Today is the 43rd edition of our periodic guest post series called 10 Questions. We have a list of 17 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.
Today we feature Mortimer from Mortimer’s Money Machines. Mortimer graduated from law school with almost $200,000 in debt. My college debt was $60,000 and I though that was bad. However, Mortimer has the right idea, so he isn’t going to struggle for long.
1. Why Will Financial Superheroes Read and Recommend Your Blog?
Because they enjoy a good comedy show as much as the next person! Seriously though, Mortimer’s Money Machines arose out of twin concerns: first, there appear to be relatively few frugality blogs based on the parents’ perspective pre-financial independence, or debt freedom, and I wanted to contribute my experience and voice to the community about being a frugalparent.
Second, a ton of great advice exists in the blogosphere about eliminating debt and reaching financial independence, but I wanted to provide some concrete tools that users of the blog could use to help improve their own situation. To that end, I created my own Debt Freedom Calculator which allows readers to take their debts and see strategies for paying them off more quickly using the “roll over” or “snowball” method.
Another of the Money Machines is a True Wage Calculator that allows readers to account for all the expenses that go along with working their current employment including travel, indulgent “I’ve earned it” luxuries, decompression time, extravagant vacations, wardrobe, etc. It will then show the reader’s hourly wage on paper and their true wage after accounting for all these hidden expenses. The tool allows readers to modify behavior to essentially give themselves a pay raise, or ditch their current job in favor of one that won’t require so many hidden expenses to maintain.
2. Short and Long Term Goals for the Blog
In the short term, I’d like to develop readership and site visits based on my commentary on raising kids frugally and on the usefulness of the Money Machines. In the long term, I’d love to make a real impact on people’s lives by helping them get out of debt. I’m still working my way out of (a soul-crushing amount of) debt due to student loans. The more people I can help get out from under this burden, or any other debt burden, the better! I feel a civic duty to do this, because The Government Is Lying to You About Student Loan Forgiveness.
I’m a visual person so being able to see and quantify my own situation was and is extremely helpful in boosting my motivation to crush my over $248,000 in debt. I’m hoping the tools I create and eventually beating my own debt will inspire others to achieve their own financial goals.
3. Plans for Making Every Day Saturday
Although I still have a ton of debt, early retirement is already on my radar. I also want to help my children attend and graduate from college debt-free. (These goals do not seem inconsistent to me anymore!) Right now I’m hoping to retire before I turn 50, which is just under 20 years from now. If I can do it sooner, I will. Unlike many people in my workaholic industry, I see no problems with having many interesting things to do in early retirement. One big element of that will be finally having time to commit to a yoga practice. Another will be giving away legal services for free. And I would love to hike the Pacific Crest Trail with my family, and visit wineries in Burgundy. But mostly I plan to keep getting richer by doing nothing.
4. Your Favorite Style of <del>Beer</del> Wine / Greatest Spiritual Experience
I’ve never been much of a beer drinker. But after working in a five diamond restaurant for a couple years after college I learned to love wine. One of the perks of that job was getting to taste some of the world’s best wine for free. (They wanted us to know how it tasted so we could enthusiastically sell it.) To give you a sense of perspective, we had a champagne cart which we used to sell champagne by the glass. Dom Perignon was a lower tier champagne on the cart at $30/glass. At the end of the week we got to “taste” whatever was left (read: drink with wild abandon), which included Dom and other fantastic wines like Krug and Pierre Peters. We got so spoiled we started making mimosas with Dom.
Anyway, after tasting those and other phenomenal wines like Unico and Petrus, one day we tasted what I now consider to be the nectar of the gods on Earth: a Domaine de la Romanée-Conti known as La Tâche. It was like drinking a painting by Leonardo da Vinci. You’ve never had a more perfectly balanced drink with constellations of flavor that dance ever so delicately across your palate. Of course, at thousands of dollars a bottle I will be unlikely to drink it again any time soon, if ever. So instead I now drink wine made by the same varietal, Pinot Noir, and dream of that subtle, earthy yet ethereal experience.
- ~35oz. tomato sauce
- 1 pound ground beef (or tofu, or turkey, if you swing that way)
- 3/4 sweet onion, chopped
- 2.5 tablespoons garlic, chopped
- 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
- 1 tablespoon thyme
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- put tomato sauce in a pot on low heat
- brown ground beef in a skillet with onion and garlic
- put contents of skillet in pot with tomato sauce; mix.
