Joe Udo is the chief blogger at retireby40.org. Being one of the most renowned finance bloggers of the present era, through his prowess, he inspires readers to secure their future by acquiring a strong financial backup despite retiring at an early age.
1) Tell us something about yourself and your hobbies.
My name is Joe Udo and I blog at Retire by 40. I was a computer hardware engineer for 16 years before I left Megacorp to become a stay-at-home-dad/blogger. When I’m not busy with our kid or blogging, I enjoy reading, playing the ukulele, and going to the gym.
2) What took you into finance blogging in the first place?
In 2010, I was becoming more and more dissatisfied with my engineering career. I was reading a lot of personal finance blogs at work and I figured I could start one to help me retire early. Retirement by 40 helped me solidify my plan for early retirement and kept me accountable to my readers.
3) Apart from yours, what are your other favourite blogs on personal finance?
I enjoy Budgets are Sexy, Financial Samurai, 1500 Days to Freedom, and many other blogs. These bloggers consistently write great articles that are both educational and entertaining.
4) When did you become financially skilled for the first time?
I think financial skills come in stages. I was naturally frugal and always lived within my means. That gave me a huge head start toward financial independence. Investing is also a very important skill to learn. It took me many years of trial and error to find an investing style that suits me. My advice is to start investing as early as you can and keep improving every year.
5) What is the last product you regretted buying?
I paid too much for the water heater for my rental. I should have shopped around more, but it was leaking and I wanted to replace it ASAP. I don’t regret buying it, but I probably paid too much for it.
6) Do you certainly recommend blogging as a full time source of income?
I think everyone should try blogging and see where it takes them. Most bloggers can’t generate enough income to cover their cost of living, but you never know. A few bloggers are making over $100,000 per month! You could be one of them. It’s a fun hobby that could turn into a way to make some extra income. That’s a lot better than most hobbies.
7) What was your best financial decision while you were in your early 20’s?
My best financial decision was to contribute to my 401k as soon as I started working. I maxed out my 401k contribution a few years later and I have kept it up ever since. Now, it is the biggest part of my net worth. I’m very glad that I started investing early.
8) What is the exact strategy that helped you make your blog one of the most popular ones from your generation?
My strategy is to publish consistently and to be genuine. Publishing consistently keeps me going because I had to stick to a schedule. If I post whenever I wanted, I’m sure I wouldn’t have lasted long. Being genuine is necessary with blogging. Readers can tell if you’re not authentic and they won’t stick around. I was a mediocre writer when I first started, but I found my voice and improved over time.
9) Any potential tips for our readers?
My best tip is for you to make financial independence your goal. If you are passionate about financial independence, you will find many ways to achieve it. There are so many resources online now and I think anyone can do it. Here is a quick primer – 7 Ways to Achieve Financial Independence. Good luck!