Author Topic: Minimum wage worker with 4k in savings, no college, can I ever reach FIRE?  (Read 1715 times)

nomad_josephine

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I'm 26 with a high school diploma and the most I've ever earned is $12.50 an hour. That job is gone so I'm going through a little bit of an unemployment struggle but I did get just a part time job at the grocery store. It will be about a month before I get decent hours though (I hope I ever do get decent hours, will probably need a second job).

Can I ever reach FIRE? Without the physical ability to go into the construction trades, without the will to go into life ending amounts of debt for a college degree, what can I do? Or is the debt incurred from a college degree my only hope?

Thanks so much.

Basenji

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Re: Minimum wage worker with 4k in savings, no college, can I ever reach FIRE?
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2018, 06:44:58 PM »
Maybe start thinking in terms of FI, rather than FIRE. Start where you are and do the program, step by step. You might do a case study (https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/case-studies/how-to-write-a-'case-study'-topic/). That is, you are simply making an honest account of your financial situation. Even if you have only a bit of savings and not much to enter into the case study, there are ways that you can optimize your spending and plan how to save. The practice of tracking spending and learning about money management will benefit you as you move forward. Sometimes when things seem overwhelming it can be helpful to simply identify the next small step (rather than looking way down the road).

Is the job market tight where you are? I saw you asked elsewhere about writing. Certainly you can look into that, but for the case study, just do an accounting where you are right now. Try not to compare yourself to anyone else (if you can). If it helps, think of this forum as a big cheerleading section.

peeps_be_peeping

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Re: Minimum wage worker with 4k in savings, no college, can I ever reach FIRE?
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2018, 06:47:49 PM »
I know people who do not have BA degrees who make decent money, way more than minimum wage, as
- servers in restaurants
- legal assistants/paralegals
- sonographers and other medical imaging technologists
- traffic control flagging for construction projects

Paralegal and anything medical require some training or certification but way less investment than a 4-year college degree. There are also often technical and vocational schools that offer courses leading to better paying jobs, not all in construction. What part of the country do you live in?

« Last Edit: December 04, 2018, 06:51:47 PM by peeps_be_peeping »

nomad_josephine

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Re: Minimum wage worker with 4k in savings, no college, can I ever reach FIRE?
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2018, 07:24:18 PM »
Maybe start thinking in terms of FI, rather than FIRE. Start where you are and do the program, step by step. You might do a case study (https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/case-studies/how-to-write-a-'case-study'-topic/). That is, you are simply making an honest account of your financial situation. Even if you have only a bit of savings and not much to enter into the case study, there are ways that you can optimize your spending and plan how to save. The practice of tracking spending and learning about money management will benefit you as you move forward. Sometimes when things seem overwhelming it can be helpful to simply identify the next small step (rather than looking way down the road).

Is the job market tight where you are? I saw you asked elsewhere about writing. Certainly you can look into that, but for the case study, just do an accounting where you are right now. Try not to compare yourself to anyone else (if you can). If it helps, think of this forum as a big cheerleading section.

What program is that?? Is there a difference between financial independence and retiring early? I feel like I'm decent at money, sometimes I have moments where I spend on something I shouldn't but over all I do have a YNAB subscription so it doesn't get out of hand at least. The job market... I live in Denver, I'm not entirely sure what the job market is like, I only look for the lowest jobs with the highest turnover so they're always hiring. I think beyond that level though it's pretty tough. And thank you! I really appreciate you and everyone who take the time to read my posts and write back to me. 
« Last Edit: December 04, 2018, 07:32:54 PM by nomad_josephine »

nomad_josephine

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Re: Minimum wage worker with 4k in savings, no college, can I ever reach FIRE?
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2018, 07:31:28 PM »
I know people who do not have BA degrees who make decent money, way more than minimum wage, as
- servers in restaurants
- legal assistants/paralegals
- sonographers and other medical imaging technologists
- traffic control flagging for construction projects

Paralegal and anything medical require some training or certification but way less investment than a 4-year college degree. There are also often technical and vocational schools that offer courses leading to better paying jobs, not all in construction. What part of the country do you live in?

