How to Become a Financial Stud Overnight

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Years ago, there was a friend of a friend in my social circle who didn’t do too well with the ladies. I forget his name, but he was a good guy. He just didn’t have any animal magnetism. He was an average-looking man with an average-paying job who possessed average social skills. If I had to choose one word to sum him up, it would be boring.

But then something remarkable happened. I merrily walked into my default bar one night and came upon Mr. Boring with a shockingly beautiful girl at his side. And she wasn’t his coworker or his sister, she was his new girlfriend!

I remember thinking two things. First, WTF! Her with him? My second thought, though, was happiness. Like I said, Mr. Boring was a good guy. And it was nice to see that at least one Playmate-quality woman would rather have a mate with character and good sense than a mate with chiseled abs and a hot car. It gave all of us non-studs some hope.

But here’s the really interesting part of this story. Guys started to treat Mr. Boring differently. He wasn’t just there anymore. His thoughts and opinions mattered. Guys suddenly wanted to hang out with him. It was freakin’ amazing. One hot girlfriend had erased years of social mediocrity. Mr. Boring had become an Alpha-male overnight.

What Is a Financial Stud?

Don’t ask me why, but for some reason I’ve been thinking about Mr. Boring in a financial sense. Is it possible for someone, without the benefit of Powerball or a lucrative inheritance, to go from financial dud to financial stud overnight?

I think it is. But before I explain why, I first have to define what I mean by financial stud.

Given that a shockingly small number of Americans can come up with $400 without borrowing, the cynic in me says a financial stud is someone who has four hundred dollars in cash lying around. But that benchmark is ridiculously low. No one who lives with mommy and daddy and has saved half the median weekly earnings of a US worker can be considered a financial stud. Our definition has to be a little more formidable than that. For our purposes here, then, the working definition of a financial stud will be as follows.

  • Someone who is debt free (save his or her house).
  • Someone who has a six-month emergency fund.
  • Someone who is at least half Mustachean; that is, someone who has saved at least twelve and half times his or her annual expenses.

Okay, I got to cover one more thing before I explain how to become a financial stud. What’s my definition of overnight? Well, for starters, it has to be a realistic time frame. It can’t be a month or a year. But it has to be something challenging. After all, studs to do things mere mortals can’t. Hitting the above benchmarks over a sixty-year time frame isn’t that studly. But doing it in ten years or less is.

So there’s my arbitrary definition of overnight in a financial sense. Achieve the above benchmarks in ten years or less and you’re an “overnight” financial stud.

How to become a Overnight Financial Stud in Two Easy Steps

There are basically two steps to becoming an overnight financial stud: Get out of debt and save half your income for ten years. That’s it. I wish I had a more profound secret to share, but I don’t.

The math behind these two steps is pretty straight forward. According to Mr. Money Mustache, if you’re saving 50% of your income, you will have 12.5 times your annual living expenses saved in 8.5 years. If you continued to save 50% of your income for another year and a half, you would have an eighteen-month emergency fund. So overnight financial studism is doable. But you must avoid debt like the plague, and you must be super-good at saving.

Here, then, are some no-nonsense ways of avoiding debt and creating a prodigious gap between your income and your spending.

No nonsense ways to mitigate debt and reduce household expenses

  • Walk, bike, or take public transportation to work.
  • If that isn’t feasible, scooter or motorcycle to work.
  • If that isn’t feasible, commute to work with the best car you can buy for cash. Eff leasing. Eff car loans. Driving a dismal car won’t do your ego any good, but it does come with some fairly enticing benefits.
  • Never take out a loan for college. College is a scam. It’s an overpriced trade school with a heaping dose of left-wing indoctrination. So work, go part time to a local college, and cash-flow tuition. It won’t be fun. Getting your degree will take twice as long. But it beats going into debt for the pleasure of listening to a bunch of snarky professors tell you how rotten you (if you’re not a progressive) and America are.
  • Live in a trailer or a tiny home.
  • If that isn’t feasible, live in an apartment.
  • If that isn’t feasible, live in a modest home. Eff the McMansion. Your kids won’t hate you if they don’t have their own bedrooms.
  • Don’t have pet dogs or cats.
  • If that isn’t feasible, and you must have a pet, get a goldfish or a turtle.
  • Don’t have kids.
  • If this isn’t feasible, procreate mindfully. Don’t have kids while you’re still in high school. Wait until you’re at least 25, when you’re more likely to be financially and emotionally ready. And if you’re a girl, don’t sleep with losers. I don’t care how cute their smiles or tattoos are. If you’re a guy, don’t sleep with anyone you don’t consider marriage material. Your temporary pleasure isn’t paramount. If you’re not prepared to do right should an accident occur, keep it in your pants.
  • If you’re not saving 50% of your household income, economize on the big two—transportation and housing—until you are. If this means driving a POS car, or living in a cramped space, or having an undesirable zip code, so be it.