- add Italian seasoning, thyme, oregano, and brown sugar; mix.
- let simmer for ~30 mins, stirring occasionally
- sip on cup of red wine, enjoying the delicious smells of your sauce.
The kids eat this stuff like it’s candy, which seems to work out better than actually feeding them candy. Here’s the proof:
(this photo was difficult to capture due to the speed of the eating involved)
10. The Most Frugal Exercise
I took yoga classes for a long time. I love yoga. Not only is it scientifically proven to extend your lifespan, it helps work damn near every muscle in your body, makes you stronger, and has very similar benefits to meditation. The only thing it’s not great for is cardio. But that’s easy to solve when you bike to work every day. Plus, you can start doing really cool shit with your body that makes you feel like you’re flying. Ever have dreams that you’re flying? Me too. But doing yoga is the only time I get that same feeling while I’m awake, any time I want it.
One of the best parts about yoga is that all you need is your body and a few feet of empty space. The sequences are all based off a common set of poses, so once you understand the sequence, you can free yourself from your mat and take your practice anywhere in the world—including on a sand bar in the middle of the Colorado River, on a kayaking trip with your best friend. And kids love it too.
Thanks for spending some time with me! Please stop by the blog any time.
Thanks Mortimer for your answers today! Regarding that last picture, did you land on your face 2 seconds after it was taken? Be honest. Just kidding. Maybe…
Be sure to show Mortimer some love over at Mortimer’s Money Machines, on Twitter and Facebook.
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Brian @DebtDiscipline says
Great to meet you Mortimer. Agree with the Financial Literacy not being taught to our children. We are working with our three to children to teach them as much as possible. So important them get a great start to their financial lives.
Brian @DebtDiscipline recently posted…Championing Financial Literacy
Talking to kids about money is a lot of fun. It’s really interesting trying to get them to understand the purpose of saving. Summer vacation forever seems to be a big hit in our house! I’ll be checking out your blog to see what’s working for you. A pleasure to meet you!
Mortimer recently posted…The Frugal Magic of Mother’s Milk
Alexander @ Cash Flow Diaries says
I really like your vision with the blog and it’s amazing the motivation you have for financial freedom with all that debt. Congrats on working your way to crush the debt!
You know I tried yoga a few times and it kicked my butt! Its a lot harder then it looks!
Alexander @ Cash Flow Diaries recently posted…Investing In Wall Street – My Stock Portfolio
Thanks so much! Yoga is definitely way harder than it appears at first, but I love how it scales with your experience.
The debt is starting to feel more manageable. Having a plan helps, and paying at least $1000 extra every month is dropping the principal really fast! Thanks for your support!
Mortimer recently posted…The Frugal Magic of Mother’s Milk
Smart Money MD says
Thanks for the tip about Machi Koro. I will look into that with the family.
Good luck on the FIRE process. I, too, started relatively late in the earning game. It’s good to make good on our education and convert the earning potential into hard cash.
Smart Money MD recently posted…How to replace the engine air filter in a 2006 Subaru Impreza
Mr. PIE says
Great to start reading your site.
Love the philosophy on (a) knowing your “enough” and (b) kids conversations on money. It amazes me why Financial Savviness, Basic Investment Strategies etc are not taught in US schools. I know I am not the only one!!
With kids of our own, we love to read blogs where family challenges, hopes and plans are laid out.
Mr. PIE recently posted…Ten Things
Stefan @Mllnnlbudget says
I really enjoyed your post on teaching kids the importance of money. I 100% agree with you that I do not remember 99% of the toys I had when I was younger. I think financial literacy starts at home with parents and should expand to schools. Hopefully schools will acknowledge the importance of teaching kids financial literacy soon. Please to meet you and looking forward to reading your blog!
Stefan @Mllnnlbudget recently posted…Millennial’s Guide to ETFs
really like your vision with the diary and it’s wonderful the motivation you’ve got for monetary freedom with all that debt. Congrats on operating your thanks to crush the debt!
You know i attempted yoga some times and it kicked my butt! Its lots more durable then it looks!