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FIREside chat with Cinneah: Debt free travel and financial freedom

Quirk Team
November 4, 2020
FIREside chat with Cinneah: Debt free travel and financial freedom

Hi! Could you introduce yourself:

Hi! I'm Cinneah El-Amin (sin-ee-uh el-ah-meen), the creator of Flynanced, a debt free travel and financial freedom blog where I inspire readers to fly financially free. Since traveling to 28 countries across 6 continents, I am often asked how to afford travel so I created Flynanced to give real advice on money and travel. In my own finances, I'm on track to become debt free this year and kick start my FI/RE journey. I seek to change the narratives for Black millennial women to live life without debt, build generational wealth, and see more of the world on our terms. I am a graduate of Barnard College, Columbia University and Wake Forest University School of Business. I am based in NYC.


What personality type did you get? Did you find the results to be accurate?

The Explorer... SPOT ON! :)

Cinneah took the Quirk money personality test and got the explorer personality type.


What inspired you to start a social media presence about personal finance? For completely new readers, what is the “tl;dr” of your brand?

I was tired of struggling with my own money and seeing other peers struggle. I was tired of travel bloggers not being transparent around the real costs of travel. I also became adamant in proving that it is possible to pay off debt and travel, sorry Dave Ramsey.


What is your relationship with personal finance? - If applicable, how has that defined your current pursuits? What changes have you made that have helped? How has it changed over time?

My relationship with money and personal finance has truly evolved.

For years, I lived paycheck to paycheck in NYC, maxing out credit cards, opening personal loans, and living beyond my means. To be now only a few thousand dollars away from debt freedom with a healthy savings and retirement accounts, is proof anyone can do it.

I believe seeing other Black women like Carmen of @makerealcents document their journeys inspired me early on. I also like to think that I found FI/RE at the right time in my early 20s and got hooked on the idea of becoming the first millionaire in my family.

Cinneah's financial vision board. It has scrapbook images of travelling, buying a house and being financially independent.


What’s the worst money advice you’ve ever received?

"What's the big deal? Get that loan! People are in wayyy more debt than $16k. It's not so bad! We'll help you pay it!"


What are some things that worked for you for maintaining balance and managing your spending?

Creating sinking funds for my travels and other things I truly love has been a game changer. I used to tell myself that I couldn't save, but that wasn't true. Now I automatically save every month in various funds for travel, gifts, investments, and more.


Is there a specific financial goal you are working towards right now? What steps are you taking to achieve that goal?

I'm working to pay off the remaining student loan and credit card debt I have to my name. I started off 2020 with $23,022 in debt overall and am working on the last $6k by 12/31/2020. From there, my next goal is to hit $100k net worth which I'm confident I can hit in 2021 if I continue aggressively saving my income. Then onto my first milli!

An infographic of Cinneah's mid year recap of all the financial goals she has met for herself.


What do you most enjoy spending on? Or any guilty pleasure you can share.

Travel, spa treatments, and nice dinners.


How often do you check your finances?

I check my bank accounts almost every other day just glancing at the apps. On payday, I spend about 30 mins max just checking in on my savings and investments and manually paying bills. I still enjoy going in and paying debt so I haven't set those to autopay.


What’s your stack?

- Invest: Vanguard

- Personal Credit: Amex Platinum, Amex Gold, Amex Delta Skymiles Platinum, Chase Freedom (and a couple others not worth mentioning... lol)

- Checking: Schwab (travel fund), Chase, credit union

- Apps/Sites: Personal Capital, Public 

- Biz Banking: Bluevine

- Biz Credit: Amex Blue Business Cash

For someone who is starting completely new to personal finance, how would they get started? What specific tips would you have for newbies?

First, focus your mindset on why managing your finances is important, how you envision your life, and positive affirmations. Every action starts with a clear mindset. Then, get a copy of Ramit Sethi's I Will Teach You to Be Rich - I wish I'd had it earlier in my journey and now can't shut up about it.

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