Met Matt?

At 23 years old, he's one of the youngest subscribers to the Motley Fool Rule Breakers newsletter. Earlier this year, the growth-stock recommendation service held an "I'm a Rule Breaker" contest to single out passionate community members, and Matt was one of the five finalists.

The son of a biology professor and a math professor, Matt may be young, but he's been a quick learner when it comes to making money. At his parents' insistence, he took a summer job making salads at a local restaurant while still in high school. It didn't take him long to realize that he would rather be making another kind of greenery.

Matt made a hobby out of writing website programming scripts. He turned that into a money-making venture, scripting applications for other website operators. It made majoring in computer science a no-brainer. He graduated in 2004 but hasn't strayed far from the ivory tower; Matt's still in school as a second-year Ph.D. student.

The gift that keeps on giving
His stock market indoctrination came at an early age. As a teen, Matt was a community leader at the GeoCities network of websites. In exchange for helping other registered users set up their Web pages on the site, he received five shares of GeoCities. The company was eventually acquired by Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) in 1999.

That was just a taste, and it left Matt hungry for more. For his high school graduation present, his parents opened -- and funded -- a Roth IRA in Matt's name. His dad suggested a few initial purchases, and some, such as Halliburton (NYSE:HAL) and high-yielding REIT Liberty Property Trust (NYSE:LRY), more than offset his loss on WorldCom.

Then Matt began to break into his own investing style. After purchasing a first-generation iPod, he bought into Apple Computer (NASDAQ:AAPL). There were dark clouds around the company. It was barely trading for more than the liquidity on its balance sheet. However, Matt had always been a "Mac nut," dating back to his first Mac SE.

A traditional investor would have balked at buying Apple. A speculator steeped in conventional wisdom would have avoided a company with a shrinking share of the computing market and an unproven -- and lower-margin -- digital music player.

Not Matt. His success as an early adopter with Apple worked out perfectly. He was a Rule Breaker. He just didn't know it yet.

He eventually bought a copy of Stocks 2005, an annual Motley Fool publication that showcases promising stock ideas for the year ahead. He was drawn to one in particular, drug maker BioMarin (NASDAQ:BMRN). It was a recommendation by Charly Travers. Matt bought in, and ultimately followed Travers to Rule Breakers, where Charly picks apart promising biotechnology stocks.

Foolish beyond his years
Since joining the growing Rule Breakers family, Matt has expanded his portfolio, buying into seven of the active recommendations. Yes, he has picked up most of Charly's official biotech selections, such as Myriad Genetics (NASDAQ:MYGN), but he has also taken a chance on David Gardner's gutsy pick of stun-gun titan TASER International (NASDAQ:TASR).

Six months shy of his 24th birthday, Matt has already amassed what more seasoned investors would consider a healthy lifetime of investing decisions. He's a Rule Breaker, but you don't have to peek at his brokerage statements to figure that out.

Come over to his place, and you'll see that he's turned disassembled hard drive platters into beverage coasters. Despite his early and prolific embrace of the new economy, he wakes up every morning to three daily newspaper subscriptions. And even though most young couples wade in piles of debt, Matt and his wife make it a point to live beneath their means. That means paying off their credit cards in full every month and utilizing the plastic strictly for its cash-back rewards.

Breaking the rules has meant all the difference in Matt's young life. It's amazing what one summer of salads can inspire.

You can join Matt and several more like-minded growth-stock investors by becoming a part of the growing Motley Fool Rule Breakers family. If you're not sure about subscribing, start with a free 30-day trial offer to see whether it's right for you.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz finds that eating, sleeping, and breathing growth stocks will work wonders for your financial health. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.