Hey, everyone, today’s Dinero Pro is Caleb Simpson. There are people that challenge you to do more with the time you’re given. Caleb is one of those people. He’s a father, husband, entrepreneur, athlete, adventure-seeker, and debt destroyer!
Caleb Simpson, his wife, and his three children traded the traditional lifestyle with the adventures of living in a camper. After paying off $60,000 in debt, the Simpsons have dedicated themselves to enjoy the outdoors and travel the country.
Along with his brother, Caleb also runs Bearded Brothers, a successful organic energy bar company based out of Austin, TX. They have been in business since 2011 and I can attest to the deliciousness and benefits of Bearded Brothers energy bars!
What got you fired up about wanting to pay off your debt?
We just didn’t want to be slaves to a monthly payment. We also credit Dave Ramsey’s detailed chart about what an investment would be worth today. We wanted to be able to start investing as soon as possible. And, we were just tired of living paycheck to paycheck.
How long did it take you to pay off your debt and what type of debt was it?
If I remember correctly it took us three years. And in the midst of that we had two kids and paid for the births with cash, so that slowed down the debt snowball a bit. Our two main debts, aside from my home mortgage (a rental property), was a $10,000 loan on my car, and student loans. We paid the car off first and then began attacking the $40,000 student loan. The student loan was slow to go away until I sold my rental property and we made $17,000 off of the sale. Every penny went towards the student loan, which helped accelerate the payoff. Next up was a family loan of $10,000 to my dad.
There were a lot of setbacks along the way. But we really wanted to be able to invest and stop living paycheck to paycheck.
What was the amount of the first payment you ever made towards your debt?
I don’t remember the specific amount, but it was money we started paying on principal towards the car payment. It was probably around $250 which was on top of the $250 monthly payment that was mostly going to interest.
What has running a company taught you about yourself?
That I’m pretty resilient. Even when the odds seem to be stacked against me, I keep plugging along. I think that is key to running a successful business. I think a lot of people give up too soon. It takes time to grow a successful business.
What is the biggest and best advice you can give to other young entrepreneurs?
Don’t get caught up in the details…just do it! When we started Bearded Brothers we knew NOTHING about the food industry or what laws and regulations we had to abide by. One of the biggest things that helped us was talking to other people in the industry and asking questions. At the end of the day though, you just have to start, even if you aren’t doing everything right from the beginning.You just have to start, even if you aren’t doing everything right from the beginning. Click To Tweet
How do you balance living in an RV, 3 kids, running a company, and training for a 100-mile ultramarathon?
I don’t work 50-60 hour weeks. In fact most weeks I probably work less than 40. It’s a huge myth that you have to work long hours to be successful. IF you work smart and get things done during the day you don’t have to work long hours. I’m a huge fan of David Allen’s book Getting Things Done, and the KanBan system of task management.
Most weeks I do my long training runs on Friday morning and get to work in the afternoon. This way my weekends are still free for family time. It’s also very rare I get home after 5 pm. It’s all about working smart.
I don’t spend much time on social media or surfing the web, those are all distractions. I love the quote by Jon Gordon that says, “Distractions are the enemy of greatness.”
What advice do you give to other millennials?
1.) Work hard at work you love. I don’t think millennials will have a hard time with that. Even if you work for a little bit less money, in the long run, you will be much happier.
2.) Pay off your debt as fast as you can, and start saving for the future.
3.) Stop living above your means.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I actually hope to see some kind of exit with the company. Whether that is selling, or bringing in a new CEO while I take a seat on the board. I eventually want to be more location independent so my family can travel more. One idea I have is to go into small business food consulting. This is something we really needed when we started Bearded Brothers, but it wasn’t an affordable service offered.
Is there anything else you want to add, or advice to other financial freedom seekers?
Do something crazy to help you pay off debt, or save money. After we paid off our debt we sold everything we owned and moved into an RV, full time. Our monthly expenses are so much lower than if we rented an apartment.
It helps cash flow big expenses, such as the births of our children, and medical emergencies. We are still working on our six months worth of savings, but living frugally has really helped us.
You may not think living in an RV is the lifestyle for you, but there are other ways to get crazy. Downsize your apartment, it will save you lots of money every month. I can tell you from experience you don’t need as much space as you have.