During this time of uncertainty it’s important to see the big picture. If you look at today alone, the day may be filled with self doubt and isolation. However when you step back and look at time in terms of months, years, and even a decade your big picture may look brighter. That’s why I decided to create the Decade Money Challenge. Recently I looked at the past, today let’s look at the present.
The decade money challenge is an opportunity to see what your finances, career, and health looks like today. But also to see how far you and I have come since 2010, a mere decade ago.
This challenge is for everyone, not just those with a website. After reading I’ve added a link for everyone on Twitter to join in.
I challenge you to look back at 2010 and work your way towards today, the present here in 2020. It’s an opportunity to see how you have changed, grown, succeeded, failed, and everything else in between.
Because so many big events happened in my life I wanted to share some of the highlights. Oh what a decade can do to your life! From 2010 so many things happened that it’s pretty crazy to even think about. In no particular order:
I’m closing in on 38 this year, which as you may well know is certainly very close to the illustrious age of 40. Am I supposed to feel old? Dress a certain way? Take naps during the day? Have 2.3 kids? I’m not really sure but here’s what I know.
Despite the long sleeve collared shirt to the right, I certainly don’t dress like an old man. These days I can be seen mostly wearing a t-shirt and athletic shorts with the occasional polo shirt and dress shorts for special occasions.
I always hear I don’t feel XX age, well the truth is I feel my age. By that I mean I’m responsible. I enjoy some of the simple things in life. I get angry less often. I’m now old enough to think roller coasters are scary AF. I worry about my parents more and more as the years go by.
My current age feels rightly appropriate.
At 38 I’m more likely to have 1 beer than 6 beers. More likely to watch a sunset. Go for a walk. Cook dinner for my wife.
Today I rarely ever curse and tend to let things go as I’ve learned it’s not worth my time.
I’ve always been a little scared of heights, but didn’t mind riding a roller coaster, but now think I’m literally playing with death as they announce the safety instructions.
I talk with my parents on a weekly basis and have seen age, health, and money come up in more and more conversations. I’ve turned into a psychologist, doctor, and financial advisor as all topics are discussed on a regular basis.
Physically and mentally I am in much better shape than I was at 28, although low bar to beat. In better shape than when I was 18? Now that’s a tough call, I suppose it depends on your measurement of choice.
During the past decade I have spent most of my time working for U.S. Bank, a Fortune 500 company and the 5th largest bank in the United States.
One of the things I feared as I entered the workforce was shifting from job to job as this caused me and my family some instability growing up. Coming out of college I told myself that I wanted to grow within the same company.
U.S. Bank became that company for me. While I shifted job titles, groups, and divisions of the company I ultimately stayed in the same company that took a chance and hired me. I’m a loyal person. What can I say?
When I started back with U.S. Bank in 2010 making and hourly rate and what would amount to $30,000 per year I was incredibly grateful to have a full time job working for a well respected bank. As the years moved on I would pursue positions internally that interested me and received a number of promotions along the way.
After a successful career with U.S. Bank I left the office for the final time on July 27, 2018. My final salary was in the $65,000 neighborhood, not including my Total Rewards as the bank calls them. My intentions were to stay with U.S. Bank in a remote position but the job offer never materialized.
While U.S. Bank was certainly my full-time 9-5 career I also earned income in a variety of ways. I sold used and gently used clothing on eBay. My wife and I became real estate investors. I even started this very website in April 2014 as I talked about paying off debt and my pursuit of financial independence.
Since that time leaving U.S. Bank I made a choice to start a small business and rebrand Even Steven Money. Today I focus on my business as a financial coach. I am a financial coach not for the money, but rather to help people reach their financial goals.
My career moving forward is to work on projects that interest me. I’m just getting started. I have worked as an analyst on an Anti-Money Laundering project, volunteered as Athlete Relations at Wodapalooza, and of course my work as a financial coach.
