Today’s 10 Questions comes to us from Vital Dollar! The Vital Dollar is written by Marc who is doing a lot of things right in life including selling sites for 6 figures. However, my favorite part of the interview is Marc’s worst money mistake:
I wish I had started a side hustle earlier rather than looking for a job to provide what I wanted.
I couldn’t agree more. Don’t wait to start living and don’t wait to start hustling. The latter may just help you out with the former.
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Where do you live? Do you love it, hate it or just meh.
I live in Pennsylvania, about an hour north of Baltimore and 2 hours west of Philadelphia. I’d say I love it here. I like the fact that I live in a smaller town with open space and where traffic isn’t horrible (I lived in the Philly suburbs for 10 years and had enough of the traffic). Pennsylvania isn’t the most luxurious place to live, but I enjoy the outdoors and there are plenty of beautiful forests and mountains to explore. I have a landscape photography hobby and waterfalls are a great photo subject. Pennsylvania has a lot of them but unfortunately, most of them are at least a couple hours from my home.
How old are you and do you have a family?
I’m 39 years old. I have a wife, a 5-year-old daughter who is in kindergarten, and a 3-year-old son.
What do you do for a living?
For the past 10 years, I’ve been self-employed in internet marketing. I’ve had many websites in a few different industries like web design, photography, and travel. I’ve sold several of my sites over the years, which has helped us to move closer to our goals of early retirement (the goal is 55, nothing extremely early).
In early 2018 I launched my personal finance blog, Vital Dollar. Two months ago I sold a blog that had been taking up the majority of my time, so I’m happy to now have a lot more time to invest into Vital Dollar.
Do you rent or own? What are your thoughts on home ownership?
We own our home. We rented for the first 6 months of our marriage, but since then we’ve owned 3 different homes (we’ve been in our current home two years now).
In general, I prefer home ownership, but I think there are plenty of scenarios where renting makes more sense. Honestly, the longer I’m a homeowner the more appealing renting becomes. Our current home has a property with a lot of landscaping (it was that way when we bought the house). It takes a ton of time, and even then, I’m not able to keep it looking as good as I’d like. The house is also almost 30 years old. Even though it’s in good condition, there are things that break or need to be replaced.
We prefer not to have a mortgage, so we paid for our home in cash. If we were to move again I think we would step down in price, size, and property that needs to be maintained.
There are approximately 476,492,292,928 personal finance blogs last time I checked. Why should we read yours?
I think it has been a while since you last checked. The number is higher now.
On Vital Dollar, I cover common topics like ways to save money and money management, but I also publish articles on ways to make money with side hustles. In my opinion, what makes my blog unique is that I’ve had success with side hustles and I can talk about that from experience. My current business started as a side hustle and turned into a full-time income and I’ve been doing this for 10 years now. I’ve built and sold several different websites and online businesses (I’ve had 4 sales in a range from $200,000 – $500,0000).
I think a lot of people reading blogs about side hustles would love to be able to monetize a hobby. I was in the same position about 6 years ago and I turned a photography hobby into more than $1 million.
What is one post that you’ve written that you wish would have gone viral?
I would say 21 Exciting and Proven Passive Income Ideas because it covers information that I’m working on implementing myself and because passive income is obviously a very relevant topic for anyone who wants to retire early.
Why did you start your blog?
I had been interested in starting a finance blog for several years but never got around to it. I usually have a few different websites that I’m working on at any point in time, and if I’m not careful I can spread myself too thin. It took a few years until I got to the point that I felt like I had enough time to make it work.
There are basically 3 reasons that I wanted to start a finance blog: 1) to write about the things I’ve learned through my own successes and failures, 2) to learn more about finances by immersing myself in the subject, and 3) because I thought there was potential to make money, which is important since this is what I do for a living.
What is your worst money mistake?
I think my worst money mistake was waiting too long to start my own business. Throughout most of my 20’s I was frustrated with the jobs I had, but I didn’t start my own business until I was 27 and didn’t really put any effort into it until I was 28. Once I started working on my own business my financial situation drastically improved. I wish I had started a side hustle earlier rather than looking for a job to provide what I wanted.
What is your splurge? Don’t be shy. Mine set me back $45,000.
I’d say my splurge is our house or things related to the house. When we moved two years ago we were looking to get a property with more space and privacy. We had been living in a new development and from our back yard or front yard you could see countless houses, and everyone could see right into our yard. We wanted more privacy, but that comes at a cost. Fortunately, we live in an area where the cost of living pretty low.
We spent about $180,000 more on our current home than what we got for our last home when we sold it, mostly for the location and privacy (we do have some neighbors, but it’s much more private than where we were).
What is one unique thing you’re doing to raise your kids to be financially smart?
We’re trying to teach our kids how fortunate we are and also the importance of giving to others in need. We support World Vision and they have a “gift catalog” that lists all kinds of different gifts you can give to people in need. There are things like buying a few chickens that a family will use for eggs, other types of farm animals, water purifiers, clothes, medicine, and all kinds of stuff. At holidays we’ll go through the catalog with our kids and let them pick a few gifts that we’ll give as a family. It’s a good conversation starter and gives us the opportunity to talk about how there are millions of people around the world in need of help. The kids enjoy it and get excited about helping others.
If your 18-year-old child told you this: “Parents, I want to go to a $250,000 school and study doorknob design,” what would you tell him or her?
My plan is to have conversations years in advance that will prevent this from happening. Both my wife and I have college degrees, but we don’t want our kids to go to college because they feel like they have to, and we don’t want them to rack up massive debt from it.
There is a community college near us that is pretty good and very reasonably priced. There’s a good chance we’ll try to get our kids to start there for a few years to figure out what they want to do. I have so many friends that changed their major after a few years or decided after graduation that they don’t want to work in the field of their degree. Community college makes a lot of sense to me because it’s cheap, gives you some time to figure out what you want without the pressure of making an expensive mistake, and you can always transfer and graduate from somewhere else if you want to.
If one of my kids did come to me and say they wanted to go to a $250,000 school, I think I would sit down with them and go through the numbers to show how it would impact their finances for life by starting with that much debt.
What is the most beautiful place you’ve ever seen?
In terms of natural beauty, I really love the southwestern U.S. I love the small amount of Utah that I’ve seen (Zion National Park and driving in the SW part of the state), and also Arizona. The Grand Canyon and Sedona are both amazing. I’ve lived most of my life in the east and that southwest landscape is just so much different.
About 6 years ago my wife and I took a Mediterranean cruise and my favorite stop was in Malta. After just a few hours in Malta I decided I wanted to retire there. I’m not sure exactly what it is, I just loved it there and it felt like somewhere I could live.
What was the worst or best phase of your life?
I think the best phase of my life was when I was dating my wife. We had been friends for 5 years before we started dating, so we already knew each other pretty well. We were in our mid 20’s and were both just getting started in our careers. I remember sitting in my cubicle at my old job counting down the hours till I could see her in the evening.
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