Product Development Manager Who Manifests Her Money Goals
Cinneah grew up in Baltimore City where she saw people who looked liked her struggle to make ends meet. Her background and experiences motivated her to climb as high as possible, professionally and financially. She joined a new organization at the start of the COVID-19 outbreak as a product development manager to double her income, gain more technical experience, and join a leaner organization. She is excited about the FIRE community, the opportunity to pass down generational wealth, and loves to travel. She even runs her own blog discussing all these things. You can find her there, on flynanced, and follow her @fly.nanced (IG) and @flynanced (Twitter).
Interview with Cinneah:
How has your identity, race, and culture impacted your career trajectory or money values?
I am a young Black millennial woman from a humble, working-class household in Baltimore City. I grew up watching both of my parents work well into the age of retirement. I saw people who looked like me struggle to make ends meet. My family made incredible sacrifices to give me a quality education and a safe, cherished childhood, but I always knew I wanted a life of freedom, adventure, and rest. As a Black woman, I felt that I owed it to myself and my family to climb as high as possible, professionally, and financially. I graduated college wanting to make 6 figure salaries in my early twenties. When I stumbled into FIRE, I knew it was my destiny. I wanted to not only unlock the life I truly wanted but ensure I could pass on more than what my family was able to pass on to me. I feel my identity pushes me to work harder, achieve more in a shorter time, and make as much money as possible. I know how difficult life can be without these options.
How did you come to join your current organization and role?
I was really fortunate to learn about my new role through my alumni council, of which I am a Board member. One of my now teammates reached out to our council to publicize the role, and I thought I'd be a great fit. At the time, I wasn't really searching for roles but knew I wanted to increase my salary. My new employer was on my radar as other colleagues had transitioned there earlier and spoke highly of the opportunities there. It really was a "right place, right time moment" in all honesty.
Have you ever negotiated at your job?
I negotiated the salary for my first full-time job by asking for more directly. I initially received an offer for $68K out of a competitive grad school program but wanted to be in the 70s. Rather than fiddle with HR's policies, I asked my boss if she would approve an offer of $5k more - not a considerable difference materially. Still, it felt good to have a starting salary of $73K vs. $68K. I believe I asked her via phone as we were finishing our last conversation before I signed the offer. She confirmed approval via email, and HR sent me an updated offer letter. My tip is to talk to other people in Product, especially in your industry, BEFORE you even have a screening interview, to ensure you go in with the right numbers.
What are your money goals and what motivates you?
2020: My main money goal is to become debt-free! I started off the year with over $23k in debt across student loans, credit cards, and a pesky personal loan. I am happy to say as of August 2020, I am nearly 60% debt-free, having paid over $13k back since January.
2021: I want to get serious about pursuing FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) and achieve a consistent 50% or higher savings rate. I plan to invest aggressively across my 401K, Roth IRA, and HSA. My stretch goal is to invest $50k in index funds, REITs, and stocks with high dividend yields. I am motivated by travel so one of my biggest money goals is to take a career sabbatical around my 29th birthday to travel across the continent of Africa.
2030: I expect to be a millionaire. I'll be 36. My long term money goal is to achieve FatFIRE (which is a fancy way of saying I want to retire early and pay myself a 6-figure salary) in my 40s. That will allow me to pass on generational wealth and live a comfortable life until I die. In between all that, I plan to visit as many countries as possible, take care of my parents, and build multiple successful digital businesses.
Tell us more about the vision for your sabbatical in Africa.
I was an Africana Studies major in college. I found the intellectual journey of diving into African countries' history, culture, and politics very exciting. Moreover, as a Black American woman, I feel a spiritual connection to the continent, knowing that my distant ancestors came from there. A sabbatical across the continent would allow me to freely wander and explore many of the vibrant cities and places I've always dreamed of visiting. As a Black person, I also feel that I have a duty with my platform to highlight travel across Africa and encourage other Black travelers to do the same.
What does generational wealth mean for you?
Generational wealth means creating a financial legacy that will outlive me so that the generations to follow might have more options than I had. It's about eliminating "financial struggle" from my family's lineage. When I achieve FI/RE, I expect my assets to live on into perpetuity, which will allow my children and their children to live without financial worry.
You are very optimistic and driven. How do you maintain that intensity, and what do you do when you have setbacks?
Believe in the power of manifestation when it comes to your money goals. I believe I manifested my 6-figure salary by showing gratitude, visualizing it, seeing it in my mirror every day, and believing in my power. In September 2018, I attended a Refinery29 interactive Rooms exhibit and fell in love with the money mantra room. I left saying I was going to achieve my money goal of making $100k a year. At that point, I was making ~ $74k. Well, 6 months later, when I was promoted to the next level, I didn't receive my dream number but still pressed on. A few weeks into my role, I received a random update from HR that my salary would be increased to $99k because I wasn't paid at parity. I worked at a company with a rigid pay structure, so there was really no way I could have negotiated my way up to that salary without divine intervention. In general, I've been incredibly fortunate, so I try my best to show up positively every day. I've been able to overcome challenges in my career by:
- Seeking out mentors to guide my steps
- Sharpening my craft by asking questions and leaning into work that challenges me
- Taking ownership of my choices and not allowing anyone to dictate my career
- Having faith that things will work out positively for me