If you haven’t noticed, the last few articles I’ve published highlight thoughts by other bloggers. Today I’m continuing that trend with an article inspired by John of ESI Money.
Last week an article on Business Insider surprised me like few do. John from ESI Money was detailing his weekly spending habits. I know what you are thinking… snore… mega snore!
He has a $3 million dollar net worth. Did that wake you up?
I remember John running a popular personal finance blog in 2006. So while most people view him through the lens of his ESI Money blog, I remember our conversations and his writing from
10 years ago.
What really hit me over the head was that he’s age 52. That’s exactly 10 years older than me.
I feel like I’m in one of those fun houses with mirrors on both sides that reflect each other forever. Except in this case, I’m seeing 10 years backwards and 10 years into the future.
Is ESI Money Lazy Man 10 Years From Now?
The simple answer is… of course not. Financial lives are like snowflakes and fingerprints, no two are the same. However, when people open up their financial lives, it’s possible to find some things that you have in common.
I found that I had more in common with John than I thought. For example here are the main money points:
- $3 Million Net Worth – We’re not even close to that. However, we’ve been doing well and our net worth has consistently grown over the last ten years. I feel like we could be in the same place in 10 years. Maybe I’m over-optimistic due to the incredible bull market run.
- Real Estate Income – The article mentions that John has 14 units in Michigan which he bought after the housing crash. We have our own real estate “empire” consisting of 3 properties that make us no money. However, we’re paying off the mortgages quickly and in 2027 (almost the magic 10 year number), we should generate a nice income from them.
- Website Income – He notes that the businesses of ESI Money and Rockstar Finance produce income. Lazy Man and Money produces an income as well.
- Investment Income – It’s no surprise that he’s got money invested. We have the same, but the money is in retirement accounts, just doing its thing until we need to get it. His money pays dividends that can be used for income. Ours will do the same someday, but we’ll have to figure out how to get them out of the retirement accounts with minimal taxation.
Aside from the money stuff, John has two children. We have two children. He has a son at home who works full time and a daughter in college. In 10 years, our kids will be 14 and 15 and starting to think about college. The timing is a little different, but only by a few years. (We started a little later than most.)
The article then goes into the spending breakdown. The first thing that hit me was:
“College for our daughter is our largest expense, but the money for that comes out of a 529 plan. We paid off our mortgage over 20 years ago, so we only pay utilities, taxes, and insurance.”
Our 529 Plan is a little small for two children now. It would be larger, but we pay for private school.
You may have heard of a debt snowball or a wealth snowball, but I view this as an education snowball. We’re doing our best to give them the opportunity for a scholarship at a top college. We aren’t putting all our eggs in that basket though. My wife’s GI Bill will cover two years of public school for each (and some amount of private school). Between the GI bill, the 529 plan that we have, potential scholarships, and having our biggest expense paid for (house), I feel we’ll be okay. I’d also like to have our boys have some “skin in the game” just to make sure they go to class.
(I’m just waiting to pull the ultimate Dad line: “Do you know how much dog poop I picked up for you to go to that school?!?!” There are hidden benefits to dog sitting.)
While we won’t be able to say that we paid off our mortgage 20 years ago, we’ll be able to say it is paid off in 10 years. We’ll pay only utilities (reduced by our solar panels), taxes, and insurance as well.
The rest of the article follows the ins and outs of John’s spending over a week. It’s a great read, but not the point I want to make here.
I want to highlight this:
“This week we spent $1,095.93 — just about 13% of our monthly income.”
That number is actually inflated because he flew to DC to help set his daughter with a summer internship. (Side political thought: I hope the intership is paid.) In any case, all the income above averages to $8,257.
It’s hard not think about what we could do with an extra $7000 a month. What would you do with an extra $7000 a month?
You can read my last 12 years of financial history on this blog. Do you think we can get to John’s place in 10 years?
Bonus: John mentions loving Pi Pizza when he’s in D.C. For me and my wife, the best stop is Burger, Tap and Shake