So you’re probably wondering about the guy behind Money Hero. Truth be told, I’m just a regular, everyday guy. Growing up in a single-parent household with 6 kids, we didn’t have much money. When I finally got to working age, I was desperate to make some money and buy the things that I always wanted.

From a young age, I never really established financial discipline. And this carried with me all the way through college. I maxed out credit cards, I abused student loans. I graduated from undergrad with a Computer Science degree, and a whopping $66k worth of student loans to go with it. Looking at that balance for the first time after graduation, I knew something had to change. So I got to work.

My first job out of college was at a small software company making a respectable (but by no means high) salary of $65k. It almost exactly mirrored the amount I owed in student loans, not to mention credit card debt, medical debt ($5k braces), and a host of other debt and expenses. I became determined to get out of debt and to get a hold of my financial life.

So I got serious about my $70k+ worth of debt. I downloaded YNAB, a budgeting app. It’s been a lifesaver and helps me to track all of my expenses and allocate my pay accordingly. I now watch every penny that comes and goes from my account. And surprisingly, it’s offered me a financial freedom that I’d never felt in all of my previous years.

I tracked down everyone I owed money to and started to clear up my credit report. I cut my expenses, got a roommate, and started diligently paying my student loans. They’re not fully paid off yet, but I’m on track to have them fully paid off within the next 18 months.

The journey to financial independence has been quite the experience and learning curve, as I’ve transitioned from a financially irresponsible kid to a Money Hero.

-Ricky