He works two full-time jobs and still makes time to write about money.

David from Finance Super Hero grew up as a hardworking, money-conscious kid. As a boy he earned money by painting sheds, mowing lawns, and picking up odd jobs whenever the opportunity arose.  At age sixteen, he started his first job as an usher, box office attendant, and concession team member at a local movie theater.

“It was tough to manage an honors-level school workload, the demands of sports and marching band, and work 10-15 hours per week, but the experience taught me that extreme hustle was not only possible – I could thrive while doing it,” recalls David.

His parents instilled a hard-working attitude into David, and taught him the importance of family. But David’s grandfather influenced him the most. “My biggest financial influence was and always will be my grandpa,” says David. “I spent a lot of time with him throughout my entire life until he passed away in 2013.”

He taught him the real value of money — and gave him a few lessons on how to haggle. David told me this story…

When I was nine, baseball was life. One day, my grandpa and I visited a local flea market, and I had my sights set on baseball gear. Upon finding a wooden baseball bat for sale, Grandpa and I had the following conversation.

Grandpa, I want that bat! It’s only $5.

We’ll get you that bat, but not for $5. We will get it for $2, or that guy can keep it.

But. . .

Now, take these two-dollar bills and tell the man you want to buy that bat. Show him the money, and tell him that it’s all you’ve got. I’ll be right over here.

David says, “Moments later, I was the proud new owner of a beautiful antique baseball bat. More importantly, I just learned lasting lessons in communication, negotiation, and the power to willingly walk away if the price wasn’t right.”

As David grew older he attended college at Trinity International University and graduated with a degree in Music Education and Music Theory/Composition in 2009. Jobs were scarce but he found one teaching elementary general music.

Later in 2015, he earned a graduate degree and landed a job as an assistant principal. But something was missing. “I realized that I just wasn’t happy,” says David. “I tried to make it work, but the job was an awful fit for me. I knew I needed to get out and head back to the classroom, but I would need to take a pay cut to do it.”

The pay cut spelled trouble because not only did he earn a new degree, he also accumulated $17,000 in student loan debt. But that didn’t deter David and his wife. They made paying off the debt, priority number one.

“During our debt payoff stretch, we were very aggressive with our budget cuts,” says David. “We eliminated restaurant spending, the cliché trips to Starbucks, and all entertainment expenses other than cable. Basically, we paid our mortgage payment, utilities, and bought inexpensive groceries at Aldi.”

100-hour work weeks

I asked David what motivated him. He told me progress, achievement and helping people. And you can’t reach either goal without hard work. He learned this by watching his grandpa.

I grew up hearing stories about my grandpa’s work ethic; he worked full-time as a machinist, built his own house from the ground up, worked part-time as a painter for his father-in-law, and helped out at his dad’s butcher shop,” David says.

David learned well. He works three jobs and logs insane hours. “On average, I typically put in 40 hours in my teaching position, 35-40 hours in my real estate role, and another 10-15 on FinanceSuperhero.com. A ‘typical’ week often means 100+ hours of work.”

But he doesn’t mind. He says, “Helping nine-year-old children sight sing melodies, serving a real estate client looking to buy or sell a home, or helping readers get control of their life and money, I’m happiest when I’m serving other people.”

David started his blog in 2016, while he and his wife were paying down the student loan debt. “Writing about money seemed like a smart way for me to navigate my own financial journey and maybe help others at the same time,” says David.

I asked him if he could help our readers by providing some financial advice. David didn’t hesitate.

  1. Remember that your financial outlook is yours and yours alone. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to managing your money, so you need to be in touch with your own personal values and goals.
  2. The most important things I’ve learned about money resulted from giving to others. You learn a lot about yourself and gain a healthy attitude about money through charitable giving. And if you don’t have money, donate time instead.
  3. When it comes to money, always run your own race. Comparison is called the thief of joy for a reason. Don’t waste time and money trying to be something or someone that you’re not.

Thank you for your inspiring story, David.

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About the Author

Brian Bienkowski

Brian Bienkowski

Brian Bienkowski has been writing about personal finance for over 15 years covering debt recovery, fraud, and credit topics. He has worked on several personal finance books and guides that help consumers navigate the US credit system. When he’s away from the keyboard he enjoys craft beer and fishing – and once enjoyed a cold Sweet Water IPA after catching a sailfish.

Published by Debt.com, LLC