Interview

Melanie Lockert, the owner of Dear Debt

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Melanie Lockert is the personality behind the award-winning blog, Dear Debt, where she chronicled her journey out of $81,000 in student loan debt. Through her blog, she inspires readers to break up with debt by writing their very own breakup letter to debt.

In 2015, Melanie (and her journey out of debt) was named one of the top five most inspiring personal finance stories of the year by Yahoo! Finance. She currently works as a freelance writer and event planner. Melanie and her work have appeared in Business Insider, The Huffington Post, Yahoo! Finance, INC, and more.

QUESTIONNAIRE

What’s the key factor that’s been a way for your blog to become so exclusive and successful at the same time?

I really focused on one niche and that is debt. My website isn’t a general personal finance site, but one that is for people getting out of debt or recovering from the emotional hangover of debt. I think really connecting with a certain group of people — and doing something different like focusing on the emotions of debt, rather than just practical financial advice has helped me grow.

What did take you into personal finance blogging?

I got started blogging at a really low point in my life. I was underemployed and overwhelmed with debt. I didn’t know how I was going to pay it back. I was sick and tired of being sad about my debt, so I started my blog as a way to keep myself accountable for paying off debt.

Do you certainly recommend blogging as a full time source of income?

I think it’s very difficult to make a full-time living from blogging. My blog itself doesn’t make a lot of money. I have leveraged it into a full-time writing and event planning career. So, yes, I use it as a platform for work, but there are no shortcuts when it comes to blogging. It takes a lot of time and effort to be successful, let alone make a full-time income.

Talking about debt, so far is there any such item or product that you regret purchasing?

I kind of regret going to a private school for my master’s degree. Though it helped me live in New York City, it was still unnecessarily expensive.

You may like to read the interview of Paul Paquin GFS-CEO: Interview with Paul Paquin- GFS-CEO

What makes “Dear Debt” so distinctive from its contemporary blogs?

I think what makes my blog different is that it focuses on the emotions of personal finance and being in debt. I think there is a taboo around money. When it comes to debt, you can add guilt and shame to that picture too. The emotions can be so overwhelming that they can actually hinder your financial progress.
My blog has created a safe space for people to break up with their debt and reclaim their own power and freedom. Many dear debt letter authors have said how helpful writing a breakup letter to debt is and that they felt better afterward and were inspired to reach their goals. Now that is the best testimonial I think I could ask for!

How do you plan your own finance and budgeting? Do you go by certain strategies to manage it all?

I subscribe to the “pay yourself first” model and always save a chunk of change before paying the rest of the bills. I don’t have a strict budget in place, but have always placed saving and debt repayment as a high priority, so put those things first and am mindful with my spending elsewhere.

Whenever I make a purchase, I think of it in hours worked. For example, going out to dinner and drinks, might be worth three hours of work. I ask myself, “Is it really worth it?” Sometimes it is, other times it is not. But this helps me spend on my values.

“Having a Credit card may eventually lead to bankruptcy”….Do you agree or disagree with the same?

I don’t necessarily agree. I think you can be a responsible credit card user. Of course, credit cards could lead to bankruptcy, but that is an extreme case. If you do have a credit card, it’s important to pay off your balances in full each month and keep your balances low in relation to your credit limit.

A number of students get trapped in student loan debt, what can certainly be the easiest way out of the same?

Getting out of student loan debt isn’t easy. You may need to sacrifice certain things in order to make progress. Additionally, earning more on the side is key to help you make faster progress. Aside from cutting back and earning more, it’s important to believe you can actually get out of debt. I think many people with student loans just think they’ll be in debt forever and that it’s okay because student loans are the “good debt.”

Believing you can is half the battle! Then staying consistent. Some months will be better than others and it will be tough and you may want to give up. But keep going!

Please guide our readers with some of your expeditious advices to deal with the demon called “debt”.

Realize that you are not your debt. Your self-worth is not your net worth. That no matter how tough it is to get out of debt, it IS possible. Don’t let debt bully you! Most importantly, realize you have to make a lot of financial and mental shifts to get out of debt. These shifts can be tough and you may need to give up certain things, a certain lifestyle or certain beliefs. Though it’s tough, you can do it!


Interview with Paul Paquin- GFS-CEO

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Introduction: Paul Paquin is the CEO and President at Golden Financial Services, a national debt relief agency. Paul has extensive experience in the debt relief industry and student loan relief vertical. Paul has been focussing on this area for more than 12 years now.

Tell us something about yourself and GFS.

I have a deep passion for helping people, and this passion translates into my business, where our team at Golden Financial Services assists our fellow Americans with getting out of debt. I am also a family man and try to be the best dad to my kids, and give them valuable lessons so that they develop into responsible citizens.

Does your academic qualification help you manage your financial situation?

I went to Oklahoma University on a wrestling scholarship and later transferred to New York University where I studied finance and business. This invaluable college education certainly gave me a strong base of knowledge in the world of finance.

In 2004 I started Golden Financial Services, offering debt relief programs and settlement services to U.S. consumers. With the help of my partner George Kokinos and a group attorneys that we hired, we developed a proprietary system including contracts, settlement resolution letters and software, all aimed at managing the process of settling debt and growing Golden Financial Services.

Before founding Golden Financial Services, I worked with George Kokinos who owned one of the very first non-profit consumer credit counseling companies. I served as a manager with over 200 employees and obtained expertise in the debt relief industry during those years.

How does Debt Settlement affect one’s credit score?

Debt settlement can have an impact on a person’s credit score differently, depending on each and their situation, according to Golden Financial Services. This is a hard question to answer in one sentence, so please read the entire page.

750 Credit Score

If you have a 750 credit score and you have never been late on any of your bills, then you will see a decline in your credit score over the first six months of a settlement program, if you were to join.

What is a hardship?

A hardship could include:

  • Unmanageable debt (You will never get the debt paid off on your own)
  • Reduced income or Job Loss
  • Medical Problems
  • Divorce
  • Addiction
  • Family Issues that lead to extra expenses (Example: Taking care of your mom financially)
  • School Expenses
  • Overspending
  • Poor Money Management

Do you have a hardship?

Is your credit score your primary concern right now?

Keep in mind; you must have a hardship situation, to even qualify for this type of program.
If you have a hardship situation that has occurred in your life, then there is a good chance that you are:

  • On the urge of falling behind on your accounts.
  • Already behind on your accounts.
  • Only paying minimum payments and barely surviving.
  • Have high balances on your accounts that you will never be able to pay off on your own.

In any of these events, your credit score has probably already been negatively affected, where your credit is not your primary concern at this time. Paying off your debt is probably your priority at this stage. Right?

A settlement program is designed to help you with paying off your debt fast. Once you are debt free, you will then be in a position to rebuild your credit score. Many consumers prefer settlement over consolidation, because of how fast they can become debt free, and start fresh.
Learn more about how to qualify for a debt settlement service here.

What about my credit after graduating from the program?

Once you graduate from the program, within 18 months, you could have your credit score right back up in the 700 range, and have no debt! It is easier to recover from debt settlement, than bankruptcy.
When you do finally become debt free, it is important for you to follow the rules that we teach you while on the program, that will help you with rebuilding your credit score.

Why could a debt settlement program negatively affect your credit score?

The reason why is because your accounts will eventually go to a collection agency before our negotiators can settle with your creditors. Failing to pay your bills on time each month can negatively affect your credit score.

If a person remains current on their accounts, settlement services will not work. Creditors will obviously not work with us if you are paying them the full payment each month.

What else can negatively affect your credit score?

Having high balances on your credit cards (utilizing more than 50% of your available credit)

  • All credit card relief programs
  • Bankruptcy
  • Paying your bills after the payment due date
  • Credit inquiries
  • Collection marks
  • Closing cards

Good News about the Program:

A settlement service is the fastest program available that assists consumers with achieving debt freedom.

On a settlement program, one creditor at a time is settled and paid off. As each creditor is paid off, a person’s debt to income ratio will improve.

Debt to Income Ratio refers to how much debt a person has when compared to their earnings.
Rebuilding Your Credit Score after Graduating on the
Debt Settlement Program

Once you graduate from a Debt Settlement program, you can then rebuild your credit score.
The program could leave collection marks on your credit report for up to seven years. However, on your credit report, it will show a zero dollar balance and that you no longer owe any money on each account that has been settled.

Creditors legally can no longer come after you for any money owed following a settlement that we complete for you. Our negotiators obtain written proof for you that your account has been settled.
After you graduate the program, you can immediately start rebuilding your credit score, even if a few collection marks are remaining.

