My name is AnDrew Coffey, I am a veteran, small time investor, aspiring to be a landlord and overall a lover of seeing numbers going up.
I was born in Saint Charles, Missouri, moved around a lot as a kid before my mom finally settled down in my Paw-Paw’s (her father) home when he passed.
At 18 I joined the Army as an Infantryman and went to Fort Benning, Georgia for Basic. Upon graduation I was stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas. Spent roughly three years there, plus nine months in Afghanistan.
Upon the completion of my three year contract I re-upped with the MO Guard for another 2.5 years and moved into a duplex that my grandpa (dad’s dad) owned. Worked at a winery (Stone Hill, if you’re a fan) before moving on to work at a rubber factory making seals for car doors. This is when my financial story really begins!
When I was much younger, around 10-12ish I would guess, I spent a few weeks up in Michigan with my Nana (mom’s mom) and she and her husband taught me how to play a little ole board game called Escape the Rat Race by Rich Dad, Poor Dad. It’s a beautifully simple game that teaches the basics on how to budget and invest in real estate to become financially independent. It is rather expensive though, running something like $60 for a new game.
Anyway, as I started working at the factory I started to really begin to consider my future. I knew I didn’t want to work til lunch on the day of my funeral so I knew I needed to figure out how to retire sooner than later. The solution I came up with after day’s of research was to invest in monthly paying dividend stocks.
During the two or so years I worked at the factory I managed to put away about $12,000 into an investment account, I was earning roughly $100 a month in dividends, doing the math, that means I was invested, on average, in stocks that paid a very risky, very aggressive 10%.
Unfortunately I then got suckered into a real estate seminar that cost me every single penny I had saved up… Don’t get me wrong, the information was good, the seminar itself was only $500 to go to, but I got suckered into joining their program that would then further ‘help’ me along to starting my real estate empire, but the program cost me $10,000 and thus I didn’t have any money to get started. It’s something that I still regret to this day, but it was a helluva learning experience. Four years later and I still haven’t recovered financially from that decision.
A couple of mostly uneventful years later, I moved back into my mom’s with my fiance, did construction for a year and a half, quit and started going to college just to get away from my boss, and I was in my second semester of my Junior year when covid hit and forced me to drop out.
Thanks to my military service, my degree was getting paid for by the gov, and I was making a steady $1,600 a month to boot, which left me without the need to physically work a job, combined with my fiance working part time and the two of us running our own little Rover side business. (Rover is an app for dog sitters and dog walkers) We were doing okay, not great or anything but doing okay. Together we pulled in around $3,000 a month at our peak. ($1,600 from school, about $1,000 from dogs and $4-500 from her part time job)
Early on when Covid hit all our dog’s stopped cold turkey. This, coupled with the furnace breaking down in the middle of January, and having just bought a brand new-ish (2019 model) car to replace my fiance’s basically totaled SUV when she got T-Boned in November (Yes, we drove an essentially totaled vehicle for 2 months, the side that got hit you couldn’t open either door because the damage was so bad) So for all of this going on, AND to lose a solid 1/3rd our income hurt a lot. I eventually dropped out of college because I was starting to fail classes due to the professors average age being 60+ and none of them knowing how to work technology (meaning to ask questions, or to get lectures was impossible) meant it was time for me to get a ‘real’ job.
I eventually decided to apply for Dominoes as a General Manager. My litteral thought process for doing so was that the worst they could do was tell me no, and I didn’t ‘really want’ that job anyway, because I’m a bit (translation, a LOT) of an introvert. Well, to my surprise I got a call about the position I applied for. Now, I didn’t get the GM position but they offered me an assistant manager position with prospects of getting my own store and GM by the end of the year.
I surprisingly loved working there. The fast pace (when I had other co-workers with me…) made things exciting and of course getting all the mess-up’s and occasionally making a pizza for myself for the sake of it were excellent perks. Unfortunately it came to a head when I got screwed over on July 3rd, a Friday, that I was closing that night for. Friday’s are already hectic, plus with it being a (pre)holiday it was of course extra insane, and yet my GM (a great guy, I still talk occasionally even after leaving) nor anyone else besides my 2 drivers were scheduled for this holiday night after 9pm. Ughn… I can still hear the phones ringing in my nightmares. The same thing happened again on Labor Day to a lesser degree, where instead I was called in on my day off to cover because the GM had that day off as well, and his primary AM called in sick. I find all this out from the GM himself as he calls me to go help the store out, and I get there at around 2pm to just one insider and 1 driver… it kills me that a million dollar yearly gross profit store would or could screw it’s employee’s like that..
Well, I eventually applied to work at Amazon, opting for three 12-hour shifts on weekends and on the graveyard shift (6pm-6:30am). Things are looking up though, for the first time since the Army (6 years ago) I have Health/Vision/Dental insurance, I’m making more money now than I did even tax free on deployment, (to the tune of $15/hr + $2.90 shift differential for $17.90/hr) and I even convinced my fiance to work with me. So we both have insurance (her for the first time since she left home, and first time ever through work) and our combined income makes up a sweet $4.5k or so a month, she still works part-time for her other boss twice a week for about $140, and a typical week see’s us bringing home $500 each after tax and insurance.
Covid honestly is the best thing that has happened to me other than joining the army and meeting my fiance along the way (literally met her on my way to my duty station).
I will probably not continue pursuing my degree because I don’t need to, unless if things at Amazon fall through. Right now my goal is simply to save and invest the substantial income that we make together and aggressively pay off all our expenses.
Why am I writing this blog?
- Because I every time I listen to YouTube or any audiobook about finance and investing the numbers they use for people’s income are often bigger than the combined income of my fiance and I, so I wanted to put together something for the people like me who don’t have that white collar, suit and tie 9-5 office job.
- Because I want to track my progress towards my goals in ‘written’ form. Share whatever wisdom I gleam along the way and spread knowledge and hope to those who make under the median or average income in the United States (and beyond!)
I am a lover of watching numbers go up. It’s highly addicting for me. I’ll lose hours or day’s to idle games. For those who don’t know, an idle game is basically a game about making numbers go up incrementally faster, usually with means to automate your progress so that while you work, sleep or otherwise go about your daily business you will always come back to your game having made at least a little progress since you last played. You might guess how this might tie into my goal of budgeting and investing, because if we are all playing the game correctly then our numbers should all be going up, and in the case of investing the little increments that make the numbers go up faster get bigger the longer you play.
I will also probably do some book reviews and keep a masterlist of all the key insights learned from all the books listened to or read.