As soon as I was big enough to start pushing a lawnmower, I started a business cutting grass. That job, combined with my newspaper route, made me feel like I was earning good money; enough to help out around the house and to buy some sports equipment as I started having an interest in all sports.
Although we never went without eating, we lived paycheck to paycheck and were definitely the least fortunate in our town. I decided back then that I was going to work very hard in school so that I would never need to live like that when I grew up. My interest in personal finance, therefore, started early in life.
I excelled in sports and upon graduation, I was being offered football scholarships by many schools in the Big Ten and also the MAC. I knew nothing about the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, but after Fisher Deberry, Air Force’s Hall of Fame football Head Coach, showed up at a few of my basketball practices, I agreed to take a visit to Colorado to check it out. Something about it was different and it was one of top educations I could get in the whole country.
I graduated with a 3.94, so USAFA was very interested in me. Thankfully, I was being very analytical with my decisions back then because I came home and told my parents that I was going to attend the Air Force Academy, and to this day, I would say that was the single best decision of my life.
The Academy presented a very difficult life and everyone there was extremely intelligent. It was challenging and I met some of the most amazing people there, many of whom became lifelong friends.