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Be financially independent

Throughout high school and college, Joy needed money mainly for books, toiletries, transportation, clothes and entertainment. Tuition, living accommodations, and meals were largely covered under her scholarships.

By the time Joy graduated from college at the age of 22, she had interned in the human resources and risk management departments of a hospital, the business office of a supermarket, the litigation practice of a law firm, and the archives of an international non-profit. In the summers and during extended school breaks, Joy worked in housekeeping for a golf resort, catered weddings and other special events, provided child care and elder care, house sat, mowed lawns, cleaned student dorm rooms and bars, and served as a cashier at a fast food restaurant, bookstore, and video store. It was lots of honest work that supplied the cash flow Joy needed to provide for her basic needs.

At her first opportunity after college, Joy participated in her employer's 401K plan and took advantage of the employer match benefit. The sole decision to save 15% of her salary between the ages of 22-26, using conservative estimated rates of return and inflation rates, may allow her enough of a retirement nest egg to retire in a developing country, at least. The decision to invest early is the best decision Joy has made on the path to financial independence.

Though many live beyond their means on credit cards, Joy hates the idea of paying more than what she agrees at the time of purchase for anything she buys with plastic. Throughout her working years, Joy has lived at or below her means and has paid off her credit cards in full every month.

With several thousands of dollars in student debt after business school, Joy kept an eye on interest rates and managed to lock in a low rate (under 3%) through consolidation.

All of these factors have allowed Joy to build and maintain an excellent credit score of over 800. The hard work and commitment to investing in her future early in life means that she has more freedom to contribute in the ways that are important to her during a time when she feels she can make the most impact.

Key to accomplishing this goal in a nutshell:


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