Today is the 27th 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’s answers come from Nick who blogs over at The Money Mine. While his wife was working on her MBA, he realized that information really only seems available to people who can afford it – and felt that it should be accessible to everyone. So he started his blog to share this knowledge.
About the blog
Tell me about your blog and why it’s great.
Hello everyone, I’m Nick a 34-year old living in Houston and I blog over at TheMoneyMine.com about personal finance and how to reach Financial Independence.
Both my wife and I work in the Oil & Gas industry and we are blessed to each make 6-figure incomes. Several years ago, we used to spend all of it on travels, going out and buying all kinds of stuff. We had some students debt, loans and we were ‘living the life’. We also had no idea how much we were actually spending or saving.
Until one day in 2014, while my wife was doing her MBA, I looked into our finances into details. We were burning an incredible 110k$ a year! We weren’t going to compete with Mr. Money Mustache, but there was for sure a way that we could do better.
Now, things have changed. We have paid off our debts and our loans. 50% of our income now goes straight into investments every month. The best of all? Our lifestyle has not even changed.
This is when the blog was born earlier this year, to share as much as possible on the steps we took to become financially fit so we could make better financial decisions. The plan today is to reach Financial Independence in the next 7 years (about 2500days!)
Tell me how you’re going to change the world with your blog (dream big or don’t dream at all!).
I feel empathy for the folks bagging groceries at Walmart at 75 because their pension ran out. What if 55 years ago, they had received some kind of financial education? Maybe they would have had a chance to save more than 5% of their income. Maybe they would have gotten a better understanding of what credit cards are for and how to invest their money.
My job is to contribute to this opportunity by blogging about personal finance and how I’ll reach Financial Independence. Hopefully, someone will find it useful and will use it to improve their life 🙂
What goals do you have for your blog, short and long term?
In the short term, my goal is to generate articles and analysis that are of interest to my readers, consistently and on a weekly basis. So far so good, even if getting married and a 3-week honeymoon in Greece made this challenging (and awesome).
I also want to increase the engagement with my readers and hear what they care about. Simply put, there are a lot of topics I can write about but what matters is how it helps people. I want to help my readers become more productive (eg. learn how to negotiate) and better with their finances (eg. how to join the 1M$ club)
In the long term, I’d like to diversify the content to let people reach Financial Independence with different tools, opinions and perspectives. It would be a lot more content, but always focused on reaching FI.
What post are you most proud of and why?
Pledge to Future Self : 3 steps i am taking to not screw you over : It’s my most personal post yet. When my grandfather passed away at 92, I thought of what my Future 90 year old Self would think of me now. Am I ruining his future? I made a pledge and a plan to make sure I don’t screw him over. It’s simple, but I think it’s solid.
Pay Cash or Finance? The Ultimate Guide : When my friend Markus moved to Houston and looked for car, he had to decide whether to finance his car or pay it cash. The analysis we went through gives a definite and clear answer to “When you have cash to pay for something, should you pay cash or get a loan?” and “If you have loans, when is it a good idea to pay them off early?”. It’s possibly the only post you need to read on the subject.
3 reasons to have a Strategy for Financial Independence : as Thomas Edison said “Success is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration”. Wishing to be rich is only 1% of the goal, the remaining 99% is having a plan. So many people fail because they have no plan. Be smart and create your own! The article is based on the plan I created for myself and full of resources for someone to starts his / her own.
1500 Days is about early retirement. Do you have early retirement dreams? At what age do you think you will retire?
Early retirement isn’t currently my main goal, but Financial Independence is and my FI Day is set for 2022, when I’ll be 41.
The objective isn’t necessarily to stop working but rather to have the option to “not have to work”. This could be accepting a pay cut for a more fulfilling job, like transitioning from Oil & Gas to a non-profit for example. Or deciding to not work full-time to raise my kids.
In any case, the goal of FI is to have more options. If one of the options is early retirement, I might be tempted.
If blogging isn’t your full time gig, what is?
Currently, I work in IT as a project manager in the Oil & Gas industry. It’s a pretty cool gig, I get to work with the rest of the world to deploy ‘standardized’ solutions across completely different regions. Recently in Saudi, Venezuela and Indonesia. It’s diverse, it’s fun.
When you are 90 and look back on your life, what do you hope you have accomplished?
I’ll actually be looking forward to reaching 100!
This is maybe silly but my wife and I pledged to make it to a 100 so we can celebrate a whole century of awesomeness, haha. The main objective is to have no regrets and to experience all aspects of life. No excuses!
Money, money, money
What is the best money management or investment tool you have come across?
I am probably going to disappoint with this one. To me, the best money management tool around is the spreadsheet. I am a big fan of Personal Capital but to actually create indicators and goals tailored to my finances, a spreadsheet is more appropriate.
The main indicators that I track are my Savings Rate, the required Financial Independence Amount, and how many years until FI.
How do you handle people with different views on money, ie spendy people?
I actually have a funny story on this and what I learned from a friend of mine with definitely different views on money.
He was 21, out of college, just got a job and had this crazy goal. “I want to buy a Porsche” he told to me, “even though I obviously don’t have the money, but I’ll find a way to get it”.
So he worked his ass off and cut his spending as much as possible. No more travels or eating out. He became known as the guy who only buys a coke when he goes out. I mean this is all fine and good, but why would someone go through this to buy a car?
After about 4 years of consistent savings, he walked in the dealership and bought his Porsche, brand new, cash. Then something unexpected happened.
His friends and colleagues who initially mocked him began to show interest in how he managed to reach his goal. He managed to actually inspire people around him. It was now about “If he can do it, I can do it too” and “Stick to your goals, like this guy did”.
Should he have placed his money in an index fund instead? Maybe. But no one would have been inspired to be more conscious of what money and goals can achieve.
I realized that everyone has different goals and different perspectives and even if we disagree with them, there is always something we can learn.
Did you grow up with money? How did your money situation growing up influence you?
My parents didn’t really know anything about investments but they were pretty good at being frugal, Mustache style. We weren’t rich and for years we lived off our own garden for vegetables and fruits and a bunch of chickens for the meat and eggs.
I think this taught me something about the value of time and money and why Financial Independence is so important.
Did your parents teach you about money as a kid? How so?
Indirectly. They taught me that money was important and a rare resource that had to be used wisely. Only recently did I realize they have taught me about money through a monthly allowance and video games. That was vicious, but it worked 🙂
What is your favorite style of beer – and what is your favorite beer in that style?
When it’s warm in Houston (note the pleonasm), I enjoy a fresh lager. A Corona or a Dos Equis by the pool or on a patio is perfectly refreshing and it reminds me of the holidays by the beach in Mexico. Otherwise my all-times favorite might be the German Hofbräuhaus. It could be related to my experience drinking multiple 1 liter glasses of it under a “tent” at the Oktoberfest in Munich. These tents hold 10,000 people. That was a highly enjoyable experience.
What is the best thing you’ve
read listened to lately.
I have recently jumped on the podcast bandwagon, which is a good way to make my 30min commute somewhat productive.
My favorite so far is the Smart Passive Income podcast by Pat Flynn. The stuff you can learn from his experience and the guests he brings on the show is amazing. Every entrepreneur, blogger and FI aspiring folks should give a listen to his podcast!
What do you do for exercise?
I park my car as far as I can from the elevator at work. Does that count? Also, some years ago I was golfing, but I don’t know if that counts either. Otherwise I went for a 30 mile bike ride last week end and a 5K run this week end so I think I’m still in shape.
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