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Aug. 31, 2022

118. Building a Personal Finance Tool for Everyone with Tyson Koska

118. Building a Personal Finance Tool for Everyone with Tyson Koska

Join Mike Cavaggioni with Tyson Koska on the 118th episode of the Average Joe Finances Podcast. Tyson shares how he got his first taste of entrepreneurism at age 13 and how that experience gave him his first sense of Financial Independence.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How being in a Corporate IT led Tyson to do personal finance
  • How the On Trajectory Software help other people plan out their personal finances
  • Managing your FOMO (fear of missing out) and YOLO (You only live once) mentality 
  • Planning out your financial future
  • And so much more!

About Tyson Koska:

Tyson is a former helicopter pilot in the U.S. Army at the age of 20. He found himself the most in-debt even though he was making more money than ever before. Luckily, he was able to pay down that debt while deployed to Desert Storm – and another important financial lesson was learned.

After leaving the military, and with fresh GI Bill funds in-hand, he earned a Bachelor's degree in English and, later, a Master's degree in Philosophy. Since neither of those degrees managed to pay the bills, Tyson turned to I.T.

Spending the next 25 years in software development and working for large corporations in banking and insurance, Tyson founded OnTrajectory.com – a personal finance tool for both regular folks as well as professionals. Securing investment funds in 2021, Tyson is leading OnTrajectory into a new growth phase, in which he hopes to bring easy-to-use and accurate financial modeling to the masses.

Find Tyson Koska on:
Website: https://www.ontrajectory.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ontrajectory
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OnTrajectory/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tysonkoska

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Transcript
Average Joe Finances:

Hey, how's it going everybody. Welcome back to the Average Joe Finances Podcast. I'm your host, Mike Cavaggioni and today's guest is Tyson Koska and Tyson, I'm really excited that I got a chance to talk with you a little bit before we hit the record button and I'm super excited for what we're gonna discuss today. So thank you so much for joining me.

Tyson Koska:

Happy to be here. Thanks.

Average Joe Finances:

Yeah, absolutely. The very first question I'd like to ask you is the same question I ask everybody that comes on this show and we wanna know about Tyson so we wanna know about you. So if you could share a little bit about yourself and your story and how everything got started for you to, from, your humble beginnings, to where you're at today.

Tyson Koska:

Yeah, thanks. And I love that you start the show out this way because you doing somebody else's bio versus hearing it from the themselves can be really different. I'll keep it really snappy, but I'm gonna start when I was 13 years old, I had a little snowball salmon. I live on the east coast and snowball is crushed ice with sugar water on top. I had a little snowball salmon, I was 13 years old and I come from a very humble, lower middle class family. My dad was a police officer. My mom's a waitress. It was a little bit cliche and for the first time in my life at 13 years old, I had a little bit of pocket money. And with that pocket money, I bought a computer. This was back in 1980, 1981. So it was when the personal computers were first coming out. I'm only telling you that piece of my story, because that ends up being one of the things that completely changes my life later on, because I went to high school, graduated high school. I wanted to go away to college. Parents couldn't really afford to send me to college. So I ended up joining the army and I was really fortunate to be in a program called high school to flight school. So I graduated high school in 1986 and a year later, I'm in basic training. Then I'm in Warren officer candidate school, then I'm flying helicopters, and then I'm in Korea. It's crazy. And then a year later, I'm in Germany, then I'm in the first Gulf war, in Iraq, in Saudi Arabia. And got out of the military in '92. And then I went to college. I had the GI bill money in my pocket. I was ready to figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life after all of that had happened. And just got a degree in English and philosophy, which doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Graduated from college, had a very difficult time finding a job and luckily, because when I was 13, I had bought a computer and I had taught myself how to program and the IT industry was just exploding in the mid and late nineties, I basically got a job based on what I learned when I was 13. So I'd been in the military. I had gone to college. I had two bachelor's degrees and ended up doing something that I taught myself when I was 13. So that's why I told you open the story with the snowball stand. It's just so weird how the whole thing work out. I spent the next 20 years in corporate it, and I started a startup that I'm currently working on now about 20 years into my career.

