Today is the 13th edition of our new periodic guest post series called 10 Questions. We have a list of 17 NEW questions we pose to fellow financial bloggers, and they are free to pick and choose 10 or answer all of them. Let us know if you would like to be featured in a future edition of 10 Questions. (If you have already answered the first set of 10 questions, please feel free to answer these new ones.)
Eric at Retire29 has some pretty crazy goals. By “crazy,” I really mean awesome. He plans to bail from the workforce at the tender age of 34! 34 is the age when typical folks are jockeying for middle management positions at ABC Corporation and financing their first BMW. Forget all that, Eric will be done! Read about how he’ll do it here and here.
One thing that I always think about when folks set goals like this is if they’ll actually achieve them. I’ve come to the conclusion that not only will most of the FI seekers achieve their goals, but most will probably exceed them. This FI community is incredibly bright and driven. You all are some of the smartest people on the plant. I fully expect Eric to be able to throw in the corporate towel long before age 34! Full speed ahead my friend!
Tell me about your blog and why it’s great.
Retire29 is a place for inspiration. I delve into numbers quite a bit, like figuring out how much longer you’ll have to work to buy a pair of jeans, or showing how our baby has so far made us money. However, I believe we’re swimming in financial advice , but we lack inspiration—so that’s my specialty. I love presenting all this FIRE stuff in very entertaining ways that inspire action, like encouraging people to envision their perfect day, or questioning why there’s never anyone standing on all those nice decks and patios. Plus, you’ll get all my numbers and the path I’m taking to achieve FI in 2019 (at the age of 34).
Tell me how you’re going to change the world with your blog (dream big or don’t dream at all!).
Eventually I’d like to grow so large that Google is paying me to refer viewers over to use their search engine. But, really, I want to be a place for encouragement and inspiration. A few short months ago I was literally the definition of financial recklessness, a proverbial grease fire of financial chaos working and living in Manhattan. Now, I’m showing how simple and direct the approach to financial independence can be. It’s not get-rich-quick, but it can be much quicker than you probably thought possible.
What goals do you have for your blog, short and long term?
My goal this year is to hit 5,000 page views in a month. I think I’ll surpass that, no problem. Longer term, I’d like to become a member of the Yakezie network and get to a point where my blog becomes regularly syndicated on some major outlets (Marketwatch, CNBC, Yahoo!, MSN, etc.). I really just want to expand the readership and get more people on this gravy train of financial independence. I will be most happy when everyone that reads me begins dividend-growth investing.
What post are you most proud of and why?
I’m always surprised with what posts end up “taking off.” It is never the ones I expect. The posts I’m most proud of actually weren’t that great at drawing eyeballs, but I loved writing them. Like my open letter to high school seniors or the four things (I call them the Four Horsemen) that need to truly avoid in your financial life. I think there is a lot of financial rhetoric and most financial writing is so regurgitated over and over again. How many times do I need to read: 10 Ways To Save Money on Home Improvements; or, 5 Ways To Lower Your Tax Bill; or, 3 Things You Need to do with Your Money in your 20’s. It’s really very trying on a reader. As a writer who wants to get noticed, I have to come up with truly original ideas and unique perspectives—otherwise it’s just not worth writing.
Tell us about you
1500 Days is about early retirement. Do you have early retirement dreams? At what age do you think you will retire?
In my sidebar I have a countdown clock to my retirement date, September 3rd, 2019. That is our first-born’s first day of Kindergarten. I’ll be 34.
If blogging isn’t your full time gig, what is?
I work in financial services and auditing. I left a job at a huge Wall Street firm to go with something more suitable to my happiness.
When you are 90 and look back on your life, what do you hope you have accomplished?
I hope I’m not looking back, I hope that I’m still looking forward. And I hope I’m looking forward to changing more lives and inspiring more people. I don’t expect I’ll ever have a “sit back and reflect” moment, even at 90. Some time, maybe at age 115 or 120, my wife and I will be going to bed, looking forward to our next cruise, and we’ll just not wake up.
Money, money, money
What is the best money management or investment tool you have come across?
It’s a tie, between the 401(k) and Dividend Growth Investing. The 401(k) is classic “pay yourself first.” The common advice is to invest in your 401(k) up to the company match, being that is a 100% investment return. What isn’t often said is that any dollar invested in the 401(k) (even after the match) is an immediate 15-25% return—depending on your tax bracket. Every sane person should be keeping as much compensation outside Uncle Sam’s hands as possible.
Dividend growth investing is seriously the most hands-off and effective approach to financial independence. I write about it at length, talking about building a dynasty, my favorite stocks, and how I go about reinvesting.
How do you handle people with different views on money, ie spendy people?
I live a very examined life, so I’ll often just talk about my own situation and goals. It doesn’t take much convincing to “see the light;” financial independence is an infectious idea that sells itself.
Did you grow up with money? How did your money situation growing up influence you?
I started working at 15, paid for my own school lunches, and joined the Army after graduation. On Forbes self-made scale, I’d be a 9 (not a 10 as I didn’t have to overcome any significant adversity). All I know is that a lack of money makes me feel vulnerable, weak, and meek. It’s not a sexy look.
What is your favorite style of beer – and what is your favorite beer in that style?
Is it wrong to say Bud Light? I mean, why mess with perfection…especially when a case only runs you $10.99.
What is the best thing you’ve read lately?
The Rational Optimist. I still refer to it regularly for a dose of optimism (see: reality).
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