The following is a new profile for the BFS Reader Profile series. Today we are getting to know MMD from My Money Design. Thanks for participating!
Hello BFS readers! I’m the writer / creator of My Money Design and I go by the anonymous name MMD. My Money Design is a blog that is all about perfecting your “money design” – the way you do things with your money and life to help you get you closer to your financial goals. For me, I end up spending a lot of time focusing on early retirement and how many investments plan to get me there.
About the MMD Family
I’m a 32 year old guy with a lovely wife of 10 years and two beautiful kids. We live in the U.S. just outside of Flint, Michigan. If you’ve never heard of Flint, it was actually the birthplace of General Motors. Flint was also made incredibly popular in the Michael Moore movie “Roger and Me”.
Unlike a lot of the Reader Profile stories I’ve read here on BFS, our story isn’t really one of overcoming debt. Rather it’s about how two average kids got to where they are today, and where we plan to go from here.
My wife and I met in college and decided to marry at a very young age. By the time we were expecting our first born, I was still finishing up my senior year. She had just started teaching with a salary of $30K. I was still working part-time as a server at a restaurant.
My first job (several months out of college) is still my employer today. I took a job as an engineer making $35K per year – which was far below the median $60K my friends were making doing the same thing. Given the circumstances of no other offers, no prior experience, and a child on the way any day, I decided to take it. Thankfully it ended up being a very smart decision.
Rather than just accept that this was it in terms of income, we both had an insatiable appetite for more. Like most parents, my wife and I knew that we wanted opportunities for our kids beyond what we could currently provide. These were things like a house, access to college, family vacations, the whole nine yards! So we both pushed ourselves harder. We both went back to school and got Masters degrees while were working full time. One funny story is that my son was born on the day of my accounting final!
I also quickly recognized that my employer had a generous profit sharing program where the most valuable employees would be paid a handsome bonus each year. Rather than leaving this job to take my chances somewhere else, I did everything I could do to position myself as one of the top performers. It paid off!
The Paradigm Shift – How Our Financial Goals Have Evolved
When you’re young, the only way you know how to do better or make more money is by working at a job. While there’s nothing wrong with hard work, I began to realize that there were some serious flaws in this way of thinking.
For example, were there ways I could make money that DIDN’T involve working? Of course there were! When I was a child, I was fascinated by the concept of “interest” and how one can make money for literally doing NOTHING more than simply lending it to someone else. This led me to be very passionate about learning everything I could about investing and safe-guarding my money. But things didn’t stop there.
My obsession with passive income was only later amplified when I read a mix of good books like “Rich Dad Poor Dad” and “The 4 Hour Work Week” that demonstrated other ways of generating potentially unlimited income. Looking for such opportunities is what led me to blogging and dividend investing. The other great lesson I received was watching so many people lose their jobs / fortunes during the Great Recession of 2008. I was seeing firsthand what the consequences of not having diversified income and taking on too much investment risk would do to you.
So with that, the focus of my wife and I shifted from “how can we make more money” to “how can we become more financially independent”. That’s where the concept of the “money design” was born. Now we have a very ambitious goal to retire in our 40’s. If you’d like to see how we plan to do this, check out the latest update of our money design.
In a nutshell, we plan to achieve this through living in moderation, doing well at our jobs, utilizing all our tax sheltered retirement accounts, concentrating on building passive income streams, and continuing to be financially educated. To date, our best year of combined income was just under $200K and our net worth is above $400K.
Why I Blog and What You Should Take Away
There’s nothing special about what we do. We simply set a goal and never stopped asking what we can do to get there. That’s what I promote week after week on my blog. I want to help people accomplish the same things we achieve.
But there’s something else that’s great about blogging that I never realized until later. It keep ME innovating. I’m constantly trying to come up with new ways I can hit my goals and push the limits of how we can become financially free.
What I’d really like you to remember is that regular people can WIN when it comes to money. All you need to do is stay ahead of the curve and be willing to do what others do not. Even though building wealth can feel like chipping away at a tall mountain, never stop asking yourself how you can get more efficient at doing it!
My question for the readers: What strategies have you found that work for building wealth and reaching your financial goals?
Crystal’s Comments: Great profile! I have been a bad Crystal and haven’t been reading enough other blogs for the last year or so. MMD’s financial views seem very much like my own and I should have known that, lol. Looks like you are off and running towards early retirement! Go, boy, go!!!
If you would like to participate in this series, please follow the guidelines found at BFS Reader Profile and submit your own story. Everyone is more than welcome and you can stay anonymous if you’d prefer. Thanks!
FYI: I worked at a dead end cubicle job from 2005-2011 for about $30,000 a year. I went self-employed in July 2011 and make between $80,000-$100,000 through blogging, a rental home, and professional pet sitting. If you’d like to start your own site (link to my free step-by-step guide), I highly suggest checking out Bluehost (my referral link with a nice discount for you). I even have all of my favorite tools on a resource page - I hope they help you too. This all gives me the time to be with my aging family members, the flexibility to stay close with my friends and family, and it should help if we finally get pregnant too! Please contact me any time at budgetingfunstuff*at*gmail*dot*com with questions or just to brainstorm! I’d love to help!