/BiggerPockets Money Podcast 68: Hacking Your Military Benefits to Become Financially Free With J Grayson

BiggerPockets Money Podcast 68: Hacking Your Military Benefits to Become Financially Free With J Grayson

J Grayson grew up poor. But with food on the table every night, he didn’t realize it.

Then his sister tragically passed away from brain cancer, financially ruining the family.

J fell into a pattern: skipping school, drinking, and doing drugs. A few years of this and he realized he needed to make a change. J joined the military when he turned 18 and went to boot camp before his high school graduation ceremony.

The military is where his poor money habits really took shape. Living on base means housing and food is covered, so he spent his income on anything he wanted—at one point having FIVE CARS despite only being able to drive one at a time.

He stayed in the military for five years and knew enough to go to college when he got out. What the military didn’t cover, the Yellow Ribbon Program did, so he left college debt-free (at least in terms of student loans). However, J did manage to rack up $30,000 in random debt by the end of college.

J eventually settled into a government job. By year two, he had discovered the concept of financial freedom.

This week’s episode focuses on hacking—house hacking, GI bill hacking, per diem hacking—taking these benefits and using them in ways that are advantageous.

If you’re a member of the military, a government employee, or even just an employee who travels regularly, this episode is for you! And if you know someone who fits that bill, share this episode with them.

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In This Episode We Cover:

  • His background and money journey
  • The reason he joined the military at 18
  • His experiences in the military and his poor financial decisions during that time
  • What he did after he exited the military
  • On using his 401(k) funds to pay off debt
  • Starting a business while going to school
  • What GI Bill hacking is
  • Stumbled across Mr. Money Mustache and learned financial independence
  • What his financial position looked like during his first year of employment
  • How he learned about geoarbitrage
  • Making money through house hacking
  • How investing helped him
  • On using a VA loan for his house
  • On saving 100% of his income
  • Going from zero to $100,000 in just three years
  • How he and his girlfriend managed to live with zero expenses
  • And SO much more!

Links from the Show

Books Mentioned in this Show

Tweetable Topics:

  • “What do you value? What brings you joy?” (Tweet This!)
  • “If you learn personal finance at an early age, we wouldn’t have such a looming retirement crisis and a student loan crisis.” (Tweet This!)
  • “The whole financial independence thing is not about quitting your job, it is about having enough money to do whatever you want.” (Tweet This!)
  • “It is a marathon not a sprint.” (Tweet This!)

Connect with J