Well, there it is. I'm leaving my teaching job at the end of the year.
It seems like it hasn't been that long since I started on the side project that became Millennialmoneyman.com. In the beginning, that is all this website was…a side hustle, dream, stupid thing that I wasted time on, whatever. I started posting on a free blog website about 5 months ago as a way to let off steam and vent about the frustrations that I had with the world around me.
I posted an article and shared it on my Facebook feed, and it got a bunch of shares and views. A really good friend mentioned that I should create my own website, and I figured it would be pretty easy and fun. I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
I had just finished putting my head down and paying off my student loans at an almost unbelievable clip, while all of my friends were racking up a ton of debt and hurting their future chances at building any real wealth. I paid off almost $40,000 in student loans in a year and half, and had no idea why other people weren't doing the same things as me. I was an average Millennial making a teacher's salary, but it seemed to everyone else that I was doing the impossible.
Every day I had to justify to myself why I was doing what I was doing to get rid of my debt: Do the unpopular things, sacrifice, delay your gratification, and be different than everyone around you.
Somehow, I had the presence of mind to see what my friends were setting themselves up for later down the road, and I hated it. I wanted to help desperately. I felt like I had to do something to get the word out, and fortunately I have the gift of being good with my words. I've never thought that I was a strong writer, but people seem to like my “style” for whatever reason. Again, I've learned a lot about myself, but really none of the lessons I have learned in the past 5 months are more important than this:
You don't have to live with student loan debt forever, and it's possible to start building wealth at a young age.
That brings me to my job. I honestly have no complaints about my job or any of the people that I work with. The school that I teach in is incredibly supportive and located in a really cool community. I'm a high school band director (no jokes about band camp please). The arts unfortunately aren't supported very strongly in most places like they should be, but in this small city they are. Honestly, it is a dream job for teaching music.
The kids have been awesome, the staff is incredibly talented, and my job is fun. However, I knew that my love of teaching people about how money works didn't quite fit with what I saw for my future as a band director.
The achilles heel of my job is that teachers don't make a lot of money, and I desperately wanted to have a path towards building real wealth and helping other people become debt free like I was able to do.
After I started Millennialmoneyman.com I noticed that other people were reaching out and asking me questions about how I paid off my loan debt so fast. Emails and website comments started rolling in, and I LOVED answering them and trying to help people get out of their debt in any way that I could.
People that feel like they are trapped in debt want hope, and I am passionate about giving that hope to them.
I'm sure you are wondering what my plan is. Most people don't just quit their job and take leaps of faith, and I totally understand why they don't. This is not for the faint of heart, it's really scary. Fortunately, I have a vision and a plan that takes a lot of the risk off of the table (in theory). The most important thing I can explain is that I am not doing a blog full time, but I am creating a financial education company.
One of the things that I tell people all the time is to monetize your existing skills. I am a teacher, and I am really good at education (I financed a degree in it!!). The way I see it, I am still staying in the same business…but the curriculum is changing. I want to teach people about money in as many ways as I possibly can. Books, live seminars, my website, etc.
In regards to the live seminars…my entire working life has been spent standing in front of people and talking for a set amount of time. I've picked up a ton of public speaking skills that I can utilize to teach young people about money. The other advantage I have is that I have been in the schools and know exactly what kids know about money. Spoiler alert – they don't know anything. One of the reasons that I saw an opportunity in my new company is that they really really WANT to know about money. Everyone wants to be rich someday, it's not a freaking secret.
The school systems are failing the kids on a financial perspective from the state level down, but will be forced to push them towards financing expensive college degrees in the name of successful education. We are literally pumping out people in this country that will be racked with tens of thousands in debt and have no idea how to handle any aspect of money. The problem goes WAY deeper than learning how to balance a checkbook, and they haven't really been taught how to do that correctly.
They don't even know what capitalized vs. simple interest is, but they will have to pay it for years after college. It's really scary.
If you were wondering; yes, I am financially set up to start this company/adventure. After I paid off my student loans, I continued to sacrifice in a successful attempt to build some wealth as a young person. My fiancé and I are both teachers, but we have become so good at living below our means that we were able to save up a REALLY good amount of money to create a cushion for this type of crazy dream.
By paying off my debt and not taking on any more, we are able to enjoy “life liquidity” – I made that up, don't steal it. We can make gutsy, seemingly ridiculous decisions like this because we live below our means and delay our gratification. It's one of the things that I will be teaching in my future seminars ;).
I could go without making a single dollar for a year and not even start to freak out…but it won't play out that way. I'll hustle and work as hard as I can, and we will be just fine. In fact, we are getting married in two weeks, and going on a sweet honeymoon in about a month. Life is good, regardless of the major leap of faith that I am about to take.
I'll leave you with the most important reason that I am pursuing my new company. At the end of the day, the most important thing to me is that my message is working and that I am helping people get out of debt. Fortunately, I have been sent more and more posts and emails like this one in the last few months: