1. How old are you and what is your yearly income?
“I’m 28 years old, and this year I’m going to make over six figures.”
Vince’s income comes from the business he’s built around giving financial advice. That income includes brand deals and sponsorships related to his TikTok channel, which has nearly 400,000 followers. He crafts his financial tips to make them easy for a broad audience to relate to:
“I keep it really, really simple. People need to see the results. It’s hard when you’re living paycheck to paycheck to invest any money. People need to know it’s possible to get ahead. They think it takes years and years to become successful, but you can start to benefit within six to twelve months just by establishing the right foundation.”
Despite his financial success, Vince is careful about how he spends his money. He reserves some of his income for investing in the future. One of his core financial rules is that people should practice living on 80% or less of their take-home pay.
“When I got focused on my finances, that’s one of the first things I wanted to do. That left money to invest in things that would help me build more income. Now I’m closer to living on 60%.”
2. How much is your rent or mortgage?
“My rent is really low. It’s about $900 a month.”
Vince doesn’t rule out buying a house sometime in the future. For now though, he’s content with his living situation because it’s very affordable and he has a good relationship with his landlord.
3. What’s the last thing you purchased?
“The last thing I purchased was food, definitely.”
If that seems like a small purchase for someone with a six-figure income to highlight, what you have to understand about Vince is that he’s much more eager to talk about investing than about spending.
4. What do you spend the most money on?
“My business. Business expenses, stuff like that.”
Vince’s approach is a combination of being frugal and keeping an eye on the future. Those attributes come are a product of his family background and his financial experience.
Explaining how he learned to value saving money, Vince says “I think it happened early on. My granddad always taught me about saving money. Being around him taught me so much about patience and delayed gratification. He was the one that always had money to help out people when they were caught short.’
Vince has used that perspective as a starting point from which to take the next step. “He taught me about saving, but the investing part comes from what I learned from being in the financial industry. I learned the value of investing in things that will give you a greater return in the end.”
5. What kind of car do you have? How much is your monthly car payment?
“I have a 2012 Chevy Equinox. And it’s about $300 a month.”
Vince advises people to focus on value more than being flashy. “I always say that you don’t want to buy a new car. New cars depreciate very quickly. Buy used or lease so the depreciation isn’t a burden on you. The best bang for your buck is get a used car that’s in good condition.”
Car buyers can also save by financing the right way. “Get approved for a loan before you go to the dealer,” Vince suggests. “If you line up your own financing you can get a good rate without the dealer shopping your credit around until it hurts your credit score.”
6. What’s the most expensive thing you own?
“The most expensive thing … is my mind. That’s the most expensive thing I own.”
Given that he’s used his knowledge to build a thriving TikTok following and a business that is based on giving financial tips, it’s understandable that Vince would view his mind as being his most valuable asset. He describes the key to his financial approach as starting by establishing a good foundation.
“The foundation means having all the details in place so you don’t have to be concerned with them and can focus on other things. If you can demonstrate that it works and systemize it to eliminate mistakes, that makes managing your finances easier. That’s going to catapult you forward.”
Vince lists four steps to creating a good foundation of financial habits:
- “The first step is awareness of your finances, knowing where the money is going.”
- “The second step is keeping some money available so you don’t have to worry about earning your next paycheck.”
- “The next step is an emergency fund. Having an emergency fund lets me feel less pressure so I can focus on what the business needs and not just on needing a paycheck.”
- “The final step is investments and insurance to provide for your future.”
7. How much money do you have in savings? (401k, IRA, traditional savings, etc.)
“Savings and investments combined, about $50,000.”
Keeping a reserve of money available when needed is once of Vince’s building blocks for financial and personal success. “Having an emergency fund lets me feel less pressure so I can focus on what the business needs and not just needing a paycheck.”
When he refers to an emergency fund, he uses the concept more broadly than many financial experts, explaining that having this money “can be about more than emergencies. It can give you money to pursue opportunities. One of the issues people face is that when opportunities arise, or you just need the flexibility to do things like spend more time with your family, they don’t have that buffer that lets them do the stuff they want to do.”
Looking further out, Vince also advocates getting an early start on retirement saving. “As soon as possible. If you can get your children started at birth, do that. But at least you should be started by age 25. The sooner you get started, the less you have to invest each month.”
8. Do you have student loans?
“No student loans.”
Vince got his degree from the University of Delaware on a full scholarship as a Division I football player. Still, while he doesn’t have student loans himself, he recognizes what a burden they are on many people of his generation. Even so, he recommends keeping student loan debt in perspective compared to other debt.
“Priority-wise, paying it would come after your credit card debt because that’s higher interest and that’s working against you. Make your minimum payments on everything, but pay the most on credit card debt first. Then once you get rid of credit card debt, take the money you were paying on that and stack it onto your student loan payments.”
9. Do you have credit cards? If so, how many?
“Yes, I have about seven of them.”
As with everything, there’s a method to how Vince uses his credit cards.
“Even though I have seven cards, I only use one or two at a time. I use the one that best fits my lifestyle. Right now, I’m doing a lot of traveling, so I use a travel card a lot.”
Vince uses credit cards not just to pay for things, but as a pathway to building a good credit record.
“Once I realized that credit is important, I started using credit cards, but using them the right way to build credit. The idea isn’t to have credit available to spend your money. The idea is to have credit available to keep you credit utilization low and improve your credit score. I also pay off my balance every month. Most people don’t pay their full balance; they only pay the minimum. When you only pay the minimum, it doesn’t get your credit utilization rate down. That hurts your credit score.”
10. What’s one of your financial goals?
“Increase my credit score.”
Vince recognizes that a good credit record is the starting point to achieving his bigger financial goals.
“In the next few years I see myself not buying a house for me but getting into investment property. Then eventually I could use the income from that to afford my dream home. I’d rather have an asset paying for the things that are financial liabilities.”
Even though mortgage rates have been rising, Vince doesn’t necessarily see that as a barrier to his goal, if he comes across a good opportunity. “I don’t want to wait for rates to come down. I’m more about finding the right property for me. As long as the numbers make sense as an investment property.”
11. What’s your credit score?
“Last time I checked on Credit Sesame it was about 750.”
Vince keeps a close eye on his credit score because he’s put a lot of time and thought into building it up.
“When I first started taking credit seriously my credit score was in the 500s. I put all my monthly bills on my credit card so I could build a payment history quickly. Then I paid them off every month. My score went up like 100 points in less than a year.”
People with credit problems need to be especially strategic about their credit. Vince gives an example:
“If you owe money to a collection agency, don’t just pay your collection accounts. Even after you do that the collection will stay on your credit record for seven years. Ask for a ‘pay to delete’ deal. That includes getting it removed from your credit report. Tell them you’ll pay the bill right now if they’ll remove it from your credit report. Get that in writing. Dealing with credit problems comes down to negotiation and communication with the credit company.”
Vince’s credit problems are behind him. Now, he’s focused on maintaining good credit to help him reach his financial goals – and on giving advice as MoneyCoachVince to help others reach theirs.
If you enjoyed the 11 Money Questions answered by MoneyCoachVince, you may be interested in:
- Joseph’s Story: Rebuilding Credit Means Stability
- Leverage Your Credit: What it Means and How to Do it
Disclaimer: The article and information provided here is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional advice.