Blogger Confessions #16: Sean from My Money Wizard
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Happy Saturday and welcome to the 16th episode of the 'Blogger Confessions' interview series on the blog. Today, I'm bringing our business and money insider, Sean from My Money Wizard to talk about blogging and how he has managed to keep everything straight as a personal finance blogger.
Take it away.
Blogger Confessions with My Money Wizard
1: In at least 100 words, describe the target audience of your blog.
First of all, thanks for having me again, Steve.
You may not remember, but I sure do… Two and a half years ago, you allowed me to publish my first guest post EVER on your website’s Guest Post page. You took a chance on me and gave me a ton of credit for some unknown blogger nobody had ever heard of. I was on cloud nine for days!
And now, you’re so kind, you’re having me back on AGAIN. Only this time my site is nearly 3 years old, which is about 200 in blogging years, and my blog has grown into a behemoth like I never imagined.
What a time to be alive…
Anyway, I started my site after hitting an unusual milestone that I’d never seen another blog talk about – $100,000 by age 25. The epiphany slapped me in the face like a ton of bricks. There were a ton of FIRE blogs out there, mainly about credit cards and debt, but I’d never seen a FIRE blog from the perspective of a young guy actually on the path.
Originally, I imagined the audience would be niched down to other early 20s graduates who were interested in business and wanted insider tips. But as I continued writing and kept a close watch on each blog post’s performance, something happened on my page that I never expected…
I started hearing from people of all ages, which gave me a clear sign. It turns out, my target audience isn’t so much about age as where you’re at on the journey towards business and/or financial success.
Readers tell me they love my story, because I hit close to home and can relate to their situation; yet, I show a definitive sign of making enough progress to inspire.
So, there you have it! Now it’s 2019, and my blog is like a glorified version of the substitute teacher reading one lesson ahead. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or bad thing…
2: What makes your blog different from other blogs in the PF blogosphere?
One, although it’s a “journey” style blog, I still like to think I’m slightly more qualified than the recent surge of “I’m clueless with money, but that won’t stop me from jumping on the blogging train because I heard that’s the cool thing to do!” crowd which seems to have exploded on Facebook and Youtube in recent years.
I graduated with two business related degrees – one in Finance and one in Economics.
I’ve worked in banking and finance, and I’ve literally been obsessed with retiring early since I was a teenager. That means I’ve read (or at least skimmed!) nearly every popular personal finance book in existence. So in a way, I would definitely credit myself as being an insider.
In my free time, I read about investing, saving, earning, and debt. What a money nerd!
But I also hate math and any blog post, Youtube video, or Facebook post that’s too complicated. So, I draw on my knowledge and inherent laziness to write about complicated money topics in a way that even my mom could understand.
(She’s still a reader, so either something’s working or she’s just really biased…)
And second, I do save well over half my income, but I also recognize it’s just not realistic to expect everyone to sell their cars, bike everywhere, downsize their home, and approach their long-term living arrangement like an extended camping trip.
So, while many other early retirement blogs will shame you for wanting to buy anything, I’ll just double check that you really want to buy it, then I’ll show you how to watch out for really great deals.
3: What’s the thing that you’ve struggled with the most since starting your blog?
This blogging thing takes forever! And unfortunately, I’m only about 1/3 of the way to my early retirement goal, so I don’t yet have the luxury of Wednesday afternoon blogging sessions in my pajamas.
4: Do you publish your net worth on your blog? Why or why not?
I sure do. Learning that my business savvy grandfather had a $1.2 million net worth, even after raising 5 kids on a blue-collar salary, was a big sign that made me realize real wealth was possible for ordinary people and not just an insider.
I hope that by sharing my own net worth every month, I can be at least half the inspiration to my readers now in 2019 as he was to me when I first started the blog.
My Money Wizard’s Net Worth
I consider the Money Wizard Net Worth portion of the website to be an awkward part of becoming financially naked in front of my readers. As of September 2019, my net worth is $312,918 and I am only 29 years old.
Although I have a ways to go until I feel comfortable retiring, what I have managed to accumulate in the short period of time between my college graduation and now is pretty impressive, at least by standards. But please know, it takes hard work and dedication!
5: Have you monetized your blog (ads, affiliate marketing, etc)? Why or why not?
I didn't bother to monetize the blog, because:
I have. And I think holding out with a Buddhist monk’s approach to money making is silly.
I started my site because I like to write, and I desperately needed a creative outlet while trapped in a cubicle. Over time, I realized how amazing it is to genuinely help people, and I’ve grown really passionate about spreading the message of financial freedom to as many as possible.
Monetizing my site allows me to do just that.
So far, I’ve reinvested all the blog’s profits to continue growing the site, which in turn increases the chances I save a few more people from a lifetime of wage slavery.
That said, I don’t really care how much money my site makes. It’s not my full-time job, and I’m retiring in less than 10 years, with or without any blogging income.
The blog is just a weird sort of real-life video game that I’d like to master.
I think it’s painfully obvious which bloggers started their site just to make a quick buck, or even began with good intentions but quickly became corrupted at the first paycheck. I’ve had lucky months where I made more money on my site than at my career, but I refuse to let it change my content or strategy one bit.
6: Would you rather be loved, hated or controversial? Explain, please!
Loved, because at the end of the day, my site is intended to help people. Nobody wants to be hated, and controversy is a lame PR gimmick.
7: Who would you be horrified to know read your blog?
Haha! Great question!
I’ll go with Suze Orman. Although from her recent interviews, it sounds like she needs it.
8: What’s your most favorite, least favorite and most embarrassing post on your blog?
Impossible! It’s like picking children!
I’m really proud of my new 3 Fund Portfolio article. I think it’s the best primer out there for somebody who wants to jump into investing for the first time.
Least favorite? I don’t have any “regretful” posts, thankfully. I will say that my Betterment vs. Vanguard article was probably my least favorite to write. Just because it took so damn long, and I really only wrote it because of all the emails I kept getting asking the exact same question.
Most embarrassing? My article about tracking the exact cost of my dog accidentally outed me to a friend who recognized The Money Pup’s picture. Whoops, I guess the dog is out of the bag there.
9: Explain your writing process
It takes forever! Did I already mention time was a big obstacle of mine?
I keep a note on my phone with all my article ideas. Most pop into my head while I’m taking a shower, driving to work, or doing something else completely unrelated to the blog.
Then, I squeeze in writing sessions whenever I get the chance. Since I still have a job, usually this is the wee-hours of the mornings or “blog-Saturdays” as they’re now known around the Money Wizard Castle.
I used to beg Lady Money Wizard to proofread every post, but as I’ve grown more confident in my writing, sometimes I’ll just hit submit. I’m dangerous like that.
And by “just hit submit” I actually mean re-read the first draft about 14 times while changing a million tiny things.
10: What is the best content of My Money Wizard?
Well, my blog has been around forever, so there’s a ton of really helpful content in its archives. But for those of my newer readers who have limited time and attention spans, I have created a section in my blog called the Best of My Money Wizard which help them focus on what I consider the essentials to financial success. I give a range of important tips on how to build a good foundation for saving money such as what you should do monetarily after you graduate school and how to stop wasting money on things that aren’t important.
Also in this digest, I highlight my favorite posts about basic investing and how to gain financial freedom by the time you hit your 30s. in going to the Best of My Money Wizard, you will be able to quickly determine if my blog posts are relevant and helpful for you!
11: What is your favorite blog in the PF blogosphere (other than your own!)?
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