No nonsense ways to boost your household income

  • Start a part time business for less than $1,000. A co-worker at my previous job bought a couple of lawnmowers and cut four or five lawns every weekday during the summer after work. This part time business added roughly $15K to his annual income.
  • If that isn’t feasible, work 20 hours a week at a part time job.
  • If that isn’t feasible, work 10 hours a week at a part time job.
  • Get married. It’s much easier to save when your household has two people bringing home an income. Prior to marrying Mrs. Groovy, I saved little if anything. But once she joined Team Groovy, we were able to save close to two grand a month in fairly short order.
  • If you’re not saving 50% of your household income, use one or more of the above income-boosting ploys until you are.

Final Thoughts

Up until I was 45 I was a financial dud. But with the help of Mrs. Groovy, I became a financial stud in ten years. And I can tell you from first-hand experience being a stud is a lot more rewarding than being a dud. In fact, I don’t think I sacrificed anything by saving 50% of my household income. I’ve had just as much fun, if not more fun, on the road to financial studism than I did any time during my pre-stud life. We still imbibed our share of wine, we still took groovy vacations, we still ate well and went to restaurants. And although we didn’t live extravagantly, we lived very comfortably by world—and American—standards.

So tell me, groovy freedomists, are you on your way to financial studism? Are the sacrifices needed to get there worth it to you? Let me know what you think when you get a chance. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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51 Comments

  1. This is really quite encouraging! I’ve been trying to get better with savings and there is a part of me beating myself up with “wow, if I had started X years ago”. Nice to have the reminder that one can also start at 46 and still get some nice results.

    • Mr. Groovy

      Hey, Gila. It is tough starting to bear down on retirement when you’re in your mid-40s. But it can be done. Best of luck in your quest for retirement. I look forward to reading about your adventures. Cheers.

    • Mr. Groovy

      LOL, yeah financial lothario works for me. But by all means, keep your wife. Thanks for stopping by FrugalFox. You made me laugh.

    • Mr. Groovy

      Agreed. Saving 50% of one’s income is a truly audacious goal. But no one I know who has managed to pull it off has regretted it. Like you said, Sikasem, “the results are always splendid.” Thanks for stopping by, my friend. Your pithy comment contained an awful lot of wisdom.

  2. Aspiring to be Mr. Boring here. Single 33 y/o saving 53%, have 5x annual spending saved, and house is half paid off in just under 10.5 years. Once the mortgage is killed, my annual expenses will plummet, and I’ll be at half-Mustachian. Working on FI by 40, and retired from cubicle life by 43 (10 years from now).

    • Mr. Groovy

      Boring is the new awesome. I love it. Some very impressive numbers, my friend. Saving 53%! 5x annual spending saved! The house half-way paid off! You’re easily a financial stud. In fact, I don’t think the term does you justice. Thanks for stopping by, Jover. It’s always great hearing from a fellow stud.

  3. Sundeep

    Interesting post…Above average single income earner with a cat here and been saving at least 50% for several years now, with no debt other than a house, so I think stud territory.

    I can’t believe no one has asked, but I thought for sure you’d give us a reason as to how Mr. Boring went from dud to stud in your story, but since you didn’t did you ask him what happened?

