By now, most of the industrialized world (okay, at least the personal finance community) knows that J. Money sold Rockstar Finance to John from ESI Money. But, a lot of you may not know that I had put in an offer to buy the site as well.
First, let me plainly state that I believe Jay made the right decision. John’s an incredibly successful business guy who knows the personal finance community extremely well. There are no better hands to take over Rockstar Finance than John. I firmly believe that, and I actually thanked Jay for NOT accepting my offer. John was just the better fit.
But, I learned a thing or two during this process. I learned how incredibly important it is to get involved, do your best and forget the rest.
What I learned from [almost] buying Rockstar Finance
Nearly a year ago, Jay put his feelers out for some technical help. At the time, the Rockstar Directory didn’t exist. It was only a vision in Jay’s head, one of those goals that require some dedicated time to accomplish. He asked around for help, and I was immediately conflicted.
Do I offer to help? I’m retired now, after all. Is this what I want to spend my time doing? Is this what happiness and freedom looks like to me?
Without boring you with too many details, I ended up reaching out to Jay, working with him over a period of a few weeks, and things began to gel pretty quickly. We worked well together, and things were getting done. Before long, we actually had a pretty darn capable system humming along that remains the largest repository of personal finance blogs that I’m aware of.
It kept me busy during our summer travel, but not overly busy where I felt like I had a job. It was a perfect arrangement.
Then, an opportunity presented itself. Jay was looking to take a step back to spend more time with his family, and he was looking for another leader to take the reigns of Rockstar Finance.
Once again, I felt conflicted.
I’m the kind of person who doesn’t want to worry about money. Ever. But, I’m also the kind of person who loves to feel like his work is meaningful; that the decisions I make are contributing to someone else’s happiness. I want to make an impact, be a force. All that stuff that I never felt was truly right when I worked a full-time job. But in the personal finance community, it feels perfect. Everything feels perfect.
I went back and forth with myself, mentally. Finally, I brought this up with Courtney – my wife. What if we bought Rockstar? What would that do to our lifestyle? Would it change our travel plans any, because having dependable access to the Internet around the country would be critical? And more importantly, what about our finances?
What if everything went south? Could we handle it?
We spoke. We considered everything. Eventually, it felt like a risk that we were willing to take. After all, we’re young. We still have a lot of time left in our lives (at least in theory!) to recover if things go badly. And, I had already dubbed 2018 “The Year of the Hustle”, so I was ready. I wanted to make this happen and see where we could bring this incredible system that Jay built.
We made an offer.
Without going into too many details, it was a little less than 10% of our entire net worth. To us, it was a significant offer. But, we felt the risk was worth the reward, and no time like the present. No risk, no reward. All that good stuff.
Ultimately, I’m glad that it worked out with John. John is an incredibly experienced businessperson whom I can learn a great deal from. And frankly, Jay got more money this way too. He deserves it. He built an incredible system and put in a ton of hard work to make it happen.
Back to the original question: What did I learn?
I learned once again that getting involved is the spice of life. I would never have been in the position to even submit an offer if I hadn’t volunteered to help Jay pull together the Directory. Getting involved set me up to not only build a new system from the ground up that people use every single day, but it also pushed me out of my comfort zone.
It sparked a realization in our eyes that my wife and I are willing to take risks to make things work. We aren’t prepared to just sit on our butts for the next 40 or 50 years, watching the world pass us by. Even more than just traveling, we’re here to make an impact however we can, and the willingness (and ability) to invest nearly 10% of our net worth is an incredible feeling.
I believe in taking risks. I believe in putting yourself out there, volunteering for work that you enjoy and not just sitting on the sidelines. And, none of this would have been possible if I didn’t quit my job in 2016.
My future with Rockstar Finance
True to form, I’m working with John as closely as possible to get more involved with Rockstar than I already was. More than just the technical side of things, I love the influence that Rockstar has in our community. There’s a reason why my wife and I offered what we did. We believe in it.
Like you read in the announcement, I’m staying on. I may get more involved with the curation aspect of Rockstar as Cait Flanders moves away to pursue bigger and better things in her life (like her book!). One of my goals is to re-invigorate the Rockstar Twitter account by getting more involved in discussions in a positive and encouraging way.
Also, John and I have some big ideas for the future of Rockstar and how it can continue impacting the community. Lots to come. Lots!
Want a little more about why Rockstar was sold? In case you didn’t see it:
Why I Bought Rockstar Finance – from John.
Why I FIRE’d Myself From Rockstar Finance – from Jay.
Happy holidays, everyone!
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.