The problem with sonography programs is they have required prerequisite of a bachelors degree in a related field. I know, I looked into it. That's actually what a lot of those trade and certificate programs are for is to beef up a bachelor degree and sometimes it's very hard to know which programs are which. For example, there's a great computer networking program at a trade school near me, but when I look up entry level computer networking jobs they all require bachelor degrees and 1 to 3 years of experience. I wish I could do construction, I'm not at all suited for it although I could direct traffic. I'm so small though idk why they'd want me to do it but I guess I could lol. I have been looking into certificate programs but all the ones that aren't construction either pay barely above minimum wage or are there to beef up a bachelor degree or just exist to sell someone a diploma and make money off them.

Peachtea

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Re: Minimum wage worker with 4k in savings, no college, can I ever reach FIRE?
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2018, 07:32:34 PM »
I know people who do not have BA degrees who make decent money, way more than minimum wage, as
- servers in restaurants
- legal assistants/paralegals
- sonographers and other medical imaging technologists
- traffic control flagging for construction projects

Paralegal and anything medical require some training or certification but way less investment than a 4-year college degree. There are also often technical and vocational schools that offer courses leading to better paying jobs, not all in construction. What part of the country do you live in?

I would strongly recommend you look at your local market before paying for a paralegal cert w/o a BA (or any cert for that matter). My DH is a paralegal. All the jobs he’s had and almost every one he’s looked at/applied for required a BA with paralegal cert preferred (in addition to the BA). One required both. That place actually rescinded a job offer for someone who had 15 plus years paralegal experience, a BA, and who was 3-6 credits (three months) away from a paralegal cert.

What about real estate agent? I have a cousin who has no degree and is going through a real estate cert now, which I believe the broker co she’s going to work for is paying for it.

Could you physically do electrical or plumbing work? Getting an apprenticeship with one of those trades would be well paid. Or a lot of companies are now paying people to get their CDL b/c they are low on applicants for truck drivers.

What about bank teller? A friend with only 1 semester college started as bank teller with local bank (rather than a national company) and very quickly moved up to loan officer and etc. Cashier  experience would be relevant and a good bridge to bank teller position (cash handling and customer service experience).

Also know a lot of people who did the CNA cert to get decent pay job, then pay for RN assoc degree at tech school (no loans) while working full time, get job at hospital who then pays for schooling to get BSN (? Or w/e 4 year degree is), and often hospitals then also pay for people to get their masters in nursing or other specialty degree that pays more.

nomad_josephine

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Re: Minimum wage worker with 4k in savings, no college, can I ever reach FIRE?
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2018, 07:53:54 PM »
I know people who do not have BA degrees who make decent money, way more than minimum wage, as
- servers in restaurants
- legal assistants/paralegals
- sonographers and other medical imaging technologists
- traffic control flagging for construction projects

Paralegal and anything medical require some training or certification but way less investment than a 4-year college degree. There are also often technical and vocational schools that offer courses leading to better paying jobs, not all in construction. What part of the country do you live in?

I would strongly recommend you look at your local market before paying for a paralegal cert w/o a BA (or any cert for that matter). My DH is a paralegal. All the jobs he’s had and almost every one he’s looked at/applied for required a BA with paralegal cert preferred (in addition to the BA). One required both. That place actually rescinded a job offer for someone who had 15 plus years paralegal experience, a BA, and who was 3-6 credits (three months) away from a paralegal cert.

What about real estate agent? I have a cousin who has no degree and is going through a real estate cert now, which I believe the broker co she’s going to work for is paying for it.

Could you physically do electrical or plumbing work? Getting an apprenticeship with one of those trades would be well paid. Or a lot of companies are now paying people to get their CDL b/c they are low on applicants for truck drivers.

What about bank teller? A friend with only 1 semester college started as bank teller with local bank (rather than a national company) and very quickly moved up to loan officer and etc. Cashier  experience would be relevant and a good bridge to bank teller position (cash handling and customer service experience).

Also know a lot of people who did the CNA cert to get decent pay job, then pay for RN assoc degree at tech school (no loans) while working full time, get job at hospital who then pays for schooling to get BSN (? Or w/e 4 year degree is), and often hospitals then also pay for people to get their masters in nursing or other specialty degree that pays more.

