Momentum Series Interview – Millionaire Dojo: Training Your Mind & Finances
This marks feature #39 in the Momentum Series – an interview series to share the stories of bloggers from across the personal finance community.
The goal is to showcase their story, the wins, the losses and the actionable advice that others can take value from and insights about their blogging journey. Whether that be conquering debt, maximizing career earnings, the road to financial independence or other strategies for financial and blogging success.
This week I’m excited to welcome Nathan from the personal finance blog Millionaire Dojo to the Momentum Series. On his blog, Nathan shares his own journey as he moves toward reaching his goal of surpassing a seven figure net worth. He hopes to show others that it’s attainable and provides content that’s filled with actionable advice and first-hand experience.
In this interview, Nathan shares his financial journey, top money resources, details the successes he has had selling on eBay, experiences as a blogger and much more.
If you want to connect with Nathan of Millionaire Dojo:
Ladies and gentlemen, please enjoy the Momentum Series Interview – Millionaire Dojo: Training Your Mind & Finances.
My name’s Nathan Clarke. I’m 25, married, and live in a small town in Georgia.
I’m finishing up an associates degree in computer networking. I’ve learned a lot more from podcasts and self-learning than I ever did from school though.
I’m an entry-level systems engineer/admin. It’s a remote position so I love that part about it. I started my career working in retail and eventually got an administrative assistant position at a playground company. At the playground company, I transitioned to a cost estimator position and then eventually started designing the playgrounds in AutoCAD.
I got another CAD designer position at a truss manufacturing plant and worked there for a year and a half before landing my current position. I was sending out resumes for IT positions the whole time I worked for the playground and truss companies and it took me a couple of years to finally get into IT. I did it without a completed degree or on the job experience, so I’m still kinda wondering why the company I work for hired me.
Has taking control of your money and mastering your personal finances always been your mindset as an adult? Can you share the coles notes version of your financial journey?
I’ve always been interested in learning how money works, even as a kid. I didn’t start getting serious about it until I proposed to my wife though.
When my wife and I got engaged, we started looking into buying houses. I didn’t know anything about the home buying process so I started learning as much as I could about it. I also figured it would be good to learn about money in general, so I started listening to the Dave Ramsey podcast.
We bought our first house and that has been the only real debt we’ve ever had. We’ve never had car payments and I’ve been able to pay my way through community college. My wife didn’t go to college and went to work in the movie industry full time at age 18. She made good money doing that and we were making a combined income of over 6 figures when we got married.
I continued to listen to the Dave Ramsey podcast for a year or so and eventually new every answer to any question the callers would ask. I felt like I knew everything I needed to know about money.
Back at the beginning of this year, I was having a conversation with a friend about money and he asked me if I had heard of Mr. Money Mustache. “Who the heck is that?” I said, thinking he was probably some crackpot internet guru. My curiosity got the best of me though and I read the first post MMM ever published. Over the next few months, I read all 490+ posts on his site so I guess you could say I got hooked on the financial independence movement.
My wife decided to stop working on the movies because it was consuming her life. This cut our income by over half, but we decided there are more important things than money.
Now we’re making an average or slightly below-average income but still saving 30-50% of what we make each month.
My goal is to become a millionaire as fast as I can, while still enjoying life. We’ve got a long ways to go, but I’m sure it will happen sooner than I think.
What strategies and tactics have you implemented in your to life to best set you up for financial success?
There are a lot of things we do, and I’m still learning new ways to optimize our finances. Here are the top things I can think of that have really helped us be successful with money:
- Stay out of debt other than our mortgage.
- Keep a monthly budget.
- Save as much money as we can by cutting back on unneeded expenses.
- Created an emergency fund that has enough money in it cover a few months of expenses.
- Invest in low-cost Vanguard index funds.
- Started an eBay business on the side that has generated several thousand dollars in a few months.
Have you made any major financial mistakes? If so, what was the outcome and what did you learn from these mistakes?
Thankfully, we haven’t made any huge financial mistakes. We currently own three cars so I guess the third car would be the biggest unneeded expense that we’ve had. We’re trying to sell it and hopefully make most of the money we spent on it back. We’ve never had any car payments or student loans, so we’ve been fortunate in that regard.
I’d say the second biggest mistake to owning a third vehicle would be spending too much money at Target and other retail stores on the weekends. We try to stay out of stores as much as possible these days.
Is there an area or area(s) of your own personal finances that you’re still looking to better master and improve?
I’m always looking to improve any areas I can. The two I need to focus more on right now are earning more income and tax optimization. I don’t know much about lowering my taxable income by putting money into 401ks and other retirement vehicles, so I definitely have a lot to learn in that area. I’ve never made more than $50k in a year, so I have more to learn about boosting my income as well. I’d like to learn more about real estate investing also.
If you could send a memo to every 18-22 year old in North America about better managing their finances and understanding money but it could only be 3 sentences long, what would that memo be?
Stay out of debt. Start saving as much money as possible right now. Invest your money into Vanguard index funds and don’t touch it until it’s at least 25x your annual expenses.
What are some of the most influential resources that have shaped your money mindset or financial situation?
The only financial book I’ve ever read is Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover. I need to read more of the classics like The Simple Path to Wealth, Your Money or Your Life and The Millionaire Next Door. I have gained mostly all of my financial knowledge through blogs and podcasts.
