Today’s edition of 10 Questions comes from Richmond who writes over at PF Geeks! Richmond is probably the first and last blogger I’ll ever feature who had a streaking habit. Perhaps his most famous included an attempted streak at Taco Bell. I’ll never look at a churro the same way…
Hey 1500 Days readers! My name’s Richmond and I blog over at PF Geeks about all things personal finance for recent college grads and people who are new on their personal finance journey.
I’ve been following the 1500 Days blog for a while and knew that Mr. 1500 and I shared the same sense of humor, so I sent him an email with the subject line, “The time I streaked through a taco bell.” I figured Mr. 1500 was comfortable posting a picture of his own nuts so why not share the story about how I tried to run through one of our country’s finest fast food chains wearing nothing but a clown mask.
It’s a true story, but you’ll have to keep reading to get the deets.
Where do you live? Do you love it, hate it or just meh.
My wife and I live in Houston, Texas and we are “just meh” about it. Houston is a great city for a lot of reasons–amazing food, good job opportunities, decent cost of living, and people who care about each other. We’re close to family which is a huge priority for us!
But we’ve spent our whole lives in Texas.
I was born in Dallas, grew up in Austin, went to Texas A&M for undergrad in College Station, and I’ve been living in Houston ever since. My wife was born and raised here in Houston.
Every once in a while we get the itch to pick up and move, but we know we’re rooted here for a while longer!
Do you rent or own? What are your thoughts on homeownership?
We own! We actually bought our first home in January of this year and have loved the experience so far. We were tired of renting and wanted the chance to make a place our own, host people, and maybe start building some equity along the way.
Houston has a great real estate market and we never thought we’d be able to buy in the area we did. It took 8 months of watching and waiting to finally find someone willing to accept our lowball offer.
We moved in, did some renovations using a 203K loan and made a sweet $25k in equity on the purchase. We’re in an incredible area and while it’s impossible to guarantee when a home will make for a good investment, this has all the indicators that it could be.
A huge part of our financial independence plan is owning our home outright. As a pastor, everything I spent on housing (up to a limit) is tax-free, so I have a bit of an incentive to own.
What do you do for a living?
I work full-time at a church down here in Houston where I lead the youth ministry (middle school & high school students). Most of my time is spent in sermon prep & preaching, recruiting volunteers, and planning retreats for the youth group. I also oversee our Sunday morning volunteer teams, website, and sermon podcast.
I absolutely love what I do. I’ve been working at this church for three years now and I’ve only had five bad days of work that entire time.
I’m also in seminary getting my masters in theology. It’s a 120-hour program and I’m about 70% of the way through.
I have a couple of other projects and things I do to make money. I make about $500/month freelance writing and my blog is making a few hundred on top of that.
So back to that “streaking through a taco bell” story…?
Yeah, so let me be clear. The whole streaking story took place WELL before I became a pastor.
I already googled the statute of limitations on indecent exposure and I’m in the clear. But now I’m probably on the NSA’s watch list or something. Oh well.
Let’s talk tacos.
You know, how people go through weird phases in high school?
My high school buddies and I had a streaking phase our senior year. And I’m not talking that rookie stuff like wearing a man thong and running around. We went full-on birthday suit.
So one day we were bored and decided to go streaking.
Why was that our idea of fun? No idea. Maybe we had too much free time on our hands.
The night started with us streaking through a party of underclassmen where I ended up having to hurdle someone.
Mr. 1500 note: I’m so thankful this hurdle wasn’t recorded.
I really can’t imagine what I must have looked like to that poor soul sitting right in the main walkway of the party. The visual of a 200lb+ dude wearing nothing but a clown mask jumping over you when you’re high out of your mind probably scarred them for life.
I’m still sorry about that to this day.
After testing out our track skills at the party we decided to get a little bolder so we hit up a shopping center in our area.
We planned on streaking through one of our country’s best taco joints… Taco Bell.
We were going to sprint towards the drive-thru entrance, cut through the store, and get picked up a couple of hundred yards away.
The only problem was we never made it into Taco Bell. The drive-thru door was locked to the outside.