I have looked into those programs and the job postings for people with those certifications and yes, a lot of them are actually just there for people who already have bachelor degrees. So sonography actually is 6 years of schooling, not 2 as the internet loves to claim. Sadly, I'm just not suited for construction work. I did give construction work a 2 year chance at job corps and yeah, I was terrible at it and unhappy doing it and it just doesn't suit me. As for medical stuff I can't do human fluids I did have my vision go brown and I lost balance at the sight of blood once. I was going to go into a physical therapy assistant program but guess what, they're moving to a campus in another city! Right after I moved to this city! Now the only PTA programs near me are at private for profit schools and I will not go near one of those.

A bank is a good idea and real estate seems to be how most people make a lot of money. I was thinking of taking a computer networking certificate at a trade school near me even though they probably won't me with just a certificate and no bachelor degree. Thanks for your reply, I might look into banking and real estate.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2018, 07:57:56 PM by nomad_josephine »

Basenji

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Re: Minimum wage worker with 4k in savings, no college, can I ever reach FIRE?
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2018, 08:03:50 PM »
Maybe start thinking in terms of FI, rather than FIRE. Start where you are and do the program, step by step. You might do a case study (https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/case-studies/how-to-write-a-'case-study'-topic/). That is, you are simply making an honest account of your financial situation.

What program is that?? Is there a difference between financial independence and retiring early?

Sorry I wasn't clear. By “program,” I simply mean optimizing one’s situation. I’m assuming you’ve read most of the MMM blog posts, yes?

This post is pretty good as a summary of the “program” (http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2018/10/05/the-fire-movement).

Quote
Sure, many of the people most passionate about FIRE tend to be tech workers and doctors who happen to make a lot of money. When people with lower salaries notice this fact, they tune out and assume the ideas won’t work for them. When in fact, they work even better, the further down the income scale you go.

When I tell a Google employee earning $200,000 per year that she should not burn through too many $10.00-plus-tip glassses of wine at happy hour, she can rightfully respond that each one represents only about ten minutes of her after-tax pay. But what about the guy getting by on $20k? A ten-dollar expenditure is ten times more of a blow to his finances, and an even bigger portion of his monthly surplus income, if he has any surplus at all.

I’m not telling low-income people that they can retire in five years. I am telling them that they can make their lives better, RIGHT NOW, by spending less money on certain things that don’t improve any of our lives. Ten dollar drinks are one easy example, but there are dozens of other ones that I’m suggesting.

Also, for job ideas, in case you hadn’t seen these posts:

https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/07/25/50-jobs-over-50000-without-a-degree-part-1/
https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/08/05/50-jobs-over-50000-without-a-degree-part-2/
« Last Edit: December 04, 2018, 08:06:00 PM by Basenji »

WalkaboutStache

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Re: Minimum wage worker with 4k in savings, no college, can I ever reach FIRE?
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2018, 08:21:33 PM »
Here are a couple of articles that may help you:

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/07/25/50-jobs-over-50000-without-a-degree-part-1/

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/08/05/50-jobs-over-50000-without-a-degree-part-2/

As I am sure you know, there is more to hourly work than just the pay rate.  You actually touched on it when you mention being able to get decent hours.  As scheduling software becomes more and more prevalent, the tendency will be for your hours to get less and less predictable, and for overtime to become rarer and rarer.  This, more than the minimum wage issue is what truly screws low wage hourly workers, so you should work to get out of that treadmill.

I think your priority may need to be to try to set an emergency fund aside, avoid the temptation of easy credit (not even a little – it is a slippery slope for people in your situation), and look at what skills you are good at and are at demand around you.


One last word of advice:   focus on the process, not the result.  Yes, becoming financially independent is cool, but it is a long term goal.  If you focus too much on that, you may get discouraged (“Man, this is impossible, so I might as well just buy dumb stuff to make life bearable.”)   Right now, your focus should be how to earn more and have more stable income.  In parallel, avoid debt and keep trying to optimize your spending (even cheap stuff can be silly spending – bottled water, drinks, cigarettes, “nice” sneakers). It will be hard work at first because you need to learn new skills for work, keep an eye on your life, and still do the normal stuff like having a social life.  If you bite that bullet, you may wake up one day and notice that all of a sudden, stability is there and FI is not a pipe dream.

