Entrepreneur, Financial Freedom

My Journey to Financial Freedom

As a millenial, growing up we had this information instilled in our mindset from our  parents as well as society that to have a good life especially in the U.S., we had to go to school or college, graduate with a degree, get a job related to that degree and earn money from that job to buy your car, dream home , eventually get married and have kids and work for 40 years to retire at 62 or 65.

In my opinion, it isnt necessary a bad plan, but when technology started to evolve in the world, that idea of having a good life doesnt have to be that way. We really dont need to wait till age 62 or 65 to have a good life.

I didnt grow up with a rich or poor family. My parents were working hard and hustling while I was growing up and I would say we were middle class in Hawaii.  I am the oldest of 3 children, my brothers were 8 years and 12 years younger than me. My mom’s parents (my grandparents) and younger brother(my uncle) lived with us in a 3 bedroom 1 story house in a new subdivision in Kihei, Maui. My parents worked in the hotel doing labor work. They were able to buy new cars and had savings and investments. At that time, I didn’t think about money or how they made it or spend it or how much they had. My relationship with money really began with saving and working for it during high school.

My parents never taught me how to manage money, but my mom was good at it. They also didnt buy me whatever I wanted. Growing up I literally had to save my lunch money  (i would wait till school was over to eat)  I would use the money saved to buy things I wanted like clothes, shoes and spend on whatever I wanted. I also worked at age 16 in high school because saving wasnt enough and my parents again would not give me money.

Around age 18 I was offered a credit card, that was when I started overspending on things I never needed.
The people around me as well influences from media about having luxury accessories put a lot of pressure on me to spend. I had a job that gave me enough but I didn’t have a car to pay, rent or mortgage to pay, no kids and  no partner. I dont recall ever paying my credit card off every month. I always carried a balance and of course when you dont know about money, well you will be paying extra with the interest fees.

Once you get credit, you get so much offers in the mail, you go to the store and they offer you a store credit card and its crazy. Even till this day, I would shop in the store and I still get offers to open a store credit. All I tell them is no.

Fast forward to 20 years later, I curently have 1 physical credit card with Apple and 1 credit line with Paypal. I usually buy things with cash and sometimes with credit card.

My relationship with money may have started at a young age but I had very little knowledge.

Managing money is not easy especially when you have kids I have 3 and then you have debt plus youre income is this xx amount of dollars  per month and I also love to shop. My spouse and I have not really come together in sharing our finances when we both were working. My money was mine and his was his and we’d share the expenses like rent/mortgage, utilities, car insurance, childcare. For example, if the mortgage is $1000, we’d both pay $500 each, he has alot of cars, so I only paid my 1 car, utilities, childcare. He may have a lot of cash in savings than I do, but he has no investments. We have different goals in life especially in finance. He tends to spend alot of cash on hobbies and I tend to spend it on necessities for me and kids, life insurance, investments and goal to payoff debt.

In February 2019, when my job changed because a team member got fired and I had to take over her role on top of what I already had to do, that made me have a major mindset shift to quit earlier than expected. I knew I was going on a 2 weeks paid vacation to Philippines and Seoul in July 2019 and then a few months later I would quit. I picked October because thats the start of the financial audit and then in daycare, most kids will get sick and I didnt want to risk my 2 small kids getting sick as well. I knew my goal was to leave corporate world in May 2020 the year my 2nd child turned 5, because I knew I would only have 1 kid to put in daycare if needed and it would cost me less than $1K as opposed to having two kids that was the amount of our mortgage. I had this xx amount of money in my 401k investment that I could rollover and then cash out if needed. I only had this xx amount of debt from my paypal credit line and student loan. I could’ve easily used that money to pay it off but I decided to  save and spend rather than payoff. Then the pandemic happened in March 2020 (6 months after I quit) and during that time, I was thinking of going back to work part time because my spouse business just started and I didnt know when I was going to have income and I still had this amount of debt. I really didnt want to use my investments to pay it off. I definitely wanted to earn an income and then pay it off.
The pandemic also gave me clarity for this blog and what I wanted to do for my others brand: AJ7s and J29xi.
My main focus was this blog as well as AJ7S. I was already skilled in both areas so I really wanted to expand my knowledge and find other ways to monetize. It is a competitive space but there’s always an audience for every entrepreneur. I havent really found that system. Its a challenging process because I’m learning and taking action at the same time. I cant really hire people either.

In 2021, I made a goal, I’m going to move and change my lifestyle. I had to take some risks in order to do this. I am going to invest in making it legal so I got my business license, I got my DBA and started investing in things I needed in my home office and some courses/apps that I felt was going to help me grow. While I’m taking care of all of these, I was also handling personal goals as well. I also have 2 small kids to take care of and a part time job to help my spouse business. I am refinancing my home loan and get the kids taken care of with school for the next year. Currently they are doing online which is nice, I save time meaning i can sleep in and save gas.

I hate to admit this, but I was always frustrated every month because I gave up my corporate job so I can work on my online business, but my kids and keeping up the housework like cooking and cleaning took my energy in the day where I am most creative and energized. I only had my 1-2 hours of real focused time on my online business. When I would get focused, I get nagged by my kids, thats when I had a breakdown in Fall 2020 and I told my daughter and spouse to really help me with them. Ever since then, I looked at my workload and schedule to where am I going to put most of my time, that I also had to pay daycare 1x a week for my 3 yr old son just to get focused at work.

I really just had to get back into the mindset again, i started to watch inspirational and motivation videos, reading and being more active in social media.
I feel limited with my time, I am most focused on investing and paying off my debt which is not as fun as when you’re doing something you’re interested in to earn an income.

The journey to financial freedom is long and slow process especially when you have small kids and you’re doing this alone. I recommend to get financially educated while you’re young and in your prime working years. It is possible to be financially independent which is why my big goal is to retire in 10 years. I may not even want to retire early, I’d still work I think I’d want to retire early working for someone else.

My recommendations for getting financial educated is learning from Robert kiyosaki.

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