004 | From Poverty to Privilege | TJ Backstory

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Starting from a 3rd world Country

TJ shares his story and what life was like growing up in Nigeria. Born in a middle-class family, his father instilled basic money ideas that have stuck with him even as he pursues financial independence.

He learned from his father to be frugal, and intentional with money. Only focusing money on things that bring true value to his life.

Always Capitalize on Opportunity

TJ shares how there are only so many opportunities growing up in a third world country. However, being in the US, or other first world countries, we have so many more opportunities available to us. And it is so important that we take full advantage of them.

a lot of times our world gets so small

This quote is so powerful and true. We forget that all over the world there are millions of people who do not have access to the opportunities we have. We should always recognize that privilege and always capitalize on these opportunities.

Believing in the Midst of Adversity

After earning his Masters in Mechanical Engineering TJ struggled finding work. It was the lowest point in his life, and it forces him to grow as a person. In those days, TJ and his wife had a combined household income of $24K/year.

He credits The Alchemist, as the spark for finding hope in the midst of a hopeless situation. This was what broke the chains and made him start making changes.

Finding Personal Finance

After picking up reading, TJ found Dave Ramsey, who first introduced him to personal finance and other money concepts.

At this point, their income had significantly increased, as well as their savings rate. The first couple years focused on paying off debt as Dave suggests. After the debt was gone, it was time to move on to bigger and better things!

Starting a FIRE

Naturally after graduating from the Dave Ramsey mindset, TJ dove deep into the personal finance world, and found the concept of FIRE.

Following other bloggers, and learning from them, TJ and his wife started to implement these strategies that have essentially changed their life!

The people that are doing this are no better than you”, we can’t stress this point enough. You only need to make an intentional choice with your money to crush the FI game.

Think Differently

Our message is to be more open-minded. VTSAX is an awesome investment lever, but it is not the ONLY way. We want to encourage people to be more open-minded, and learn all these different strategies that exist out there, like possibly investing a small portion of your net worth in single stocks.

Or using leveraged real estate to build wealth vs buying 100% cash down. We want to be open-minded enough to explore all these strategies.

Focus on Growing Income

Don’t settle for a $20K a year income. Let that be your starting point. Each one of us has the capacity to make more income, we just need to pick up more skills to command more income in the marketplace.

It is not about putting anyone down; it is about encouraging people to reach their full potential.

Random Fun Facts: TJ had his first McChicken at age 17!!!

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Tools of Titans

The Alchemist

Personal Capital

Fly to FI (Cody’s Blog)

Half Life Theory (TJ’s blog)

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