“One of the 10 Best Personal Finance Blogs.”
Welcome to 20somethingfinance. I am the author, G.E. Miller. Long story short – I went from zero savings and significant debt after graduation to saving over 85% of my income in just a few years. Now, I am full-on embracing every aspect of a financially responsible, engaged, environmentally-friendly, low-impact, frugal lifestyle. And I’m chronicling my journey to financial independence on this blog.
20somethingfinance is 8 years old and has become one of the most popular personal finance blogs in all the land. If you’re new here, you can find every post in the archives.
Also – don’t let the name of the blog scare you off. If you’re not in your 20’s, that’s OK. I no longer am either (but the blog is stuck with the name), and half of the readers here are 30+. Learning and sharing knowledge of personal finance is ageless.
Now, on to the more detailed and dramatic story on why this blog exists…
The Best Years?
I graduated in the aftermath of the tech bubble bursting with a business B.A. from Michigan State University, hit the workforce, and started making $30k per year while working 50-60+ hours a week at a job that did not require a college degree. Financially, I had no room to breathe – my cell phone, cable, internet, utility, car, fuel, rent, insurance, credit card, student loan, and food expenses were eating all of my income. I had zero savings to speak of.
With no path out in sight, I started to question the all-work, no-play 40+ hours a week for 45 years standard, which for most people resulted in just keeping up with the ridiculous consumer indulgences. The prospect of a lifetime of work for THIS? Unthinkable.
I had to do something. I realized that if I were going to have any shred of enjoyment in life, I needed to veer off the comfortable path. But my finances were holding me back. So what did I do? I started hacking them.
I got married and we had an inexpensive wedding – keeping the cost to under $2,500. I sold my over-sized house and moved to take a higher income job. Instead of buying a bigger home, I bought a smaller one. I then sold our second car to get rid of the payments and started biking to work. I sold half of my personal belongings. I cut my phone bill in half and cut my cable bill. I became vegetarian, saved money on groceries, and stopped dining out almost entirely. I maxed out my 401K. I stopped trading and started investing. I stopped paying for my company’s traditional PPO health insurance and switched to a HDHP and HSA, so that they started paying me. I re-worked my wallet and started using credit cards to my advantage. I switched to products and services that saved me a lot of money vs. ones that only took money away. I was reversing the consumer accumulation life cycle. “Stuff” and material status stopped mattering to me entirely.
As a result, my income started increasing, while my expenses declined drastically. I eventually reached a personal savings rate over 85% of what I earned – 21 times the average U.S. savings rate of 4%. In short, my finance hacking was allowing me to save, in just two years, a higher percentage of income than most do cumulatively, OVER THEIR ENTIRE CAREER.
Was I Feeling Depressed and Deprived?
Quite the contrary. I felt excited, awake, driven, and determined. Instead of fear and resentment, I started feeling hopeful about the future. There was a fire burning inside of me to go even further. I felt like I had stumbled into a secret world, a “financial matrix” of sorts.
Financial independence became an inevitable path, not just a dream. Today, I’m well along that path.
The downsides? There are none. I have easily adjusted. I have all the stuff I need, and more. And I’ve become more creative, less materialistic, and much more satisfied in life.
I have a comfortable home, a great wife, a dog, and two cats. My wife and I home brew, we backpack, we couchsurf, we eat great food, we travel, we cook, we entertain, we’re in good health, and we have zero debt. We’re not missing out on a thing that matters.
Let’s take this personal finance journey together.
If you get fired up about:
- financial independence
- hacking your spending to extremely low levels (less than $12k/yr. per person)
- reducing wasteful consumption and minimizing your impact on the environment
- learning the basics of personal finance & sharing ideas with others
- being healthy, wealthy, well-rounded, generous, and fighting for and setting your own path in life
… then you are in the right place.
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You can also find every post in chronological order in the archives.