Today I have this week’s installment of our segment: Interviews with money experts. I talked with Erik from The Mastermind Within.
Without further ado, here’s the interview.
Could you give a summary of your career and how you came to start The Mastermind Within?
I graduated from undergrad in 2013 with a degree in Math and knew I didn’t have the skills necessary for a big boy job. At 20 years old, I still had a lot more learning to do and started a Master’s degree.
In January 2015, I started my first real job as a financial risk analyst where I was looking at market risk at a regional bank. A year later, I switched jobs to a statistician and programmer and have been in this role ever since.
At the end of 2016 though, I was getting a little antsy – I have an entrepreneurial mind, and I love creating things. I also have a goal of financial independence at a young age and was looking to start a business of some sort.
That’s when I started The Mastermind Within – a blog is a low-cost entrepreneurial endeavor and will allow me to work on my writing, web marketing skills, and maybe someday bring in some money through ads.
I’m 16 months into that experiment, and I’m loving it. I write about personal finance and my pursuit of financial freedom, self-improvement, and entrepreneurship. I also just started a podcast (which Jake was on at the end of April -> Jake’s Episode)
How’s podcasting going so far?
Podcasting has been interesting. I’m enjoying it, but at the same time, it’s quite a bit of work. For 1 episode, it’s about 3 hours of work. That being said, I’m able to reach many more people in a different way than through my writing!
I saw your girlfriend recently moved in. What’s it like having two personal finance enthusiasts in the same house?
It’s been fun, and while we both are motivated by wealth, we have different opinions about how to get there. She is trying her hand at entrepreneurship, and it will be interesting to see how that goes.
I’m pretty happy, and she respects my time with blogging and podcasting as well so it’s a good fit.
Where are you currently in your financial journey?
I’m a little over 3 years in my financial journey. When I got my first real job at the beginning of 2015, I hit the ground running.
Since then, I’ve paid off my $8,000 student loan, another $8,000 auto loan, about $30,000 in mortgage debt. In addition to this, I’ve bought a house and had 3 of my friends paying me the rent for 2 of the years, and also started to max out my retirement accounts.
I’m just getting started but I have a great base of assets: about $50,000 in home equity, $50,000 in retirement accounts, and $50,000 in taxable accounts.
What are your plans for the next 5 years to get closer to FI?
Over the past 3 years, I’ve been focused on creating multiple income streams, and this is still my focus for the next few years. When I was 23, I purchased a house and had 3 of my friends paying me rent. This extra income allowed me to pay off my student loans, an auto loan, and build up some decent equity in the house I still live in now.
I still have 1 roommate, so this is decent passive income, but I’m looking to still create other income streams. I have my blog and podcast, which I’m focused on growing to attract advertisers, and I have a subscription box business I’ve been working on the past year, that I’m trying to grow and make that into something worth my time and efforts.
In addition to these side hustles, I’m going to continue to sock away money in my retirement accounts. This year is going to be the first year I max out my 401(k), and I’ve maxed my Roth IRA the past 3 years. At the end of 2018, I’ll have roughly $45,000 in my 401(k) and $17,000 in my Roth, which at 26 is pretty good :
Outside of this, just keep consistent with saving money. Real estate is in the back of my head always, as well as alternative investments such as precious metals or cryptocurrencies (which I have a little of both as a hedge to the general stock market)
What is your end goal?
My end goal is financial freedom. What’s interesting is I don’t have “a number” right now. Some people say, oh, when I hit $1,000,000 in net worth, I’m done, or when I hit $50,000 in passive income, I’m done with work.
For me, wealth is my goal, and I’m more focused on the near term since I’m just starting out. If I focus on building wealth and establishing a solid base in my twenties, I will be in a great spot my thirties, forties, and fifties.
Were there any lessons you were taught growing up that you appreciate now?
Save early and often. Never stop saving.
Understand that debt is not your friend, and look to stay away from spending more than you earn.
