You Should Be Following:
Words: John Hong
Images courtesy of Wynton Grant
Wynton Grant was once like the rest of us.
As an undergraduate, he was “terrified” about his career trajectory. “My first couple of teachers were old school,” Grant said. “I think most teachers have a different idea about what’s possible with music. Win competitions. Get degrees. Win an orchestra job. When you’re young and look at the big names, they’re all steeped in that tradition.”
Now, the 25-year-old violinist has his music degrees from the Lynn Conservatory and Yale School of Music, but he lives life pretty far away from tradition. Currently, Grant is gearing up for a North American tour with Rostam, the songwriter and multi-instrumentalist formerly of Vampire Weekend, and recently performed with Shawn Mendes on MTV Unplugged and with Sabrina Claudio on James Corden’s Late Late Show.
While that on its own would be impressive, Grant also managed—after six years of self-education and research—to move to Los Angeles with the capital to purchase his own four-bedroom house, writing his own lease for his three artist roommates, whose rent currently covers his mortgage in full.
“My biggest discovery the past few years has been that there is no ‘one’ way. I knew from my first years as an undergrad that I didn’t want to be just anybody. I wanted to be legit.”
Grant’s impressive ability to purchase a house in Los Angeles on his own at the age of 24 — aside from his targeting only schools that offered full scholarships — started with a personal finance course in college.
“I had never had tools like that before to give me that kind of autonomy on my money,” he said. Grant’s newfound frugality strategies would save him thousands of dollars over his undergraduate years. Eventually he would stumble into real estate websites, which gave him the expertise he needed to declare one day, “I think I should buy a house.”
As he settled in at Yale, Grant began to take this ambition more seriously. Saving for the house also meant making money in unconventional ways, often by taking on numerous side gigs.
“The number one takeaway that’s been useful from learning personal finance is to set a tangible goal, and then find ways to achieve it as easily and efficiently as possible,” Grant explained. “You’ll probably realize that it may require sacrificing certain things. So if saving money is a goal, set a target number, and then do everything you can to get there. The easiest/best way to do that is by reducing expenses and increasing income, so you’re winning on both ends.”