Personal financial literacy is important to almost everyone, but with the advent of social media, the conversations we have about it can also be filled with misguided opinions, hot takes, or even lies.
Jeremy Schneider, founder of Personal Finance Club, breaks through the noise of risky cryptocurrency bets, leverage of debt and overspending with a succinct message to help others build wealth: Live below your means and invest early and often.
This principle—along with the sale of his first company, a start-up called RentLinx—allowed him to retire at 36. Now he spends his days running a popular Instagram account dedicated to all things personal finance.
Select recently sat down with Schneider to learn more about his journey, the growth and impact of Personal Finance Club – and his top advice on building your own wealth.
A man with a plan – and a big exit
Before Schneider made it big, he lived the life of a regular college student, attending and running at the University of Michigan. Thanks to parental help, scholarships and part-time jobs, he was able to complete his studies debt-free.
After college, Schneider decided to take a big risk, turned down a full-time job at Microsoft, and set up his own business.
While building his first company, RentLinx, Schneider lived a very humble lifestyle in his 20s. He still brags about the 1999 Ford Explorer he bought used and how he’s paid himself a low salary of $36,000 a year despite being a CEO and living in a high-cost-of-living area. Meanwhile, he still stubbornly invested the way his parents taught him to when he was 16 — in low-cost index funds within a Roth IRA.
In 2015, at the age of 34, Schneider found what he was looking for when he sold RentLinx for $5 million. He immediately started dreaming of sitting on an island forever, until the new CEO asked him, “What are you going to do when you come back?” That’s when he knew he had to do something else – after a bit of partying, of course.
After the sale, Schneider pocketed more than $2 million and continued to work for the same company under new management. Shortly thereafter, he decided to take a year off.
So what has this self-made millionaire been doing with all his newfound free time? He played video games. Schneider admits it was a waste of time, but because he was heavily invested in market-tracking index funds, his net worth still grew significantly even when he gambled for hours. Schneider also mentions on his website that he’s spent time traveling and finding clever ways to manage his money.
After his year off, he founded the Personal Finance Club and his community has since grown to more than 400,000 followers.
Schneider says he has always been enthusiastic about the subject. The Personal Finance Club started out as a social drinking club about 10 years ago, and what started as friendly banter — and eventually became a simple Instagram post about a two-step plan to become a millionaire by investing in index funds — has now evolved into a full- Scale business with a purpose.
The Impact of the Personal Finance Club
The education provided for free through the Personal Finance Club Instagram account is pretty robust. You’ll see everything from investing in index funds, economic news and tips on paying off your debt to taxes and interest rates, among other things – and most importantly, the results of Schneider’s two-step plan to live below your means and invest regularly.
Schneider and his team also use comparisons to illustrate hypothetical investing situations — one person living by their two golden rules and the other not — which seem to resonate with his followers.
After the Instagram account gained momentum, Schneider decided to monetize his growth and create an actionable personal finance course so anyone could learn how to realistically grow their wealth.
Schneider told Select his “messages of simplicity and transparency” paid off, including disclosing his company’s operations and the actual earnings of the social media account.
In a recent Instagram post, Schneider revealed that the Personal Finance Club has generated nearly $1 million in revenue since October 2020 and transformed many lives in the process. He now has two full-time employees, actively donates 20% of his sales to charity, and has helped thousands of people invest in the future.
His best advice for building your personal wealth
Even with a net worth of $4.4 million, Schneider continues to practice what he preaches both on and off the Personal Finance Club Instagram account by living frugally and regularly investing in index funds.
Aside from his two golden rules, Schneider tells Select, there are three pieces of personal advice:
- Keep things simple instead of complex
- Pay off all your debts (apart from a mortgage) before investing
- Peace of mind brings you money
Schneider points to an endless list of potential investment opportunities that are available now, all craving your attention and money. By simply keeping your expenses low and investing consistently in proven index funds, you can grow your net worth no matter what your annual salary.
He often suggests investing consistently in index funds that track the S&P 500, which have averaged about 10% annual returns since 1957 (note that past performance is no guarantee of future success). Dollar cost averaging and compound interest can help your money grow exponentially over long periods of time. In the example below, if you were to invest $10,000 per year ($833 per month) in an S&P 500 fund starting at age 25 through your retirement at age 65, you would have over 4.4 million dollars. While you may not be able to invest that much, it shows that with consistent habits, you can become a millionaire by the time you retire.
How do I start investing in index funds?
To start your own investing journey, consider buying low-cost index funds that track the S&P 500, such as B. Charles Schwab’s S&P 500 Index Fund or the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund, which maps the entire US stock market. Note that you must either open a brokerage account, traditional IRA, or Roth IRA — or choose to invest in index funds through your 401(k) — to get started.
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For a more straightforward approach, robo-advisors like Wealthfront or Betterment might be a better fit, as they can invest in specific index funds and ETFs on your behalf. These types of investment accounts can also rebalance your portfolio based on market conditions and other factors such as your financial situation, risk tolerance, and investment schedule.
On Wealthfront’s secure website
Minimum Deposit and Balance
Minimum deposit and balance requirements may vary depending on the investment vehicle chosen. $500 minimum deposit for investment accounts
Fees may vary depending on the investment vehicle chosen. No account, transfer, trading or commission fees (fund quotas may apply). Wealthfront’s Annual Management Advisory Fee is 0.25% of your account balance
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Schneider started his business and community with a simple message that almost anyone can follow: By keeping your expenses down, not spending money on reckless purchases, and investing early and often, you can quickly build your wealth and take financial control of your life take over.
Editorial note: Any opinion, analysis, review, or recommendation expressed in this article is solely that of Select’s editorial team and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any third party.