In early 2001, I was a normal twenty-something and loved to spend money. I worked in a resort town as a fine dining restaurant server and was bringing in about $100 in tips and $40 in wages each day. I made a lot of money (for a university student) and also spent a lot of money. When talking with my family I can distinctly remember saying,
if I can have a lot more fun now and it only costs me $100 or so in interest then I’d say it’s worth it.
At that time, I had a credit card balance of about $6,500 and, other than a snowboard, I had very little to show for it.
It wasn’t long afterwards that my mother handed me a book about personal finance called The Wealthy Barber. I sat in my living room with a fire burning and read it cover to cover through the night. I’m not sure how soon after reading the book I started to change my mentality but it wasn’t very long and it was drastic.
Since 2001, I have made a consistent effort to read everything I can about personal finance, mortgages, real estate, investing, goal setting, strategy, wealth creation and retiring young but it was that first book that completely changed who I was and what I believed. Before this book, I was the official ‘spend now and worry later’ type. As we all know, this leads to high debt and no way to grow your wealth and retire young.
After thinking about my own story, I realized that creating wealth really isn’t about the amount of money you make. It’s all about the attitude and belief system that you hold. If I had the same ideas about spending money today, I would have a very different financial statement and balance sheet. It’s very strange to look back and have a defining moment in your life that changed who you are. Is it a cliché to say that I owe it all to my parents?