Good luck, keep in touch with the board
« Last Edit: December 04, 2018, 08:23:35 PM by WalkaboutStache »

Miss Tash

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Re: Minimum wage worker with 4k in savings, no college, can I ever reach FIRE?
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2018, 09:04:51 PM »
There's a big market in Denver for marijuana industry jobs. Get a MED badge ($75) first, assuming no arrests on your record.  There's everything from front desk work to driving, budtending, trimming or entry level grower support positions. Like most industries, there are a lot of job types involved and maybe there's something that might fit your skills.

MrThatsDifferent

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WalkaboutStache

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Re: Minimum wage worker with 4k in savings, no college, can I ever reach FIRE?
« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2018, 09:42:38 PM »
Also heard on NPR that ND is having an oil boom.  These things don't last forever, but for a frugal person they can be a good way to pad the stash while the going is good.  In some cases, you may even get subsidized training (CDL, patch jobs, etc.).

Here is the article:

https://www.npr.org/2018/11/23/669198912/after-struggles-north-dakota-grows-into-its-ongoing-oil-boom

Where you live and where you were born do not have to determine your prospects. 

Zikoris

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Re: Minimum wage worker with 4k in savings, no college, can I ever reach FIRE?
« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2018, 10:16:31 PM »
Okay, once upon a time I was in a similar situation, so here's an exact step-by-step guide to what I did.

I got into FIRE in 2011 a few weeks before I turned 25, and I was working in a shitty warehouse job for somewhere around 12/hour, just like you, except without the savings! My boyfriend was working in a grocery store for minimum wage. I had no credentials, and he had a degree in something fluffy that doesn't involve a definite career path.

So we decided we wanted to FIRE, and made a plan. We figured out that with our skillsets, interests, and abilities, the best jobs we could get would probably be some sort of office admin work. So we both started applying to those jobs like crazy. In the meantime, I signed up with Mint, and started detailed financial tracking. We also tightened up our spending and focused on improving our self-reliance skills. I learned basic sewing, and greatly expanded my cooking repertoire (combined with cutting grocery delivery service, this cut our food spending in half). He took a few classes to polish his Microsoft Office skills, and also learned some basic bookkeeping.

I was the first one to land an office job - a part-time medical leave contract for only a few months, but at a pretty prestigious company that I figured I could use as a springboard to something else. My experience and excellent reference from that job landed me a much better full-time office job at a large law firm, with great benefits and much more money. I worked there as an office clerk for about five years, doing things like making coffee and tidying up communal spaces, plus some reception coverage and helping with events. At the same time, my boyfriend got a job as a typist at a small company, and gradually transitioned to administrative assistant work. Our lifestyle never changed from when we got paid peanuts, so our savings rate just skyrocketed over time. We just kept throwing everything into index funds and ignoring it.

As mentioned, that continued for about five years, until we jumped ship to both work at the same company for more money and better work environments. He worked there as an administrative assistant for close to three years, and I've been a receptionist for almost two at this point. He decided to quit to start a freelancing business last summer, and has been having a great time with that.

At this point we bring in about 80-85K combined, which is enough for us to live an absolutely incredible lifestyle. We live in downtown Vancouver, travel extensively all over the world, and save 60-70% of our income consistently. Our net worth is closing in on 400K at this point, and we're looking at retirement in about 2-3 years, in our mid 30s.

So there's one possible route. Something to consider.

Freedomin5

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Re: Minimum wage worker with 4k in savings, no college, can I ever reach FIRE?
« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2018, 10:49:49 PM »
Okay, once upon a time I was in a similar situation, so here's an exact step-by-step guide to what I did.

I got into FIRE in 2011 a few weeks before I turned 25, and I was working in a shitty warehouse job for somewhere around 12/hour, just like you, except without the savings! My boyfriend was working in a grocery store for minimum wage. I had no credentials, and he had a degree in something fluffy that doesn't involve a definite career path.

