Welcome to our little corner of the internet!
Hi - We’re Pri (her) & Ash (him) and this is our blog. We’re a married couple currently in our 30s and have been together for the last 11+ years (married most of it).
Why write a blog?
Gaining financial freedom to retire early and travel the world has always been our dream. The pandemic reignited our passion to quit the 9-5 routine and move on in our lives to build new memories. Similar to most people, we were feeling stuck in our jobs during the pandemic. Unlike most people, we had actively been saving, investing & planning toward an early retirement.
In late 2020, we sat down to calculate our net worth to see how many more years of corporate jobs are ahead of us. As we worked through the numbers, we were shocked!
Our current net worth was enough to meet our retirement goals – we were already at the point of financial freedom – aka early retirement for the win! And it took us less than 10 years to reach this point.
It was then that we decided to share our money-mindset with like-minded people. Our friends and family have always come to us for personal finance advice, and now we want to share it with whomever needs it.
We call our approach making Smart Money Decisions – taking charge of your personal finance and getting the most out of your money, while saving & investing for your future.
We want to help as many people as we can to achieve their financial goals – whether it be early retirement, debt repayment, free cash flow, buying a home, travelling – whatever your definition of leading a fulfilling life may be.
Some Cool Facts About Us
11 years together...
We don’t come from money. In fact, we are both from modest immigrant households. Everything we have comes from a solid understanding of finance from an early age (thanks to our parents) and we cherish the experiences we have gathered along the way.
Rewind to 1980s:
Ash & Pri are born.
Do we need to go that far back? Maybe not.
Fast Forward to Late 1990s:
Our families immigrated to North America when we were still in high school.
Let’s skip another decade or so.
Fast Forward Again to 2010
We had both graduated with undergraduate degrees (YAY) with a combined $100K in student loans (NAY).
Despite this huge loan, we both decided to pursue a Master’s degree in Business, which is where we met and instantly bonded.
Upon graduation, we got decent entry-level jobs in our field with starter salaries, but neither one of us wanted to be part of the corporate bandwagon for too long. One of the common things we always talked about was the ability to attain financial freedom well before the accepted retirement age of 60+.
So in summary:
- We had a decent understanding of personal finance and knew the importance of budgeting, saving & investing
- We knew we wanted to be debt free as soon as possible
- We wanted to travel the world together
- We had very little savings
- We added another $200K in student & bank loans after graduating from our Master’s program. The interest rates on the loans were pretty high at that time – so if we were paying minimum payments only, we’d be debt free in 30+ years
Total debt: $300K in 2011
Our first year in new jobs:
- We continued living at home with parents
- Avoided frivolous spending
- Continued to enjoy delicious home cooked meals
- We consciously decided to budget & pay down our individual debts aggressively. Every dollar that was not going to our basic needs (& some fun) was going towards the loans
- After about a year of giving away approximately 90% of our monthly paychecks, we had made a decent dent in our loans.
2012 - Our First Major Investment
In 2012, we were in the middle of a housing boom. With suburbs growing rapidly & with the real estate market on fire, we decided to purchase a new build townhouse in an up and coming area. It was the biggest purchase of both our lives so far.
- The home wasn’t going to be ready for 2 more years, so it gave us some time to save up & prepare ourselves for a mortgage.
- The only obstacle was the downpayment of nearly $85K, spread out over 5 equal payments over 2.5 years. Payments were due at signing, then 6 months, 12 months, 24 months & a final payment at closing.
- We negotiated just a $5000 signing amount with the builder, with a bigger amount due in 6 months.
- We were now forced to budget even more aggressively to save up for down-payment. For a while, our loans took a back seat & we made minimum payments only. The interest hurt deep down, but we knew it’d be worth it in the long run
- We had invested in our work-sponsored savings plans since the beginning, and it had grown to a decent amount, which we withdrew to help with our down payment
- Every time the builder payment came about, we knew it was an investment in our future
- While we were both steadily moving up in our careers, our income was still by no means above average compared to all our friends
- While it was stressful, those 3 years of debt payments, house down payment & still managing a decent social life (think lots of house parties) built lifelong habits for us. We knew we wanted to leverage these habits to build a financially free life for us.
2013 - Wedding and New Dreams
When we got married in July 2013, we decided we wanted to prioritize 2 things:
- Investments & achieving Financial Freedom before we’re 40 (Pri was 27 and Ash was 31)
- Travel & Life Experiences
Our net worth was still only about $50K to $70K after taking into account leftover loans, equity & appreciation of the house, plus work sponsored savings plans.
At the end of 2013, we had paid off $250K in debt + had managed to build a savings of $80K for our down-payment.
2014 - Our Second Major Investment and Student-Debt Free:
In 2014, we made final payments on our student loans! Smiling ear to ear, we took pictures with the bank representative. It felt like a HUGE achievement – it really was! The crazy part was, we had excess cash flow for the first time in our adult lives – so what did we do with it?
Well, 6 months later, we got tired of the 4-hour daily commute to work from the suburbs. We had managed to save up enough money by maximizing our work savings plans & other investments for another downpayment.
We decided to become landlords, rent out our precious townhome and purchased our 2nd property: a condo closer to work.
- We’d save on commuting – work was now a quick walk away
- The rent would cover our expenses, including mortgage and property tax
- We were able to negotiate lower mortgage rates with our bank since we now had 2 mortgages with them
- We carefully chose the condo’s location in a growing, high-demand downtown area, knowing that it’ll be a lifelong income asset eventually
Speed Forward from 2015 to 2021:
With more time and experience in our jobs, we started to bring home higher salaries and leaned in heavily on investments. We made lots of mistakes along the way and learned from them. The strength of our portfolio was proven when we came through the 2020 market crash unscathed & 2021 has seen the biggest year over year increase in our net worth so far.
In the past 10 years since graduation, we have purchased multiple properties, have traveled to over 45+ countries and have a net worth of over $2M.
We are looking forward to sharing our Smart Money Mindset with all our readers. If we can achieve financial freedom in our 30s, so can you!