There are times when we settle a client’s debt, and the collection agency agrees to remove any derogatory marks following the payment.
We recommend that consumers who are interested in building good credit, read this next page.

Our Goal

Our goal is to assist you with paying off your debt fast and improving your financial health.
Please call us if you would like more information on debt settlement services at 866-376-9846.

Read more at https://nomorecreditcards.com/question/how-does-debt-settlement-affect-your-credit-score/#KPffz2mzP4fOmLKZ.99

Why do you think your team is best placed to deliver your business plans?

Golden Financial Services has 100s of positive reviews all over the internet. At the Better Business Bureau Golden Financial Services has absolutely no complaints and an A+ BBB rating as illustrated here. http://www.bbb.org/sdoc/Business-Reviews/debt-relief-services/golden-financial-services-in-imperial-beach-ca-171988856/

No other debt relief company in the nation has this type of track record. Additionally, Golden Financial Services had 13+ years in business and was just awarded top debt relief company in the country as seen here. http://retirementsavvy.net/top-10-debt-relief-settlement-and-consolidation-companies-for-2016/

How do the consumers suffer from multiple fraud charges made by the creditors?

Just recently, Chase Bank and Wells Fargo were busted for various fraud charges.

Here is one example:

Chase blindsided More than half a million consumers. Chase bank collected millions of dollars from the sale of these alleged debts to third-party debt collection companies. On top of the fact that Chase illegally sold these zombie debts, consumer credit reports were negatively affected by derogatory information being reported, that should not have been reported. Numerous laws were violated including President Obama’s Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act’s Prohibitions against unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts and practices.

What is the importance of Student Loan Relief Programs in the current scenario?

Student loan debt in 2016 can be conquered, and students do have options. Balances can be settled or forgiven, and student loan debt payments can quickly be reduced. However, if a person allows these debts to go delinquent, eventually they will get sued and their wages garnished. Golden Financial Services can assist with student loans that are in default. Even if your wages are being garnished due to student loan debt, Golden Financial Services can still help! www.GoldenFS.org.

Do you think the new Credit Card Act marks an important turning point?

The Credit Card Act is one of 14 federal laws that are used to protect consumer rights and challenge alleged debts that may not be legally verifiable. This Act, amongst other laws, are utilized inside of a debt validation program, which can be the most efficient route to address third-party debt collection accounts. Learn more about how this Act is used to deal with debts. https://nomorecreditcards.com/credit-card-relief-programs/debt-validation/

What is the importance of Credit Default Swap in the field of Debt Settlement?

Debt settlement can be utilized to resolve debt at a fraction of what’s owed. The technical aspects of a debt settlement program are fully explained on this page here. https://nomorecreditcards.com/debt-settlement-services/

What all things do you need to consider before filing a lawsuit against a debtor?

Firstly, lawsuits can be expensive to file due to the attorney and court fees. It is best to hire a debt settlement attorney who can defend a person from lawsuits and use the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to get a debt dismissed and even sue the debt collector for up to $1,000 per violation. Contact an attorney or a debt settlement law firm for a free consultation on this matter to see if it’s worth the cost. Get an attorney debt settlement program consultation here: https://goldenfs.org/debt-settlement-attorney/

What advice would you give to the consumers for avoiding bad debt?

Quite simply, if a person has a debt they believe is bad, it is imperative to start with debt validation. This method will challenge the validity of the debt to ensure if it is a bad debt, the debt collection company will no longer be allowed to collect on it, and the debt will become legally uncollectible, or in other words, a debt that you don’t have to pay.


Interview with Joe Udo, the Chief Blogger of retireby40

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Joe Udo is the chief blogger at retireby40.org. Being one of the most renowned finance bloggers of present era, through his prowess, he inspires readers to secure their future by acquiring a strong financial backup inspite of retiring at an early age.

QUESTIONNAIRE

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 the 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. Retire 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 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!


Interview: Miranda Marquit, financial expert for PlantingMoneySeeds

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Miranda has widely been acclaimed for her financial knowledge and expertise. For all those who are finding it tough to cope with financial instability, Miranda has proven to be a ray of hope with her finance blog. She’s your perfect career guide.

Tell us something about yourself and your beautiful blogging journey.

>>> I started blogging for others so I could stay home with my son and earn money for my family. I had no idea it would turn into this amazing business that allows me to work from anywhere, and support my son. I fell into personal finance by accident. Now I have websites, business partners, and projects I love.

