Today is the 6th 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.)
Today, we feature the Goblin Chief and his responses are a worthy read. His answer to the question, ‘Do you enjoy writing?’ particularly resonates with me. The Chief and I seem to write for the exact same reasons and perhaps we’re kindred spirits. Well, that and the love of biking, hiking and board games.
Tell me about your blog and why it’s great.
The Goblin Chief is more than just a personal finance blog. Sure, it covers my family’s journey to FI, but I share a lot about our homeschooling, gardening, recipes, and even a little bit of serial fiction. Overall, I try to focus a lot less on advice or tips (there’s a lot of PF blogs out there to cover that) and publish thought-provoking articles about eating differently, living more sustainably, all while living frugally.
Tell me how you’re going to change the world with your blog (dream big or don’t dream at all!).
Honestly, I write for an audience of one, but I do seem to influence a few readers. If I could influence a whole bunch, I’d love to see society take a step back from rampant consumerism based on extracting as much money or resources, and return to a life-serving economy where we try to leave our individual parts of the world a better place than we found it.
What post are you most proud of and why?
I think an older post called It All Comes from the Sun best captures my mission of leaving the world a better place. I recently re-posted it because my readership has grown quite a bit since I first wrote it. I try to be thought-provoking without being preachy, because if you meet me in person I’m a very laid-back person despite my passion.
Do you enjoy writing?
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to write. I’ve been writing regularly since before high school, but The Goblin Chief is the first blogging project that I’ve really hit a nice groove with. 18 months so far and still going strong. Many of the posts I write there end up on my MMM forum journal but I also write a LOT more over there than I post on the blog, and it’s neat to see how both places have developed a good discussion community.
When I said I write my blog for an audience of one, it’s because writing helps me process ideas, and also combat depression and malaise. The author of the book “Radical Homemakers” (one of my absolute favorite books) is really big on homemakers having creative pursuits, and I totally agree. Without writing time, I’m a wreck.
1500 Days is about early retirement. Do you have early retirement dreams? At what age do you think you will retire?
I’m sort of retired already. I’m a stay-at-home parent, but I prefer the term radical homemaker. We’re slowly building an urban homestead on our small city lot. The plan is for my wife (on the blog I call her The Alchemist) to join me in about 5 years if we are able to take over a family farm for free, or about 7-10 years if we end up needing to buy our own plot of land.
I haven’t talked much about the family farm on the blog, but I’ve been in talks with my dad’s generation about it via e-mail, and we’ll be making a trip out to it over Labor Day this year. I really, really want to be a homesteader in the 19th century style – mostly subsistence farming, but some cash-cropping to pay the bills. It’s not in a very tourist-friendly area, but the FrugalWoods’ vision of doing AirBnB cabin rentals on the property seems neat. If I’m still blogging in 5-10 years, I can probably use the blog as a platform to generate some agri-tourism.
When you are 90 and look back on your life, what do you hope you have accomplished?
I want my grandchildren to be harvesting nuts from trees I planted decades ago, fishing out of ponds I built, and in general living in a little slice of Eden on this earth.
What is the best money management or investment tool you have come across?
It’s hard to improve on pen and paper. That said, I recently became aware of Motif, which could be a neat way to design my own “socially responsible” basket of stocks. I need to dig into it a bit more.
How do you handle people with different views on money, ie spendy people?
I live my life very transparently. When I still worked, most of my co-workers knew that we lived well but spent very little. I never bragged about it, I just found ways to work it into general conversation. Almost no one has asked for actual help in improving their situation, but a couple have.
I find it much harder to interact with spendy relatives. I hate eating in restaurants, for the triple reasons of money, health, and ethics — but a lot of times, I’m forced into it. I hate when my kids receive gifts that are just going to fall apart or be forgotten in a month. I try to gently steer, but it’s really hard.
Did your parents teach you about money as a kid? How so?
My parents were ‘mainstream frugal’ growing up: save x%, avoid debt, etc, but they were also the type to let us kids make a LOT of money mistakes. Maybe they felt like we needed to learn on our own, but I wasted so much of my earned money as a kid (I’ve had jobs since 12, but very little to show for it).
I honestly wished they had given a bit firmer guidance or forced savings. I make my kids save at least half of all gift and allowance/chore income and put it into their custodial accounts.
We notice a lot of frugal people are into board games – what is your favorite?
Oh man, picking my favorite board game is like picking my favorite child! I think our go-to “comfort” game is Carcassonne. It’s easy to set up, reasonably fast, but also a brain-bender when it comes to strategy. We’ve added a few expansions to it as well.
But for an absolute favorite game, I think some of my best gaming experiences came in college playing Settlers of Catan into the wee hours of the morning. It doesn’t get pulled out very frequently any more, but it will always have a special place in my heart.
What is the best thing you’ve read lately?
The book “Radical Homemakers” for non-fiction. It’s a truly amazing book for frugal weirdos, very much in the vein of “Your Money or Your Life”. For fiction, I really enjoyed “The Martian” and I’m currently going through the excellent Dresden Files series.
What do you do for exercise?
I struggle in the winter, because I love to ride my bike, but it gets so cold in Wisconsin. I still get rides in, but nowhere near as many, or as long as I wish. I recently started doing free weight exercises at home with dumbbells, and I really love it. I’m hoping to get some kettlebells soon.
Thanks, Goblin Chief, for taking the time to answer our questions. I’m really looking forward to trying those waffles. Meet you for a hike at Kettle Moraine some day soon? Board game afterwards?
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