I sometimes search the internet at random, stumbling into and out of blogs and natural hair websites. When I was bored at work one day, a friend recommended podcasts. Now, I’d never heard of podcasts— I wasn’t really one to explore the vowels of my cell phone. With some coaching, I found the app where they were stored, and started listening at random.
I never knew this haphazard exploration would plunge me into the personal finance would, consuming my drives to and from work and downtime at my desk. I began to think of money through the success stories I listened to all day, activating the lifestyle changes they suggested and mulling over the appearance of their investment strategies in my personal context.
I saw young people living freedom focused lives, independent of location requirements, free to explore. I learned of the benefits of being debt free, of real estate investment for cash flow, and of the FIRE movement. But the first step to any of this was to figure out where you were.
When I first took stock of my finances, I wasn’t quite where I needed to be. I had no budget or sense of what I was spending each month, and was consumed with debt and poor fiscal decision-making. I had student loans, a mortgage, and was assisting family in meeting their daily needs.
Within a year, I’d shifted the distribution of my net worth, liquidating my real estate assets and satisfying my my debt to remove the monthly payment. I cut up my cards, purchased two homes in a new city (one for my mother to rent and another to live in) and married the love of my life.
So now, taking stock, I’ve more than tripled my net worth moving from a value of $435k to one of more than $1.5m. Still, this net worth is not as available as I’d like, with a third caught up in real estate holdings and most of the remainder caught up in retirement assets. With that, my current goal is to build enough cash to retire early, outside of a formal retirement account such that I can access the funds in early retirement.
I’m often asked for podcast recommendations, on money and beyond. For those that know me well enough to know my story, they ask about which podcasts I listened to in order to change my life so drastically.
I’m always happy to share, but work hard to point out that so many of these podcasts and blogs are not the creative property of Othered persons, and therefore lack the cultural competence in their methods to fully resonate with people of struggle.
This is a gap I sought to fill with Thicker Grits— a gap noting that Othered people most often wrote about style and beauty, sometimes travel, but so few wrote about content that can change the struggle paradigm in which we were born.
But more on that later.
I’ve included a litany of blogs, podcasts and instagram folks who have helped as I’ve shifted my mindset in the Thicker Grits Bibliography. There are also a host of other works included there for those interested in heavier or more technical reading.
What has helped you to shift your way of thinking?