Average Joe Finances:

Wow. That's fantastic Tyson. What a background. Cause Going all the way back to when you were 13 that just right there, the whole, the snowball stand just shows the entre entrepreneurial mindset that you had even at such a young age. And then you bought a computer with that money, so you saved up for something that you wanted and at 13, that's a lot of discipline and I'll tell you that right now, if I ask my daughter, who's 12 to save up for something that she wants. If she begging me for a phone for her 13th birthday, if I told her, Hey, if you had to save up for that to get it, I don't know if she'd get there. So we're still working on where where she's at with her finances, but we're getting there. So that's a great mindset to have. I just wanna point that out right off the bat. And then, thank you for your service as well. Fast forward to you joining the army. And that, that's an interesting program cuz you know I know we have, flying warrant officers in the army, I didn't know that they had a program bring you straight through basic up to being a warrant officer back in the 80's, like that's pretty awesome. And of course being a veteran in a conflict in a time of war, with the Persian Gulf and everything that's again, I just wanna say thank you cuz that was not an easy time for anybody. I've served in the Navy for 20 years and almost my entire career has been at war. So it's not, that's not an easy thing to be a part of. Thank you for that. Now you got out, you took advantage of the fact that you had your GI bill, and you went to school and you know that obviously from what, the way that you worded it the, your majors didn't really equate to anything that you can do on the outside that would help you make an income, that you were looking for. So you got into IT, right? Because you bought that computer again when you were 13 and learned how to program. Absolutely amazing that it just resets back to your childhood, right? One of the things that you learned about when you were younger, it looks like it became a passion of yours that you were able to learn all that and then take advantage of that into the future. Now with that being said, now you're like in the personal finance space. And just looking at your background and with where you're at right now, you said you have this startup I'd like to talk about that a little bit. What is the startup that you put together?

Tyson Koska:

Yeah, so it is a little strange that I'm in personal finance because nothing in that story that I just told you would lead you to think that that I would be here, but I had this very mechanical mindset and I, as soon as I entered Corporate IT, I realized I don't wanna do this until I'm 70 years old there, I just, the politics in Corporate IT,, the games you have to play. When you work for big companies and this is true of being a government employee working in large corporate America, whatever, when you're in a big organization, it's much less about how much work you do and about the things you do to make it look like you're doing work. And I, it just, that game did not interest me and I, so I was always curious. I wanted to know if I make this much now, and I'm putting this money here and I have this expectation of these expenses and what is that curve of my life? What does that trajectory of my life look like? And what is literally the precise date that I can quit this job, this high paying job and go work in a bookstore? I'm a little bit of a literary bookish kind of person in addition to being very engineering.

Average Joe Finances:

I would hope so. You majored in English and Philosophy.

Tyson Koska:

And, what's interesting that, the itch that IT scratches for me is building something. And I love looking at an application or a program that I've made and standing back and going, oh, I made that I come from a long line of carpenters and craftsman. And so I always tell my dad he's a master carpenter. I was like, I build things too. It's just, they're in code and it scratches that itch. Anyway, so yeah, I'm a little bit bookish and I always thought when can I quit this job? And then just like I said, working whatever in a coffee shop, whatever. And. Nothing existed. And I looked, there's lots of budgeting tools. There's lots of stuff gets you outta debt or gets you focused. But the line that they draw into the future is very short. Now there are other kinds of programs they're called either retirement calculators something like that. But they're like, you put in what am I making? And then you don't have any chance to say I'm making this now, in two years my wife, we were gonna have a family and she's gonna stop working. There's just no flexibility in the modeling. And so you have a choice between doing really detailed budgeting stuff and getting a short term, maybe six month plan or whatever one year view or putting very broad assumptions in and getting this long term view, neither, which in my opinion, gives you any idea, the path, the real financial path that you're on. So I would say for the first decade that I was in IT, I was just like, waiting for someone to write the software, the internet got bigger and more important. And I'll never forget the moment I decided I was gonna work on this software. Was my wife, we had a young daughter and my wife came and said, we're gonna have another, child. And I was like, oh, that's great. I'm gonna need another 529 plan. I'm gonna need, we need a bigger house. If we get a bigger house, let's move out to the burbs. We're gonna need another car. You like all these variables. And I was like, you know what, I'm gonna write. I'm a software engineer. I'm gonna write software that answers the questions and it's just about me. I'm just gonna write this very complex program and it ended up getting so complex, so fast, I went to some other programmer friends and I was like, Hey guys, would you like to have a tool where you can put in these various income streams, they start, they stop and they change. And then these expense streams and the big ones and small ones, and you can put in your account structure and your 529 playing your 401k or whatever, and you change your contributions and you can change it and you can see how the line, that line changes. And then you can put in what if scenarios and they're like, oh, that, that has to exist. I was like, if, look, if it exists, please show me, cuz that's what I want. And then I don't have to write it. They looked, they couldn't find it. They're like we want this too. So the three of us, we began this company back in 2014. And so yeah, it's been a while, but we did it on the side for years and we would just, code on the weekends and holidays and that's my gig now.

