When I utter the phrase “influential money bloggers”, what does that mean to you? To me, I’m talking about bloggers who pour their heart and soul into their blogs. Those who are trusted, respected and natural born leaders.
The most influential money bloggers aren’t necessarily those with the biggest blogs, “best” blogs or the largest bankrolls. Their blogs aren’t necessarily “businesses”. Being influential usually implies a level of trust and authority that is built over time, through consistent activity (in this case, publishing blog posts) that incite a huge and dedicated following.
In this article, I’m picking out the top 12 most influential bloggers in the personal finance community, and providing a little detail about what we can all learn from them.
12 of the most influential money bloggers
1. Pete Adeney (Mr. Money Mustache)
Love him or hate him, Pete Adeney, the Colorado-based guy behind Mr. Money Mustache (MMM) is by far the most influential personal finance blogger that I’ve ever seen. Many personal finance bloggers (including me) point to Mr. Money Mustache as their inspiration for starting their own money blog. His writing style is unique. He cusses a lot. Everybody knows Mr. Money Mustache and his absolute hatred for cars (even though he’s quite obsessed with them).
We learn from Pete how to think differently. His blog is a hit-you-squarely-in-the-face shot to conventional wisdom. If you’ve heard the term “clown car habit”, that’s a phrase that MMM used to epic success. “After years of careful study, observations, and interviews with real car drivers”, Pete writes, “I have come to the conclusion that about 90% of the car use that occurs in the United States is Pure Bullshit”.
If you are easily offended, don’t read Mr. Money Mustache because you’ll probably end up very much offended. If you like the challenge of reading a contrarian viewpoint, then totally binge read his entire blog…if you have the time.
2. J. Money (Budgets Are Sexy)
J. Money won a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Plutus Awards ceremony at FinCon (a financial conference designed for money bloggers) in 2016, and for good reason. Jay is one of the most well-known money bloggers in the business and runs one of the most fun blogs in town at BudgetsAreSexy.com. Sporting a mohawk in public, he is almost one of the most recognizable figures in the money blogosphere.
Jay founded the RockstarFinance.com curation website (sold to ESI, referenced below) and is routinely mentioned in major media outlets like Business Insider and Forbes. Jay is just as influential as Pete from Mr. Money Mustache but in a much more positive and less smack-you-in-the-face kind of way. 🙂
I personally know Jay to be an incredible person with a kind heart and infectious personality. Just like his blog, he’s the kind of guy that walks into a room and people seem to be drawn to him (that could just be the Mohawk, but still…).
3. ESI Money
He goes by “ESI”, and he’s a 50-something retiree and writes in detail about mastering your money, early retirement and even a little about blogging. ESI is one of the longest-running members in the personal finance community and knows this place inside and out. Check out ESI’s millionaire interview series for some of his site’s most popular and well-read content.
In late 2017, ESI officially bought Rockstar Finance from J. Money, one of the Internet’s premiere curation sites for all things money, personal finance, and lifestyle. ESI (and I) collectively run Rockstar Finance with the hopes of strengthening its influence within the community and enhancing the value it provides for money lovers as well as bloggers.
4. Sam Dogen (Financial Samurai)
Sam runs one of the more hard-hitting money blogs at FinancialSamurai.com, publishing articles that deep dive into how much the top income earners make and the average net worth for the above average person. Sam’s blog enjoys an incredibly active fan base with many of his articles generating a thousand or more comments. More than 30 million visitors have dropped by Sam’s blog since its inception back in 2009. Sam now writes full-time.
Sam doesn’t sugar-coat his material, so be prepared for some tough love in places on his blog. It is this type of writing style that makes Financial Samurai so attractive to readers, and probably a heck of a lot of fun to write and maintain. I love to get writing ideas from this blog and never leave without learning something new. Financial Samurai is just interesting.
5. Cait Flanders
Cait Flanders (formerly “Blonde On A Budget”) blogs about minimalism, living intentionally and operating within your means on her blog. In fact, her blog’s design is the perfect prototype for living your life without excess. Her site is beautifully-crafted, simple and streamlined to the max.
She very recently released a self-help memoir, “The Year of Less” that chronicles her transformation from a big spender to one of the leanest spenders in the personal finance community.
Check out her incredible rap sheet of media features, by the way!
