The Mastermind Within // Financial Literacy Chronicles, No. 23

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Please welcome Erik from The Mastermind Within as our guest for today’s Financial Literacy Chronicles.  This is Day 23 of 30 in the Financial Literacy Month interview series here on Enwealthen.

Please tell me a little bit about yourself and your blog.

Thank you, Jack, for interviewing me for Enwealthen.

I’m Erik, 24, living in Minnesota. I love playing basketball and reading. I have a goal in 2017 to read 75 books!

For work and money making, I’m a busy guy: in my day job, I do statistical analysis for a regional bank… not for long though! For side hustles, I do some statistical consulting, and am growing The Mastermind Within with a few partners (Henry and Jake). I’m also interested in real estate, and have some roommates paying me rent!

Your level of success rarely exceeds your level of personal development…

At The Mastermind Within, we are looking to build a community of like-minded individuals focused on self-improvement. On the blog, we have personal finance tips, book reviews, and articles on personal development.

Recently, we created a 5 day mini course and have starting consulting with individuals and businesses on their finances! We are looking to turn this into a real business… exciting times on the horizon!

Can you share your most impactful money memory from your childhood?

I grew up in a frugal household. We were taught to delay gratification and save our money for college and the future.

My most impactful money memory didn’t occur until college.

In my sophomore year, I was down to my last $40. I felt horrible and realized then and there I needed to always keep at least $1,000 in savings. Ever since, I’ve always had at least $1,000 in savings.

Now, I’m slightly conservative: I keep between 7 and 12 thousand in cash for emergency purposes.

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?

Save early and often, and never stop saving.

Both sets of grandparents of mine have hammered this concept home. My mom’s parents travel to multiple countries a year and were able to retire in their early 60’s. My dad’s parents probably never made more than $40,000 in a year, but live comfortably in Green Bay.

As a result, I’m very frugal (cheap), ha. I’m a natural saver. My savings rate is about 45% this year: I hope to get that up to about 50% by the end of the year by optimizing my expenses.

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?

Mine are The Richest Man in Babylon, The Slight Edge, and How to Think About Money.

I suggest everyone read The Slight Edge – it’s a book on a person’s philosophy – essentially, simple daily disciplines performed over time will result in great success. It’s the same concept of if you save $10k a year for 30 years – you’ll be a millionaire!

The Richest Man in Babylon is a great story and has real applications. One of the main principles discussed in the book is to save at least 10% of your income. If you do so, over time you will be rich.

How to Think about Money is a book more on the “personal” side of personal finance. It’s a short read with actionable content: spend money on things which will bring you happiness, it is important to change our mindset to a saver mindset because we have a long investment horizon, and how money can buy us happiness but not as much as we think.

What financial literacy education did you receive in school?  If you had a magic wand, what would you change to improve that?

I didn’t receive much, if any, financial literacy education in school.

I would require all students to take a money management course in high school which would focus on tracking money, budgeting, and compound interest. If you understand compounding, you can become successful in anything you do!

One of the things Henry and I are passionate about is giving back. I volunteer through BestPrep, a non-profit focused on improving business and financial literacy of high school students. Programs like these are having a substantial impact on the lives of many high school students – I hope I can continue to give back.

There are so many blogs on the internet, what are 3 of your favorite blogs that instill financial literacy, either by word or action?

Enwealthen is obviously the best (I have to suck up right?).

Mustard Seed Money (interview) has great content – Rob writes on personal finance topics, but also researches and writes on unique topics. He hustles so much to make comments on other blogs – it’s paying off given the 100+ comment posts he has!

Another one I like is Go Finance Yourself. Go Finance Yourself is interested in early retirement and has some interesting posts on investing, the stock market, and early retirement. He is an inspiration to me because he is a CFO at 33! Crazy!

I also love Gen Y Finance Guy. It’s great because Dom is a no-nonsense, highly successful individual who doing great things in his career and life. The progress he has shared with us on his blog has inspired me to work diligently on myself and in my work.

Save early and often and never stop saving.

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 found this one in the book, The Miracle Morning, by Hal Elrod. It’s a combination of two Jim Rohn quotes:

“Your level of success rarely exceeds your level of personal development, because success is something you attract by the person you become.”

I apply this one in my life through constant learning: reading, asking questions, and applying what I learned to improve. For my finances, I’m looking to build wealth wisely. Given this, I need to work on myself and my understanding of the world to get this accomplished.

I also like this one: “Remember the Golden Rule: he who has the gold makes the rules.”

What’s your financial independence number?  Most personal finance bloggers have a number which they want to get to for retirement.

I don’t have a number at this point. I’m 24 and really don’t know what I want yet in terms of money and retirement. I have a lot of potential: I’m going to build multiple companies and buy various rental properties in the coming years to solidify a solid financial base.

Given this, I have no idea what I can accomplish in terms of building wealth. I’m a grinder and a diligent worker: I don’t know if I can ever “retire” since I love building things and solving problems.

Thanks for contributing to Financial Literacy Month here on Enwealthen, Erik!

If you read a lot, are interested in personal development – personal finance, fitness, mindset, etc. – stop by The Mastermind Within. Do you need a financial check-up? Come by and get a 15 minute free personal finance consultation!

Readers, please share your thoughts on Erik’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!



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