Average Joe Finances:

Yeah, that's fantastic. By creating this, so it's on trajectory.com, right?

Tyson Koska:

Yep.

Average Joe Finances:

Is the website. So by creating this software and these tools that, that people can use to plug in all that different data and it gives them like a good idea of that date that they can walk away from that W2. As you guys put this together and you're gearing yourself up to get closer to that date as well cuz you said you started this off as a side thing, did you turn this into something that became more of like a way to build passive income as well, to help you with your date of okay, here's the time that I can finally walk away from my W2 because I've got this project that I've been working on, that's gonna bring in some income plus what I've been investing based off of the data that I put into this tool. So I know that on this date, I can walk away from my W2 and me and my family are in a good place to be on that date.

Tyson Koska:

So that's very insightful, cuz that's exactly what happened was my effort to find the date, birth the thing that helped me actually accelerate the date a little bit. And it and it's not been all success. I don't want you to think, like I invented this tool and like it was gangbusters back in 2018. So it was about four years after we started the project. I went to my wife and I was like, I am so tired. So I just, I can't go to another status meeting with my manager and talk I'm just I was just, I was mentally exhausted and I, and this is rare in IT, but I was at the same company for 20 years. When I left, I was on the same project for 10 years, which is a really long project. And she's maybe you just need to, find a different project or maybe looking your look for another job. I was like, no, I was like, we're, on trajectories, we got a little cashflow coming in and it's coming in without me really, doing it full time. I'm just gonna quit my job and, see what happened. She's can we afford that? I was like let me show you. Here's the chart. And I showed her all the inputs. I showed her all the outputs and I said, look, as long as we hit this number by this date, then we're okay. And she's oh, okay, go ahead. Quit your job. And I was like, oh, okay, great. It's this, this thing that lets people come together and reach certain conclusions. And that was just great. And cuz if I tried to put my job, my wife wasn't on board, that's gonna be, not great. So yeah. So that's so it did and you know what happened? I failed, I didn't get it. So in 2019 I went back.

Average Joe Finances:

Okay. Wow. That's that's a humbling experience for sure Tyson, because you had this goal set and you dove right in and you didn't quite get there, but you were able to realize, Hey, okay, I fudged this one up a little bit, gotta go back to work and make this work. So the fact that you were able to recognize that and not try to keep pushing..

Tyson Koska:

Well, it was very not emotional. That's what the tool did for us. Was she, she's like she bought in because she knew if that number's not there, then, and which we haven't gotten into it. But for me, it's all about peace of mind. It's about the feeling of peace in your financial life, which I don't know if you know the statistic or not. 73% of Americans, financial stress is the top stressor in their life.

Average Joe Finances:

Oh I believe that actually Tyson let's get into that because I'd love to talk about how mindfulness is tied to somebody, an individual with their personal finances. So can you elaborate on that a little bit more?

Tyson Koska:

So I was, I was, like 73% of Americans, I was like, can I buy the latte? The whole, whole coffee thing. And you question, every decision, you go on a vacation and you're like, you want $8 for a hotdog?. And you're like, it's it just, it saps the fun out of living when you're going through. And you're like, can I afford this? Can I do this? Having a plan. And I'm not even talking about on trajectory, I'm talking about having a financial plan. What having a financial plan does for you is it takes all that questioning out and it literally helps you live a life. That's more mindful because you can be in the moment and not thinking about six months from now, what is this impact or six years from now? What is the impact? It gives you freedom to actually live in the moments that you're living in. Because if you're not living in this moment, you're not living, in my opinion.