So we decided we wanted to FIRE, and made a plan. We figured out that with our skillsets, interests, and abilities, the best jobs we could get would probably be some sort of office admin work. So we both started applying to those jobs like crazy. In the meantime, I signed up with Mint, and started detailed financial tracking. We also tightened up our spending and focused on improving our self-reliance skills. I learned basic sewing, and greatly expanded my cooking repertoire (combined with cutting grocery delivery service, this cut our food spending in half). He took a few classes to polish his Microsoft Office skills, and also learned some basic bookkeeping.

I was the first one to land an office job - a part-time medical leave contract for only a few months, but at a pretty prestigious company that I figured I could use as a springboard to something else. My experience and excellent reference from that job landed me a much better full-time office job at a large law firm, with great benefits and much more money. I worked there as an office clerk for about five years, doing things like making coffee and tidying up communal spaces, plus some reception coverage and helping with events. At the same time, my boyfriend got a job as a typist at a small company, and gradually transitioned to administrative assistant work. Our lifestyle never changed from when we got paid peanuts, so our savings rate just skyrocketed over time. We just kept throwing everything into index funds and ignoring it.

As mentioned, that continued for about five years, until we jumped ship to both work at the same company for more money and better work environments. He worked there as an administrative assistant for close to three years, and I've been a receptionist for almost two at this point. He decided to quit to start a freelancing business last summer, and has been having a great time with that.

At this point we bring in about 80-85K combined, which is enough for us to live an absolutely incredible lifestyle. We live in downtown Vancouver, travel extensively all over the world, and save 60-70% of our income consistently. Our net worth is closing in on 400K at this point, and we're looking at retirement in about 2-3 years, in our mid 30s.

So there's one possible route. Something to consider.

+1

@nomad_josephine  Yes. Listen to @Zikoris. She knows what she is talking about. Also there is a thread in the forums started by several posters who have low incomes and are working towards FIRE. It's quite inspirational to read through, and I'm sure the folks there can give you tips and encouragement. I can't find it right now, but perhaps another poster can link it for you.

peeps_be_peeping

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Re: Minimum wage worker with 4k in savings, no college, can I ever reach FIRE?
« Reply #14 on: December 04, 2018, 11:58:17 PM »

I would strongly recommend you look at your local market before paying for a paralegal cert w/o a BA (or any cert for that matter). My DH is a paralegal. All the jobs he’s had and almost every one he’s looked at/applied for required a BA with paralegal cert preferred (in addition to the BA). One required both. That place actually rescinded a job offer for someone who had 15 plus years paralegal experience, a BA, and who was 3-6 credits (three months) away from a paralegal cert.

What about real estate agent? I have a cousin who has no degree and is going through a real estate cert now, which I believe the broker co she’s going to work for is paying for it.

Could you physically do electrical or plumbing work? Getting an apprenticeship with one of those trades would be well paid. Or a lot of companies are now paying people to get their CDL b/c they are low on applicants for truck drivers.

What about bank teller? A friend with only 1 semester college started as bank teller with local bank (rather than a national company) and very quickly moved up to loan officer and etc. Cashier  experience would be relevant and a good bridge to bank teller position (cash handling and customer service experience).

Also know a lot of people who did the CNA cert to get decent pay job, then pay for RN assoc degree at tech school (no loans) while working full time, get job at hospital who then pays for schooling to get BSN (? Or w/e 4 year degree is), and often hospitals then also pay for people to get their masters in nursing or other specialty degree that pays more.

I agree that you should research your local market before paying for a legal assistant or paralegal certificate. But in my city, both are in high demand and do not require a BA. I am a lawyer and I can affirm that a quality assistant or paralegal is worth his/her weight in gold. My firm hired a legal assistant with an AA and a paralegal certificate at $50k. Having legal skills can open up other non-legal jobs to you in risk management, compliance, government, insurance, etc. If you put the time in to learn legal concepts, skills, writing, and organization (let's face it, it ain't rocket science), you will have 99% of the knowledge that a lawyer does with the added benefit of not being a lawyer!

What about court reporting? That's a decent job that is always in demand as long as people are suing each other. And it's not just depositions and trials. Public meetings of all kinds, such as city council meetings, are always recorded and often need to be transcribed for posterity. Court reporters work for the courts and for private companies.

Pity about the sonography. I thought it only required a 2-year training program.

