I’ve had the good opportunity to get to know MyLifeROI a lot better the last couple of months on Twitter, so it’s great to be able to share this conversation with you on some of his thoughts and views on blogging and personal finance. If you get a chance, you should check out his site if you haven’t already and subscribe to his free feed for updates. What a better concept for guiding our financial and life decisions than the name of his blog, the return on one’s life investment? That is certainly one of the main ideas behind MoneyEnergy. Our whole life is the biggest investment we make. What does it give back to you? What do you have to show for it? I hope you enjoy the discussion!
MLR on MyLifeROI, the Blog
What got you started blogging?
I have been reading PF blogs for years. I LOVE reading about finance and economics. One thing that I was getting bored of, though, was the articles about extreme frugality. In my opinion, I can sometimes go a little far to save money. But some of the frugality articles I was reading just made me scratch my head. Wearing shoes till they literally fall of your feet? Eh, not for me. Making my own laundry detergent even though I am on the wash once every two weeks schedule? Eh, again, not for me. The articles were interesting, but I thought they lacked what I was looking for. I still read all of those sites. They have great content! Just sometimes the articles are not exactly what I want. Essentially, I decided to blog for myself. This is an outlet for me to put my thoughts into words and get other people’s opinions. I kind of get the best of both worlds. My mantra? Real advice that everyone should be able to relate to. I am technology savvy so I also like reviewing and writing about technology that either saves me money or makes tracking my finances easier (e.g. making a Xbox 360 wireless for $20 or using Mint to budget).
What mistakes did you make starting out or what would you recommend to other bloggers?
What makes your blog unique?
My blog has posts by both me and my girlfriend, which is pretty cool. She has written a great post on savings and charity and another on gift ideas for teachers. She is looking for a teaching job right now, but as soon as she is done she should post more. She also likes drawing. So I post a weekly comic every Friday that relates to topics I discuss on my blog. The combination of me and my girlfriend’s contributions, the comics, and the sensible nature of my content is, in my opinion, a unique factor. There are so many great blogs out there, though, so I can only hope to become part of a person’s everyday reading!
Do you maintain other blogs, too?
Nope, I don’t. I have considered a few other opportunities but I don’t have the time to do one blog. I just squeeze it in. Two would wear me out.
MLR on Getting The Best Return From Life
Can you share anything more about what sort of business you’re in?
I currently work in the Supply Chain for a large (in the top 200 of the Fortune 500) company. I am currently getting to the point where it will be time for me to either get a promotion or look for a job elsewhere. My promotion would either bring me into a position deeper in the supply chain or into a position that is a crossover between supply chain and warehouse operations. Either way, both roles would interest me. My current job doesn’t have much to do with my blogging. However, I have looked at creating a site to help with some certification stuff directly related to my field. That could take some time, though, so it is on the backburner. I have been looking at opening a new business. It would be somewhere in the warehousing/distribution arena. (I have specifics, but am being purposefully vague… sorry!)
Where would you like to be in the next 2-5 years? Your own business?
I am looking at starting a B&M (Brick and Mortar) business right now. I am going to Zoning Board meetings and Neighborhood Council meetings. Trying to get all of the zoning worked out and the concerns and blah blah. We will see! Ideally, if the business works out, I would like to run it with my partner while we both kept our full time jobs. This would last for about a year to ensure positive cash flow. After a year I could see myself quitting if the business worked out. This is why I have a large cash emergency fund right now.
What’s your own vision for escaping the rat race, and do you believe in “retirement”?
If the above works out I would go from a corporate supply chain job to a business start-up. That would be awesome. If everything went well, I could see myself expanding to a few locations in the North East. I do believe in retirement. But the definition is different for everyone. For some, retirement may be packing up and going abroad. For others, it may be cutting back to a part-time job. I would like to travel, but keep working in some respect.
What kind of an investor are you?
I put my 401k into an aggressive mix of funds because of my age. I am thinking about rebalancing it but need to go over all of the numbers. I did this allocation before really teaching myself about finances. I am looking at the target retirement funds available. My Roth IRA is put into a Target Retirement fund through Vanguard. I have some money in CD ladders, but “ugh” at the rates right now. As my CD’s end I just can’t put them into another CD at these low rates. I also have a large cash emergency fund.
What are some of the best financial books you’ve read? What’s your take on the Rich Dad books (I loved them!)?
I typically stay away from financial books that are intended to give cookie cutter advice and appeal to a broad audience. To me, that makes no sense. I get the general rules of thumb but I would much rather figure out what works for me. Don’t get me wrong, though, I understand the appeal and the value of these books. You will usually find me reading books on economics (like Three Billion New Capitalists, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, The Battle for the Soul of Capitalism, etc). Also, I am a numbers person, so I am much happier just crunching numbers on my own and coming to my own conclusions. It might sound silly, but if you go to Yahoo! Answers and read some of the questions, answering them will teach you more about personal finance then you would otherwise imagine. I guess you could say that I was always the kid blowing up the chemistry lab, not the one memorizing the periodic table. In regards to the Rich Dad, Poor Dad books, Kiyosaki is a very good motivational speaker but I wasn’t a huge fan of the books. As I just mentioned, I am a numbers guy. Kiyosaki’s anecdotes didn’t do much for me; it really leaves the reader hanging without any actionable advice.
Where do you see the U.S./world economy in the next 5-10 years?
Phew, this is a hard one. It can go in so many directions. Back in 2004, I thought it was pretty easy to see this crash. But you know what they say about estimates in regards to the economy, people only remember the accurate predictions. Position yourself so that you can survive on a lot less. Make sure you can be happy with a lot less, more importantly. If you follow that advice, you will never be surprised.
Anything else you would like to share with readers?
Subscribe to my blog! I look forward to meeting all of you!♣
Be sure to check out some of the other great interviews in this series, and stay tuned for upcoming guests!
How To Think Like An “Almost” Millionaire (The Almost Millionaire, May 1, 2009)
The Four Pillars of Wealth (Four Pillars, May 8, 2009)
One-Month Blogging Success Story (ManVsDebt, May 13, 2009)
One Guy’s Road From Stale Money to Fresh Finance (SuburbanDollar, May 22, 2009)
Following the Wealth Pilgrim to Financial Freedom (Wealth Pilgrim, May 28, 2009)
How Many Economists Does It Take To… (Weakonomics, June 5, 2009)
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