Updated: Jan 23
Alley Oop Hoops presents
"Drive & Kick" with Justin Youngblood
Justin is an experienced sales manager with demonstrated history of success in the pharmaceuticals industry. Justin has a Bachelor of Science (BS) focused in Business Administration, Management and Operations from University of North Carolina at Greensboro. More recently, Justin received his license as a Certified Financial Coach and created Fine with Frugal, a service empowering clients to budget.
View the conversation summary below.
Basketball as a child
Basketball was everything as a kid. A ball was put in Justin’s hands at the age of 2. He could occupy his time for all of his childhood – either playing basketball or watching basketball. Basketball shaped who he was – between the friendships you make, the lessons you are taught, the culture that surrounds basketball.
Realization that basketball wasn’t forever
When Justin got to high school, he was shocked at the level of talent – the competition was crazy in the area. Justin was not a stand-out player – he played two years of Junior Varsity and two years of Varsity. During his JV years, he was still naïve that he might play at the next level. It was when he was a Junior and was primarily a reserve player that he realized it was unlikely he’d play in college. “That was a hard pill to swallow for someone who has lived their life around the game of basketball. I really feel like I failed in a sense.” So now what?
College studies and pivots
Justin had no idea what he would study in college. He had lived so much of his life consumed with basketball that he just assumed college was next as all of his friends were going to college. There’s freedom, there’s partying, but he was not focused on academics initially. Justin’s uncle had a successful commercial real estate business in Maryland, and at the time UNC Greensboro had a major in finance and real estate that he expected to study. Why UNC-G? It was easy to get into, friends were going, and it was cheap. When he got to school, they removed that major. He began studying accounting, and realized it was going to be too much work to be successful. School had come so easily to Justin until this point. In hindsight, Justin wished he had pushed through with accounting. Justin then tried Information Systems as he had several friends in Information Systems, and he realized he didn’t like that either, so he pivoted to Business Administration (he had enough credits to minor in Information Systems).
Finding a post-graduate opportunity
College was a great experience for Justin from a networking standpoint, but Justin did not use the professional networking opportunities for his advantage. There were plenty of resources on campus to meet companies and find internship opportunities. Justin always pushed off career preparation until graduation, but then he graduated in 2011 which was a difficult time to find work in the down economy. Justin’s father had a friend who worked an online ticketing company similar to StubHub. He learned a lot about what he liked and didn’t like in Corporate America, and knew he did not want to be in an office all day. He had to be around people as a bigger part of his role.
Pivot to pharmaceutical sales
Justin was researching what he was interested in, and through some family friends, he gained more exposure to sales in the pharmaceutical industry. Justin applied to hundreds of jobs and received hundreds of rejection letters. The only return call he got was in 2012, he got a phone call for an interview in Winston-Salem. Initially, he did not want to move to Winston-Salem, and despite the fact he didn’t want to move away from Raleigh, he took the role and it was the best thing he could have ever done.
Benefits of Corporate America
People – Justin has met amazing people through his journey, leveraging those relationships for on-the-job preparation and life lessons. The people he has met have been amazing for his life trajectory. Team building, communication with others, and seeing how you can learn from diverse thinking.
Benefits – PTO, benefits, health insurance, 401K.
Funding a side hustle – if you have a decent work-life balance, there is a benefit of using the 9-5 to fund your 5-9 until your 5-9 turns into your 9-5. You don’t have to love your job, but you can make some good money to fund what you really want to do.
Comfort level with money as a youth
Justin had no comfort level with money as a child. Money wasn’t talked about in his house. Justin came from a low-middle class household – his family was on government assistance for part of his childhood. His parents always made them feel like they had what they needed, but there was a lot of “no, we cannot afford that” from his parents. He never felt like he was prepared to do anything other than make money and spend money, but not budget, invest, and save. Justin took out $40K in student loans to put himself through college. Justin’s mother advised, “you know you have to pay this back later?” He used his checks from the student loans to do more than support his education, which he regrets. He took as much money out as he could with no repercussions of the decision.
Realization that his financial situation had to change
When he graduated, he was making no money. Justin put his loans in to forbearance and could not pay down the loans. After a period of time, he had to pay them down as interest continued to accrue. In 2012 when he got into pharma sales, he had a ton of debt and realized he couldn’t simply pay down the minimum payments. He didn’t feel like he had the tools to build a plan to take the next step to financial freedom.
Justin was lucky to have a colleague, Chad, who was financially savvy. Justin shared with Chad his financial situation and Chad introduced Justin to Dave Ramsey. Justin leaned on Chad with questions – things like 401K match, health savings account, etc. Chad became Justin’s guiding light – “I would not be where I am financially without him.”
A starting point for anyone behind in finances
“It’s so easy to feel like you are getting further behind. I just don’t want to look at it. If I sweep it under the rug, it will go away.” We spend 40 hours a week making money, but we don’t spend 30 minutes a week managing our money. Take 30 minutes a week – set some goals, work towards them and relentless pursue those goals. Goals can be as small as saving $500 for an emergency. Look at your money and don’t let your money tell you where to go. Live on less than you make – if you bring in $3K per month, you shouldn’t spend $4K per month.
When to start teaching financial literacy to youth
“It drives me insane that this isn’t taught in school. It doesn’t have to be the complex ideas of investing, but rather simple principles like budgeting, saving, and giving.” You learn these lessons at home, or from a friend, or from researching. By teaching small lessons early on, you will be better suited to have a financial foundation.