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How I Quit Trading Time for Money

Quit trading time for money

Before we get too far down this road, let me officially introduce myself!

I'm Jess - just a regular girl obsessed with financial independence who took a free money class, cornered an exec to ask how she was retiring early, and used those insights to create financial freedom.

At the age of 30, I took a leap of faith and left my corporate job to pursue full-time entrepreneurship. It was a (calculated) risk, and it's paying off in more ways than I originally thought.

I now have the privilege of serving other women and teaching them how to create freedom in their own lives.

Outside the office, you can find me loving on my husband, chasing our three dogs, traveling to El Salvador, and sipping on coffee. Lots of coffee.


Originally from Austin, Texas, I grew up in middle-class America. This was looong before Austin became a tech hub for the states, but it did have a fast-growing housing market.

My mom was an accountant and my dad built houses, which is why my parents relocated to Austin from a small town in Missouri in the 1980's.

I graduated high school in 2008, just in time for the financial crisis, and wrote several scholarship essays to receive valuable financial aid as I entered my first year of college.

Then proceeded to blow through all of it.

When Mom-the-Accountant found out, she held an intervention of sorts where there were lots of tears, snot, and hurt pride (all on my part), but I left that little meeting with a shiny new budget, and a newfound understanding of what living within your means meant.

Because I sucked at money, at one point I worked 3 jobs while balancing school to pay for my living expenses, and when I graduated, I picked the employer that offered me the highest salary, even though that meant relocating to Dallas, which I certainly didn't want to do.

Thinking I had the whole money thing all figured out, I threw as much as I could into my 401K (something like 14% of my paycheck) and felt glee as I watched the magic of investing in action.

(this was my first experience with compound interest 🎉)

It grew and grew, and everything was amazing... until it wasn't.


One weekend, a group of friends decided to caravan down to Matagorda - a little coastal town in Texas. After hours on the road, we were finally only a few miles from our destination.

And that's when a large buck ran onto the road and I plowed into it at 60 mph.

Because everyone in my car was OK, I was initially most concerned with what happened to the deer; he was nowhere to be found, and it still haunts me.

But once the shock wore off, I looked at my smoking car and realized it couldn't be driven. So we coordinated a tow, piled into the other cars, and went on with our plans despite what happened.

Sunday night, my car stayed in Matagorda while the rest of us returned to Dallas.

And when I got the call telling me how much it would cost to fix, I had a full-fledged panic attack, and not-so-professionally cried in a manager's office because, I could barely afford it and, after paying it, I'd have almost nothing in the bank.

I didn't understand how this could be happening. My 401K looked great, but because I couldn't touch it, it didn't change the fact that I could hardly afford to fix something as critical as the car I used to get to work. It didn't seem fair.

I thought I was doing money right.

I racked my mental checklist:

  • I'd had the awkward 'intervention' with mom, learning how to budget, live within my means, and save money

  • I found a well-paying job

  • I was investing as much as I could into my 401K

But I still didn't feel any of the freedom that people promised. I just felt panic.

Then things finally started to change.

I got my car back, and signed up for a free financial workshop my employer offered.

I still have the folder of material they gave me 9 years ago... it's sitting next to me as I write this (Hi, Snoopy 🐶).

The entire class was about things you can do in your life TODAY to help you have a comfortable retirement - savings, investing, tax strategy, emergency fund, diversification.

And I realized that by putting ALL my savings into my 401K (which, I cannot touch for decades without a hefty fine), I was limiting myself - which is why I had so little in my bank account to deal with things like my car emergency.

Soon after this class, an exec at work named Melanie announced her early retirement. She was 50 years old.

"Wait a minute," I said to myself, "I thought you had to be 65 to retire."

I was confused.

So I set up time with her and asked point-blank: "How are you retiring early?"

She gave me some invaluable advice, but one of the biggest realizations I had that day is that 'retirement' isn't an age.

You can do it whenever you want. It just means that you no longer have to work in order to pay for your life.

I felt like I'd just discovered fire.

My entire perspective changed and, from then on, based on her advice and the tactics I'd learned in the money workshop, I started looking for 'assets' in which to invest my money; things where I could put a certain amount of money, and without me having to do much or in some cases anything at all, I could pull out MORE money than I'd put in.


Since then...


  • Continued investing in 401K, but only as much as my employer would match

  • Put remaining savings toward an Emergency Fund (6 months living expenses)


  • Once I hit my Emergency Fund goal, invested in other assets that, unlike my 401K, I could access whenever

  • Found a higher-paying job, negotiating a 17% raise

  • Moved back to Austin


  • Built my credit to the high 700's

  • Bought a house within my means outside Austin


  • Started playing with the idea of starting a business (my first idea was a clean pet food company called 'The Texas Gourmet Pet Pantry'!)

  • Paid off my student loans - other than mortgage, officially debt free!

  • Got engaged - my ring is a lab grown diamond that tests as real, and Cory found a good deal online; I believe it cost <$1K


  • Got married at a friend's place with a DIY wedding

  • Spent 40% less than the Austin average for weddings that year

  • Cory began dabbling in crypto


  • 'Retired' my husband from a job he didn't love so he could work on his passion


  • Found another higher-paying job, negotiating a 33% raise

  • Hit a key income milestone

  • Bought my childhood home from my parents, receiving a 15% discount

  • Moved into new house and turned other house into an investment property


  • Incorporated my business

  • Global pandemic begins

  • Started dabbling in crypto alongside my now-(very)-well-versed husband


  • 'Retired' from my career to pursue work that feeds my soul

  • Dug deeper into crypto, attending Bitcoin Miami and traveling to El Salvador 3 times to check out the 1st country in the world to make Bitcoin a legal tender


  • Sold the first house to take advantage out of the '2-of-the-last-5' tax rule

  • Avoided capital gains tax

  • Turned a 104% profit (house sold for 2x what I paid for it)

  • Reinvested profits into other assets


Throughout my journey, I've learned SO much and I cannot wait to share it ALL with you.

There's no point in you making the same mistakes I did, so take advantage of every last learning so you can skip the hard parts and get to your own version of financial freedom even faster.

Fast Pass, activated.




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