I am no financial genius, if I were I would be on an island right now sipping a beverage with a tiny umbrella in it. But instead I am in an office building slaving away for retirement. Recently I came across and article on Yahoo from a site called Millennial Money and I decided to reach out to its writer Grant. Personal finance is somewhat taboo to talk about, so I wanted to ask a Grant a few questions about money, building wealth, and ways to be more financially secure. No matter what you do in life money will certainly play apart, so as I have always said with something that is that important in everyone’s life you might as well learn the ends and outs of it.
Take it away Grant…
Tell us a little about yourself and your background? (Where are you from, where you grew up, how you got started down this particular path?)
My parents grew up with very little and moved to the East Coast to give me a better life and more opportunities. They were always very frugal and I learned a lot from them.
What made you want to create a website about money and wealth management?
I know what it feels like to have nothing and how hard it is to get ahead. I’ve lived it. Millennial Money is really my personal mission – I just want to share what I’ve learned about money and help others. A lot of people spend 2,000+ hours a year working to make money, but very little time actually figuring it out. I wasn’t to make money less complex and less taboo. I think everyone should be more open about money and share what has/hasn’t worked for them with their friends and family. Most people are afraid to talk about money. I am also interested in money as a philosophical topic and what it represents. See – http://millennialmoney.com/how-to-make-more-money/
I have read many of your articles, you say that you have a net worth of over 1 million dollars. At your current age, how is that possible, how did you accumulate such a fortune at such a young age?
I focused intensely on maximizing my value and getting paid as much as possible for my time. Once I realized that I could sell $500 projects for $50,000 it was a game changer. I’ve really maximized my side hustling. I also work a lot. There are a lot of people who want to be wealthy, but simply don’t work hard enough. In my mid 20’s I was putting in 90-100 hour weeks regularly – I fortunately don’t need to do that anymore. I also invested almost everything I made and have been fortunate enough to profit from the insane bull market over the past 7+ years. It’s been a winning formula for me. See – http://millennialmoney.com/how-to-get-a-raise/ and http://millennialmoney.com/build-consulting-business/ and http://millennialmoney.com/early-retirement-strategy/
Playing of the last question, where did you get your money to start investing? I think you said now you run your site full time, but did you have a “real” job before to get your investing off and running?
Yes, I had a $50K job shortly after college, but realized it wouldn’t be enough money so I started side hustling. http://millennialmoney.com/best-side-hustles/
Finance does not scare me, but I am always amazed by individuals who are much smarter than me but are afraid of personal finances. Why do you think people are so afraid of personal finance and their financial future?
How you think about money is a direct reflection of who you are. If you fear it, then you probably fear a lot of things – or don’t really want to look inside yourself. I think a lot of people like not knowing – they don’t ask questions – they want life to be easy or they just disconnect. To really manage your money your need to manage yourself – your potential, your dreams … it’s all linked together.
Personally I think some sort of personal finance class should be taught in high school and college for everyone. These classes should cover things like simple budget planning, how a mortgage works, how credit cards work, and other basic money principles. To me this should be law, what are your thoughts about this idea?
I agree that we should teach high school and college students about money – but it’s hard to do it, because they don’t have any. People only really want to learn about money when they start making some. Personal finance of course is personal, and high schoolers and college students (less so) don’t have any money. So why should they care? It’s tough to change that mindset – but providing resources to them is important. They might not need a full course, but maybe a book or two that are required reading like Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin would really make a big difference.
This is something I have always struggled with when it comes to saving. Whether or not we want to think about it we are all going to die, and personally I would like to have a comfortable and nice life while I am alive on this planet. The predicament is that while saving I am forgoing something I want today for something tomorrow, the problem I have with this is that I could die tomorrow and then I forgo something for today to never have it. I assume you have similarly given up quite a bit of stuff to get where you are financially. So how do you balance the wants you want now, and your overall happiness along with your morality?
Big question – check http://podcast.millennialmoney.com/e/saving-vs-spending/
I have read a lot of doom and gloom about the market, what is your take on the next 10 years or so? I have heard some other predictions on the DOW hitting 38,000, what is your take? But I have also heard that investor should expect more I the realm of 4% returns for the foreseeable future. What are your thoughts?
Who knows? I don’t try to predict the market. It matters more to start and keep investing than what you actually invest in. Put your money in a Total Stock Market Fund and keep putting as much as you can in it. Diversification is also important – so buying a home etc. But who knows what going to happen – I think its counterproductive to think about.
On you blog you have said that saving $50 a day will give you enough to retire if you do so for 30 years. On another site I read that if you just saved one times your hourly rate per day you can achieve this same goal. What exactly do you mean by “savings?” Are you talking about straight cash, or what you put in your 401K or IRA and Roth, or can you combine all of these to achieve the $50 a day goal?
Good question – the key is to INVEST $50 per day, not just save it. I think people need to start thinking about their saving rate as their investing rate. Putting that money in a savings account will actually lose you money. The question only works if you invest the $50 in the market. I don’t think the hourly rate is enough – unless it’s $50! Readers can make their own calculations here: http://millennialmoney.com/early-retirement-strategy/
What is your take or advice on hiring a financial advisor? I think a lot of individuals would rather someone else handle their personal finances. For me there is so much readily available information out there that I do not see the point of hiring an advisor and paying them 1% or more of my net worth (which is not much). But for instance if you hired one to manage your assets 1% of $1 million is $100K. That is a nice payday for something that you can do yourself. In your mind what are the pros and cons of hiring an advisor.
I think 90%+ of people can manage their money themselves, but they are afraid. Most advisors are good at keeping your emotions in check – so if you really fear investing or the market an advisor probably makes sense, just to protect you from doing something dumb. Also an advisor can make more sense when you have a lot of money like $5 million + because they can help you reduce your tax burdens and other benefits that can be a higher ROI than their fees. Your calculation is off. 1% of $1 million is $10K, but it’s still a lot yes. It’s really a personal decision. I think a lot of people aren’t that interested in managing their own money, so financial advisors are just the easy solution. A lot of advisors get a bad rap, but if you don’t want to manage your own money then finding a good one is valuable. It’s just like outsourcing any area of your life – there are good and bad options.
As I am sure you are aware I also run a blog, can you talk to me about your SEO. What is it and how does it work?
Why do you think your site has been successful? I have seen where Yahoo Finance, CNBC, and I am sure others have all published articles you have written. What do you contribute your success to?
I have a story that resonates with people. I’ve also worked hard to turn Millennial Money into a brand – it’s a good domain name, identity, and I focus on building an easy to use highly informative experience. It seems that people are also enjoying my ideas – I just write how I feel without a filter. It’s just me and I’m thrilled people are finding it valuable.
I have read that my parents’ generation (60’s ish) will be able to retire with around 70%-80% of their working income. Conversely I have read that Millennials can expect to see 40%-50% of their working income upon retirement. Why do you think there is such a discrepancy between generations?
Student loans are the problem and not saving enough. http://millennialmoney.com/are-millennials-fucked/
Investing in stocks has always scared me, which is why I usually stick to Index funds. I know you made most of your wealth on investing in Amazon stock. What is your take on just sticking to index funds, or do you think to have a truly balanced portfolio I need to invest in stocks.
When you invest in an index fund you are in stocks. 80% of my investments are in index funds and then 20% in individual equities. Stick with the index fund. It’s too easy to lose money on individual stocks unless you really know the companies.
What is the most important and simplest advice you can give someone about their financial future?
Invest as much as you can and focus on maximizing your value. Anyone can do it.
Is there anything else you would like to add, please include any links or social media where people can find and follow you.