Rich on Money

Financial Freedom in the Military through Real Estate

Category: Debt

Debt Pitfalls for Military Members

The military has some unique debt traps that are easy to fall into.

Buying New Cars

One is this whole military car sales thing.

“Let me go talk to my manager!”

You’ve seen them lurking around the BX preying on new enlistees just getting started out in life.

They try to sell you a new car when you are overseas.  They’ll tell you it’s an amazing deal because you are in the military.  They sometimes try to sell it as a military benefit.

It is simply not true. A military benefit is when the US government subsidizes the cost.

Here are examples of actual military benefits:

  • Commissary
  • BX
  • Medical and dental care
  • Space-A Travel
  • Tax-free housing
  • Montgomery GI bill

Here’s an example of what is not a military benefit:

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What should I teach my kids about money?

I love all things money.  My kids often see me reading finance books and browsing real estate blogs.  They hear me talking about money with my wife.  They watch us negotiate deals to buy houses with cash, and they overhear our discussions on retiring early.

I explain what I’m doing with money in simple terms to my kids, but I can’t be sure it’s sinking in.  They are 10 and 6.  It is my job to prepare them to navigate money and life.  I wonder how I’m doing.

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How I Achieved a PERFECT Credit Score!

I’m in the military. People around the office ask me for for financial advice. They know I’m a “money guy” and word gets around that I like talking investing and real estate.

I warn people they won’t like my advice. They usually don’t.

This guy didn’t.

Recently a co-worker told me he’s got $20,000 burning a hole in his pocket, and what I think about investing in the British Pound. With the Brexit, it seems like a sure thing!

I told him this kind of speculation in currency isn’t for everyone. Even those who devote their lives to studying this are wrong more often then right. I warned him this would be a fun way to lose money quickly on something he doesn’t understand. It seemed like he took that to heart.

Guy: “Ok, I got a better idea! What about gold!?!?!?”

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The Best Damn Finance Book I’ve Ever Read

First, a little about me and my website:

  • I paid off $32,000 in student loans in a year.
  • Paid off our $280k mortgage in 6 years.
  • Flipped several houses in Washington D.C. to help me build income for real estate investing.
  • Have purchased several rental properties without using debt.

My website is all about helping others to get out of debt and create passive income from real estate.

But you can not mess with real estate until your finances are on a solid basis.  You gotta go get Jim’s book! (or at least read his website)

cover graphic

“Spend less than you earn–invest the surplus–avoid debt”

The central theme of Jim’s website and book.

It’s hard to believe the Path to Wealth can be this simple.

But in his book, you’ll see it is.

I got to admit. I love this book! My review is going to sound a little over the top, but it’s a damn good book!

I’ve been big into finance and real estate books my whole life. I’ve read them all.

stack of booksOk, way more than this!

About a year ago, I stumbled across financial independence and early retirement websites and it opened up an entire new world to me!

I began seeking out all the top blogs in this field, and one that kept coming up was jlcollins.com.

To put it bluntly, his Stock Series was the most comprehensive explanation of investments I have ever read. There is so much noise and confusion out there in the finance world, and he slices right through it and tells you what’s really important.

He makes it easy to understand the complex world of money. His approach to investment is so simple, it’s alarming!

I followed his blog closely and eagerly awaited new posts.

When he sent out an email explaining he was writing a book and soliciting help from his readers for proofreading, I jumped at the chance!!

The only reason I volunteered was because I wanted to read the book ASAP!!!

As luck would have it, I was selected to be a proofreader, and had the opportunity to read the book before publication. (Actually, I’ve read it about 20 times. Occupational hazard!)

The book is exactly what I was hoping it would be.

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How to Not Suck at Saving Money

Every blogger gets to write an obligatory post on how they cut corners to get out of debt and accumulate wealth.

Here is how I do it.

I’ll start by saying any success I’ve had with saving money is 99% attributable to my wife. She is Chinese and grew up in Taiwan. She has no formal training in investments or finance. She has never read a personal finance book in her life. But she came from a family and, to a certain extent, a society that frowns on debt.

She freaked out when she realized I had $32,000 in student loans and several credit cards while in my last year of college.

The sad thing was, I didn’t really need the loans, I just wanted some extra money to live a little larger. I was on a full scholarship and had a job in the dorms that gave me free room and board (Yes, I was stupid). One of the many reasons I married her was her attitude towards money and her ability to keep me straight.

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How to Squash Debt and Build Wealth

This is a fairly basic look at my thoughts on getting out of debt, saving, and investing. Good to read if you are getting started with investing. If you are an advanced investor, you may find it basic.

Among acquaintances, friends, and co-workers, my thoughts on money seem extreme. I don’t have many among those groups to share and discuss with.

I’ve been devouring books about money my whole life. I was soooo happy when I found the world of FI, real estate, and investing blogs. I feel like there is a community of people out there that understands me.

I love the blogs where the average person shares their struggles with real estate, investing, and life in general.

When I was in college, I got a job at Fidelity Investments as a stockbroker. It was a 3rd job, a side hustle to pay back my student loans. It was a great introduction to the world of finance. It made sense for someone like me to get a job like this. I’ve always had an interest in the stock market.

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My Wife Knows Money – The Financial Summary of my Life

My name is Rich.  I like to talk about money.

  • I paid off $32,000 in student loans in a year.
  • Paid off our $280k mortgage in 6 years.
  • Flipped several houses in Washington D.C. to help me build income for real estate investing.
  • Have purchased several rental properties without using debt.

Let me tell you my story.

How do you summarize your financial life in a blog post?

What if it’s your first post ever?

I’ll give it a shot!

I met my wife in college and quickly realized she was the right person for me. Before she married me, she asked me a question that I didn’t know the answer to. It was a question that I also did not want to know the answer to.

“How much money do you owe in student loans?”

(Very blank look from me)

student-loan-debt

Thinking back through the last 3 1/2 years of college, I remembered getting some grants and a partial scholarship from the military for majoring in Chinese, how bad could it be?  I remember taking out a few student loans to help make ends meet (a.k.a. always eating out and vacations with rich friends).

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