    • Mr. Groovy

      First, great job on your savings rate. I don’t think there’s anyway I would have been able to save 50% of my income without Mrs. Groovy. What you’re doing is freakin’ awesome. Second, what a great question about Mr. Boring. I honestly forget how he and Bo Derek met. I vaguely remember it being work related. Either she was a new employee at his company or a new consultant. Anyway, a lost touch with Mr. Boring for a while and ran into a few years later. And he was still with Bo. So whatever she initially saw in him she still saw. Thanks for stopping by, Sundeep. It’s always great hearing from a another financial stud.

  4. Awesome post Mr Groovy – what a cool way to look at financial badassity.

    I’ve been working on these goals for a while now but only really got serious about a year ago. Looking at my plan, I should be able to hit the numbers to qualify as a financial stud in about 7 and a half years (and be mortgage free to boot).

    Not sure if I can qualify it as overnight given the years of semi-serious saving, but I’ll take the “financial stud” part whenever I can get it 🙂

    • Mr. Groovy

      Believe me, you’re a financial stud. No mortgage, no debt, ample emergency fund, and half-Mustachean–in seven and a half years! In fact, you pull that off and the term financial stud won’t do you justice. I love your badassity, Chris. It was an honor sharing the limelight with you on Rockstar today. Thank you for stopping by, my friend.

  5. The video cracked me up. Never thought of myself as a stud before, but thanks to your definition, I am a financial super-stud! Just groovy….

    Mr. TFR aka Super Stud “Hey babe, how’s it hangin’?”
    * Slap* boom*… *Thud* Mrs. TFR “Go load the laundry. Now.”

    • Mr. Groovy

      LOL! Whenever I remind Mrs. G of my studliness, a get a variation of the “go load the laundry” too. Being a financial stud isn’t as glamorous as many people suppose, at least not on the home front. Thanks for stopping by, Mr. TFR. Your comment is definitely going into my comment hall of fame.

  6. Not sure I’d qualify as any sort of stud, but probably closer to stud-hood on the financial front. I think I’ve missed my chance at physical studliness. 🙂

    • Mr. Groovy

      I missed it on the physical front too. But thankfully the financial front is there for us wannabes. Probably not the kind of studs we wanted to be when growing up. But, hey, it’s something. Thanks for stopping by, Kurt.

    • Mr. Groovy

      You’ll be an official financial stud soon enough. I love it! You and Ramona figured things out way sooner than Mrs. Groovy and I did. Thanks for stopping by, Kevin. I really appreciate your kind words.

  7. Really cool post! I’d like to think we’re on our way to financial studism. I don’t earn a big income (yet), but I’m doing further education. We don’t have a strong second income (yet), but we’ve started our blog to achieve that. We do live on the outskirts of our city. I take public transport to work. We do have a cat! We do want kids, having to go through IVF no less, but to us it’ll be worth it by the end.

    We are doing our best to be financially secure, have a good amount of cash on standby and saving as much as we can. Hopefully in our later 20s, we’ll be saving over 50% of our income easy 🙂

    Tristan

    • Mr. Groovy

      Totally agree with you about the kids part. It’s definitely a regret on my end that I didn’t meet Mrs. Groovy when we were younger. Kids are worth delaying financial studism, for sure. But you guys are doing great. Mrs. Groovy and I didn’t wake up financially until we were in our 40s. Being able to save half your income by your late 20s would be quite an accomplishment. I look forward to reading about the quest. Thanks for stopping by, Tristan. Always a pleasure.

  8. Jaime Lila

    Well it’s on hold for right now due to being in college and all. I’m not going into debt for college though. One of the perks of going to college in the mid-west.

    For me the path to financial freedom will involve entrepreneurship but I’m not going into debt for that either.

    • Mr. Groovy

      Hey, Jamie Lila! Thanks for stopping by. Love what you’re doing. Coming out of college without debt is a brilliant move. I wish more college-bound people were that mindful. And if your aversion to debt continues, as I’m sure it will, you path to financial studism will be that much easier. I look forward to some Jaime-Lila originals hanging on my walls once your entrepreneurial adventure begins. Talk to you soon. Cheers.

    • Mr. Groovy

      I think I should have said something about investing. Great point. Saving half your income will make you half Mustachean after ten years. But if you invest those savings and get a reasonable return of seven to eight percent, you’ll be damn close to full Mustachean after ten years. I feel such shame. Leave it to another financial stud, though, to point out a glaring omission. Thanks for helping me out, Maarten. I really appreciate it, my friend.