You don't have to be a large person to be a traffic flagger. You just need to complete the traffic control courses, and of course be able to stand for hours on end. But you have a giant stop sign to hang on to.

Police/fire dispatch? Could be emotionally tough but you get the union benefits which usually includes a pension after 20 years.


Gronnie

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Re: Minimum wage worker with 4k in savings, no college, can I ever reach FIRE?
« Reply #15 on: December 05, 2018, 02:16:07 AM »
At your age and income, I would think you would qualify for quite a bit of grant money. If you choose your school(s) wisely (community college followed by an in state public university) you should be able to get through school debt free if that's what you want.

Unique User

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Re: Minimum wage worker with 4k in savings, no college, can I ever reach FIRE?
« Reply #16 on: December 05, 2018, 07:09:18 AM »
I've been researching different avenues for a couple 18-23 year young men that are friends of DD.  I've just started looking but outside of medical a couple things I've come up with are below:

Route sales driver - companies like Pepsi and Ecolab are always looking, indeed has job postings for both in Denver.  I have friends with experience with both companies, PM me if you want more info.  Pepsi is driving a truck (they provide) and refilling beverages at gas stations, grocery, etc.  Friend of mine made $20 an hour with full benefits, 401k match, etc.  You do have to be able to lift up to 50 pounds, but I'm 5'2" and could easily do that when I was 26.  Ecolab is driving a van (they provide) and repairing commercial dish machines and selling industrial chemicals.  Friend of mine made $40k (his first year - averaged $5k a year increases) plus bonus, on call 1 out of 5-6 weekends which sucks, but job had full benefits, PTO, 401k match, stock match, tuition reimbursement, laptop provided, phone paid for, etc. They have a lot of opportunity to move up within the company, especially if you are female as they are a predominately male company.

UPS driver - start out as seasonal or package handler then move into a driver.  They make good money usually $80 to $90k and are unionized so great benefits.  Friend of mine worked there and used tuition reimbursement to get his degree and moved up within the company. 

USAjobs.gov.  Bit tricky to navigate the site, but still plenty of jobs for those without a degree.  Lots of people work for the government here so would be able to talk benefits better than me. 
« Last Edit: December 05, 2018, 07:29:54 AM by Unique User »

Car Jack

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Re: Minimum wage worker with 4k in savings, no college, can I ever reach FIRE?
« Reply #17 on: December 05, 2018, 07:31:04 AM »
We have a kid who goes to a special needs school.  In researching transport companies, I'm seeing that they all are desperate for more drivers.  All of them say that they will train the drivers and get them through any special license needed, but that there are mostly mini vans and sedans to drive.  The cool thing that I see is that all of them say that drivers can use the vans for their personal use when not on the clock.  So that potentially eliminates your car cost.  Thinking forward on that, working delivering pizzas at night is a perfect match.  The busiest times are when there's no school in session and without the need to put miles on your own car, the extra costs are minimal.

Basenji

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Re: Minimum wage worker with 4k in savings, no college, can I ever reach FIRE?
« Reply #18 on: December 05, 2018, 07:49:21 AM »
I enjoy the old searcheroonie of site://forum.mrmoneymustache.com low income

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/any-low-income-mustachians-out-there/ [3 pager from 2017]

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/investor-alley/i-have-low-income-where-do-i-put-it/

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/case-studies/case-study-low-income/

There's a subreddit, r/leanfire for people who want to FIRE on really small amounts, most of them I'm sure because of being low income. I've never been a reader of the Early Retirement Extreme Forums, but similar situation there.

There are a ton more. Might be worth looking through.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2018, 08:04:12 AM by Basenji »

slappy

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Re: Minimum wage worker with 4k in savings, no college, can I ever reach FIRE?
« Reply #19 on: December 05, 2018, 08:01:23 AM »
I feel like saving $4k on that salary is an accomplisment!