Average Joe Finances:

I love that you have to live in the moment. You have to have that peace of mind. If you don't have that peace of mind, how can you live comfortably in that moment? You could live in the moment all day, but you'd be stressing about your finances and how do you call that living? So that's a great point. Like you have to have this clear peace of mind when it comes to wherever you're at in life. And one of the best ways to have that is to know that you have enough to be able to take care of yourself and your family and not have to worry about that. That relieves so much stress. And like you said, what was the number? 73%? Of Americans, right? That's their number one stressor. I would say that's probably a good indicator worldwide as well, because this doesn't pertain just to Americans, right? If having financial peace is important to anyone, no matter where you are, right? You wanna know that you can live and enjoy your life and not have to worry about whether or not you could put food on the table, whether or not you can afford to go get that coffee today or anything like that. Talking about that, okay. As you're trying to live life and experience life, how do you deal with like, when you're planning for your financial future, Because, like a lot of people are very much oh, you only live once. That whole YOLO mindset. And it's I wanna spend my money now while I can. And they rack up all this debt. And then you have other people, the other side of the spectrum where people are like, they have that fear of missing out Hey, if I don't, put my money into something, the what if. One of the things I liked that you mentioned too earlier on is that your software has a, what if scenario? So like you can figure out the, what if this, what if that you can plug it all in and get that figured out. So how do you deal with those situations, when you're planning your financial future with both the FOMO and the YOLO?

Tyson Koska:

Yeah, and this takes work. I'm not gonna say, and I'm not gonna say I was there at 18 or 20. Maybe by 22, 23, I got there emotionally. But it's about valuing value. It's about aligning what is truly important to you in life and living that way? I'm sure there are people that the thing they value absolutely the most in life is getting messed up on expensive cocktails at a overpriced restaurant someplace and it's sweaty and you're stuffed in there. I'm sure there are people that have that. But I think probably if you ask most people, they would say friendships, relationships special outings or and an outing again, doesn't have to be in a sweaty, but sometimes you do wanna go sweat and dancing, whatever, I know I get that. But even that, you can be smart about that experience as well. It's for me, it's about when I talk about financial independence or fire or any of those sort of, or concepts. The frugality piece is not interesting to me at all. Because it's not about being cheap. It's not about, giving something up. What it's about is realizing, here are the things I want in my life, and I'm actually investing in activities and actions, and I'm doing things that is gonna expand. Honestly, I think that we talk about compound interest a lot. You get interest on your interest because the way things are, it's the same for happiness. It's the same for peace of mind. Compounds. Smiles compound, Goodwill compounds. And if you can get yourself into a mindset where We're gonna go for a hike. We're gonna do a potluck we're gonna, I've had more fun at a good, well done potluck, than I have in in, in any club, probably because, you're, you can drink just as much alcohol. You can tell, just as many silly stories, you can sing karaoke with your friends. I've had so much fun singing karaoke in my living room. It's just amazing. And it costs, it's cheap and the friendships are there. It's you're paying yourself. By aligning yourself with things that are gonna give you value later on. It is a bit of a mindset change. And as I said I'm not gonna say I was there immediately, cause it's not about making more money, it's not about having a $200,000 paycheck. It's about aligning yourself and enjoying what's out there for.

Average Joe Finances:

Yeah, Tyson that's all great points, especially, one of the things I wrote down as you were talking, some of the important things that we have to focus on in life is our relationships. Right? And one of those, I would also argue too, is your relationship with money, right? You have to have some type of relationship with it. Is it healthy or is it toxic? And, we would love to say that, Hey, we have a healthy relationship with money, but a lot of times they have a toxic relationship with money and they just see it constantly just go away because they're not, what you said was What was it valuing value, right? They're not understanding what the value of that money actually is. And for me, the value of money, isn't the actual monetary value. It's the, what can I do with this money? That's going to better my life moving forward. How is this going to benefit me and my family? How am I employing these dollars to get that compound interest and work for me instead of work against me? And a lot of people don't, they don't look at it that way. And that's when they have the money working against them. And something else that, that I wanted to touch on too, that I really like, that you had brought up is, you see this a lot in the fire movement. And I love the fire movement. I think it's fantastic. I'm a firm believer in it, but at the same time that whole frugality piece, a lot of times, people can't really cope with that. And, that's where they get lost because they either lack the discipline or they get bored of it really fast. Hey, I'm tired of living off of ramen noodles. Five days a week, just to make sure I could save a few more bucks in my groceries. There, there is that other piece that there's the discipline piece, but at the same time, there's also the comfort piece. You wanna be able to live comfortably as you're building up your assets and as you're building, these different ways of building your compound interest. So I think that's a huge important thing that people need to think about Tyson is your comfort level. I just wanted touch on that because I think I think that's huge. What do you think about that? Like when it comes to, having certain creature comforts, as you're trying to build your wealth what do you think about that?

