Hi. My name is Kyle Burbank and I’m a Millennial. Yes, I say this like it’s some sort of healing admission given the bad rap my generation has endured in recent years. You know — the talk about how anyone under 35 is lazy, entitled, and doesn’t even know how to really be an adult? While I strongly resent that generalization, I have to say that I’ve certainly made a few mistakes along the way myself, especially when it comes to finance.
I’ve purchased brand new cars that I could barely afford, used credit cards as emergency funds, and quit jobs without having any sort of plan lined up. Furthermore, there was a time in my 20s when I moved back in with my father, so I guess some of the accusations are true. However, I learned a lot from my early 20s that not only led me to grow but also helped shape my priorities, values, and overall outlook on life.
Since then I’ve been able to get out of and stay out of debt, travel to places I never thought I’d see, support myself through freelancing and ghostwriting, get married, bring my credit scores up to around 800, and even publish a book. Not bad for a college dropout who had a hole in his pocket until about 2011 (I tried sewing it a bit before that but the dang thing kept tearing open). Alas, the journey isn’t over yet — I still have plenty of travels to embark on, more personal finance lessons to learn, and lots and lots of writing left to do.
- I started working at movie theatre when I was 16. I worked my way up to senior manager before eventually leaving the company at age 28. To this day, paying for movies still hurts my soul a little bit. My favorite film of all time is Paul Thomas Anderson’s Punch-Drunk Love.
- I attended both Northern Arizona University (Go Lumberjacks!) and Scottsdale Community College (Go Artichokes!), where I first tried pursuing journalism with the hope of writing reviews and then dabbled in filmmaking classes with a desire to write for TV. However, I never received a degree of any kind beyond my high school diploma. Although I certainly learned a few things from my college courses, I decided that the best path for an aspiring writer was just to write — and that’s what I’ve done.
- I was a Hollywood extra for three years. No, it’s not as glamorous as it sounds, but it was certainly an experience I’ll never forget. Watch for me next time you’re surfing Netflix — especially if the show involves singing teenagers or a 1960’s asylum.
- I am a huge fan of the Disney Parks and pretty much all things Disney (to an extent). In addition to my aforementioned book about my Disney travels, I also serve as Executive Editorial Director for the fan site Laughing Place. As of April 12th of this year, I will have visited all 12 Disney theme parks around the world, including those in Anaheim, Orlando, Paris, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Shanghai. I’ve also been to Club 33 a few times, so feel free to ask me about it.
- I got married when I was 27 years old to a fantastic girl I actually met while at Walt Disney World. Oddly, 27 had always been my favorite number and my wedding date — 10/4/13 — was partially chosen because 10+4+13=27. Meanwhile, my wife signed off on the date because “4” is a Lost number. We were wed in Las Vegas in front of just 13 people and the whole thing cost us less than a couple grand.
As you can see, I’m not a personal finance expert in the traditional sense. But, if first-hand experience and a thirst for knowledge count for anything, I feel I’m more than qualified to share my findings on the subject with all of you. So if you like your frugal finance tips tinged with humor, dotted with anecdotes, and speckled with the occasional random reference — as Leonard Cohen once sang — “I’m your man.”
Welcome to Money at 30.
– Kyle Burbank