Also keep in mind that a lot of places offer tuition reimbursement. Someone mentioned being a bank teller. I was a bank teller and they reimbursed tuition up to $3k a year I believe. So it took awhile to finish the degree, but I didn't have much student loan debt to deal with.

kei te pai

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Re: Minimum wage worker with 4k in savings, no college, can I ever reach FIRE?
« Reply #20 on: December 05, 2018, 08:22:36 AM »
I have no idea about jobs in the US, but want to congratulate you on what you have saved, and your lack of debt. Seems to me you are further along the path to FI than you think, because your head is in the right place.
While you search for better work options, nurture the healthy relationships in your life and keep hopeful.
Be very careful of romantic attachments which derail life plans (Im thinking unplanned babies here)!

FIRE 20/20

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Re: Minimum wage worker with 4k in savings, no college, can I ever reach FIRE?
« Reply #21 on: December 05, 2018, 08:53:50 AM »
It would help a lot to know more about what kind of work you think you'd like to do.  If you love being outside and would be incredibly frustrated by working in an office all day, then that would be good to know.  Or if you could be inside or outside but really need to be active (not sitting or driving most of the day) then that would take you down a different path.  Do you do better interacting with people or are you better on your own?  Is the goal making as much as possible as quickly as possible, or are you interested in something that might take more work (i.e. certifications or a degree) to get there? 
You asked a question about whether or not college debt would be worth it or not.  People have already posted about Pell grants, but you can also look into starting at a community college for your first 2 years and transferring to a school with higher prestige for your last 2 years.  Pretty much anyone can learn software development, and there's a huge shortage right now for developers and I suspect that will still be the case in 4 years.  If you work part time, test out of some pre-requisite classes, and do really well your first 2 years you should be able to get to your junior year with little to no debt and get into a state school.  After your Sophomore year you can start to look for internships, although generally companies want interns who are entering their Senior year.  I have supervised a lot of interns (a few between sophomore and junior year) and the good ones we often keep on part-time through their senior year.  I'm not sure exactly how much they earn, but I'd be pretty surprised if it's not around $20/hr.  At that point you are pretty much guaranteed a job making over $60k/year with a huge amount of upside.  But again - it depends on what you like to do.  If the thought of being in front of a computer screen 8 hours a day sounds soul crushing then that's a terrible path for you.

use2betrix

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Re: Minimum wage worker with 4k in savings, no college, can I ever reach FIRE?
« Reply #22 on: December 05, 2018, 09:05:08 AM »
Semi truck driver? Training is short, pay is far above your hourly rates.

2Birds1Stone

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Re: Minimum wage worker with 4k in savings, no college, can I ever reach FIRE?
« Reply #23 on: December 05, 2018, 09:30:32 AM »
You're going to have to upskill yourself and create value in order to get people to pay you more than $12.50/hr.

Whether you do that through a formal education (why not start with a cheap AA from a community college?), or self teach yourself (especially on the job), is completely up to you.

I also don't have a college degree. Started my career as a retail associate at the age of 22 and by the time I was 28 I was making $100k+/yr doing business to business sales.

socaso

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Re: Minimum wage worker with 4k in savings, no college, can I ever reach FIRE?
« Reply #24 on: December 05, 2018, 09:37:31 AM »
I keep seeing signs all over that RTD is in need of drivers here in Denver, wage is well above minimum wage with benefits and there is a potential signing bonus of a couple of thousand dollars. Plus they say they'll train you for the license you need. Go check out their website.

Ecky

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Re: Minimum wage worker with 4k in savings, no college, can I ever reach FIRE?
« Reply #25 on: December 06, 2018, 04:56:13 AM »
There are some free trade schools which will get you into a skilled trade job with just a high school diploma (at least around here), but I think that at 26 you may not qualify for any of them anymore.

I dunno how the economy compares where you are, but Vermont has severe worker shortages. Cost of living is very average (more than the deep south,  less than California) but I see burger flippers starting at $12.50 and the the place I buy my coffee always has a sign out that they're hiring people to work the line making bagels for $15. A lot of positions are simply unfilled regardless of how much employers offer.

Rocketman

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Re: Minimum wage worker with 4k in savings, no college, can I ever reach FIRE?
« Reply #26 on: December 06, 2018, 01:29:42 PM »
Think about being a plumber - not new construction - but the roto-rooter type. You work in people’s homes - solving their biggest problem!  Being on the smaller side is actually a plus - you fit into the small tight areas.

Better question- what are your passions? What do you like to do that other people get paid to do?

Look there.