Please welcome Ty from Get Rich Quickish as our guest for today’s Financial Literacy Chronicles. This is Day 8 of 30 in the Financial Literacy Month interview series here on Enwealthen.
Please tell me a little bit about yourself and your blog.
My name is Ty Roberts and I live in the Seattle area with my wife of 18 years and our four kids, aged 16, 11, 7, and 6 (boy, girl, boy, boy), which means we’ve got them from high school all the way down to kindergarten. We’re currently teaching one how to drive and one to ride a bike. Exciting times and never a dull moment in our household. I love it!
Sacrifice for the things you want, or the things you want will become the sacrifice.
I just turned 40 years old and got a late start to this whole financial independence game, so now we’re playing catch up – trying to Get Rich Quick’ish so that we can retire early! My goal is to retire within the next 9 years (I want to be able to say that I retired in my 40s).
The formula to Get Rich Quick’ish is easy – but the execution is hard. I blog about our financial strategy and also talk a lot about my mistakes, shortcomings, failures, and frustrations. I hope that my story resonates with others and motivates them to keep grinding.
Can you share your most impactful money memory from your childhood?
I used to tell people that I didn’t learn much about money from my folks, but the more I blog about finances, the more I realize just how much my parents, especially my dad, influenced my outlook on money.
I worked for my dad’s drywall business ever since I was old enough to swing a hammer. Not only did Dad teach me how to work hard, he also taught me the value of money; that it was hard to come by. “Money doesn’t grow on trees” he used to say whenever I asked for a few bucks.
Translation: you want money – go earn it.
Dad worked hard for his money and couldn’t afford to waste it. If I wanted money as a kid, I had to work for it as well. Working hard for my money made me appreciate it, and as a result I wasn’t very frivolous with it. That lesson that I learned as a young kid has served me well throughout my life.
We all receive financial advice from people in our lives. What’s the most interesting or useful financial advice you’ve received from your community?
The advice that’s had the biggest impact on my finances came from my dad. When I was a teenager he told me to “get paid for your hard work.”
He explained that everybody works hard for their money, whether they are hanging drywall (like we were doing at the time he doled out this advice), or practicing law (like the owner of the home we were working in). One way or another, he told me, I was going to work hard for a living, so why not get paid well for it?
He didn’t want me to be hanging drywall for the rest of my life and was making sure that I knew there were other options out there. Not surprisingly, those with college degrees have more work options, usually get paid more money, and have lower unemployment rates.
I can look back at a chart of my income each year and see exactly when I graduated from college because my income jumped and just kept climbing. It took me longer than most to finish up my college degree, but doing so has made a huge difference.
I have several personal finance books I regularly give to friends and family. What are your 3 favorite fundamental personal finance books you often gift to others?
In no particular order,
Stumbling on Happiness, by Daniel Gilbert. This book was so interesting to me. The author makes the case that humans are terrible at predicting what makes us happy, but we’re pretty good at identifying things which make us unhappy. The recommendation is to avoid or eliminate things that make you unhappy and, by process of elimination, you’ll have a pretty good life.
The Richest Man in Babylon, by George S. Clason is personal finance 101. This was originally written as a series of pamphlets that were left in banks during the early 20th century. These pamphlets have since been combined into a short book which clearly teach everyone the formula required to Get Rich Quick’ish, which is (1) Spend less than you earn. (2) Invest the difference. (3) Eliminate and avoid debt.
What financial literacy education did you receive in school? If you had a magic wand, what would you change to improve that?
I had a personal finance class in my freshman year of college.
I vaguely remember learning about the future value of money in that class, but I didn’t enjoy the class at all. That’s the extent of my personal finance education (although I took more accounting classes than I ever wanted to – does that count?)
If I had a magic wand, I’d make personal finance a required class in your last three years of high school. It could be simple stuff like the history of money, why it’s used, how it’s created, and what a budget is. Nothing complicated, just some basic stuff for young men and women to use a foundation.
But the key would be to have the class be required each year of your 10th, 11th, and 12th grade years – consistency is key when learning and is much more valuable than a one-and-done class.
There are so many blogs on the internet, what are 3 of your favorite blogs that instill financial literacy, either by word or action?
I’m going to go a bit non-traditional here and start with a podcast. My favorite financial podcast is The Stacking Benjamins Show (iTunes), hosted by Joe Saul-Sehy. Each episode lasts about an hour and is lighthearted yet surprisingly informative. It’s a great show that I listen to as I commute to and from work.
The Mad FIentist is another great blog. Although he doesn’t post much these days, that website full of so many useful tips and strategies that you can use to save a huge percentage of your income and also how you can access that money in early retirement without being penalized by the government for early withdrawals.
I’m also a big fan of Retire Before Dad. I’ve met the author (he’s currently anonymous) and know his story and it’s a lot like mine. We’re both GenX’ers that are living off of a single income, raising families in expensive cities, and striving for early retirement. ‘Birds of a feather’ I guess – but I can relate with everything that he posts.
Get paid for your hard work.
I like to keep inspirational quotes around the house to remind me of what’s important. Do you have a favorite money quote you use to inspire your financial life?
I LOVE quotes. I’ve got an unlisted page on my blog where I collect some of my favorites. Right now one that I really like is “sacrifice for the things you want, or the things you want will become the sacrifice.”
That should resonate loudly to anyone striving to reach FIRE. To reach fire most of us have to save a high percentage of our income. We’re simply trading a bit of today’s discretionary income for a whole lot of freedom tomorrow.
If you were to give one piece of advice to someone struggling to get ahead financially, what would it be?
My advice to anyone is to just get started. What you do isn’t as important as doing something. Don’t worry about whether or not you should be saving, paying off debt or investing. And definitely don’t sweat the details of those things, like how much to save, what debt to pay off first or what you should invest in. Just pick whatever feels right to you and go for it.
Later on you can adjust your strategy if you want or need to. There isn’t a one-size-fits all answer that works for everyone
So just get started and adjust as you go.
Thanks for contributing to Financial Literacy Month here on Enwealthen, Ty!
After getting a late start to the financial independence game, Ty is now trying to Get Rich Quick’ish and retire early while raising four kids with his wife on a single income. Learn more about his strategy, see his budget, and receive a summary of his latest blog posts by signing up for his private monthly eNewsletter, or follow him on the social media site of your choosing: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or Pinterest.
Readers, please share your thoughts on Ty’s experiences, any additional questions you have, and suggestions for who else you’d like to see interviewed in the comments below. And please do share this with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Thanks!