Tyson Koska:

You have to be realistic. I don't like. I personally am not a big fan of budgeting, which I know is probably completely anathema no, I let me rephrase that. I'm not a big fan of line by line level budget. And I'm look, it's fine. I'm a big bucket kind of budgeter. I'm like, did I make this number this month? Or did I not? Where I deployed the funds, that's up to me. But if I make the number like restrict yourself to a number, you make that number. That's the number. That's my idea of budgeting, because I don't like to, I know it sounds weird as a software engineer who has a personal finance tool I don't like to do line level budgeting. And, part of the reason is that you had asked me, I had a really pressing it point here. Because what happens is I think maybe this is just me. When I look at things really granularly and then I mess it up or it gets tiring, or I'm trying, if I'm trying to balance too many variables at once, and I'm thinking about those variables, then I get tired of it. And eventually the more tired you get, the potential for failure is there. And so if you can keep things flexible and loose and like for me, just like outer guardrails, then it makes it much easier. So I think that, being realistic, adding creature comforts into your budget.. I'll okay, lemme give you this great example. So my wife and I were working on our budget. And we're trying to come up with what's the right. Cause she's how much you wanna put in here? How much you put I'm like, I don't know, let's just pick a number and let's just stay in that and was like, she's what is that number? And I'm like, okay, look, let's do a month where we don't eat out. We don't order out. We don't buy any clothes. We don't buy any shoes. We don't buy any movies. We just, whatever we have right now, we're just from this from beginning of this month to the end month, we're just having no spend. And she's okay, let's do that. Cause we wanna see what's that real number? Like we actually really what are we really spending groceries? What do we really spend on with this kind of stuff? I'm not sure we made it to the end of the month, but we made it almost to the end of the month and we realized how little we actually need. And two, two interesting things happened. We thought we would like double spend the next month when we went back to our regular habits, but we didn't all those purchases that we didn't make, we never actually made at all. There was thousands of dollars in savings that didn't get added back in. And we were so happy and grateful that we added in, going out to eat once a month or ordering out or something like that. Back to this, find something that's realistic, find the minimum, but then add something on top of that. Cuz if you try to say at that minimum, you're gonna fail.

Average Joe Finances:

Absolutely. Tyson, I agree with that wholeheartedly because when it comes to, again, I'm going back to what I was talking about too, with those basic creature comforts that you have. And, I also do financial coaching. And when I work with some clients, I always tell them too, you have to add into your budget or spending plan. You have to add in certain things. They're gonna help you not fail. And by saying that I'm saying like, you need to have some money that you're gonna use to go out, to eat or to go buy a new pair of shoes or just the things that you do that bring you joy and comfort. But now you just gotta narrow it down to how much do you really wanna spend on some of those things. But at the same time, don't take it away. Cuz the minute you start taking away some of those things that bring you joy is the minute that you're gonna fail because you're gonna say, you know what, I can't do this anymore. This is too hard, you're not happy, but if you can discipline yourself and just bring it, just scale it back, see how much you spend, that's why I really like what you did there with that. No spend month, you got a really good idea of what you're really spending on groceries, what you're really spending on other items. And then you're like, wow, all this extra money we're doing on these other things like books and going out to eat and all this other stuff. Maybe we. Readjust how we look at that. And then you incorporated that into your budget, or into your spending plan. So I think that's huge, you have to have something that's going to give you those typical creature comforts that make you just go on your day to day life and be able to enjoy your life and not just completely just eat away. So I, I think that's super important. So I just wanna to point that out.

