Cadarrius “CJ” McGlown grew up in a military family in Memphis, Tennessee. And at the age of 29, he has hit millionaire status after having a negative net worth. His drive towards financial independence was rooted in the belief that it was the only way he could be himself.
“The goal is to get myself to a point where I can build my business and innovate and create things; I’ve got inventions in my attic right now,” he told the Business Insider.
He shared his path towards hitting a million-dollar. He said he started off in debt. He had about $80,000 in student loan debt and when he got married, he and his partner’s combined student loan debt reached $200,000.
Through a combination of strategic decisions, McGlown was able to clear his debt and also accumulate a million-dollar net worth.
His first strategic decision was to job-hop in order to increase his income. When he landed his first job out of college, his salary and add-ons amounted to $75,000 a year. He took up consulting as a side hustle and made an additional $30,000 in a year.
However, nine months into the job, McGlown realized he needed to move and make money more elsewhere as he had more debt to tackle. He landed an Army Corps of Engineers contract and quickly realized government contracts were a great way to stay at the top of his earning potential while working on his side hustle. His first contract brought in $85,000 and a year later, he secured a Department of Defense contract and made just under $100,000.
“I just kept jumping so I could stay at the max earning for my skill set,” he explained. Through the process, he honed his skills and grew his professional network, and eventually started his own business HeySoftware!, according to the Business Insider.
Another strategy he adopted was to live below his means while paying his debt. He saved as much as he could and lived as frugally as possible. “We literally only ate peanut butter sandwiches the whole time,” he said.
While he was saving as much as he could, and living frugally, his wife’s salary covered most day-to-day expenses — bills, food, and other basic necessities.
After one and half years, McGlown saved about $200,000 and successfully settled his debt. “It was a terrible moment where I was like, ‘Wow, I have $200,000 [saved] and I have $200,000 of debt,'” he said. “I made the crazy decision to go to $0 [in total savings] and pay it all off.”
McGlown then turned his attention towards building long-term wealth and his initial step was to get a house which he did with a down payment. He started saving up again and accumulated about $500,000.
He invested the money he has saved into stocks. In addition, he and his wife acquired another home and leased it out immediately. They also invested in a property manager to handle the day-to-day responsibilities of being a landlord, according to the Business Insider.
Business Insider also reports that he nets around $12,000 a year from the home. He also earns another passive $11,000 a year from dividend payouts, mostly from his lower-risk investments.