Building a Bridge to Your Dreams



bridge dreamsI really enjoy watching the NBA playoffs and specifically love the NBA Finals.  The playoffs are always more intense.  I find that in the regular season, the games can be a tad bit boring.  There just isn’t the same energy level as that of the playoffs.  Plus on top of that, many of the best players sit throughout the season, so they can be fresh for the playoffs.


I can’t imagine how mad I would be if I bought tickets to a Cleveland Cavaliers v. Washington Wizards game only to see LeBron James sit out.  Needless to say, I won’t be wasting my money at a regular NBA season game.


Playoff Excitement

bridge dreamsWith that said, the playoffs are a completely different atmosphere.  The energy is such that it feels like the momentum can swing from one end to the other based on a pivotal play.  It pushes me to the edge of my seat.  In my opinion, it’s the best type of drama.  I’ll take that over reality TV any day!


Game 7 of the playoffs is the most exciting part.  At that point, teams have already slugged it out over the first six games to a tie.  Both teams know that if they lose, their season is over, and nobody wants to go home before they raise the Championship trophy.  


Even though I love watching Game 7, it normally ends tragically for my Washington teams.  They just don’t typically fare very well.  The Washington Capitals have a record of 3-10 in the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Washington Nationals have yet to win a playoff series, and the Washington Wizards/Bullets haven’t won a Game 7 since 1979.  It’s been pretty futile as a Washington sports fan over the years.


Golden State Warriors

bridge dreamsRecently, after the Wizards were eliminated, I inevitably jumped on the Golden State Warriors bandwagon.  Ever since the Warriors started to spread their players out and shoot three-pointers offense, their fun and creative style has drawn me, along with many other NBA fans.


The humble superstar leading their team is Stephen (Steph) Curry.  For those unfamiliar with Steph, he is the ultimate underdog.  I have been following his career since high school.  Yes, I am that nerdy that I follow high school recruiting.  I had previously mentioned that my dream job was being the talent evaluator for an NFL team, preferably as a GM.  For me, it’s always fun to project out how kids might do in their future careers.


Most of you may be starting to glaze over.  What does this have to do with finances?  Hold on, I promise I’ll get there.


Steph’s father is Dell Curry, who is probably considered the best basketball player to come from my Alma Mater, Virginia Tech.  When Steph was coming out of high school, Tech showed some interest in him but did not offer a scholarship.  The coach thought he was too small and couldn’t handle the ball well enough as a point guard to offer a scholarship.  Needless to say, the school fired that coach shortly afterwards when Steph became a star.


Doubtful about His Ability

bridge dreamsSteph attended a small school, Davidson, and although he was excelling in his basketball career, there were still people that doubted.  Would a small-school player really be able to succeed in the NBA, or was his achievement merely a product of playing inferior competition?  Plus, who knew if his body would be able to handle the rigors of a long NBA season.


Well his career isn’t over yet, but he has won two MVP awards and has also won an NBA championship with another one firmly in his sights.  He’s also considered one of the best shooters in NBA history, if not the best.  He is still only 28 years old with many potential NBA years left.


Hard Work Pays Off

Most of us are not born with a silver spoon.  We have to work hard to get where we are, like Steph.  


Right out of college, I received one job offer.  I graduated during the early 2000s recession and the hangover from 9/11.  Companies weren’t hiring many people, so I was incredibly thankful that one company was willing to employ me.  However, it wasn’t in the field of finance and accounting, which was the field I had studied.  But I knew that I needed to continue to improve my skill sets in order to progress.


bridge dreamsMy first job was at an auto insurance company as an adjuster.  To be honest, I knew nothing about cars.  I had to learn everything from scratch.  Do you know what it is like negotiating with an auto repair shop that has repaired cars for decades?  There were many times that the body shop guys would tell me that I had no idea what I was talking about.  Accordingly, I had my fair share of self-doubt that I could do the job well.  But, like Steph, I persisted and worked on my negotiating skill set until I was finally promoted into a job where I negotiated all day.  I had no idea what the benefits of this skill set would be for me.  


Building Bridges

bridge dreamsSince I started at the bottom, my focus has always been to build a financial bridge to my dreams.  In the same vein, Steph Curry desired to dominate the NBA.  He had to build a bridge to get there.  He knew that he wouldn’t get there without putting in the hard work on the front end.  


Too many people assume that if they do something for a little bit that success will follow immediately.  It’s all part of our society’s instant-gratification mentality.  I have friends that are shocked at how much work that I put into this blog.  It takes as much time as my full time job most weeks, but I love every second of it.  I’m hoping that it will pay off in the long run, in the same way it did for Steph Curry.


My Dreams

Ever since I graduated college, I really wanted to pursue the route of financial counseling.  I knew that I could steer people in the right direction and provide valuable counsel.  However, I constantly heard that no 40 or 50 year old would want to hear from a 21 year old about how they should operate their finances.  


It makes sense.  What freshly-minted college graduate has a significant amount of life experience?  I would be doubtful too of a youngin trying to tell me how to manage a household or save for tomorrow while living for today.


bridge dreamsBut, I got older and wiser and began to hone my financial craft.  I rounded out my skill sets by learning about investments, taxes, debt, and the psychology of finances.  I began to volunteer at church as a financial course facilitator.  However, I soon realized I wanted to reach more people with a slightly different message.  


Creating Something New

A strong desire I have had is to come up with alternatives to some of the mainstream financial courses available to the public.  Much of the advice feels outdated, and their empires have grown so much that money has become more important than people.


bridge dreams With that said, I’ve been working on creating a course called Reaching FIRE.  My intention was that it would combine and incorporate all the best practices into an easy-to-follow guide.  I hope it will make a tremendous difference in the lives of everyone who takes it.  The book-portion of the course should completed by the end of August.


I’d love for you to review the material and provide feedback on what I’ve done right and what I’ve done wrong once I finish.  While I may not be Steph Curry, I believe I can make an impact in an area that I care so much about.

So readers, what is the goal in which you are currently building a bridge toward?  Have you made significant progress in recent years?  Please share your thoughts below.

Mustard Seed Money

Welcome to the website. A mustard seed is a very small seed but astonishingly grows very large over time. My hope is that through your financial journey that your small investment in time, money and faith will grow beyond anything that you could ever imagine.


  1. Love it! Not only do I love it – but you’ll laugh – I’ve literally had the same idea. I even pitched it to my church as something they should consider doing. So of course, I’d be happy to review your material and offer input on what a good setup would look like. I think we’ll have fun discussing it and bouncing ideas off of one another!

  2. Rob, that is an awesome goal. I was actually thinking that there seems to be a hole in the market when it comes to the FIRE movement. It seems to still be very much of an underground type concept. All of the financial books out there about how to retire rich at 65 by saving 15% of your pay. Not retire at 40 by saving 50%. I am excited to see what you come up with.

    I would love to one day open a gym but right now I’m still in the just making excuses for why it is too risky.
    Grant @ Life Prep Couple recently posted…Staying Fit While TravelingMy Profile

    • Thanks for sharing Grant!!! It’s definitely a leap of faith of to try to do something new. But I figure if I don’t try I’ll regret it. We’ll see where things go 🙂

  3. Congratulations on the forthcoming book! So many people believe that controlling their own personal finances is beyond their reach. Hopefully you can make them understand that it is not.

    I have been working toward financial independence and early retirement, but now that it seems within reach, my focus is shifting toward what I will do in early retirement. My own website has been part of the effort to explore that.
    Dr. Curious recently posted…You, Too, Can Be An Above-Average CookMy Profile

    • Thanks for sharing Dr. Curious!!! I would definitely love to empower folks to take control of their finances and be more proactive. We’ll see how it works out 🙂

  4. I strongly believe that your background and experience is a huge factor in shaping your personal finance. I grew up in a low-income family, I never got an allowance when I was young and I had to earn everything that I own.

    All those live experience shaped my mindset and forces me to appreciate the value of a dollar. As a result, I try to manage my money responsibly and always encourage people to do the same.

    I can’t wait to read your book. Sign me up!.
    Leo T. Ly @ recently posted…How To Make Money The Easy WayMy Profile

  5. Yay I’m so excited for the new course! Before I reached the end of the paragraph, I had a feeling there would be a big announcement. Thank you for sharing your first job experience with us! I had no idea you worked as a car adjuster before!
    Ms. Frugal Asian Finance recently posted…What To Bring To A PotluckMy Profile

  6. A great goal, Rob. There is certainly a lack of this information out there. I’m working with a local community group and high school on several financial literacy projects. Blogs are great platforms but connecting with people directly or in other media are needed too.
    Brian recently posted…7 Ways to Save Money at HomeMy Profile

    • I definitely agree that connecting with people is ideal. I’ve found having the blog opens up doors to talking to people face to face. That’s awesome that you’ve been able to connect on the local level. I definitely want to get there 🙂

    • Thanks for sharing Mrs. Picky Pincher!!! Like you I feel like I have a ton of goals and definitely not enough time to accomplish everything I’d like to.

  7. I think you sold your younger self a bit short. While there may not have been many 40-50 year olds that would take advice from a college graduate, there were had been plenty of college graduates that needed your advice and may have been more open to receiving it, rather than being ‘preached at by some old dude’.

    I have no particular skill for reviewing written material other than I read. A LOT.

    If that’s good enough, would love to review your course material.

    • That’s a great point of view Veronica!!! I think I got discouraged when my roommates wouldn’t listen so I figured why bother. Now though they hit me up all the time 🙂

  8. Congratulations on your accomplishments. Nothing is earned without education and solid diligence. I like your analogy of the small-time basketball player reaching the NBA. I hear the same of hockey players. Everyone thinks athletes are gifted. They’re gifted, but a slice of their gift lies in their determination to be the best. Just like The Outliers preaches, any skill requires thousands of hours of dedication. The mental bridge was built first to manifest the outcome.
    My personal best was in obtaining my CPF license. At the time, I had a 20+ year career in accounting and taxation and it still took me 18 months. I spent hours and hours studying, understanding where my weaker areas were, and focusing on what I didn’t know.
    And, Yes, I completely agree that the mental bridge of financial independence works the same way.

    • Thanks for sharing Dora!!! That is quite the accomplishment especially with your background. I have a feeling some people would rest on their laurels. So that’s awesome to hear!!!

  9. Awesome post!! You hit so many great points and I’m super excited about your course. I’d be happy to review the material, too! I think it’s so great that you’ve been working hard towards a goal and you’re taking all the right steps to achieve it. Good for you!

    I’m currently building a bridge towards a successful (or hey, even semi-successful blog). My goal is to be a stay-at-home mom when we have kids in the next couple of years, so my blog is my way to still feel like I’m utilizing skills learned getting my college degree (I majored in accounting and have an MBA).

    While I sill have a lot of work til I get there, in doing my best juggling a full-time job, blogging and still maintaining a social life. Sometimes I get frustrated and feel like I’m not making the progress I hoped I would be yet, but I remind myself success takes hard work and time. I try to make sure I’m always enjoying it and not let it get in the way of enjoying other parts of life!

    • Thanks for sharing Courtney!!! I love that you are building a bridge. I feel like too many people have forgotten about goals and stretching themselves. Awesome job and can’t wait to see how your pursuits goes 🙂

  10. Great post man I’d love to help review the course material!!
    I’m definitely on my way to building a bridge towards being able to mentor the younger generations in the future. The first step for me is my finances, preparing for the life as a husband. Eventually, I want to have FIRE to turn that time used working for someone else, to working for someone else in the way of mentorship.

    I’d organize projects, workshops, etc to help those who need coaching to make it to the next level. Can’t wait for it, even talking about it gets my blood boiling!!

