I arrived at JFK airport in New York from Lagos Nigeria years ago, when I was just a teenager. I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed about being in America. As a child, all the movies I watched about the United States were set in Hollywood in LA, showing off the most beautiful parts of the country. I thought that represented the whole of the country. Oh was I wrong!
My school was in Kentucky, so I flew down to Charlotte North Carolina, and finally to Lexington Kentucky. I slept in a hotel in Lexington, because I arrived two days earlier than was intended for international students. The hotel had been booked when I was in Nigeria. My family wanted to make sure I was fully covered till I found my bearings in the new country.
Fast forward two years later, I had adapted to the culture of my new country. I was doing well in school and had gotten an internship as a front end developer. This internship was for 4 months, and was everyday during the weekdays. I left my house by 7 in the morning and got back by 5. I loved my internship. My boss was amazing, and my co-workers helped me. However, I hated that I had to work everyday. I had to be early or on time, and I could not leave till I had worked an exact 8 hours. Each day I came back, I had a headache from staring at the computer all day long. In addition, I had a history of incapacitating migraines, and I experienced it during this period. Although I was learning and was making more money than I ever made while working in school, I wanted the internship to end quickly.
School required me to attend classes, but I could create the schedule I wanted and have some leeway. In addition, classes were usually from 8 till 3. Granted school was more stressful, but that was only because I was a double major, a minor and working two jobs. I did have a choice to drop one major and the minor to reduce my workload. However during my internship I was always expected to show up. I had a choice in school and had none at my internship. That feeling of being choice less made me feel helpless. When I was back at school, I began thinking to myself. I had a year and half left to graduate, and after graduation the next step would be to get a job. This implied experiencing the same thing I did during my internship, but this time it was … forever.
I began thinking of ways to create multiple streams of income. I already knew that I should never depend on a 9-5. I had a YouTube channel, but it was stagnant. I loved writing and wrote on Wattpad, but I was not getting paid. I started a brand on Instagram, but it had no direction. It was a good brand, with about 9,000 followers, but I did not have a direction for the brand. Thegrowthchronicles is all about Life and Finance as an immigrant in the United States. My first brand did not have a purpose. Feeling defeated and sapped of energy, I closed the brand, pending when I had a clear sense of purpose for it.
Two years later after after I graduated from college, I finally started to earn some good money. Then I got sick. The migraines came back and going to work became tough. This was when I began thinking seriously about early retirement (at less than 35). It was not that I hated my job, but I hated the rigid schedule. I hated knowing that if I quit today I would have no source of income. I hated knowing that I could only get 14 days a year for a vacation. Jesus Lord, human beings were not meant to live this way! I began looking for more ways to grow my income and have multiple income streams. I also began offering my writing services to people, and would make about $100 a month from it. In addition, I read a lot of finance books and watched more than 100 YouTube videos. I followed Mark Tilbury, Investingwithrose, Ourrichjourney and so many other investors on YouTube. This was how I discovered index funds and FIRE Movement. Since I was making enough from my job, I began investing with that and with the money I got from writing. I already had an emergency fund (I learned this from a friend) and began adding money heavily to my FXAIX and other index funds.
I knew that I wanted other immigrants to know this information so I created my blog. I also began building my brand on Instagram and YouTube. I am aware it will take sometime, but little drops of water make a mighty ocean. I am patient enough to avoid instant gratification. As a foreigner in United States, it can be hard to make money. It can also be hard to create wealth, because in order to do that you have to possess the right information. However I am here to tell you it can be done. I am a living witness. My blog goes into details about how to do this even as a foreigner in the states.