In 2010 I had debt of over six figures. Today I am debt free.
Here’s a brief glimpse into the dates and amounts:
I paid all of my personal debt in 5 years. I wrestled with the Goliath total of over $100,000 in debt and came out with a David like victory to the total of $0.
For that alone the present is bright as I reflect on my #DecadeMoneyChallenge with zero personal debt is such a proud accomplishment for me.
Since we are talking about proud accomplishments, besides of course marrying my beautiful wife in 2011.
Along with marrying my beautiful wife I inherited a home near Miami, Florida along with a mortgage. In 2012 we purchased our Chicago multi-unit property, living on the top floor and renting the remaining units. I believe the kids are calling it a house hack.
After we became married our Florida home became a rental shortly after. After we became intentional real estate investors in Chicago we made paying off the rental home in Florida one of our top priorities, paying off the home at the end of 2016.
When my wife and I moved back to Florida in 2018 we sold our Chicago home. This allowed us to not only pay off our mortgage, but also included a nice profit.
From the days of debt up to my eyeballs to the present day 2020 and not a debt in sight. A lot has changed in the past decade and I am very humbled and grateful for it.
The story continues as I am humble and grateful to be where I am today financially. That being said it was not without hard work, an extreme focus on debt repayment, and educating myself in all aspects of personal finance and investing.
While I won’t dive into the actual value of our portfolio I will share some of the high level assets and investments.
Currently we have flexible financial freedom. This allows my wife and I to focus on our values of family, travel, and my continued journey towards better health & fitness.
As we continue to save and invest our assets increase over time along with the power of compound interest. We are a short distance away from financial independence but our main focus is on spending more time, energy, and money on what we care about the most.
In 2010 I achieved what I consider a respectable weight for my height, 6’2”. Throughout the last decade my weight went up and down usually staying in the 230-245 pound range. Not exactly where I wanted to be. Looking back I would describe my health and fitness level as mediocre.
2017 opened up my eyes. While on vacation with a former college roommate who now lives in Montana and another friend who I have known since Little League baseball I realized I wasn’t in the physical condition I wanted to be.
Running up a hill in Montana and a few pictures from a Tulum, Mexico destination wedding made me realize that I didn’t want to be mediocre.
I wanted to run up the hill together with my friend, not walk together as I caught my breath. Those vacation pictures I wanted to share them with the world on social media and with friends, but instead I felt insecure at the picture staring back at me.
For that reason in 2018 I started to focus on my health and fitness. It started with a 10,000 kettlebell challenge along with a transformation challenge. I feel like from that point on I have never looked back.
Today I primarily workout at my local CrossFit gym. I like the challenge of different Olympic style lifts, competitive WODs among friends, and also improving my flexibility and mobility.
In fact in January 2020 I gave a talk at CampFI, which is held at a camp like setting for those individuals and couples in the pursuit of or who have reached financial independence.
My talk centered around just how important values are as we pursue our financial goals. Health and fitness transformation was a key part of my talk and will continue to be part of what is important to me moving forward.
The biggest thing I can say is that I made a choice, health & fitness is who I am.
In the words of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air my life has turned, flipped upside down……..
My financials, assets, and health & fitness have vastly improved. My career path has primarily been focused on banking and increasing my income. Today my career has shifted and is less about money and is more focused on doing what I enjoy.
I am happily married living in a paid off home doing my best to enjoy the moments that come along with each step in my journey. Over the last 10 years I have focused on improving my financial well being and my health and fitness. I am truly blessed and humbled to be in the position I am today.
I hope you enjoyed reading my Decade Money Challenge. I enjoyed writing this so much I actually created a three (3) part series.
Over the course of May I will be releasing the remaining articles of the Decade Money Challenge. While this article focused on the present, the others have focused on the past and the future. Make sure to subscribe so you don’t miss out on the series and of course my monthly newsletter.
Click on the below link and share with us your own Decade Money Challenge!
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