Jerone Gillespie earns around $25,000 a year as a driver for Uber and Lyft, as well as managing a tax preparation office for part of the year. To get by, Gillespie, who lives near Baltimore, keeps his budget tight: He rarely goes out to eat, shares an apartment with roommates and spends most of his free time reading and working on his YouTube channel.
Despite his low income, there's one thing the 23-year-old doesn't hesitate to splurge on: books.
Gillespie spends around $40 on books per month, plus $15 on Audible, an audiobook subscription service. He primarily reads nonfiction, including books on science, physics, computers, business, self-development, money and investing.
He's willing to consistently buy more books because he sees financial knowledge as the key to landing a new job and earning more money. While he could increase his income in the short term by spending more time driving, he chooses to invest in skills he believes will pay off down the road.
"One of the reasons why my income is so low is because I spend a lot of my time just reading," he says. "I could be out there working and working, but I spend a lot of that time reading tax books, reading investment books, reading accounting books. That might lower my income here today, but tomorrow, I'll be thanking myself."
Gillespie's interest in finance and investing started with "Rich Dad, Poor Dad," a popular personal finance book. He originally picked the book up in Spanish from his local Walmart during college and later listened to it in English. "That book just opened up my entire mind to investing," he says.
The more he learned, the more he wanted to talk about money with anyone who would listen. When his friends and family got tired of discussing the subject with him, he started his YouTube channel, Moneyology, to share what he had learned.
He hopes to put his knowledge to use and get out of the rideshare game soon. "I want to move on to something that is a bit more lucrative," he says. Gillespie dropped out of college before he earned his degree and has about $16,000 in student loan debt, which he's deferred for the time being. While he's interested in accounting and software engineering, Gillespie is confident he can still build wealth without going back to school.
In the meantime, he won't stop reading.