Both sets of grandparents of mine have hammered this concept home. My mom’s parents travel to multiple countries a year and were able to retire in their early 60’s. My dad’s parents probably never made more than $40,000 in a year, but live comfortably in the Midwest and are still saving some of their Social Security checks to this day
Any lessons you hope to pass onto the next generation?
Right now, I’m trying to influence my teenage sisters and it’s not going so well… but it’s a work in progress.
I want to pass on to the next generation the mindset of critical thinking will get you incredibly far in this world. So many people just go through their lives never questioning the status quo. Months, years, decades pass and all of a sudden, you wake up and you realize you missed out on an opportunity or a few opportunities because these opportunities were outside of your worldview.
I’m trying to influence others to open up their thoughts and minds to think outside the box and live with an abundance mindset. There’s so much potential in the world to do what you want, live out your dreams, and be wealthy in all areas of your life.
What are some things you’re trying to teach your sisters?
I’m trying to influence my sisters to think outside the box and to also think critically about their future. My parents became adults in the 80s and the world has changed significantly since then. While yes, many of the same principles are in place in terms of career progression and work, there are SO many more ways to make a living and to get ahead.
My 16-year-old sister is looking at working at Target. She took a class about graphic design, so I asked her if she would want to try to be a graphic design freelancer and try her hand at that? My 24-year-old sister thought this was dumb though, because “graphic design” is crowded.
I live with an abundance mindset, and if you are good enough, a space will never be too crowded for you.
Could you explain what an abundance mindset is and how that translates to finances and other areas of life?
Imagine you and I are walking down the street, side by side.
You breathe in. You breathe out. I breathe in. I breathe out. We both need oxygen to survive. Would it cross your mind that there would not be enough oxygen for both of us? Of course not—air is abundant.
Now, imagine we are scuba diving and my scuba tank starts to malfunction. I signal that I need to share the oxygen in your tank. All of a sudden, the air becomes a precious commodity. Its scarcity makes us worry. What if there isn’t enough for both of us?
Many people live with a scarcity mindset – a mindset which is zero-sum.
You win, I lose.
I win, you lose.
People with this type of mindset have a hard time sharing success with other people and are jealous of others’ success.
How I take this mindset and apply it to my finances or other areas of life is I say, there’s always something out there for me in the world.
There are millions of billions of dollars in the world. I can become wealthy if I just get 0.0001% of that. There are millions of people needing to be helped. I just need to find the right product or service to help them. There are millions of women out there – I just need to meet the right one to start a family.
With a scarcity mindset, I might say, I could never come up with a product that will help people, or every woman I meet doesn’t like me, so I’m not going to try.
What’s an app, a book, and a blog that you’d recommend to somebody who wants to improve their finances?
I use Mint and my spreadsheet for tracking my income and expenses, and I have this spreadsheet for download on my site.
What are some good tips you picked up from The Richest Man in Babylon?
Save at least 10% of your income, make sure you have proper insurance, and invest only in things which you understand are a few keys from that book.
Is there anything else you could add that would add value to the readers?
Consistent efforts over time result in big successes:
What you do today matters. What you do every day matters. Successful people are those who understand that the little choices they make matter and because of that they choose to do things that seem to make no difference at all in the act of doing them, and they do them over and over and over until the compound effect kicks in.
Where can people go to learn more about you and your work?
Our readers can go to The Mastermind Within.
On The Mastermind Within, I talk mainly about personal finance. financial freedom, and self-improvement, but I also talk about tips for business, career, and entrepreneurship.
I post Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, with a podcast episode that goes live Tuesdays.
Jake and I recorded an episode about personal finance that went live April 24th! You won’t want to miss it!
That concludes my interview with Erik. I hope you gained some new insights into how to improve your Financial Health and grow your Wealth. Come back next week for my interview with Katie from Chain of Wealth.
So readers, what was your favorite point made here? Anything you want me to follow up with Erik about?