With so many stories out there about 20 and 30-somethings drowning in credit card and student loan debt, I set out to find someone who was entirely debt-free. I succeeded: Gregory Go, 31, cofounder of the personal finance site Wise Bread, has carried no debt whatsoever since paying off $10,000 in credit card debt in his early 20s. (That debt came from funding his college living expenses.)
Sure, he's made some sacrifices: He lives with a roommate outside of Los Angeles, drives a 15-year-old Honda Civic, and lounges on 20-year-old couches. But he wouldn't have it any other way. He's been able to fund his entrepreneurial efforts by working hard in his 20s and then generating enough savings so he could start up Wise Bread without taking on debt. Even though he's thought about buying a house, at this point he says he'd rather invest money in his business than take on debt for a home. "If I have to sink thousands of dollars into something, I'd rather it be my business, but I hope in a couple years I can have both," says Go.
Plus, it's not like he's living the life of a monk. He splurged on a huge 50-inch television so he can watch Lakers games in HD. To save money on his social life, he invites friends over for potlucks and game nights.
Go credits his parents with teaching him the value of money. As immigrants from the Philippines, they scrimped and stayed with relatives while they built their lives. They still took Go and his sister to musicals and concerts, by sitting in the back or getting half-price tickets. "I also have a memory of being in the upper upper balcony (in the last rows) watching RENT and Miss Saigon," recalls Go.
Great memories don't have to be expensive.