I never thought I’d be the person with a book titled “YOLO” on my bookshelf, and yet here I am. What’s more, I’ll probably even buy a few more copies and hand them out as Christmas and graduation gifts! I received a free copy of the book from the author himself, Jason Vitug, when he dropped by on his roadtip: The Path to Financial Wellness.
Jason is a Millennial like me, so I related to a lot of what he had to say during his presentation. He’s also where I want to be in life, so I listened hard and took lots of notes. #nerd
He started off in life like so many do these days: ‘normal’ upbringing, 4 year university education, student and consumer debt. Then he saw the light one day when he got the promotion of a lifetime to CEO of the credit union he worked at. Pretty impressive when he started out as a teller!
After turning down the promotion (and the 6 figure salary that came with it), Jason sold his belongings, paid off his debt, and backpacked around the world. Then he started Phroogal and starting writing. It’s kind of turned into a Q&A platform for finances and has over 65k members! I definitely recommend taking a look around!
Jason’s presentation was about Financial Wellness. It sounds like just another talk about finances, but it was more than that. It’s about health and wealth. If you don’t have health, you won’t enjoy any wealth you accumulate as much, or have as long to enjoy it. Yes, it’s good to have financial goals, but those should help you achieve your life goals. Money isn’t the end of the path: it’s a tool to help you on the path of life.
He brought up a lot of points that made me think. For instance, his first conversation about money with his parents came when he was 17. 17!! That’s crazy to me. I was having conversations about money as soon as I was old enough to talk and ask questions. Mostly in the form of me asking for things, and Mom having to explain we couldn’t afford it. Then when I got older, the conversations shifted to what to do with the money I did get: allowance, Christmas and birthday money, babysitting money, lawn mowing money and money earned helping my Mom with her cleaning business. The rule in my house was you have to save the first 50%, and then you can blow the other half on whatever my little heart desired. Which was basically candy, house key and library card replacements, and Pokemon games.
As I approached driving age, I started to ask more questions. Would I be getting a car? Would they help me cosign for a car if they wouldn’t buy one for me? Would they put me on their insurance? Would they add a line to their phone plan for me? How were we going to pay for college? It soon became obvious my parents weren’t going to do more than the bare minimum of feeding me and providing shelter (and even that they revoked when I was 18). If I wanted a car, a phone, clothes, or a college education, I was going to have to pay for it all by myself. So I did. It sucked hardcore then, but now I’m grateful for the experience as it taught me a lot about money and living when failing wouldn’t have quite so big an impact.
Going back to Jason’s presentation, he also had a lot to say about the direction life can take. One line I really liked was, “You can’t get where you want to go if you don’t know where you want to be.” That’s deep. So many people just wander aimlessly through their life and then look around in their 50’s going “what happened to my life?” They don’t use their time mindfully. Jason said, and I agree, that our time is our most valuable thing we own. Hence the title of his book. YOLO. You only live once. And you can’t get that time back. Companies pay us for that time! Only problem is, I value my time more than any company can pay me, so I want to get out of the corporate life and live it how I want.
He held a bit of a Q&A session at the end, and the thing that surprised me the most was how basic the questions were. Should we have an emergency fund? What to do when it’s constantly being used? It makes me sad that grown adults don’t know even the most basic of financial fundamentals. It would seem to me there’s a big market out there for financial education, if people wanted to change their habits and behaviors.
All in all, I’m glad I went! The presentation wasn’t really aimed for fellow financial independence bloggers, but I’m happy I got a chance to connect with a fellow blogger, meet other financially minded folks in the community, and I even handed a few of my new business cards!
Jason, if you’re reading this, I’ll see you in San Diego for FinCon!
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