ChooseFI is my favorite money podcast handsdown. The way that Jonathan and Brad are able to break down the concepts of financial independence into actionable steps makes this the best resource for learning how to become financially independent in my opinion.
The Financial Independence Podcast by the MadFientist is a close second to ChooseFI. Brandon does a great job interviewing his guests and the stories shared are really inspiring.
Millennial Money Minutes is a great resource as the episodes tend to be only 5 minutes long. Grant and Matt do a great job of covering financial topics in a short amount of time and I learned some things listening to all 280+ episodes.
Dave Ramsey Podcast is the first money podcast I started listening to and is great for people who are in a lot of debt. His advice is a bit lacking if you’re looking to become financially independent though.
Scavenger Life is a podcast about eBay reselling. I’ve learned a lot listening Jay and Ryanne and I have to say they’ve inspired me to pursue eBay as a full time income stream.
I listen to the Joe Rogan Podcast sometimes and he has had a lot of amazing guests on his show. It isn’t about money, but you’re going to hear some interesting stuff if you listen to it!
I’ve listened to all of the episodes of the Jordan Peterson Podcast. He doesn’t talk about money, but he’s one of the most prominent intellectuals alive and each podcast episode is very intellectually stimulating.
- Mr. Money Mustache is the one that started this whole financial independence pursuit for me so I have a lot to thank him for.
- The Mad Fientist is a great blog for learning about tax optimization.
- JL Collins has a life changing stock series on his blog.
- Travel Miles 101 is the best resource for learning about travel hacking that I’ve come across.
- Millennial Money is an inspiring blog to read as Grant became a millionaire in just 5 years.
- Get Rich Slowly is one of the first ever personal finance blogs so I gotta give JD Roth a shoutout.
The list could go on and on as there are so many great money blogs out there.
Apps or Services
I like using EveryDollar for budgeting.
Personal Capital is an awesome free app I use for tracking my net worth.
Yard Sale Treasure Map has been really useful for me to find yard sales in my area for buying things to sell on eBay. I also find things to resell using EstateSales.net, Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace.
How did you get started reselling items on eBay for additional income? What was the goal?
I started selling my stuff on eBay when I was about 13 or so using my mom’s information to create an account. I’ve sold random things ever since and decided to start doing it seriously back in April 2018. Around that time is when I started pursuing financial independence and I tried eBay because it was something I was familiar with. After I started listening to the Scavenger Life podcast, I realized I could make eBay my full time income stream eventually and I have been working towards that ever since.
I like the idea of becoming a full time flipper because you get to own your time and work when you feel like it. You do have to put a lot of work into it, but I just like the thought of eventually working for myself and dictating my career future. On eBay, your income is determined by how much work you put into it so I think it’s a great way to increase my income.
What are the most influential lessons you’ve learned since starting? How have you adjusted your strategy and tactics to reach further success?
I’ve learned that you can sell just about anything on eBay and that America is filled with leftover items that you can buy for cheap and sell for a lot more money on the internet. With that being said, you only have so much time in the day to list and ship items. It’s important to find things with a high ROI so you make more money with the time you put into it. I’d like to eventually make a $25 profit on every item I sell.
What advice to get started would you give to someone who might have closets full of extra stuff they want to sell or who might be looking to start flipping items?
Come checkout my blog and look through the eBay content I’ve created. You’ll learn everything you need to know to get started! Selling on eBay is simple but you can make mistakes pretty easily. I’ve created a guide to show you how to avoid the mistakes I’ve made and set you up for success from the start.
When did you first start blogging? Was there a specific launching off point or what influenced you to go down that path?
I published my first post on March 30th 2018. I started my blog after deciding to pursue financial independence and I wanted something to help me track my journey.
Is there a mission statement or underlying purpose to what you intend to accomplish with Millionaire Dojo?
The goal of Millionaire Dojo is to tell my story of becoming a millionaire. I think a million dollar net worth is attainable for a lot of people and I thought it would be fun to see if I can actually do it. By sharing everything I’m doing to become a millionaire, I hope to show people that they can do it too.
Do you have any specific goals with your blog over the next 12 months? What tactics are you planning to leverage to accomplish these?
I don’t have any concrete goals, I’d just like to see my readership grow and hopefully hear from some people that have been helped by reading my content. I know several people have started selling things on eBay after reading some of my posts, so that’s cool.
If you could recommend 3 of your blog posts for Making Momentum readers to check out, what would those be?
I’ve got three series of posts going on my blog that people might find interesting.
What sells on eBay shows everything I’m selling on eBay and how much money I make from it each month.
My monthly net worth updates are where I show what I’m doing with my money and track my net worth going up or down each month. I definitely don’t post these updates to brag. I just want people to see what I’m doing with my money on this track to becoming a millionaire. If my net worth goes down in a month, I share it. If I spend too much money on something, I’ll tell you.
The millionaire interview series is where I interview millionaires to learn how they achieved their wealth. I’m looking for more guests, so if you’ve got a net worth over a million dollars and want to share your story, reach out.
Any final pieces of advice or recommendations?
Personal finance is personal. It’s good to read and listen to others about their financial advice but you don’t have to do everything you learn. It’s best to optimize the information you learn to fit your personal situation. I love Mr. Money Mustache but it isn’t possible for me to commute anywhere by bike because I live too far away from everything.
Any special shoutouts?
I’d just like to thank Scott for the opportunity to share a bit of my story. The personal finance blogger community as a whole has been really encouraging and there’s a lot of nice people out there to network with.