How Carly DeFelice went from racking up $35,000 of debt in her 20s to building $400,000 by 38
In an exclusive interview with CNBC, Carly DeFelice shares her journey from financial hardship to gaining financial independence.
Early Days and Financial Crisis
Growing up in Texas, Carly DeFelice says she learned the value of frugality and saving from her parents. Their modest lifestyle taught her to save nearly every dollar she earned working part-time jobs in her teen years. By the time she was in college, DeFelice was working in direct sales and earned a substantial income in 2007. So, she decided to treat herself by buying a new Mercedes-Benz and signed up for a five-year loan. Unfortunately, the company went bankrupt soon after, leaving her with $29,000 in car payments along with a modest student loan.
Following the Financial Crisis
Graduating in 2008 meant jobs were scarce. However, DeFelice didn’t give up and started her own security systems company with the help of her professor. Although she didn’t know how to install security systems, she taught herself to install them to become a one-woman show. By budgeting with cash and cutting costs, she was able to pay off her debts and contribute to her savings.
Building Her Fortune
With her financial expertise, DeFelice started teaching financial classes in 2012. She also became interested in the world of FIRE, which helped her understand her financial goals, and she realized she had reached ‘Coast FIRE’ at just 26 years old. She contemplated moving to different cities before realizing she didn’t need to. DeFelice also took a life break and went on a six-month sabbatical, selling all her belongings and living in Hawaii and exploring the Pacific Northwest.
Current Financial Status
With $400,000 in cash and investments, no debts, and a lifestyle characterized by adventure and financial independence, DeFelice has found her home base in Austin, Texas. Traveling in her travel trailer with her SUV, she has found happiness and peace close to her community. She enjoys financial security and adventure due to her financial independence and minimalist lifestyle.
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