    Steph Curry shows the way all professional athletes should act and work, such an inspirational player with a beautiful family.
    Chris @ Duke of Dollars recently posted…One Huge Step for Creating The FIRE Future You Desire! Create a Milestone Map P1My Profile

  11. Congrats on the new book Rob. Passing on your knowledge onto others about finance or anything in that matter is great because its confidence builder for the next generation of kids. Let’s hope a lots of them will be able to control their finances when they become adults.
    I really liked your Steph Curry analogy in here. As a long time Warrior fan and Bay Area resident, its been great to see them win a couple of championships the past few years and maybe more. The years before Curry got here was as miserable as a sports fan can get. Hey maybe in the next few years we will see the Wizards led by John Wall and Beal against the Warriors and the splash the finals

    • I don’t have any hope with the Wizards. The last one before I was born and have been perpetually terrible ever since. They need to start over again. They are a #3 seed team at best in the East which isn’t going to cut it. In the West they’d be a lottery team. They banked on Durant wanting to come back to DC and they clearly lost to the Warriors 🙁

  12. Congrats on the pending book – I look forward to seeing the content! I think some of the best personal finance advice is long on personal stories / interesting anecdotes & analogies (like the above) – that is one of your strengths so I’m sure it’ll be a powerful resource. Good luck!
    Paul recently posted…Talent and Luck Aren’t FriendsMy Profile

    • Thanks Paul for the kind words. I’d definitely love to connect with the readers. I know I appreciate it when I understand where the author is coming from. Hopefully it works out 🙂

  13. I disagree 100% with the premise of this article based solely on the fact that I am a Cavs fan. And good luck getting me to barge from this position.

    That being said, congrats on the new book! That is exciting and it is great that you took your dream and made it a reality. That’s what it is all about. My dreams – well, I’m still ironing them out to be honest with you. Similar to you, I would like to coach people with their finances and help them as much as possible; however, I am trying to figure out what capacity I want to do this is. Is it financial planning for a firm? Writing books like you? and so on. I’m excited to read you book when published!

    Dividend Diplomats recently posted…Lanny’s August Dividend Stock Watch ListMy Profile

    • Thanks for stopping by Bert!!! I was happy for Cleveland when they won the Championship and almost won the World Series. I may have been one of the only Cleveland outside of Cleveland for the World Series 🙂 But now that the Cavs have won, I can’t stand their owner. Plus they knock out the Wiz every year.

  14. I never realized Steph Curry went to Davidson. I just assumed he was a Duke standout from the beginning.
    Looking forward to hearing more about your course. FIRE was something I knew nothing about until I decided to start my blog two years ago on a whim.
    Josh recently posted…Do Communities Still Exist?My Profile

    • Thanks for sharing Josh!!! I know all about Steph and his brother Seth because Va. Tech’s coach passed on him. Event though their Dad, Dell Curry, is a big deal at Va. Tech. They definitely whiffed on those two brothers unfortunately.

  15. Love the idea of a “Reaching FIRE” course! You’re spot on that a lot of the mainstream discourse — even or perhaps especially amongst professional planners and advisors — is an outdated “save 10% of your income” type of one-size-fits-all prescription that doesn’t really take into account how much the times have changed. For many, this outdated advice is still likely to prove ineffective in helping people achieve their retirement goals.

  16. Congratulations on getting closer to your goal Rob! Count me in if you need more feedback on your book or the course.

    I’m looking to continue with my blog and reach FI in a couple more years, retiring 4. Which would be early but not way early (early 50’s).

  17. I try to build bridges with my students from their undergraduate years to post-graduation. Although I am not in the finance field I do push personal finance wisdom. I have become a certified personal finance education instructor to give myself a bit more gravitas. I also run some sessions for new faculty on public service loan forgiveness. So I guess I try to build bridges that way (as well as my research). It is ironic that you talk about being a financial counselor. I was helping a former student and now a colleague with her finances. She said I should become a financial coach and another colleague said I should write a book on financial planning for academics. Who knows maybe I should think about doing some financial coaching.
    Jason recently posted…Financial Goal by 50: Hit the Two Comma ClubMy Profile

    • That would be awesome Jason if you could do that. It sounds like you are definitely in demand and seems like it would be a natural fit. You’ll have to keep me informed of how it goes 🙂

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