Financial Independence Interview-Gen Y Finance Guy

Who are you and tell me about your reason for setting a goal of FI?

My name is Dominic and I am the man behind Gen Y Finance Guy. I come from very humble beginnings, growing up on welfare and with drug addict parents. My 3 brothers and I slept on the floor of my grandmothers 2 bedroom apartment for most of our youth.

Statistically speaking I should be in prison right now. However, this apple fell on a completely different continent from the tree. My dad (if that’s what you want to call him) has spent a good 20% of his life in prison for the manufacturing of methamphetamine. Yeah, I know total Breaking Bad visual.

With no role models at home, I got in a bit of trouble in my youth. Until one day I had the pleasure of meeting the owner of a pizza place that allowed kids to come in and fold pizza boxes in exchange for free pizza and soda. He became my mentor and the first REAL father figure I ever had. I was in the 6th grade when I first met Dan.

As Dan got to know me and my background he took an altruistic interest in my life. Before I knew it he had me bringing him progress reports. Before this I was failing out of middle school with a 1.33 GPA. But now I had someone who cared enough to set a standard for me. I quickly turned my GPA around earning my first 4.0 report card.

During my 7th grade year his family took me into their home and treated me as if I were their son. Years later they tell the story about how excited I was to get new socks. That was a luxury where I grew up. During my time with Dan and his family my brothers had gone to live with my father after his most recent release from Prison.

The summer between my 7th and 8th grade year I flew to visit my brothers and grandparents from Northern California to Southern California. When I came back I told Dan and his wife Sonya that I wanted to go and live with my dad and brothers. This was their worst fear. Fortunately my grandfather lived close by and re-assured them that he would step in if anything were to happen.

Both of my parents abused many drugs and it shows. You name it and they have probably used and abused it (marijuana, cocaine, meth, heroin, etc…). I still remember the day before my 13th birthday when my dad got picked up for 3rd time for meth labs. His friend had my brothers and I searching the house for drugs in case the police came back to the house. It was the first time I had seen black tar heroin.

This was only 3 months after moving in with him. Luckily my grandfather was there to take my brothers and I in. He was a great man and the 2nd father figure and role model in my life. Dan and my grandfather were the kind of men you aspire to be like. They showed me an option in life that I had no idea existed for someone like me.

For brevity sake I will stop there. But to read more about my story you can read it here and here.

So why did I set a goal of FI?

I didn’t want to end up like my parents. When you experience the bottom of the barrel you have two choices:

  1. You can leverage your experiences as motivation to ACHIEVE your dreams. When people ask me how I did it, I respond by saying “how else would I have done it, when you consider where I came from?”


  1. You can make excuses and blame your past for your failure as a human being. When you ask someone who uses their past as a crutch to explain away their failures, they respond very much the same way, “what do you expect when you come from a family and an upbringing like me.”

I also set my goal for Financial Independence because I had two mentors in my life show me that I could, if that is what I really wanted.


Who got you started and who motivates you on your Financial Independence journey?

Well, as I shared above, Dan and my grandfather got me started. They taught me a lot about money and value, which I used to think, were one in the same. But come to find out, money is something you get in exchange for the value you bring to the world.

They were both business owners, which is for sure where I got my entrepreneurial bug. To this day I feel it a duty to constantly set and achieve goals in order to make sure I fully maximize the knowledge and kindness these two men showed me.

My grandfather has since passed away, but he is in my thoughts at all times. His best traits have become a part of my being. Dan is still in my life and I am very close with him and his family.

I am lucky to have such great mentors and role models.

What or Who is your Why?

My wife and my future family are my “why” (well and my dogs too). FI is not about the money, it’s about the options in life it affords you. The end goal in all of this is to allow my family to live life by design. To have TIME FREEDOM. To have LOCATION FREEDOM. To have FINANCIAL FREEDOM.

Time is our most precious and scarce resource. It’s the ultimate currency.

Sometimes we all need to take a step back from our FI pursuits and remember what it’s all about. It’s about the freedom we have to spend our time with our family & friends, and doing the things that bring us fulfillment.

Do you have any debt?  If so do you have a plan to pay this off before FI?

The only debt that we currently have is the mortgage on the house we live in and an investment property. We have plans to pay off the mortgage on our primary residence before we turn 35. In January of 2015 we put together a plan to pay our mortgage off in 7 years.

I call the plan the “pay more tomorrow” strategy. Each year I assume that we will be able to increase our income by $10,000/year. Each year we will add an extra $800/month to the mortgage. We never get used to seeing the money. So by year 7 we are paying an extra $5,600/month in principal.

Now there are a lot of different views about this in the personal finance community. The first person the question the strategy brought up the loss of the tax write off. I did the math and over the course of the accelerated loan payoff, we only end up paying an additional $10K in taxes.

Then of course there is the argument about cheap money and how you could earn more in the stock market. It’s a good argument. I did run some different scenarios here. Now there are probably plenty of scenarios that I didn’t run. But I do remind folks in the post I linked above that this is not in place of investing.

We still max our retirement accounts and we look at paying off the house early as our bond allocation. Personal Finance is….well personal. You have to put together a plan that works for you and your family. But also keep in mind that plans are subject to change as circumstances change.

This is just one piece of a bigger financial pie (yum, I love pie).

What planned income streams are you working on towards FI and Early Retirement?

It’s probably a good time to just come out and say what my goals are. A few months ago I put together a very detailed plan in my ultimate goal of $10M in net worth. I know it sounds crazy and arbitrary. First let me clarify that this is not my FI number. The plan has my family reach FI by January of 2023, when our Net Worth will be almost $2M.

The plan is to set up as many streams of income as possible. Ideally most of these will be passive income streams. They fall in 5 major categories:

1 – Business (blogging, digital products and services, and ecommerce)

2 – Real Estate (rental income)

3 – Stocks (dividends & sales as needed)

4 – P2P Interest Income

5 – Interest on cash (hopefully rates will be higher at some point)

Ideally there will be multiple income streams in each one of these categories.

What are your plans during early retirement?  (Travel, special projects, part-time work)

We want to spend 3-6 months a year in a foreign country. We excited to blend work, travel, culture, and freedom.

For us early retirement is not about not working, instead it’s about working on the things that are important to us. I’m really excited about becoming a fulltime lifestyle entrepreneur. Working where I want, with who I want, and on what I want.

We will spend more time doing things we already do. But instead of fitting our lives around our work, we will fit our work around our lives. Some of our favorite pass times include:

  • Reading
  • Working out
  • Water skiing
  • Skiing and Snow Boarding
  • Food (we LOVE food)
    • Cooking
    • Eating at new restaurants and going to ones we love.
  • Travel
  • Business Building
  • Spending time with Friends & Family
  • Learning (could see picking up a foreign language)

This is not an exhaustive list, but it gives you an idea of the things we enjoy. These are also things we already do as often as possible. That brings up a good point.

Something we don’t believe in is suppressing every indulgence in life for “someday”. Don’t wait until you reach FI to enjoy life, because none of us are guaranteed a tomorrow.

We plan to trade in our day job for our dream job. Together we plan to LIVE LIFE BY DESIGN!

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