We froze for a solid 3-4 seconds. Standing there naked as the day we were born with giblets and all hangin’ out.
And then we realized there were two grandmas sitting there in their car in total shock. Kudos to those two grannies for getting themselves some late-night tacos. They sure got a lot more than they bargained for that night.
We stood there, gave them a little shimmy, and then high-tailed it out of there.
Why did you start your blog?
As much fun as it is to share stories about my high school days, it isn’t the only reason I decided to start writing online.
A few years back I was working in a job that I absolutely hated. It was a miserable work environment and I was looking for a way out. I stumbled onto some guy blogging about blogging and I was hooked on the idea.
Yep. I started my blog to make money. But considering I made a whopping $1.08 my whole first year of blogging, you could say that things aren’t quite going according to plan. I am still trying to turn it into a way to build residual income.
The longer I’ve been blogging though, the more I’ve realized that this is ultimately all about finding ways to help people. Financial literacy and having a plan for my finances has completely changed my life.
I want others to have the peace of mind that comes with a financial plan. I want them to have marriages where money isn’t a source of tension.
So my dream is to help thousands of couples and other young people figure out ways to save money, make money, and take control of their finances so they can plan for their future.
What has surprised you about blogging?
The biggest surprise to me has been the community. When I first set out to blog, I had no idea there was this whole group of hundreds of other finance bloggers out there! I thought it was just a bunch of the big names that we all know and read.
Getting to connect over twitter, on each other’s blogs, and even in person has been super cool. The community has helped me find new ways to save money and has inspired me to keep writing and reaching people.
How do you stay fit? (If you’re one of those crazy Crossfit people, please don’t tell me that I suck because I don’t do it. This has happened.)
I’ve always loved to work out. I started working out in 8th grade cause I was tired of being the chubby kid. A couple of years later I was just the chubby kid who was strong.
These days I still make it to the gym 3-4x a week even with a full-time job and grad school. I also hate Crossfit, so no worries there!
I do a powerlifting style of workouts, so I’m always trying to get stronger. I recently hit a new personal record for a 500lb squat (vid for proof)!
My diet is basically a timed carb diet (TCD). I eat no / low carbs on days where I don’t work out. Then on workout days, I reward myself by eating carbs for energy.
I don’t like eating healthy, but I know it’s good for me so I suck it up. The only way I’m able to stick to any kind of healthy eating plan is because I enjoy cooking. If I have food already cooked that is healthy, then it is 10x easier for me to make the right choice.
Is your goal financial independence? If so, where are you on the journey
Our number one financial goal is financial freedom! But I don’t think we’ll ever retire early.
We both love our jobs. I wake up every day excited about what I get to do. We’re chasing financial independence so that we can be secure in our retirement, provide for our family, and so that we can give generously to people and causes we care about!
I’d also love the opportunity someday to not be able to work without money as a driving factor. I have several book ideas in mind that I’d love to pursue, but I don’t foresee happening while I’m working a full-time job.
We are early on our journey to financial independence. We have a net worth of over $100k, with about $60-70k in savings and retirement.
What is your FI number? How close are you?
It’s tough to know our FI number because we don’t know how many kids we’re going to end up having! We think we’d like to have 3 biological and adopt another. With 4 kids and a bunch of unknowns with health-related expenses, it’s hard to predict.
If I had to guess, we’d try to have a retirement budget of around $60,000 in today’s dollars with a paid-off mortgage. So our FI number is around $1.5 million!
I definitely expect to be making an income in retirement through adjunct teaching, guest preaching, and possibly writing.
We’ve got a long way to go! But we’re making good progress. Our hope is to have $100k in equity accounts by the end of this year!
Do you track your spending? If so, how?
We didn’t used to track our spending. We thought that we could “budget by feel” and that as long as we didn’t “feel like” we were spending too much, then we would be fine.
The problem is that our “feel” was totally off base.
A couple of years ago we decided to set-up an account with Mint to see how much we were spending across the board. It blew our minds.