Tyson Koska:

Yeah. That, and I'm wanna add a little bit of cream on top of that. The way I like to talk to people about it is everything that you spend, that whatever, that, whatever, that number that you're now not spending on is not something that you're missing out on. It's something that you are investing in your future, and it's gonna give you huge returns in the end. So you should feel when you don't spend. You should feel good, not bad cause I didn't spend it. And now I'm gonna fulfill some other goal that I have in my life.

Average Joe Finances:

And you take that as an opportunity to celebrate that small victory that you have. And now this money that you're investing, is now returning with compound interest and, giving you more dollars to spend into the future if that's what you choose to do with it. But ultimately, what we're talking about is we're trying to get ourselves to the point where we can retire, and live a comfortable life. And not everybody wants to retire in their sixties or seventies and live out, their golden years and, oh, and now's the time I can go travel and go do all these things, but, oh I can't do this hike anymore because I'm 72 and my back's out, you that's, is that really how long you wanna wait to do this stuff? No. No. So that's one of the reasons why we talk about different ways to get yourself to the point where you can live your life and retire either earlier or still retire at that later age. But Moving up to that time, you didn't take away from yourself. You didn't take away that joy in, in being able to enjoy life, on your journey to getting to retirement. I think that's definitely huge because again, we touched on a little bit before, you have the whole FOMO thing, the fear of missing out, and then you have the YOLO side too, where it's like, Hey, you only live once. So you want to enjoy that. And absolutely you can still budget or have a good spending plan and live an enjoyable life and get yourself to a point of retirement. Exactly. And, maybe even start a side project or a side hustle, like what you did with this passion project that you started that turned into, this full, ongoing tool that other people can utilize to, to get themselves in a good good place financially. Yeah I think that's fantastic Tyson. I wanna move on to the next stage of of the podcast here. I have some kind of hard hitting questions I'd like to ask you. It's we call this the final round. Okay. So I've got four questions. Three of 'em are hard hitting one. The last one's kind of an opinion piece. But if you're ready to go, we'll get that party started.

Tyson Koska:

I'm ready. Let's party.

Average Joe Finances:

All right, Tyson, here we go. You've had this really interesting experience in life, from the age of 13, with the selling the snowballs to, to where you're at now. And of course in between, with serving in the army and just really understanding getting your feet out under you and understanding life itself. So as you're on this journey there's all this opportunity to make mistakes. So I'd like to ask you, what's the biggest mistake you've ever made?

Tyson Koska:

Yeah, this is not an uncommon mistake. I just can't believe I fell into it when I did into the army. I was making more than I had ever made in my life. I, I just, I was like, oh my God, I got so much money coming in. I'm a single, I was, I was 19 when I entered the service and I was making, even, I don't know what it's adjusted for, it was good. It was good money. And. I opened, I don't know how many credit cards, store credit cards, Visa Card, MasterCard, just I had within a year, I had thousands of dollars in debt. I bought a new car. I had, fancy clothes, a hundred dollars bottles of cologne and all that stuff that young service members run it that very often run into. We see that a lot for sure. And I couldn't believe it. I was like, I could bar. I'm not sure that I, all, that I made the minimum payments every month. It was like, and it was, I was so confused. How did I get here? What did I do? How did I make so many bad decisions so often? And the weirdest thing is I got out of it because Saddam Hussein invited Kuwait. I ended up going, and then literally couldn't spend money on anything. And I was able to pay down. I was getting combat paid too. And when I got outta the military, I was basically back to zero. So I'd gotten myself into this huge hole. After desert storm, I came to my senses and I got everything sorted out, but it was, I was so confused how I could fall into that trap. And then when I look at people that, are maybe not as thoughtful, it's really easy to fall into that trap, and so I don't feel bad. I never, if I meet somebody in a lot of debt, I'm like, been there done that. I understand.

Average Joe Finances:

It's got the t-shirt.

Tyson Koska:

Yeah.

