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Hi, my name is Lyle.
Welcome to Own Your Dollar. I’m glad you’re reading this, because our interests are probably aligned. You likely want your time and the effort it takes you to earn a dollar to be worthwhile. You want to explore new hobbies, travel to new places, meet new people, and spend more time with the people you already know and love. I want that too.
I’ve been on the path to learning how to own my dollars and save — and spend — them consciously since 2017. I’m a work-in-progress.
During the 6 years I spent in the US Air Force, I learned about saving money and investing in a Roth IRA. When I left the Air Force at 26 years old, I had maxed out my IRA for 4 years in a row, and I had $12,000 in savings. I figured I had money pretty figured out. My sage money advice back then was something like, “you make some money, and then you save or invest everything you don’t spend”.
After I left the military, I took 4 months off to relax and explore some new interests (like programming) before I started my first college semester. After one semester, I took 9 months off to backpack the Appalachian Trail (all the way from Georgia to Maine) which was amazing and totally worth it, but I came back with basically zero of my $12,000 dollars in saving.
I was working at two restaurants when I started the next semester, and I looked forward to the GI Bill covering my tuition and my cost of living. While the GI Bill did provide a lot of financial coverage, I still found myself spending so much money that I left a free 4-year education with $18,000 in student loan debt. I didn’t have a safety net, so when something went wrong — like my 15-year-old Honda Civic breaking down — I was scrambling to borrow money and adding to my debt.
Only months away from college graduation, I realized that I would be looking for my first job and then earning my first paycheck. I started researching how to save money and plan for my future, and I found some blog posts that highlighted “early retirement” and the FIRE (financial independence, retire early) movement. Accidentally stumbling upon those articles changed the trajectory of my financial life and provided me a new mindset to question the default mindset of “work until you’re 65” that so many Americans seem to have.
I want to pursue my passions NOW, not in 30 years. I want to travel and make music and spend as much time as possible with my family and friends right now. If saving the largest percentage of my take-home income and learning to live on as little as possible is the fastest path to financial freedom, then, I thought, I’ll take it. Turns out that is all easier said than done.
I’m Glad You’re Here
I want you to have the life you want, and to spend your time — your life — in the ways that make you feel most alive. I want this for me as well. We may be at different periods of our lives. I’m in my early 30s. Maybe you’re 60 and about to retire. Maybe you’re 16 and just started working, and you’re looking for some financial planning advice (good for you!). No matter your age, you can always learn new things, create new habits, and craft a new way of life. That’s really what this is all about — crafting a life that feels great to you.
Craft a Conscious Life
Own Your Dollar is about consciously crafting your life so that your time and money work for you. Let’s explore personal spending habits, saving habits, and new mindsets so we can make our dollars work for us. Making money is not easy — we all know that from experience — so why do we spend it so quickly and easily? I think it’s time we gain an appreciation for our dollars, and let our dollars gain appreciation for us.
If you need a hand or have any comments or questions, please leave them below. I am more than happy to help you out, and I’m happy to learn from your experience.
All the best,