I never thought that I would go through with it. For more than five years, this website has been my baby. I thought about it virtually night and day. Over the course of more than 20 years in the blogging business, I had never put in more blood, sweat, and the occasional tear into a site as I did for this one.
And then, I sold it.
The moment the sale was official was extremely…bittersweet. Yes, money is always good. And, the opportunities that this sale will open up for the site are amazing.
But, I had also just let go of the single most important digital entity in my life.
And, let’s not forget that this website has touched thousands of lives. Through emails and Twitter messages, countless people have told me how influential my writing has been.
This year, I was even approached in the gym by a reader, and he said that he retired at 38 and this site provided a lot of motivation for him to finally pull the plug.
At the gym, a guy came up to me to shake my hand. He is a 38-year old early retiree and lost 30 pounds since quitting the rat race (by spending time in said gym). He shook my hand and said that he’s a reader of the blog.
Best gym day ever.
— Think Save Retire (@ThinkSaveRetire) August 5, 2019
It’s an incredible feeling knowing that something you built has had a positive impact on people. It makes every hour I’ve spent – every word I’ve written – instantly worth it.
It’s a feeling unlike anything that I’ve ever experienced.
But, I still sold the site. Why?
Why I sold Think Save Retire
I’ve had a lot of fun over the years building this site up into a powerhouse.
But after millions of pageviews and over 13,000 Twitter followers, laughter-filled nights at FinCon and making a slew of friends whom I consider to be family, I finally let myself realize that I was holding the very site that I loved back.
I was holding it back from its full potential.
After all, I started Think Save Retire to chronicle my journey to financial independence and, eventually, retirement from full-time work. I wrote about our struggles. How we budget. The “sacrifices” we made to streamline our lifestyle enough to quit the rat race.
I’ve made it no secret that I wanted out, and fast. I didn’t thrive in corporate America.
In December of 2016, I finally called it quits (the best Christmas present ever!). I was there. I made it. All those years of saving 70% of two combined incomes finally paid off.
But, my career wasn’t the only thing that came to fruition. My struggle, too, was effectively done.
The conflict – just like in a television drama – is what most people connect with. Without this conflict, the creative environment changes.
That’s what happened with Think Save Retire. And toward the end of 2018, I stumbled onto a frightening realization:
I felt like I was just filling content slots on the blog.
I no longer had my own struggles to talk about, so I went out in search of others. My target audience is those who work relatively high-paying jobs but, like me, wanted a way out. I published several incredibly high-profile articles that went viral. Those were fun.
But, virality also comes full circle. Eventually, I was back at square one again, searching for more struggle. More conflict. Dare I say more drama?
I had to ask myself an important question: Can I continue doing this for 5 or more years and still consider this site a “success”? Influential? Something that adds value to people’s lives?
When Trend Capital approached me to talk about a potential acquisition, my initial reaction was “nope!”. I can’t sell this blog. It’s my baby!
But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that babies grow up. They grow into adults capable of leading their own lives and charting their own paths. And, Think Save Retire was no different. In a lot of ways, it was “mission accomplished”. It’s no longer a baby.
It’s a fully-fledged adult.
Once I heard some of the ideas that Trend Capital wanted to explore in personal finance, I suddenly realized this was my opportunity to release my digital baby, turned adult.
Release it into hands capable of improving it, not letting it wither away.
That said, let’s get something straight: I’m not walking off into the sunset and putting this blog behind me. Instead, I’m staying on-board to ensure my voice – and the voice that so many of you connected with, sticks around.
I may no longer own the blog, but I’m still here. And, it will always be my baby.
My goal is to write content and provide influence as Trend takes control of the site and pushes it forward with new content. I am as motivated as I ever was to see this site nudge further into the mainstream, positively affecting lives and making huge differences to so many people.
Impacting lives is what makes this entire site worth it.
Stay tuned, we’re just getting started. Future content will include topics such as:
- Location independence and remote work
- Exploiting a ripe investment market to grow wealth
- Using opportunities to grow as people and reach success
Too often, websites are sold to entities that don’t understand the target audience. People and businesses buy to capture the pageviews. The ad revenue. The email addresses.
But, that’s not the case here. Trend IS my target audience, and their focus on both preserving existing content as well as publishing more high-quality resources designed specifically for higher-income professionals is why this is, in many ways, just the beginning of this site.
Beginning of the next phase.
I sold this blog because it’s in better hands now. Hands that understand personal finance and how the incredible goal of financial independence and early retirement can dramatically change lives. This blog will push the boundaries in ways that it never had before with analysis and insight, collaboration and story-telling.
And, we all have a story to tell.
So, without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to Melissa.
I was in a car accident the weekend before I graduated from the University of Oregon.
