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Katie, 24

I earned an English degree at Hollins University, a fantastic women’s university in Virginia. Outside of my classrooms, I learned that money makes people feel more important than they really are. No one noticed you at my university unless you carried a Vera Bradley school bag, wore certain brands, and wore pearl strands and earrings everywhere… even with your pajamas to breakfast. I never knew about true wealth or envy until I went to a rich girls’ school.

How did I escape the strangling influence of envy? I remembered home. The average income in the State of Montana is $24,000. I earned a business management degree at The University of Montana. The goal of my education didn’t ever seem to be how to make a million bucks. The goal pushed at UM was how to sustain yourself and provide for your family in a rewarding company. In Montana, the quality of life matters more than the quantity in your bank account.

We live. We die. Life is about more than money. Yet a life without money is pretty difficult. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life working for someone else–that feels too robotic. So I try to take risks. I have been married for one year. During the majority of this time, my husband and I have been devoting our weekends to our own investment projects. We’re trying to raise as much capital that can convert to passive income as possible. The work is tough; you’ve never met two people more enthusiastic to start work on Monday morning for the other guy, our bosses. But the greatest motivator for most people is the idea of independence. We make our own schedules and own priorities. The harder we work, the more we benefit. How often do our Monday-Friday bosses reward our extra efforts? They probably pocket the change. Knowing that my intelligence becomes hindered at work because I’m often forced to be a yes man and get paid only per minute that I’m actually sitting at my desk (doing stuff or not) drives me crazy. Passive income fascinates me!

My decisions aren’t perfect! Yet I know that every successful person confronts failures. And if a person works hard enough, I’m certain she will also confront some level of success. We have to look deep at ourselves to discover what we really want. Having money isn’t enough… well, unless your best friends have less. My husband and I started working on weekends with dreams of money. Then we shifted gears. We want to have the financial freedom to do the things we dream of–he wants to go back to school to study alternative energy and ideas like the electric car. Oil companies and car industries–the wealthiest power in the country–hate people like my husband. We cannot enter his dream career and hope to get rich. We’re looking for the joy and challenge of work in our future, not the cash.

Every night, I try to ask myself, What can I do better tomorrow to reach my goals based on what I learned from today? I’m convinced that I won’t have to work for money forever. Instead, I’m going to make money work for me.

Some of the Aridni articles that I find most inspiring in my financial mission include: