I first met Brian from Lazy Man and Money way back in 2013. I had just arrived at my first FinCon (blogger conference) and was hanging out in a gathering. Brian and his wife were at the same table and we struck up a conversation. I thought that it would be poetic to end 10 Questions with one of the first people I ever met in the blogging world.
Brian is a smart dude who has been blogging forever. By “forever,” I mean 2006. In a world where most blogs crap out before 6 months, Brian has been at it for over 10 years. Impressive.
This is the very last 10 Questions. If you liked the series, don’t despair. I have something new in the works that I can’t wait to share with you. Once again, I’ll be working with other bloggers, but in a completely new format.
I feel like I already have. Many bloggers have come up to me and told me that I inspired them back in 2006 or 2007.
Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income has credited Lazy Man and Money for getting his blog off the ground. Pat is now a household name among bloggers having launched thousands of businesses.
Philip Taylor, who created PTMoney.com, is now more famously known for creating FinCon (where I met Mr. 1500). FinCon inspires hundreds of personal finance bloggers. He said that my blog was one of his early influences. Martin of Studenomics fame has said the same. Jacob Fisker started a whole Early Retirement Extreme blog talked about my blog as inspiring him (around the 14 minute mark of the podcast).
Those 4 people have inspired hundreds or thousands of blogs and tens of millions of readers. That might have happened without Lazy Man and Money. In that case, I hope that my 10 million page views have helped readers directly.
For years, I worked to educate people about MLM Scams… those annoying people trying to recruit you into their business on Facebook. I was writing about them years before Bill Ackman made it the cool thing to do with his crusade against Herbalife… and long before John Oliver did it. These scams unleashed a pile of lawsuits against me with the attempt to silence me. They’ve yet to sue John Oliver or Bill Ackman even though they’ve made far more outrageous claims than I ever have.
Lately, I’ve been focusing on FIRE… which was really what Lazy Man and Money was about all along. I’ve got a new design coming out soon and I’ll be rewriting and reorganizing my 10+ years of content to show that focus.
(This was a tough answer, because self-promotion like this doesn’t come natural for me. I’ve never written anything like this before. I’ve always thought that if you help others it will come back to you. It’s nice to step out of character for once in awhile.)
What post are you most proud of and why?
I’m going to cheat and go with 2 posts.
My article on the MLM MonaVie has more than 6300+ comments. So many incredible readers contributed to tell the story of what I like to call the worst company in the world. And fortunately, it folded up shop last year when the pyramid collapsed. A couple of months many of those awesome readers got together for a virtual toast of how truth and honesty defeated the scam.
The other article that I’m proud of is What Does an Annual $200,000 in Retirement Income Look Like? Due to the lawsuits, I haven’t been able to be as open with my finances as much as I’d like… and certainly not as much as Mr. 1500 here. However, this is the rare exception where I lay out our retirement income sources and how much we expect from them.
Many people think that retirement needs to come from amassing a huge nest egg. While that’s one way, I prefer a cash flow approach of being frugal with passive(ish) income from a variety of sources.
1500 Days is about early retirement. Do you have early retirement dreams? At what age do you think you will retire?
Lazy Man and Money is about early retirement as well. That’s the main focus, but as you can tell from some of previous answers, I get drawn into helping consumers avoid scams that can steal those early retirement dreams.
I got focused on early retirement around 2004 or 2005 when I realized that software engineering jobs were being outsourced overseas. My wife is eligible for a pension after 20 years of service (military benefit of being an officer) made me realize I didn’t want to work another 20 years after she retired.
As for when I might retire, it depends on what your definition of retirement is. I believe that the freedom to work when, where, and how much is retirement. An argument could be made that I’m already semi-retired and Lazy Man is my “second act.” My wife has 2 years left until being pension eligible and we’ll have to see what happens then.
We’ve made some choices to front-load our expenses such as buying solar panels and choosing 15-year mortgages. The typical 25x expenses calculation doesn’t work well for us unless we refinance and amortize those expenses over the long term. Also, with a 2 and 4 year old, we can’t jump the gun too quickly.
If blogging isn’t your full time gig, what is?
I like to call myself a full-time family CFO. However, a better term might be house husband. Blogging is one of the hats I wear to make money. Dog sitting is another. Managing rental properties and other investments is a third. Maximizing the value of our money is a fourth. Then there’s getting the kids up and out to daycare/school and picking them up… and the standard household chores such as cooking and cleaning.
My wife helps tremendously with these things as well, but as my own boss and no commute, I have more flexibility.
When you are 90 and look back on your life, what do you hope you have accomplished?
This is going to sound corny, but I want to be known as someone who helped people and set a good example for others. It’s hard to project 50 years in the future, but I’d like people to have said that Lazy Man and Money and/or my sister blog Be Better Now changed their life.
While Lazy Man and Money is often about my personal money journey, Be Better Now is my attempt to curate the best lifehack/self improvement/adulting information I come across. Readers here might be most interested in The Ultimate Guide to Financial Freedom or just starting at the Be Better Now Money Home.
What is the best money management or investment tool you have come across?
Did your parents teach you about money as a kid? How so?
My mother would take me shopping and we’d make it a game by maximizing sales and double coupons. I’m willing to bet that to this day she still has more than 5 bottles of Windex that she got for under 10 cents each.
On the investing side, I think I was the only person who read their parents’ Kiplinger’s in high school. I used my paper route money to buy Founder’s Growth (a no-load mutual fund) in the early 90’s. I also was an early investor in Bill Miller’s epic run beating the S&P 500 at Legg Mason in the mid-90s. Unfortunately it was just with $1500 or so.
How do you handle people with different views on money, ie spendy people?
I find that cattle prods work well. Seriously though, I’ve come to love spendy people. They make my dog sitting business work. Last week, I had someone book me watch their dog for two hours while they took a helicopter tour. It was a last minute request and I ended up getting around $32 for it.
My town is known as a resort town and it has many boutiques. I’ve been known to chant, “Spend, spend, spend” while I drive by the tourists. We need to keep the shops and restaurants open and busy for tax money.
I typically don’t have direct interaction with too many spendy people. If I do, they are spending their money which very rarely impacts my own spending.
What do you do for exercise?
I walk dogs. It’s not a complete exercise program, but it’s perfect for connecting with the outdoors and an occasional podcast. My old Fitbit Ultra is logging some serious miles.
What is your favorite style of beer – and what is your favorite beer in that style?
I’ve grown a taste for IPAs recently. However, I’d say I’m partial to an beer that is currently in my hand. If forced to choose, I’ll go with Harpoon or a Sam Adam’s Seasonal simply to support Boston companies.
We notice a lot of frugal people are into board games – what is your favorite?
Settlers of Catan. I could play the game for days straight.
What is the best thing you’ve read lately.
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