You’ve heard the saying “don’t put all of your eggs in one basket” (because if you drop the basket, all of the eggs break, and you lose all of them). What I’m about to discuss is about having one egg in one basket… the difference is… when the egg breaks… it breaks into ~3600 little eggs. That one egg is VTI. It’s technically not a stock, but an ETF (a fund that you can buy and sell as a stock). It’s managed by Vanguard (and I use the word “managed” loosely). VTI is also known as a mutual fund under VTSAX (3K initial investment). Note there used to be a VTSMX with a 3K initial investment and slightly higher fees, but Vanguard did away with VTSMX and now there is only VTSAX (it’s all the same, and all VTSMX holdings were converted to VTSAX). Now let’s get back to discussing this one egg concept…
My pursuit of financial freedom started in my 20’s (30 years ago). I did not know anything back then about FI or FIRE, or one of the original books on all of this… “Your Money or Your Life”. I simply didn’t want to have to work and be controlled like my father was at his jobs. My father served in Vietnam in the 101st Airborne in his early 20’s. After that, with his jobs, he pretty much got up to an alarm at 5am for almost 50 years until he died. While I deeply respected my father’s hard work and sacrifices (I’ve never known anyone who worked harder), I wanted more, and I wanted to not be a slave to an alarm clock for the rest of my life.
Fast-forward to 2012, I was finally making some good money after 20+ years of hustle (200+K of profit). I was technically a millionaire on paper by then due to my software subscription business model (X multiplier of net profit with recurring revenue), but I certainly didn’t feel like it. Just a few years prior I was paying off IRS debt (that’s another long story), and I had zero savings. Yes, you read that correct, zero.
What Do You Mean Don’t Set Goals Too High?
I am all for setting big goals, but goals should not be impossible. Furthermore, you can be a big success with small goals. Let me give you some examples…
You don’t have to have the success of Warren Buffett (Berkshire Hathaway) to be considered a success in investing.
You don’t have to have the success of Bill Gates (Microsoft) to be considered a successful software entrepreneur.
You don’t have the success of Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) to be considered successful as an app maker.
You don’t have to own as much land as Ted Turner (he also created CNN/TNT/TBS) to be considered a success in real estate.
You don’t have to sell as many books or have as many podcast downloads as Tim Ferris to be considered successful in media.