Were there any personal problems, which made you writing on personal finance?

>>> While I had debt when I started writing about money, it wasn’t what got me started. I was a science writer at the time, and someone asked me to write about money. I said yes, and it’s been one of the best decisions of my life.

How does saving money, differ from growing?

>>> Saving money is about setting it aside and mostly letting it sit. Growing money is about putting it to work for you. Use money as an asset to grow your wealth. With investment, your money does some of the heavy lifting.

You may would like to read Interview is with Ben Reynolds, founder of Sure Dividend

Tell us about your podcasts and your books.

>>> My most recent project is Adulting.tv, where my co-host and I talk about how to be a grownup in today’s world. We tackle social and financial issues, as well as career topics and personal development. I’m also involved with the MoneyTreePodcast.com, where we interview interesting people about their investment strategies and then talk about it in a roundtable format. My book, Confessions of a Professional Blogger, was written to answer the most common questions I receive about making money as a freelancer.

You do freelancing on so many niches, which niche you love the most and which one is the most challenging?

>>> Even though I started out as a science writer and I occasionally write about politics and religion, the reality is that I’ve become a niche writer in personal finance. When it comes to personal finance, though, I especially love writing about investing. I find writing about politics and religion most challenging because these subjects force me into greater self-reflection as I write, and that’s always a difficult (but rewarding) process when done right.

Do you feel bad when some of your best writings’ credit goes to others, in ghostwriting?

>>> Sometimes I do. A few years ago, I ghostwrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal. I wish I could have had the glory for that piece. It can be hard when something I write under someone else’s name goes viral. Even though I’m well compensated for ghostwriting, there’s still something about the recognition. Especially when sometimes I write something better for someone else than I write for myself. You labor so much over this great piece, and you are paid for it, but then you don’t have time to labor as hard over your own projects.

Miranda draws inspiration from?

>>> I draw a lot of inspiration from my experiences and the people in my life. I’ve been so fortunate to know amazing people, and to have great opportunities. These things inspire me every day.

Is Miranda career consultant along with financial consultant?

>>> I don’t do a lot of consulting, but I have done some of that work with freelancers looking to improve their prospects. While coaching isn’t my main focus, it’s something that I do on occasion.

How much saving is enough?

>>> It depends on your circumstances and your goals. In the end, you should build wealth and save money at a rate that works for you. The key is to determine your values, and then determine how much money and savings you need to meet your own goals and spend in a way that reflects your priorities.

Is education possible without student loan?

>>> It can be, but it takes planning and hard work. I know that I could have completed my undergraduate work without student loans. I worked part-time and had a full-tuition scholarship. However, I took student loans anyway. Today, a combination of tactics, including saving ahead of time with a 529 or other account, working, and looking for scholarships, can be used to pay for college without student loans.

Share some financial tips for our readers.

>>> My best tip is to start with your values. View your money as a resource that can help you reach your goals and live the life you want. When you spend according to your own personal values, you have a healthier relationship with money, and you waste less on things that don’t matter to you.

Miranda’s sites: PlantingMoneySeeds.com, MirandaMarquit.com, Adulting.tv, MoneyTreePodcast.com


Interview is with Ben Reynolds, founder of Sure Dividend

QUESTIONNAIRE

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This interview is with Ben Reynolds, founder of Sure Dividend. Sure Dividend uses The 8 Rules of Dividend Investing to systematically identify high quality dividend growth stocks trading at fair or better prices.

1) Tell us something about yourself and your hobbies.

Well, where to begin? I live in Houston, Texas. I’m happily married and enjoy reading, wakeboarding, jogging, and watching movies with my wife.

2) What initiated your interest in personal finance blogging?

I’ve been interested in personal finance in general for quite a while. I focus specifically in dividend growth investing and investing for the long run.

My interest in investing was initially sparked during a course I took in college that focused on market inefficiencies.

I believe investing in high quality dividend paying businesses for the long-run is perhaps the best way for individual investors to build wealth.

3) What’s been your best financial decision during your adolescence period?

The best financial experience I had when I was an adolescent was stocking and managing a few vending machines. This experience taught me a lot about demand, brands, and the basics of business.

4) Have you ever gone through any financial blunder in your life? How did you get over it?

The biggest financial blunder I’ve made is investing in a publicly traded Chinese company that turned out to be fraudulent.