We were spending more money every single month on food than we were on rent and utilities. All because of eating out too much and overbuying at the grocery store. We immediately started two new habits: meal prepping to lower our food spending and tracking our spending.
At first, we tracked every single purchase and line-item, but it was too time-intensive for my schedule with full-time work, part-time grad school, marriage, working out, and blogging. Something had to give.
So we took on a new approach to tracking our spending.
We would only track the areas of our budget that were prone to overspending.
Most of our expenses are fixed or have a narrow band of variability.
Things like our mortgage, taxes, insurance, and memberships are all fixed costs so we have no need to really keep track of them.
Then we have expenses like gas, gifts, and utilities. Those things don’t change much month to month and if we get to the last week in a month and run out of gas, we’re going to fill up our dang cars either way.
So now we only track our spending in 4 areas: House budget (for furniture, improvements, etc), eating out, grocery store spending, and our personal allowances.
If we can keep those 4 line items in check each month, then we have zero problem hitting all of our savings goals and for the most part, sticking to our zero-based budget.
We also do this manually. For us, it takes about 30 seconds to manually input a transaction into our google spreadsheet. We probably have a max of 20-30 transactions each month that fall into these 4 categories, so it takes us a whopping 15 minutes every month to stay on track.
For us, this has been way easier than a once a month total review of all of our spending and we have real-time data on how much we’ve spent on any given day.
What is your favorite money management tool? (Yes, you can include your affiliate link.)
This is tough.
On one hand, I love tools. They make my life easier, save me time, and sometimes save me money.
But I also hate tools because they make me lazy with my money. We used to use Mint to track our spending, now we do it manually.
I thought about using personal capital to track our net worth, but we do it manually.
Any time I talk with beginner-savers, I never recommend tools because they need practice and experience to actually know how their money management works.
I’d say the #1 tool that I would recommend to everyone is a high yield savings account. We just signed up with the CIT bank savings builder account and we’re making 2.4% in interest! Click that link to get a massive bump on your savings account.
We’ve made more interest in the last 6 weeks than we made all last year with Wells Fargo’s pitiful .01%.
We are literally making 240x more interest on our savings. That’s huge.
I recently wrote a post, CIT Savings Builder Review, that you can check out if you’re interested!
What did your parents do to raise you to be financially smart?
I’m incredibly lucky to have a dad who passed on a lot of financial wisdom and is willing to talk openly about his finances. My dad recognized early on that I was a natural saver and loved to make money and learn more about it. He did a fantastic job nurturing that and training me up.
Growing up, my dad and I would go hunting or fishing a few times a year. These were always times for great conversation and for sharing life lessons. My dad me how compound interest worked when I was in 4th grade–before getting the ol “birds and the bees” talk. In 7th grade, he taught me how mutual funds work and the value of diversification.
He incentivized me by acting as the bank. For every dollar I contributed to my savings, he would match it. Eventually, I was saving too much for him to match me 1 to 1!
By the time I was in 9th grade, I had finally saved $2,500 which was the minimum to open up my first mutual fund at Fidelity. We walked into a local branch and he helped me sign all the paperwork I needed. I was officially an investor!
And now that I’m 26 and a few years into my career, the lessons haven’t stopped. He retired this past February and we’ve had hours of conversation discussing their strategies for saving for retirement, withdrawing funds, and how they are mapping out their retirement budget.
Favorite beer? Favorite pizza place? (this is a throwback to the original series)
My all-time favorite beer is New Holland brewery’s “Dragon’s Milk.” It’s a bourbon barrel stout with an 11% ABV. A solid runner-up is the Gulden Draak 9000 quad ale. Both of these beers are like a full meal.
Carl didn’t ask me about liquor but he should have… My favorite scotch is a Lagavulin 16 year but if I’m trying to ball on a budget then I go with the Balvenie 12 year doublewood.
My favorite pizza place is my own kitchen. I make a pork belly pizza with habanero honey that is killer.
Thanks PF Geek! Maybe I’ll see you at FinCon, hopefully fully-clothed! Although, a naked leap over the FinCon Flamingo would be pretty epic. Please do it when I’m not sitting in the Flamingo!
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