Coders of Finance – Think Save Retire

Coders of Finance – Think Save Retire

Welcome back geeky FIRE seekers. It’s not that I will publish the new episodes of the Coders of Finance series one day later, just this holiday mixed week was packed with AFK adventures and I was barely able to sit next to the monitor. As the weather becomes better and better the great outdoors is calling me and who am I to resist this calling 🙂

As I promised in the last episode this time my interviewee will be a real blogging rockstar. Besides filling his own blog with high-quality content he is the mechanic behind our beloved RockStarFinance.com. You probably guessed who is he so I pass the keyboard to him. Take it over Steve.

Introduction

Tell us about yourself!

I’m Steve and I blog over at ThinkSaveRetire.com. My wife and I are 33 and 36, respectively, and we’re both retired from full-time work, financially independent and travel the country full-time in our 30’ Airstream travel trailer.

Airstream Closeup

The Beginning

When was your first encounter with computing?

I had a computer in my room from a very early age – sometime in high school back in the mid-90s from what I recall. It was a Windows box. Before that, I used to dabble in DOS computing as a middle schooler, but nothing too in-depth.

What was your first machine?

The machine that lived in my room as a high school student was a Windows 95 machine most likely.

Did you started with games first or jumped straight into programming?

I’ve never been a gamer. In fact, I suck at playing games and never really enjoyed playing the vast majority of them. I was always more of a programmer and web developer.

What about education, was it related to computing, did you learn in a traditional way or something else? What kind of degree do you have?

I have a degree in information technology, but the vast majority of what I learned was self-learned. In fact, I was relatively underwhelmed with IT-related education. Of course, computer science programs would have provided a much more in-depth curriculum in programming.

Career

When did you start to work? Was it in your field? How was it?

Full-time, or any type of work? My first job was at Safeway as a bagger. Then, I worked for Ritz Camera selling cameras and equipment. My first job after college was a programming job for a large IT corporation in the U.S. I’ve never really liked any job. 🙂

What are your experiences about the industry?

I’ve written about my experience with the IT industry at some depth, and in short…it didn’t provide a lot of value or satisfaction for me. It paid well, though, and it was instrumental in my ability to retire early. It had a way of draining the life out of me.

Finances

What is your current financial situation and what are your financial goals?

No real financial goals at the moment other than not running out of money. 🙂 We are financially independent with about a million bucks.

Tell us about your journey so far?

A lot of this is written in detail on the blog. Here’s a bit about how well things are going thus far. In short, we are enjoying things in our traveling lifestyle.

Airstream Camp

How did your profession affect your finances (directly, indirectly)?

My career in IT had a profound effect on our finances. We could never have retired from full-time work this early without high-paying IT jobs. Not even close. By the end of our careers, my wife and I were earning around $250,000 a year, and we saved the large majority of it.

Opinions

Did you regret becoming a coder? What would you change?

No regrets at all. Though my career wasn’t all that satisfying, it also enabled us to call it quits super early from full-time work, so I’d do it again in a heartbeat and wouldn’t change a thing.

Would you recommend starters/career shifters to step on this path?

Choose a marketable career, not your “passion”. Reject advice that would have you blindly follow your passion, especially if that passion isn’t a skill that companies are looking for. Passions very often don’t pay the bills. Marketable skills do. Luckily, information technology is a very common skill that nearly every company needs in some way, shape or form.

Tips for beginners?

Don’t be afraid to move around from time to time in your career. Moving companies will generally increase your salary far more than just getting promotions at the same company (though there are exceptions). I worked for a total of five different IT companies in my 12 years of working IT professionally.

Goals

You are not just the blogger behind ThinkSaveRetire.com but the mechanic behind Rockstar Finance and you have a YouTube channel also. Would you give us a sneak peek behind these projects?

I’m not too sure what kind of a sneak peek I can really give. It’s just a lot of legwork. Lots of reading and research. Lots of writing and, with the YouTube channel, video-editing. Sometimes it’s not glamorous, but as long as I’m still enjoying the process, I’ll continue pursuing all these different projects. Together, I’m probably putting four to six hours a day into all of these things, combined.

What are your short-term and long-term goals with it?

Honestly, I’m not much of a goal setter. I just like to keep improving month after month. These improvements can take the form of almost anything, like pageviews, revenue, Twitter engagements or anything else. I’m one of the few people, it seems, that doesn’t *need* to set and achieve goals in order to feel active and productive. As long as the trend points upward with whatever I’m involved with, that is generally good enough for me.

Preferences

We coders have our eternal debates, let us know which side do you stand?

Favorite…

  • Desktop OS: Windows 10
  • Mobile OS: Android
  • Machine: Architecture? No preference. 🙂
  • Browser: Chrome
  • Programming language: PHP
  • And the most important… spaces or tabs: Tabs (I’m lazy)

Coding exercise

Would you write a couple of lines of code to present a simple financial principle?

if (spending >= (income * .5)) {
  financialWeakness = true;
}

Epilogue

Thank you, Steve, for the great answers. I am happy for the opportunity featuring your story here. I hope that sooner or later not just the personal finance but the coder community will find this series and it is important to show everyone that where can a well paying IT job bring you in a relatively short career if you are handling your finances wisely.

Hope you enjoyed this episode. In two weeks I will bring you the first interview in this series with a female blogger.

See you soon.

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