You may would like to read Interview with Eric, Owner of Personalprofitability.com

It was when I first started learnings about investing. I was enthralled by value investing. The company was trading for something like 2 or 3 times earnings and was growing quickly. The investment was ‘too good to be true’ – because it was a fraud.

I learned a lot from that investment. One of the biggest lessons was that you can’t trust everything a management says. If a security is impossibly cheap, it’s for a reason.

5) What are the key factors that helped you make your blog a success?

I don’t think of Sure Dividend as a blog. I think of it as a newsletter business. It’s my way of helping individual investors compound their wealth over the long run.
Focusing on my core message of high quality dividend stocks for the long run, and running Sure Dividend in a professional manner plays a large part in the success I’ve had.

6) Do you have any ultimate aim or resolution as a personal finance blogger?

My ultimate goal with Sure Dividend is to reach as many people as possible about the benefits of systematically investing in high quality dividend stocks for the long run.

Currently, we have over 2,500 active customers and more than 20,000 people receiving free updates. I know my potential audience is much bigger.

Systematic (rule based) investing helps individual investors reduce trading frequency and minimize behavioural investing errors. Investing in businesses that pay rising dividends is a natural fit for systematic long-term investing – dividend growth is a long term focus, not a short run focus. It also doesn’t hurt that dividend growth stocks have historically outperformed the market (see reason 1 in this ‘11 Reasons to Be a Dividend Growth Investor’ article).

7) What according to you is the most beneficial money saving strategy?

Saving money isn’t my area of expertise – investing is. With that said, I will take a stab at this question.

I think the single most beneficial money saving strategy is to track your spending. When you know where you are spending your money you can get a better handle on what areas to cut, and where you may need to be putting more money – for example, saving more, or having an emergency fund.

8) Any advice for our readers?

My advice for readers is to invest for the long run – whether that’s in dividend stocks (which I prefer), or in ETFs. But don’t take my word for it.

Here’s what Seth Klarman – the billionaire hedge fund manager of Baupost Group – says on the subject:

“The single greatest edge an investor can have is a long-term orientation”
– Seth Klarman

Warren Buffett (one of the richest people in the world) also follows a similar investing mind set.

“My favorite holding period is forever”
– Warren Buffett


Interview: Deacon Hayes of Well Kept Wallet

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We’re truly thankful to Deacon for presenting such a nice blog! Well Kept Wallet throws much light on how an individual should manage his financial situation. It helps you to distinguish between debt of various kinds and find out ways to come out of your debt burden. You’ll soon learn how to avoid consumer debt entirely.

Tell us something about yourself, your background, your education.

I am married to my awesome wife Kim who is a high school teacher and we have one and a half kids. Our second child is due in January 2017. I went to ASU where I got a Bachelors Degree with an emphasis in Business and Philosophy. I worked as a Financial Planner for a few years until I quit to work for myself full-time running WellKeptWallet.com.

How did you land up in debt, in the first place?

It was just our everyday decisions. I wanted a reliable car, so i financed one. We wanted to go to school, so we took out student loans. We wanted to go to Cabo for our honeymoon, so we put that on a credit card. Anything we wanted, we used debt to make it happen.

It takes years for others to get out of debt, but it was very quick for you. How did you manage that?

You know, I set a goal to be out of debt in 18 months. Once that was set, then it was only a matter of figuring out how to make it happen. I sold my brand new car and bought a car for $2500 cash so I no longer had a car payment. We sold a bunch of stuff on Craigslist that we just didn’t need. I even got a job delivering pizzas at night just so we could hit the 18 month mark.

You got out of debt after marriage, did it take toll on your marriage?

It actually strengthened our marriage. Don’t get me wrong, we definitely had minor disagreements here or there, but ultimately we had a common goal and we worked as a team to make it happen.

Is student’s loan, a necessity debt?

I used to think that it was, but I have been privileged to meet many people that have graduated college without any student loan debt without help from their parents. Some they worked while they were in school to pay as they went while others spent an hour a week in high school applying for different scholarships. It opened my eyes that student loans are not necessary, but it will involve hard work and discipline to get through school without them.

What kind of debts you were having?

We had a car loan, credit card debt and some student loan debt.

Tell us about your journey from regular job to Financial Coach.

