peak of the bubble and still trying to get back to even.
- Worked in financial services industry for 10 years.
- Grew my net worth to over $500K by saving and investing consistently (even in down markets).
- Helped the 1% reach their financial goals.
- Planning to retire by 50.
I have my Bachelor’s Degree and a Certificate in Financial Planning from Mercyhurst College, a small liberal arts school in Erie, Pa. I also have my Masters Degree from Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, Pa. I have worked in the financial services industry my entire career since graduating college. Currently, I am a consultant for the financial services industry.
I became interested in personal finance in high school through an economics class I took. The teacher presented finance to me in a way that made sense and intrigued me. Since then I have immersed myself in the financial services and personal finance world.
My Debt Story
When it comes to my personal finances, I was never perfect. I received my first credit card freshman year of college. At first, I was good with it. I made a few small purchases here and there and paid the bill in full each month. But sophomore year I met a girl and we started dating. I had low self-esteem at the time and thought things = love. So, I bought her things and took her out to dinner. I slowly stopped paying the balance in full each month.
By the time summer rolled around, I was a few thousand dollars in debt. I worked hard that summer and paid off the debt. But this was a problem: my summer earnings in the past were used to buy books and survive financially for the upcoming year. Since I used all of my earnings to pay off my debt, I had no money for books, or more importantly, pizza!
That year, my junior year, I quickly ended up back in debt. First because I didn’t have any savings and second, because I didn’t learn my lesson and was still trying to buy love.
My senior year of college I was a little better with my money, but graduated with about $1,000 of credit card debt. Newly single and living back in my hometown, I had the world in the palm of my hands. Or so I thought. I had the misconception that after graduation, I would land a six-figure salary job and be Vice President of the firm by the time I was 26.
When no job prospects materialized, my depression set in once again. Buying things made me feel better so, I bought things. Lots of things. I was close to $10,000 in credit card debt before I had my awakening.
I was looking at a jacket in a clothing store and thinking of buying it. The light bulb went off in my mind. Why was I buying this? I already had a jacket. I realized in that moment what I was doing. I was buying things to make me feel better. But that “high” I got was wearing off quicker and quicker. I made the decision at that moment I didn’t want to live live in debt.
I found a part time job and slowly, very slowly, started to pay off my debt. A few months later I found full time employment. I kept both jobs until I was debt free.
My Investing Story
I already mentioned that I fell for personal finance and investing in high school, so the investing story is a much happier one than the debt story. Ever since I was 18, I slowly invested money in the stock market. When I started investing, I had to save money in a savings account until I had enough to buy more shares of stock or a mutual fund. I would save $10 each week and when I had enough, I would buy more of a mutual fund.
I understood the power of compound interest from my finance class in high school. As a result, saving and investing a little money here and there was never an issue. I never thought that this $20 won’t amount to anything. With compound interest and time, it will.
Unfortunately, too many people think that $20 saved on a regular basis won’t amount to much or that they will never be able to retire saving so little. You have to start somewhere. I started with $10 at at time and here we are ten years later, recession and all, and I have amassed a six figure portfolio.
It’s Your Time
I didn’t tell you those stories to brag. I told you them so that you can see I’ve been in debt, much like you. I am proof you can overcome it. I started off investing small, much like you are contemplating doing, and I have a healthy sized portfolio. You can too.
I helped some of my friends get out of credit card debt and begin investing for their retirement too. Believe me, getting a 24 year old with no real understanding of personal finance to begin saving for retirement that is 40+ years in the future is no easy task. When any of my friends have a personal finance question or have received advice on a financial issue they have, they always come to me to get my thoughts and ideas.
About the Site
I started this site because of my interest in the subject and wanting to help people better their financial lives. Unfortunately, personal finance is not taught in school and unless your parents taught it to you, you have no idea about the subject. That needs to change. The biggest stress in most people’s lives in money. If you take 15 minutes a day, every day to learn a little about personal finance, you can change your life not only financially, but also in every other way as well. So, I created this site to hopefully help you learn a little about personal finance, spark your interest, learn more, and remove any stress you have about money.
All information provided at MoneySmartGuides.com is for informational purposes only. Rates & offers from advertisers shown on this website change frequently, sometimes without notice. Visit referenced sites for current information. Per FTC guidelines, this website may be compensated by companies mentioned through advertising, affiliate programs or otherwise.
Explanation of Advertisements
I will have affiliate ads on the site. I am under the assumption that everyone realizes that with an affiliate ad, there is some sort of compensation involved for having the link and if someone purchases the product through the link.
If a company approaches me to use one of their products or services, I will inform you the reader of this. If I do not mention this, then I am discussing the product/service because I tried it on my own.
If you are interested in advertising on Money Smart Guides, please read the Advertising page.