6. J.D. Roth (Get Rich Slowly)
J.D. Roth sold GetRichSlowly.org several years ago (and started another blog, Money Boss, sometime after), but recently bought it back from its investors and is pumping new life into the blog. J.D. is an almost-daily blogger who sends five to six new posts into the digital airwaves each week – sometimes more. He clearly loves to blog, and it shows throughout his writing.
J.D. writes wickedly insightful material, packed with both intelligence and passion. He practices what he preaches, often writing from a writing studio he built next to his house. I’m super jealous of that studio, by the way.
I’m quite impressed with the quality of J.D.’s writing and even more impressed that he can pump out posts nearly every day (it must be his studio!). He tackles a wide variety of topics on his blog, but reading is always time well spent.
7. Michelle Schroeder-Gardner (Making Sense of Cents)
Michelle is one of the best affiliate marketers I’ve ever seen, and I’ve had the distinct luxury of enjoying a beer with her and her husband in Tucson. She earns over $100,000 a month from her blog and teaches other bloggers how to position their blogs to earn a bunch of cash as well.
She’s a master at teaching people her craft, too. Her online course, Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing, (<– that’s one of those affiliate links, ya know…), is one of the best, most detailed and well-respected courses on how to do affiliate marketing right.
Michelle’s blog is definitely geared more toward the income side than living strictly frugal (though she DOES live very frugally…in an RV!). If you’re looking to earn massive amounts of money with your blog, look no further than Michelle at MakingSenseOfCents.com.
Also, check out the interview I did with Michelle on what it’s like making over $900,000 a year (she earns a heck of a lot more now, BTW).
8. Tanja Hester (Our Next Life)
She is one of the most meticulous, detail-oriented bloggers I’ve ever met, and it shows in the quality of her writing on Our Next Life. Tanja blogs primarily about the softer side of early retirement and retired in late 2017 along with her husband Mark at 38 and 41, respectively.
And, Tanja is wickedly smart and incredibly well-spoken. She routinely speaks at money conferences and hosts a podcast or two in her new-found spare time as an early retiree. If you’re looking for insight into how healthcare affects early retirees, look no further than Tanja’s entire collection of healthcare-related articles. They are deep, insightful and well-researched.
If it’s possible to fill the role of a “soft scientist”, Tanja fills it perfectly.
9. Robert Farrington (The College Investor)
The guy behind the blog, Robert Farrington, runs one of the most influential sites dedicated to young people, including investing, managing your student loans and how to earn more money through passive sources and side hustles. Since 2009, The College Investor blog has been one of the best sources for learning how to crush student loan debt and begin building wealth.
Robert is a natural numbers guy. In fact, he’s admitted to a desire to do his own taxes at the age of 13. Yes, 13! As a youngster, his entrepreneurial spirit took hold through sites like eBay, investing his earnings and gaining more than he lost. That’s the idea!
10. Grant Sabatier (Millennial Money)
Grant is one of the personal finance community’s experts on Search Engine Optimization and writes on his blog, Millennial Money, about money, finances and making the most out of your life. He just completed putting the finishing touches on his brand new book, “All The Money You’ll Ever Need“, planned for release in early 2019.
Grant reached financial independence at age 30 and is one of the most active hustlers in the business. He writes for CNBC and can be seen in an occasional TV interview. I’ve met Grant and his confidence and determination are infectious and powerful. He lives personal finance.
11. John Schmoll (Frugal Rules)
John runs one of the more colorful money blogs in the community – literally! After graduating college with almost $25,000 in credit card debt, John knew there was a problem. And it didn’t just afflict him. Frugal Rules is a resource to learn about techniques, tips, and tools to destroy your debt and live a more satisfying frugal life.
And by the way, the rules are pretty simple.
12. Brandon (Mad FIentist)
I almost didn’t include Brandon because he’s a podcaster (rather than a blogger), but his Mad FIentist website is definitely a trusted, well-known resource. Though he does write (like Brandon’s popular Hierarchy of Financial Needs post), his “Blog” is primarily recorded through the microphone and played through speakers with guests from around the industry, like Mr. Money Mustache, J.D. Roth, Carl from 1500 Days, and me!
He also has super cool lookin’ t-shirts – of which I have (and often wear) one!