Today is the 21st of January, and I thought I'd have some fun with the theme of 21. It's been a long time since I've really talked about myself, so I thought that I would share 21 facts that you probably didn't know about me.
This site has grown exponentially since I started it in 2009, so I know there are a lot of readers out there who don't really know who I am. And that's sad. I'm a big believer that people connect with people – so hopefully you'll connect with me a little more now that you know these 21 different facts about me.
Let's jump in – I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
1. I'm turning 30 this year… Holy shit I'm turning 30. I can't believe that I'm no longer going to be in my twenties. My wife jokes that I'm The College Investor, but I'm no longer in college. Well, this site is over 5 years old and I really did start it when I was sitting on the back row of my college classes. Besides – it's also about the content, and millennial a need help when it comes to escaping student loans and starting to save and invest.
2. I've been married for 5 years. Best decision I've ever made. My wife is my best friend and partner – and there is nobody more supportive of my many ventures than she is. Pro Tip: find an amazing partner and your life will be successful.
3. I have an 18 month old son. Second best decision ever. My son is the coolest kid ever – yes I'm biased but so what. There is nothing more that I love than playing with him and teaching him new things.
4. I have a half black lab and half golden retriever. She was my first child and she will always be the first. Her name is Abby and we love her – and she is so tolerant of my son sitting on her. You'd never know she was half golden retriever until you saw her demeanor.
5. I took out $40,495 in student loans. This grew to a peak of $44,810.47 before I graduated and started making payments. I was also able to pay off these loans in about 2.5 years – through a combination of tuition reimbursement from my job and side hustling. If I didn't have the tuition reimbursement program at my job, I would not have taken on these loans and gone into such debt. You have to make sure it's worth it – it only was because of that program.
6. I got my first job at 16. I was a cart pusher at a local store. I'm a big believer that kids need to work. My first real job was in high school. My mom told me if I wanted to drive a car this summer, I had to get a job and pay for it. She dropped my off at the mall and said “call me to pick you up when you have a job”. I applied at a few stores and ended up being a cart boy.
7. I really started working when I was 12 – being a bridge caddy at a bridge club where my parents played. Before I even pushed carts, my parents taught me the importance of working. When they would go play bridge, they would bring me along and I would caddy – basically moving the card decks from table to table. Pretty boring job, but it paid nicely in cash under the table at the end of each shift.
8. I started investing at 16, right after I got my first real job. I remember opening my first account at Sharebuilder, because I didn't have a lot of money and I thought the $4 commissions were low priced. I didn't know what I was doing but I had some early wins and kept learning.
9. I've side hustled as long as I can remember. I sold candy out of my backpack in middle school. I used to buy the bulk candy packs at Costco and then sell individual size bars at lunch – using netting myself double what I paid. I then opened my first eBay account in January 2002 (when I was just 16). I started selling anything I could find – from old video games to junk in my grandpas attic.
10. I was a really good bowler. Yes, my sport of choice was bowling, and I was pretty good. I bowled almost weekly in middle school, high school, and even college. For those of you who are thinking it, in my last league I averaged 202 for the season. Not too shabby!
11. I enjoy collecting coins. This is my hobby, but I don't have the time (or money) to devote to it. My favorite coins to collect are Kennedy Half Dollars, and I have a complete series with many of the coins being high MS or PF. Coin collectors will know what that means. Oh, I took pictures of my coins too.
12. I like drinking craft beers and local brews. I'm a beer guy, and I love trying out local craft brews. The great thing about being from Southern California is that there are a ton of great breweries nearby. Know a great beer I should try? Let me know if the comments.
13. I prefer computer games over console games. I've always been a gamer – since I got my first computer in elementary school. However, I've never enjoyed console gaming. I always prefer computer gaming. My favorites? I like Sim City, Civilization, and Counterstrike.
14. Mexican food is my favorite type of food. Carne Asada burrito please.
15. Favorite TV series ever? Stargate SG-1. Yes, I'm an action/adventure/sci-fi type guy. I've watched every episode of Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis. I've even watched the movies they made based on the show. Nerd alert.
16. Favorite movie? Armageddon. That's a movie that has it all – including a love story! If you don't like Armageddon I don't know what to tell you.
17. I really hate public speaking, but I'm trying to work on it. Most Americans have this fear, and I'm no different. But I am trying to work on it – and I'm looking for speaking gigs. I love being on podcasts and will be doing a webinar soon, but I'd like to take it to the next level in 2015.
18. I'm a contributor for Forbes. I focus mainly on education and money issues. Check it out if you haven't yet.
19. I really enjoy answering reader questions. Of the 1,000s on my email list, when I ask “Ask me anything”, less than 1% ever really do. I think it surprises people when they get a response back from me.
20. Last year I branded America's Millennial Money Expert™ – and I've been quoted as that which is pretty cool. I'm also known as America's Student Loan Debt Expert™ – which was also published in a real-life newspaper!
21. I hate talking about myself, and couldn't come up with a 21st other than that. But I really did want you to know more about me as a regular person.
Over to you – tell me about yourself? What do we share in common?