It is great to be on our way to financial freedom and to be doing all the right things. But let me tell you, it wasn’t always this way. Mr. MMM and I had separate lives (obviously) until we met a few years ago. We both have a past with plenty of mistakes littered along the way. It’s easy to read these personal finance blogs and think you’re the only one who hasn’t done it right or isn’t doing it right. But I am here to tell you, you are so wrong.
All The Jobs
I’ll preface this by saying that Mr. MMM and I both grew up in lower middle class households so we were never spoiled with lavish cars at 16 or free college educations. See my childhood here. And so I’ll begin with all the jobs we have held in our lives…
Let’s start by going through the gamut of jobs I have had since I started my W-2 trek at 16 years old. My first job was working in the kitchen of a nursing home and serving the residents their dinners around large round tables in the formal dining room. Let me just say that I did not appreciate this job. I was 16 and I didn’t want to be in that environment so I quit and headed to the mall to work at McDonald’s. After I flipped a few burgers, I found myself working in a pet store getting crickets out of egg cartons for patrons with reptiles. Yuck. These were all high school jobs. After high school, I made my way back to McDonald’s for a short stint and then worked in various factories, including a sewing factory and one in which I soldered electrical components all day. I also walked a dog 4 days a week and worked in two separate mental health facilities. These jobs were worked while getting my undergraduate degree, which spanned approximately 6 years. After graduation, I started working in my scientific field of study and never looked back. I haven’t had any jobs outside of my field in over a decade. I even had my current employer pay 100% of my graduate degree. Score.
Moving on to Mr. MMM, Please excuse me if I’m not as detailed with his information. Unfortunately, he isn’t nearby for me to consult, so this is coming straight out of my memory.
He started working at the tender age of 14 and never stopped. His high school jobs included mowing lawns and being a greens keeper at a local golf course. Then it was dishes at a diner and the right-of-passage job at McDonald’s! He quit McDonald’s to pursue his film career as an usher in a movie theater and a salesperson at a local video rental joint. After high school, he flunked out of college after one semester and hopped a plane to LA to give-it-a-go in LA. In LA, Mr. MMM worked 3 different jobs including: Universal Studios on the set of Murder She Wrote (not even kidding – he lied his way onto the set and bribed the receptionist with a college sweatshirt), salesperson at an electronics store, and clerk at another video store. He left sunny Cali after 2 years and returned home to work again for the movie theater he worked for in high school. This time he worked his way up to manager. After a few years of managing the theater and continuing to make poor financial and life decisions, Mr. MMM decided to Go For It when his company rolled out their tuition reimbursement program. He graduated with a teaching degree and worked many years as a successful and uber popular history teacher until he decided to quit to pursue his film career full time. While teaching, Mr. MMM also obtained 2 free graduate degrees. Score and score. See how we both avoided massive college debt here.
All The Mistakes
I’m not sure I’m going to list ALL the mistakes, since I don’t want this post to be 5,000 words long, but I will list the major ones for each of us. And, here we go…
When I graduated college with my science degree, I started working a high-paying job and started to stash a ton of cash. Unfortunately, this time in my life coincided with a very bad relationship. We were engaged but never had any real plans to get married. It limped along for more years than I’d like to admit until I finally decided to pull the plug and move out with absolutely nothing. I moved out at the exact age that I had wanted to be married and starting a family. Plan foiled. I moved out and got myself an apartment – even though I bought a house that my parents were living in the year before. Instead, I thought it was a better idea to subsidize their housing as well as pay for an apartment of my own. I spent the better part of the next decade not contributing to my retirement accounts and living paycheck to paycheck. Read more about this decade-long financial catastrophe here.
Mr MMM, on the other hand, racked up quite a bit of credit card debt while living a frat boy, bi-coastal lifestyle. He was partying all the time, running with the wrong crowd, and didn’t have a direction for his life, let alone his finances. This all changed when he met his first wife (as mentioned above, we both had lives before we met and we’re, surprisingly, not perfect) and decided to take himself and his money seriously. Things went well for a few years but she finally wanted out and he left the marriage with very little to show for it. Thus, he started anew again, but without the frat boy thing this time. Two thumbs up for that.
Through all of these peaks and valleys (mostly valleys), we both wanted to make better decisions, but for some reason we continued to make stupid ones, blaming it on our situations, thinking we would be forever young. Of course we were not taking full responsibility for creating our not-so-great situations. In sum, we are still relatively young, but in terms of early retirement – it could’ve happened already had we not had our heads stuck up our…well, you know.
Then, we met. And now I would like to introduce to you, Mr. & Mrs. Mad Money Monster! We are on FIRE and ripping it up with our positive choices. And we’re not going to stop until we’re financially independent with 10 – 2o income properties in our portfolio. Here’s lookin’ at you, Bigger Pockets!
All The Choices
All of the above brings us to where we stand today: married, a daughter, and feverishly working our butts off so we can enjoy financial freedom, sooner rather than later. After we married, we both committed to combining our dreams and making them reality. This involves a real estate empire on my side and a film career on his side. Every dollar we spend is purposeful and on something we truly value. For us, that encompasses improving our home and experiences. Nothing is better than making memories together that will last a lifetime.
Well, after all of that, you must be feeling much better about yourself and any poor decisions you might have made in the past. And remember, this is the abridged version! So if we can turn it around and be within spitting distance of financial freedom, you can too!
So, what’s your financial story? Have you committed to making better financial decisions? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
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