Average Joe Finances:

Took the road trip. Yeah. That, that, that's Tyson, that's very common and that a lot in the military, but not just in the military, just anybody that, they graduate high school and get into the workforce or they go to college and then get into the workforce. That a lot like this, you have this expectation of where you should be at a certain age or different things like that. Or if you start making more money. You get that lifestyle creep that just just creeps up on you and you don't even realize that you're overspending or you're overindulging in certain things. And I think that's really important to point out. And the fact that you were able to take the take advantage of the fact that you were getting the combat pay and you weren't able to spend money on things cuz you were deployed. You were able to get yourself to reset back down to zero and said what was I doing the past couple years? I really need to pay attention to this. So that was a good way for you to shift your mindset. So speaking of that kind of ties into what my next question is here. And that is, throughout all these experiences, there's several things that you've been able to learn and grow on. So what is something that you've learned that you wish you knew when you first started? I guess I would say in the personal finance space.

Tyson Koska:

Yeah. And honestly my answer would be in a personal finance space anyway. And it's, it goes back to that compound interesting. It's it almost doesn't matter what you saved. Just do a little bit of something. Save a little bit of something. Sooner the better, right now. It has to be now, cuz if you didn't already start, it has to be now because you get this little buzz when you see, okay., I saved the money, but then hopefully you're not just putting it into a savings account don't do that, put it into something. That's gonna give you a little bit of action. And you start to see that and you're like, oh wow, that's really neat. And then it starts growing in a way that's non-linear. Now I know that we're in a tough market right now, but actually now it's probably among the best act to get in because we are in a tough market. And that little buzz, that little charge that I'm making money on my money. It's not addictive, but it's, it is very fulfilling to see that progress be made in your life.

Average Joe Finances:

Absolutely. It helps fill that joy bucket, when it comes to just being able to enjoy what you're doing. But when you're able to see the money that you've been putting away, just grow with, especially with compound interest, there's a reason why it's called the it's called the eighth wonder of the world. It's just amazing to watch that. And for, especially when you start nothing. And you start from zero and you're just watching it and you're like, oh man, am I really even doing the right thing? And then a year later you're like, okay, this is looking nicer. And then two years later you're like, okay, we're. This looks like it's promising 3, 4, 5, 6 years later. And you're like, wow. Now I'm at the point where, I'm now making more of my interest than what I'm putting in monthly. This is really cool. So it's just a matter of disciplining yourself to constantly just keep putting in and and investing. So that's I think that's huge. Definitely good thing that, that you've learned on your journey here. So speaking of that, so this all, again, this ties into the next question. Do you have any tips or tricks that you would recommend to someone that is just getting started today? And by that, let's say somebody that had, they just finished school, they just finished college or they they just joined the military, whatever that may be, whatever it is that there's, their starting point is what would you recommend to somebody?

Tyson Koska:

So something you mentioned earlier was, you've gotta, you've gotta do things in your life that bring you joy. And if you try to, if you're trying to be frugal and giving up everything and just eating, like you said, Ramen noodle three times a day. And I don't go anywhere. I just sit and stare at a wall, you're gonna fail and you're gonna be miserable. You've gotta find things in life that bring you joy. And here's what I'll say. There are a lot of things in life that can bring you joy that actually pay you back. That aren't a money hole. So I always. If you if you like really good meals, when you go to a restaurant, I dunno if you know this or not. When you go to a restaurant, their target cost on, do you know what the target cost on food is? When you go to a restaurant?

Average Joe Finances:

I do not

Tyson Koska:

30%. So their target cost is to keep the food cost at 30%. So when you buy something, you're paying 70% for the experience and the ambiance and having somebody wait on you, but you're paying the waiter extra anyway, cause you're tipping them. So you're paying 70% just for the cook to cook it and the ambiance and obviously the chef to create the menu. But if you can learn to cook and you can make meals that really give you joy, you are gonna make so much because a you're gonna impress every woman every day. And you're gonna have great meals and you're gonna be like, oh, this is amazing food. Another example is fitness. I wouldn't say I'm an avid hiker, but I go, I hike regularly. My wife and I, we enjoy going on hikes. I do a boy's trip annually where we all go and take our tents out into the woods and do a little hike. And it's great, but it's great physical fitness, right? Physical fitness pays you back. It doesn't cost a lot of money to hike in the woods. My point is find a habit. Gardening. The gardening's another one that can pay you back. Crafting. You, you figure out a craft that you like, maybe you can sell some of it. At least you can give some Christmas presents away. Like these things, you can find little joys in your life that you enjoy doing that pay you for doing them, which I think is if you can do that's a great. My personal I, my, my little habit that pays me back, I make sausage, I make all kinds of different sausages and giving to family and friends and eat 'em at home. And sauges making is cheap.

