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Welcome to CAPITOL STANDARD’s Money Journies, a dedicated series of stories from modern professionals navigating their way to financial and career success.

Ian Brown hasn’t always made the best money decisions. But that hasn’t stopped him and his wife from growing their net worth to $800,000 and counting.

Our net worth definition is simple: it’s the value of what you own minus what you owe.

At 30, Brown earns a $130,000 annual salary as a Structural Steel Project Manager in the New York City construction market.

Here’s a look at his unique money journey:

What is included in your net worth? 

“My net worth is made up of $30,000 in cash in the bank, $30,000 in credit cards, a $50,000 line of credit, $640,000 ($510,000/$130,000) between two homes, and $50,000 in physical assets,” says Brown. I carry $555,000 in mortgage debt, $25,000 in auto loans, and a $2500 credit card balance.”

What’s the best financial decision you’ve ever made? 

“Investing in my own personal development. I always take another course, learn a new skill, or get a new certification.”

And the Worst?

“I invested in a debt collection business and sunk about $10,000 into getting it started. Only to learn that my partner who held all the experience in the industry wasn’t really 100% in it.

I learned a few good life lessons from that experience. The biggest of which would be to only invest in like minded people who’s drive, goals, and values align with your own. I also learned that I should only invest in things I personally have knowledge of and want to be involved with on a day to day basis.”

Share a book you’ve read that gives great advice: 

“Jim Rohn gives great money and career advice. His book, 7 Strategies for Wealth & Happiness is one of my favorites. I definitely connect with his message and live by it every day.”

What is your money mantra?

“If you work hard at your job, you’ll make a living. If you work hard on yourself you can make a fortune.”

What did you buy the last time you splurged? 

“Last summer, my wife and I flew business class to Phuket, Thailand on Qatar Airways.

I tend to be very frugal and would have suffered through the 24 hours of flying in economy to save money. But truth be told I’m glad I spent the money.

Your “Qsuite” on Qatar Airways has a door for privacy, large TV, a storage compartment, and plug for charging. They also have a turn down service when you’re ready to go to sleep.

The sights in Phuket are amazing. The food is delicious, the cost of living is very reasonable, and the people are very hospitable. What an amazing trip.”

Strategies for Building Wealth

Ready to start growing your net worth? Build your cash reserves quickly by saving your money in a high interest savings account like this one at CIT Bank or BBVA. Both have interest rates above and beyond regular banks.

Next, you’ll want to grow your income. Maybe you want to create a passive income stream, start a business, land a new job, or take an online class that will help you command a higher salary. Whichever you choose, the right tools will help you get on the right track in your money journey.