Welcome to One Millennial World!
I am Lara. I live near Denver, Colorado. I am a nurse, a millennial and a personal finance champion.
I, like most millennials, went to college to get a shiny degree and diploma. I graduated in May of 2011 with my BSN and summa cum laude honors, after 5 years of college.
I graduated with a total of $35,000 in student loan debt!!!
And, even though I graduated as a nurse with a BSN, passed the NCLEX exam quickly and easily a few weeks later… I could not find a job. There might still be a nursing shortage, but most employers are very conservative to done right resistant on hiring new graduate nurses. It is actually a real struggle to find and land your dream job as a new grad RN.
To get my feet wet and make some money, I took what jobs I could. I worked a seasonal job giving flu shots and other immunizations. I worked as a substitute school nurse for a local school district. In November of 2011, I finally took a PRN (as needed) position at a Rehab/long-term care facility. This was only PRN, so most of the time I was only working 2 (12 hour) shifts a week. It wasn’t until 9 months later that I was able to land a full-time position with benefits within the facility.
However, this wasn’t my dream job. I wanted a hospital job – I wanted to work with higher acuity patients. I was diligently continuing my job search and submitting countless applications at local hospitals. But, it wasn’t until March of 2013 that I finally accepted a full-time job at a Magnet recognized hospital on an adult telemetry/cardiac unit. I love working as a cardiac nurse. It’s rewarding and challenging and hard work, but I love it.
So, back to my $35k in student loan debt. I knew I didn’t want to pay the ~ $400/month payment for the next 10 years. Why? Because I wanted to buy a house, I wanted to save money, I wanted invest and grow my money and I wanted to travel the world. And, most importantly, I didn’t want to end up in financial ruin like my parents.
As I started college, I watched my parents finances implode. After years of reckless spending by my mother and my dad’s utter denial, they almost lost their house to foreclosure, ended up filing bankruptcy and then called it quits to 20+ years of marriage. It was a time of major stress and uncertainty.
I didn’t want to end up like that ever! I didn’t want this debt, or any debt, tying me down and limiting my options.
So, I paid off my loans in 25 months, and I did it on a new-grad income (which isn’t much surprisingly). My gross income in 2013 was less than $40,000.
I am officially student loan debt free as of January 2014!!
In addition, did I mention that I got married and divorced in less than 4.5 years? Without turning this into a novel, I got married at 23 and divorced at 27. It was a sudden and dramatic turn of events for me. It definitely caught me off-guard, but thankfully my finances didn’t suffer for it.
Even though, I don’t necesarily advocate for divorce, it has actually been a god-send for me. I now realize, the ex and I had very different money values and styles and money was not viewed as a shared partnership. (This is a big red flag).
So, now I am starting my 30s single and independent. After the divorce, I bought a home, grown my wealth, started traveling more, set my sights on financial independence and early retirement (FIRE) and started this blog.
I started this blog because I want you to know that I am just a typical millennial, but I learned to manage my money, live below my means, pay off debts, work hard and make my money work hard for me.
And, you can too! I am glad you are here!