From Broke Phi Broke to Financially Woke – Sqwire



Today, I am excited to share with you the latest interview in the From Broke to Financially Woke series!  The purpose of this series it to give hope to those struggling to escape from the not so secret group Broke Phi Broke.  A group whose chant is, “We ain’t got it. Broke, Broke, Phi Broke! We ain’t got it. Broke, Broke, Phi Broke!”

To help me accomplish this goal, I have invited the best and brightest of the financial independence community here to share their stories.  As you read their interviews, pay close attention to the mistakes they made.  Take mental note of the success principles they used to turn things around.

When trying to apply these principles to your own life, realize that success in life is rarely linear.  You will encounter some struggles.  But stay persistent.  Keep moving forward.

Our special guest today is Danijel, founder of Sqwire, which is an online financial education platform.  At his lowest point, he had a low paying job and $20,000 in credit card debt.

Now, in addition to being the creator of Sqwire, he owns a wealth management firm and a Crossfit gym.

How did he turn his financial life around?  I’ll let him share his story…


Introduce yourself.  Where do you blog? What are some of your interests outside of financial independence?


My passion is education and teaching. Though I don’t blog , I own a Wealth Management firm, and my company Sqwire, is kicking off a podcast, Making Your Money Work, that I co-host on occasion. I also own a Crossfit Gym, Crossfit Chesapeake, and can be found there working out along side my members. I’m also an avid reader.


[Editor’s note:  I am always excited to meet a fellow bibliophile; I love a good book recommendation!]


Tell us about a time where you were a member of Broke Phi Broke.  How did living paycheck to paycheck make you feel as a person? At your lowest point, how much debt did you have?


Escape being broke
Broke Phi Broke


In college, I had to pay for everything myself (considering I was a foreign student working to pay ALL the bills myself) and ended up not having enough money to pay for tuition AND life… ended up having to borrow money.  Once we got out of college, we got low paying jobs and ended up in about 20K of CC debt.





What are some of your biggest financial mistakes?


Real Estate investment property in 2007…ouch!!  Lost around $90,000.


Describe your upbringing.  Where did you grow up? What did your parents or teachers teach you about money?


I grew up in Croatia, and there was no financial talk at my house.  Once I came to the US, I had to help my parents financially and had to learn everything quickly!


How important is becoming financially woke to you?  What steps have you taken to increase your financial knowledge?


I am “financially woke” now… after doing financial planning for 18 years- I learned just about everything that I needed to serve my clients. It is very important to me to be able to educate my clients and help educate as many people as possible.


What are some of the key principles you have used to improve your financial life?


Escape being broke
Success Principles



Live within your means

50% rule (anytime you receive a bonus, tax refund, promotion), take the 50% of it and save it.. And 50% and spend!


How often do you consume personal finance information?  Name 3-5 of your favorites sources (books, podcasts, blogs, etc.). 


I am a source of information! Haha. I’m always reading and talking with others trying to continue to learn to help educate people more.

Great by Choice by Jim Collins is one book that I enjoy and often recommend to people.

The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be by Jack Canfield and Janet Switzer is another great book.

My company, Sqwire, has a podcast as well that has great conversations about personal finance as well.


Where are you on the path to financial freedom now?  


Escape being broke


I believe I am well on my way to financial freedom now.


Is there any advice/encouraging words you can give those who are struggling to escape Broke Phi Broke?


This too shall pass!! If you put a plan in place.. You don’t have a problem any more- you are working on a solution!


How can the readers contact you?


@DanijelVelicki on Twitter and by searching Danijel Velickin on linkedin. I’m always looking to and happy to connect with people.


Escape being broke


Read more interviews in the From Broke to Financially Woke Series.

Please share this From Broke to Financially Woke interview on social media with the hashtag #escapebrokephibroke

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Author: Jerry

Jerry is a Business Insider Contributing Writer who is obsessed with personal finance. He believes you can improve your financial situation by applying principles taught by the financial independence community to your financial life.

If you are having trouble saving, he recommends that you join the SaverLife Savings program where you can get a $60 reward after six months (no income requirement). All you have to do is put a minimum of $20 a month into a savings account. Easy, right?

For a fun read, check out his article 10 Signs You’re a Personal Finance Addict to see if you are a personal finance nerd.

Before you go, check out the new From Broke to Financially Woke Interview Series.

Also, please subscribe below if you found his content valuable and want to continue following him as he documents his own journey from Broke to Financially Woke!

Subscribe to be one of the first people to get updates as I continue to document my journey from broke to financially woke 🙂

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