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Following the Joneses can derail goals

  • Chris Chung is a data analyst and personal finance influencer who is set to retire at 45.
  • He said his biggest accomplishment was internal: learning he didn’t have to follow the Joneses.
  • Not comparing your wealth to that of your peers and staying focused on your own goals is key, he discovered.

Chris Chung was 26 when he decided to focus on being debt free and financially independent.

After paying off $50,000 in student loans over two years, he is investing heavily in the pursuit of early retirement. Chung, now 33, showed Insider his investment portfolio and projections that indicate he can comfortably retire at age 45 – 12 years from now.

When asked what financial achievement he was most proud of, Chung didn’t talk about savings, investments, or a prestigious job, but rather, “being able to be myself and not have the ‘feeling like you have to follow the Joneses’.

“In my early twenties, I did a lot of things not because I wanted to, but to impress other people,” he added.

Chung said he doesn’t make as much money as other members of his friend group, which includes a doctor, a small business owner and a Google employee, but that doesn’t bother him anymore because he reaches further his own financial goals.

His goals are not based on “things”

“Everyone has the nice car and the nice house, and does all these other things,” Chung said. “I’m happy and good about myself because I focused on my own goals.”

Chung said his main goal was simply to: “Invest, invest, invest and retire early.”

In addition to his day job as a data analyst in the public sector, chronicling his personal finance journey on Instagram as “The Everyday Millennial” has also boosted his confidence and reminded him of how far he’s come since. that he began to focus on his student. loan debt. It even became a lucrative side business for him, bringing in an extra $20,000 a year.

Financial success can be different for everyone

“What’s unique about my current journey is that I live in a three-generation household with my mother-in-law, sister-in-law, wife, and daughter, Emilia,” Chung said. “It’s definitely not the norm for most, but it works for us financially – and as a family.”

Chung said he understands this decision is unlikely to be popular, but by living this way he is able to continue to save and invest aggressively, and the payoff will be having the ability to to retire before his almost 2 years. girl graduated from high school.

“I’m comfortable enough to focus on my own financial goals,” said Chung, who added that her focus on what’s best for her family guides much of her financial planning.

However, he acknowledges that setting financial goals and then taking action to achieve them is “daunting.” Part of Chung’s side hustle is a personal finance course, which includes private coaching to help buyers achieve their own individual goals. He also offers a free expense tracker that he created and used to build his own budget.

“One of the main reasons I became a personal finance influencer is because I love helping people, and it’s an important topic that I’m passionate about,” Chung said.

Are you planning and achieving big goals with your money? We may be able to share your story! Email ajordan@insider.com.

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