It was 2017, the year before they got married, when Ali and Josh Lupo took a serious look at their finances — and realized they owed more than $100,000 in student loans.
Courtesy of The FI Couple
Despite working long, hard hours in human services, the couple was still living paycheck-to-paycheck, unsure how they’d afford a wedding or pay off their staggering debt.
“So we started having that conversation of: ‘Is this what we want to do for the next 30 to 40 years, or do we want to start learning how to live differently?’ And that was where our mindset around money really started to evolve,” Josh tells Entrepreneur.
The Lupos began tracking their expenses and saw they spent most of their income on rent and car payments, followed by food and dining out. Their first plan of attack? Implementing a strict budget: No date nights, no Netflix subscription, etc.
But the extreme approach burned the couple out quickly, so they went back to the drawing board. They needed to find a creative way to reduce their largest expense: housing.
Self-education led them to a solution (Ali emphasizes how many online resources, podcasts and books on financial freedom exist). If the Lupos purchased a multi-family home with a low down payment, they could dramatically decrease their monthly payments by renting out the other unit.
So that’s exactly what they did.
In the years since then, the Lupos have continued their journey to financial independence. They manage numerous streams of active and passive income, including their work as personal-finance content creators running the educational platform “The FI Couple.”
If you’re ready to get your finances on track in 2023, read on for the Lupos’ step-by-step strategy.
Define what success looks like for you
The first step is the foundation for all the rest: Figure out your unique definition of success.
The couple suggests considering what your ideal day and life look like. In other words, be clear about how financial freedom will allow you to do more of the things that make you happy.
“Our life was ‘easier’ when our heads were in the sand, ignoring everything about our finances,” Ali says. “Our lives are more complicated and harder now because we’re more in tune with all of the responsibilities that come with this. But to have the power and autonomy over our time is worth all of it, so [you have to be] clear with your why.”
Related: How to Train Your Brain and Reach the Highest Levels of Success
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