Average Joe Finances:

Yeah, that's fantastic. It's a great way to look at, taking something that, that brings you joy and utilizing it to not only like maybe save you money or even make you money as well. So I'm pretty sure if you wanted to, you could probably sell some of those sausages as well and make a little bit from that. Now you have this hobby that you enjoy doing and you can give it away as gifts. Different things like that. That's gonna save you money, like for birthdays and holidays and things like that. You've gotta, you've got a skill or a talent that you can utilize that you enjoy doing. And, it's, that's less money you have to spend on something for little things like that. It could really go a long way. And I just wanted to point out too, if you ever if you ever come out to Hawaii and you wanna go hiking definitely hit me up. For sure. There's a lot of great hikes out here. Okay, fantastic. So Tyson, I'd like to move on to the last question. This is more of like an opinion based question. It's important as well. Do you have a favorite business investing or real estate related book or podcast or both?

Tyson Koska:

So I'm gonna, I'm gonna, hopefully this stays within the guardrails of the question. Business, investing, real estate, all of these things take a little bit of discipline to follow through on. And one of the really good books I've read in the past five years is Willpower does not work by Ben Hardy and this book is all about, so a few years back, there was this whole notion of grit. You gotta power through everything. You've gotta like, just find the inner strength. And his whole take is, maybe, but maybe, that'll work for a time and eventually, just trying to pow eventually any muscle, if you strain it, it's gonna give out. And so this whole book is about building up willpower. To recognize the frailties of just trying to power through everything in your life. And I think it's a really great, it's a great read. It's a habit building book. I know there's lots of habit building books out there, but it really struck me that something that's just applicable across whatever you're trying to do. When I first got into investing, I was so completely overwhelmed. And after I lost a little bit of money, I was like, I never wanna do this again. And then when I tried to dip my toe back in again, I read some good, more passive ways to invest which saved my sanity and actually helped my pocket book quite a bit. But this book I think is regardless of what you're trying to achieve, it's about breaking things down and taking it small bites and setting your expectations in the right.

Average Joe Finances:

No that's fantastic. That's definitely a great recommendation. I wrote that one down to, to add to my list. Yeah, because it's when it comes to, business, investing, real estate, all that right there, there comes this discipline that you have to have with those with those things, the different topics, different subjects. But discipline is huge if you don't, if you lack discipline and or, Willpower right. Also to, to just keep pushing forward. That's huge. And the fact that this book is something that can help you understand that a little bit better, I think is very valuable to anybody that's looking to either get started in business or investing or anything like that. Definitely huge. So definitely appreciate that recommendation. Now I do have one more question for you. We're done with the final four, but I have one more question for you and it's really important question and this is for the people that have been listening to this episode that, are like, Hey, I really like what, what Tyson's talking about here. I really I'd like to learn more about his software, and everything. Maybe this is something I can utilize to, to get better in my own personal finances. So they're gonna wanna know more about you. So where can people find this information about you? Do you have a website you could share with us or any social media profiles or anything like that?

Tyson Koska:

Sure. I mean ontrajectory as just one word ontrajectory.com, Instagram, Facebook, everything. Oh, Twitter ontrajectory is where to find me, but I would definitely recommend, so we are free to try, we're free forever. You can, you don't need a credit card. It's just, I'm really, I really get charged up by just helping people visualize this long term financial plan. So it's yeah, just go to on trajectory. And if you ever wanna reach out to me, I'm ty@ontrajectory.com.

Average Joe Finances:

All right. Fantastic Tyson. That's awesome. I'm gonna make sure I have all those links in the show notes to make it easier for everybody. And so you can copy and paste or click away and go check it out. Go look up Tyson, go see what he's doing. Go check out ontrajectory and yeah. Hey, I appreciate everybody listening to this episode and Tyson. I truly appreciate you coming on and having this chat with me today. It's been really fun.

Tyson Koska:

Thanks, Mike.

Average Joe Finances:

All right, Aloha.