  9. Great post. Especially the part about waiting till you are ready to have kids. I have an 18 year old step daughter with a two year old child. She tries so hard but the deck is really stacked against her. Having kids is wonderful when the timing is right. They are definitely expensive!

    • Mr. Groovy

      Last year, Mrs. Groovy and I were in Lexington, KY, on vacation, and while we were driving around we happened upon a White Castle. Since we don’t have White Castle in NC, we had to stop for some belly bombs. And while in that fine establishment, we chatted with the cashier while we waited for our order. She was a sweet young lady, maybe 18. And she was bright. But she had a big problem. She was unmarried and had two kids! Wonderful. Out-of-wedlock children are great for millionaire athletes and celebrities, but they’re devastating for the sorry people. I hope our White Castle friend and your step daughter can overcome the challenges of single-parenthood. But like you said, “the deck is really stacked against” them. And it pisses me off. Our hyper-sexual culture really isn’t helping our young people. I wish the cool people would take a step back and consider this. Sorry about the rant, Amy. I get a little crazed when I think of all the unnecessary hardship out there. Meh.

  10. Damn – still a dud over here according to your definition! Need a few more years of high savings to make it! Some good tips to help move your forward quickly though! As always, it comes down to being mindful when making decisions.

    • Mr. Groovy

      Don’t be hard on yourself. Financially studliness is just around the corner. Like you said, “it comes down to being mindful when making decisions.” Once you figure that out, the rest is easy. Great way to sum things up. Thanks, Thias.

  11. I’m not yet a financial stud, but I bet I’ll be there soon. Definitely helps knowing that kids won’t happen to me unexpectedly. (All of my near relatives’ kids are of an age that I would not have to raise them if the worst happened, because they are grown)

    • Mr. Groovy

      Had Mrs. Groovy and I met earlier, we definitely would have had kids. And it’s fair to say that a bunch of little groovies would have complicated our quest for financial studliness. So absent kids, ZJ, I’m very confident you’ll be a financial stud in short order. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Ha, ha, that was a good post! I’m not looking forward to letting my wife know that the kids and dog have to go! I do admit they are dragging us down financially, but you have to enjoy life a little too.

    If 10 years is the timeline for financial studliness, then I might be ok, but I need to crank up the savings rate. Currently at about 25%.

    • Mr. Groovy

      Kids and a dog–and your saving 25% of your income! Very nice, my friend. In fact, I think I need to modify my studly criteria to account for kids and pets. After all, kids and pets are pretty awesome. So if you have kids and a pet and your able to save 25% of your income, you’re a financial stud. Thanks for helping me see the light, Jon. Appreciate it.

  13. Great approach and this is defienely possible overnight, as you put it.

    Marrying the right woman sounds like the best piece of advice here! My girlfriend and I only recently (last 6 months) have gotten to saving 50%. Before dating her, not sure if I was saving even 10%.

    • Mr. Groovy

      Exactly, Matt! Find the right one and your odds of improving your financial position improves greatly. Once I bought a condo, I couldn’t save a dime. Each year I was slipping a little further behind. But then I tricked Mrs. Groovy into marrying me and the rest is history. Glad to see your girlfriend had a similar effect on your finances. Sounds like a keeper to me.

  14. I’ll have to break the news to my wife that I’m not quite a financial stud, although I do have more than $400 in the bank! At least I’m more studly than dudly, in my mind anyway. You’ve listed a lot of solid advice, and anyone following it even halfway should be an overnight financial stud in no time (as long as no time lasts approximately 10 years). 🙂

    • Mr. Groovy

      You’re a stud, just not officially. But you’ll be getting your financial stud merit badge soon enough. Mrs. SST picked a good one.

    • Mr. Groovy

      Everything in moderation. Have fun, but don’t forget to make your monthly installment payment on freedom. Glad to see that Mr. MSD’s taste in women improved dramatically. I hope he appreciates you.