It was also the day after my 22nd birthday.
(Is this enough drama, Steve?)
Luckily, no one was seriously injured and I wasn’t at fault, but my 99 Nissan Maxima that once belonged to my grandpa was [technically] totaled. (For the record, I was still able to drive it away from the scene—they don’t make tanks like they used to.)
The weeks that followed were around answering the question of how I would get from my house to the three different jobs I was holding down all around Eugene and Springfield, Oregon. Ultimately, I used my settlement I received to put down a few thousand dollars on a new(ish) car to get me from point a to point b (and c… and d). Along with my “new whip” came with my very first monthly car payment.
I couldn’t tell you the specifics of what I put down or how big my loan was but I can tell you my monthly payments were $131 and some change. I quickly grew tired of paying that $131 each month. By 25, I had just one, full-time job and about five times the income and was able to pay off what was left of that loan in-full years ahead of schedule.
That was my first taste of financial independence.
That feeling of freedom has stuck with me ever since. It’s also a huge part of why the opportunity to work at Trend Capital and take the reins of Think Save Retire was one I could not turn down.
I’ll admit, the F.I.R.E. movement is new to me, but as I learn more about it, I realize that the themes of it has propelled me personally and professionally.
Relying on corporate or full-time employment is stifling to say the least—even when you’ve had a fulfilling, creative career as a content creator like I have. Honestly, having to depend on anyone but yourself to set your destiny is extremely enervating.
And that’s why I’m here.
About Me (Melissa)
Aside from being an excellent driver and damn near the best parallel parker you’ll ever watch from the sidewalk (I feel like that’s important to say), Think Save Retire isn’t my first rodeo in researching and writing about finance. My most notable experience was while building resources for startup founders and entrepreneurs trying to navigate the complex waters of taxes and accounting at inDinero (I still get hit up on Linkedin about Schedule K-1s as well as SAFE vs. Convertible Notes).
More recently, I ran communications for Liveops, an up-and-coming player in the gig economy and all around game-changer in how brands handle customer service. Think: The destroyer of call centers as we know them.
In both roles, I’ve had the privilege of traveling the country and meeting/interviewing people who have found liberation working for themselves and indisputable personal satisfaction and meaning through helping others. But in all cases, the common thread throughout the people I’ve met is that corporate America and full-time employment wasn’t for them.
However, in many of those cases, neither was collecting social security.
Okay, but who am I?
I’m Melissa. I’m a 90s baby and was born and raised in San Francisco/the Bay Area. I currently reside in Portland, Oregon with my husband and cat.
Yes, I’m a DINK.
At least, for now…
While I dream of retiring rich, that same dream includes being a “fancy grandma” someday. (I realize there are many steps in between.) Along those lines, my pursuit is to carve out the “have it all” lifestyle for myself as a hopeful-but-don’t-want to-jinx-it parent someday. All of which is to say, I’m striving to set myself up to find the pinnacle of work-life balance.
*A moment of silence for the eyes of all the parents out there rolling so far back in their heads they might never return.*
My dreams are lofty, but if there’s anything I’ve taken away from immersing myself in Steve[& Co.]’s wise words throughout Think Save Retire, it’s that any life goal is achievable when you set a clear plan and roadmap and identify the priorities that are most important to you. You also have to want it—A LOT.
So, where do we start?
Well, among working closely with Steve on what he will cover moving forward (starting with an upcoming Q&A where I’ll interview him on the milestones of his adventure to retiring at 35), I’ll also work with other bloggers and thought leaders to share their stories and expertise.
My personal journey will start by exploring what has held me back from financial freedom. I grew up surrounded by some of the richest people in the world (Google “Piedmont CA average home price”) so keeping up with the Joneses was a massive overstatement. While that has shown me some of the finer things in life, it’s also contributed to lifestyle creep starting at the ripe age of six.
But enough about me—you’ll hear plenty in the future—I am more excited to hear from you! I believe that moments of flux are full of opportunity. So please don’t be a stranger! Share your thoughts/feelings/ideas/story with me.
How to reach me:
- Email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Leave a comment on this article
- Pick your favorite social platform—I’ll be monitoring Think Save Retire’s Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and soon to launch and relaunch Instagram and YouTube (did I forget anything?)
Although ownership of this blog has changed hands, expect much more of what you know and love. Steve’s voice. And, a new voice that very much represents what this blog is about, and especially what it has become over its 5 years of existence.
Thank you for reading,
Steve & Melissa
Steve is a 38-year-old early retiree who writes about the intersection of happiness and financial independence. Steve is a regular contributor to MarketWatch, CNBC, and The Ladders. He lives full-time in his 30′ Airstream Classic and travels the country with his wife Courtney and two rescued dogs.