I wasn’t always financially literate. I was raised by my mother (an accountant) and my grandma (who worked in the public school system) but money wasn’t something that was openly talked about in my household. My grandmother was the first member of my family to immigrate to the U.S. She went to school at the University of Miami for Education and went on to get her Masters. She has always preached the importance of education since I was a child. Reading books, meeting with tutors, and answering my grandpa’s math problems were a normal part of my childhood. I wouldn’t describe growing up as lavish, but my family was not plagued with the insecurities that come from poverty.
I got my first job when I was a senior in high school and at the time and for a long time after, I thought that was what it was like to be rich. I was able to go out and not ask my mom for money. I could stop by the store and pick stuff up for my family, and I could buy all the skateboard gear I needed.
Change of Plans.
After graduating from high school, I left for Tallahassee. There I tried and failed college. I came home and worked full-time. I had no kids, no rent to pay, no car payments to make, no bills from debt, and somehow no savings. My family has always been supportive and didn’t charge me to live with them. It was a huge benefit financially.
Up until I turned 21, skateboarding was the main passion in my life and it’s where most of my money went. It can be expensive getting started but after you get the right gear it is relatively inexpensive to sustain. I spent a lot getting set up.
Me turning 21 was a big deal for me since I skipped a grade in elementary school. I was always younger than my peers. The party I wanted for myself would be my biggest expense yet. I wanted a hotel on the beach, music, lots of food, and everything music videos make you dream of for having a good time.
After four years of working and without savings, everything ended up hinged on 2 paychecks. I just got paid and would be getting paid the day before the party. I was not able to afford it in the slightest but that didn’t stop me from trying. I took out a payday advance loan, asked friends for loans, and tried to haggle with the hotel clerk.
The party was a disaster. The hotel that I booked the day of the event was undergoing construction so there were windows and doors we couldn’t open. On top of that, my friends bickered, I spent all I had on the hotel and gas, and not too many people were down to make the trip out to the beach. It was disappointingly empty. I had never been sadder. I spent the whole next day crying.
The silver lining is that I was gifted “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. I spent the rest of the weekend reading it and emerged with a new passion and vigor. I realized that I was to blame for the whole situation and instead of running from it, I embraced it. I wasn’t proud of myself for it, but it planted the seed for my current goal. I wanted to do so well financially that I would never be pushed into a corner like that again. I wanted to be a millionaire!
Investing in myself first.
I spent the next few weeks reading voraciously any book listed as one “that could turn you into a millionaire”. I listened to the best financial podcasts, watched TedTalks, read articles, everything. I opened my RothIRA, downloaded apps like Betterment and Acorns, set up a budget for myself. I started looking for ways to increase my income.
I started out with surveys; online and in-person people pay you to answer questions. I then moved on to giving skate lessons to kids at the skate park down the street from my house. At the restaurant I worked I would “buy” shifts off of my coworkers. I paid them a certain amount to let me work for them which made them feel better about missing work and gave me a benchmark for how much I wanted to make on any given day.
You don’t have to go it alone.
At this point, I had really fallen in love with the concept of personal finance, but I also stopped talking to a lot of my friends. I realized that success isn’t as fulfilling when you are alone. Knowing more about finance and developing the level of discipline that I did made the dynamic among my friends very different. The main thing I noticed was that terms and phrases that were commonplace to me now were still foreign to my friends. They didn’t know how 401k matching worked, what an IRA was, how the stock market works, how to invest, etc.
This led me to become something of an advisor for my circle of friends and I loved it! It made me engage in more research, expand my knowledge, maintains integrity but most importantly it made it so that my financial journey wasn’t just for my sake. I was now to lead by example and help others lead their best financial lives.
Finding a better way.
At a certain point, I had answered the same questions many times over and as much fun as I was having, I knew there was a more efficient way to spread the word. At the time I was listening to a podcast and in the episode, the guest was asked what he would do differently if he was younger and he replied, “Start a podcast”. I’m in my early 20s so I consider myself now to be the younger version of myself if that makes sense (it doesn’t) so I thought to do the same thing. Once I started, I have never stopped aiming for a million, so the name came naturally: Millennial to Millionaire.
A new beginning.
On January 1, 2017, the first episode of the Millennial to Millionaire Podcast aired. It has been about four years since then and I have more than my friends listening to it. I have had the honor of having multiple guests come on the show to share their knowledge as well as help me. The podcast was featured on Forbes and it has opened the door to so many connections in and out of finance and has upped the pressure to a certain extent. It has also kept me accountable for my own journey. It is hard to go on a spending spree after telling my audience to do the exact opposite and I have made my journey part of the show.
I want to show the world that there is nothing stopping you from achieving the wealth you want and accomplishing all of your dreams. I was making less than $10/ hour when I first started the podcast. I had a negative net worth when I first recorded but I have never been deterred in my mission. I have 130+ episodes out and I have been able to connect with the audience and see the change I am making, my net worth is positive, and I literally get closer to my goals every day.
I think an app like nav.it is important because personal finance is personal to everyone and having something to hold you accountable is key to success. There’s already enough apps out there that are so automated and cookie cutter that it doesn’t feel catered to you.
Paris Grant, host of Millenials to Millionaire podcast
It has been a long time but I still maintain the same presence of mind that I had when I initially started it, each episode is my “last at-bat” and I want to make sure that I show my appreciation to anyone whos listening by delivering quality content.
Acknowledging the blessings.
I recognize that I am blessed to be in my situation. My family has always been supportive and believed in my abilities. Being the first member of my family to be born in America and being the man of the house does come with a lot of expectations, but my family helps me to be my best. I said earlier that I don’t have a mandatory rent I have to pay while I live at home which is huge on the savings side obviously. But it has also helped me develop a more responsible view of my money.
They don’t pay for school, gas, clothes, food, or anything else. That is on me and I love it. It allows me to practice discipline with my income and it has allowed me to take advantage of compound interest from saving/investing at a young(er) age.
Living and spending your values
Money is more than just the number in your bank account. It provides the ability to pursue your passions. Before finance, skateboarding was my passion. I never wanted to do it professionally but the concept of developing myself in private (skating alone) and being able to show off that progress was the most satisfying thing.
When I discovered finance and the importance of money it had a similar effect on me. Money is like an anchor for me. It is what holds me down and brings me closer to my goals. Aiming for a million has led me to be healthier, more nurturing of relationships, more disciplined, more of a reader, and allowed me to combine my strengths into something of value for others.
My catchphrase for the podcast is “Don’t keep it 100, keep it one million”. I think that the pursuit of excellence is what makes us better. With the podcast, I try to empower my audience to feel that way financially, but I think it is equally important in all facets of life. Research, learn, study, and do what you love on the highest level you possibly can. I am a big believer in the quote “How you do anything is how you do everything” and I think money is a great place to start.
We’re changing the narrative around money but change can’t happen with a one-sided conversation. That’s why we’re excited to bring different voices and experts to share their wisdom from the Community. Send us an email and let us know what you think. And remember the nav.it money app offers you free tools for budgeting, automating savings, and tracking your expenses.
Paris Grant is the host of the Millennial to Millionaire Podcast which is dedicated to personal finance and financial literacy for an audience and generation lacking in both. Paris Grant brings as much knowledge as he can to help the Millenial generation learn as much as they can about budgeting, saving, investing, retirement, and everything in between. Collaboration with local talent and a genuine will to teach and help make the podcast exciting and fun and the practical information make it a podcast worth listening to. Support this podcast here or stream it through Spotify, Stitcher, and Apple.