  15. Still a ways from being a financial stud, but we are at least in the right path and should be a stud before 40!

    I can’t give up the pup though – he brings to much joy to the house

    • Mr. Groovy

      A stud before 40 is very impressive. And I’m glad you don’t have to give up the pup to make it happen. Nice job, Chris.

  16. Thanks for the laugh – procreate mindfully! Love it!
    Fully fledged Stud-ette here (is stud gender specific?)
    Mr. PIE and I have only seriously pursued FI for about 2 years, but I guess we were low level (very low level) Mustacheans before that. Yes, we spent freely, and bought a large house, but never got into consumer debt and always saved. the turn around to greater frugality and saving has been surprisingly easy – and delightfully freeing.

      • Mr. Groovy

        Hey, ZJ. We’re definitely in uncharted territory here. I don’t know if the word stud has ever been broached in a financial sense. At least not the way we’re using it in this post. Mrs. PIE made a good case for “financial stud” being gender neutral. Works for me.

    • Mr. Groovy

      Some words that have been historically male have become gender neutral. The word “actor,” for instance, is now commonly used to describe female thespians. But I don’t know if “stud” has achieved neutral status yet. I would say you’re a studette. But that does strike me as a little demeaning. Oh, well, this is definitely something for the grammar police to figure out. In the meantime, though, congratulations on you and Mr. P joining the ranks of the financial studly. Mrs. Groovy and I’s turnaround to “greater frugality and saving” has been surprisingly easy as well. I wish more people would realize that frugality is not synonymous with deprivation. Thanks for stopping by, Mrs. PIE. Always great hearing from you.

  17. That video had me laughing – very funny, thanks!

    The part about no kids reminds me of an old MMM post detailing the financial reasons of them not having a second kid. 🙂

    I realized in that graph I put together this week showing our life events compared to the price of oil, that we haven’t been at this very long, less than 8 years, and we only got serious about FIRE in the last 4-5 years. I’m pretty sure we can check off everything on the list of overnight financial stud-dom! haha, finally!

    Like you I was a total financial dud before meeting my wife, so cheers to them!

    • Mr. Groovy

      Yes, yes, yes!!! The right spouse can make or break you. I was very lucky. Mrs. Groovy and I didn’t discuss finances at all before we were married. But fortunately for both of us, neither one of us was materialistic. And we were both determined to turn our financial lives around. Glad things worked at for you as well. Thanks for stopping by, Mr. SSC. Always great hearing from another financial stud.

  18. Still laughing out loud here. Perhaps your best article yet! One question: I’m a stud based on the numbers, even paid off the house! I’m curious, however. You specifically cite Age 60 as no longer being stud worthy. However, with my “bonus points” for paying off the house, can I still be a stud at Age 53? Please? I’ve always wanted to be a Stud!

    • Mr. Groovy

      Hey, Fritz. I screwed up. I should have been more explicit. “Taking” 60 years to achieve our studly criteria would make you ineligible for the moniker. But if you woke up financially at 50 and achieved our studly criteria by 60, you would be a financial stud. As for your case, you’re definitely a financial stud. Nearly or completely Mustachean, a paid off house, fit enough to swim Lake Zurich–and all this at age 53! Awesome. Looking forward to your Lake Zurich post, my friend. Best of luck.

  19. I need to get rid of my kids and my dog? 🙂 There are some things I just can’t part with.

    I like the idea of starting ASAP and as young as possible to reach studliness. Saving and earning more before you begin taking on those extra responsibilities will certainly make it easier to achieve this goal. It can be done later on it will just take a little more work and focus.

    • Mr. Groovy

      No, no! Keep the kids and the dog. It’s quite a quandary. Having kids is definitely a young person’s game. When Mrs. Groovy and I first got married we were in our early 40s. We contemplated having at least one child, but decided against it. The thought of having an 18-year-old when we turned 60 was too unnerving. But while having children is emotionally and physically a young person’s game, young people are generally poorer than middle-age people, and as we all know, children are expensive. So if you want to get ahead financially you got to procreate wisely. Letting hormones and nature run wild is a recipe for financial disaster. Like you said, Brian, “saving and earning more before you begin taking on those extra responsibilities will certainly make it easier to achieve [financial studliness].”