Originally I was a Financial Planner and I realized that we primarily only helped people had lots of money, the 1%. I really had a passion for the rest of people that needed help and decided to start a business providing Financial Coaching to help the 99% pay off debt and get on a path to achieve their financial goals.

How your blog “Well Kept Wallet” did came up?

I started Well Kept Wallet as a way to share our journey about getting out of debt with others. I had no idea that I could actually make a living through it at the time.

Every other person in America is having debt, why?

People are often times influenced by their surroundings, I know I was. We have a culture in America that if you want something, you don’t need to wait to buy it, just borrow the money now so you can have what you want. I have learned that is a disastrous way to think about money. Now I only purchase something if I have the cash to pay for it. This mentality has been life-changing.

Any way Dave Ramsey inspired you?

He was a big influence for me. I am a big fan of learning from people who have been successful and he has helped millions of people get out of debt. We used his Debt Snowball method where you list your debts smallest to largest and attack the first debt with all your extra cash. This was key to us paying our debt off so fast.

Tell our readers how they can avoid credit card debt, student’s loan and other consumer debt?

The best way to avoid debt is to start saving money. I would save 3-6 months of expenses into an emergency fund. This way, when an emergency arises, you have the cash to pay for it. This will help you avoid getting into debt big time.


Interview with Eric, Owner of Personalprofitability.com

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We’ll remain indebted to Eric for helping us publish his interview! Millions of viewers will be benefited from his immensely valuable personal management expertise. We’re looking forward to sharing more of his experiences in the future.

1) Tell us something about yourself.

I didn’t think I wanted to be a professional blogger when I grew up because that didn’t exist when I was a kid! I have both an undergraduate degree and MBA in finance, and spent the first decade of my career as a bank manager and corporate finance guy before moving to full-time online work.

When not blogging and building websites, I enjoy flying small planes, DJing an occasional nightclub, and spending time with my wonderful wife and daughter

2) When did you first become financially erudite?

Erudite, what a great SAT word! I first learned about personal finance management from my family. My Grandpa Joe was a college marketing professor and taught me about tracking my income and expenses and how the stock market works. From there, I took some intro business classes in high school. That’s when I decided business school was in my future and went on to earn my bachelor’s and MBA in finance.

3) What certainly are your top three advices in personal finance that you think everyone should be aware of?

My biggest advice is all about being aware of your money and using it as a tool to live your life and not an excuse for your problems. Whatever happened is in the past, take charge and move forward for a successful financial future!
1) Track and understand your finances. Free tools like Mint and Personal Capital make it really easy, and free!
2) Earn more. You can budget all day, but it won’t make you wealthy unless you are earning enough to support it. Check out my list of side hustles for ideas to earn your first dollar on the side.
3) Focus on big wins. Saving on recurring expenses and big savings on things like cars and travel save a lot more than nickel and dime savings on toothpaste. For example, travel hacking has saved me thousands on airfare and hotels.

4) What allured you to turn into a personal finance blogger?

I had just left a job working as a bank manager, and I was reading a few other personal finance blogs at the time. I figured, if they can do it, I certainly can with my education and background. I wanted to help demystify personal finance and banking, and it grew from there!

5) Is there any specific strategy that helped you become successful while getting started with Personal Profitability?

I started the blog as a project on the side, and grew it slowly over time until I was able to leave my full-time job. My blog opened up many doors, but my biggest income doesn’t come from my own website, it comes from freelancing elsewhere.

If you are growing a blog and looking to make it a part of a new full-time career, always be open to new ideas and opportunities. You never know where they will lead.

6) Apart from yours, what are your other favourite blogs on personal finance?

I am a huge fan of blogs on entrepreneurship like Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income. I’m also a big fan of ProBlogger by Darren Rowse. Those are a little more focused on my needs than personal finance though.
For personal finance specific advice, I’m a big fan of The College Investor and Mr. Money Mustache.

7) From economic standpoint, what is your number one tip for saving money as well as budgeting?

Focus on the big wins! I cut cable in January, 2011 and have since saved over $4,200 on TV. Look for those recurring expenses and bigger costs like cars and rent before worrying about saving pennies. But don’t ignore the pennies. Every chance to save is more money in your pocket.

8) Any advice for newbie finance bloggers in particular?

Go to FinCon to learn from the best! I was just at FinCon last week in San Diego. Without it, I would not be anywhere near where I am today. I would still be working in a gray cubicle instead of at home near the beach!


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