Jonathon at Mymoneyblog had a really good post that described his background. He got a lot of comments from that post and it was pretty apparent that people found his background interesting. (I know I did)
I thought I’d post my background to give people an idea of who is blogging here.
I come from a blue collar family from Washington state. My family owned a struggling small business for many years (about 17). I was a child, and then teenager for many of these years and started helping out in the store at the age of 13. By the time I was 16, I was running the store on the weekends so that my parents could have a day off. About minimum wage was all that they could afford to pay me then. Through those years, I watched my mother struggle to pay the bills each month, sometimes even taking from one place, to pay another. Prioritizing the bills (as to which got paid first) was a standard practice. I can remember worrying about what would happen if the bills didn’t get paid at the age of 14 years old. As I got older, I struggled to get through junior college, while still helping out at the store (so my parents could have a day off) and also holding down another job during the week. Neither of my parents had gone to college and hadn’t pushed me to go either. I paid the cost of going to college with money that I was earning at my jobs. At the time, I was also driving a commercial truck locally. The store finally went out of business and my dad took a maintenance job at a large office building. It was about that time that I decided I had to finish college. I saved over $14000 while living at my parent’s house, and then gave notice at my job. I was headed over to college to finish. I can still hear my father’s voice telling me that he didn’t know if that was the right thing to do since I was making more money at the time, than he had ever made. At the time, the hardest thing I had ever done was to quit that job. I had been making $30000 per year, which felt like a lot of money. Then, to go to school and watch the savings deplete with no source of income, was extremely difficult. I managed to pull it off though. (I ended up working on campus to slow the depletion of my savings) While it was the hardest decision I had ever made (to go off to school), it was also the best decision I had ever made. That college degree gave me the springboard to be where I am today.
These experiences are what set me on a path to being financially secure. The amount of dread and worry about finances that I had at such a young age has stayed with me all these years. I vowed to never worry about whether I was going to lose my job, or have enough money after payday to cover the bills. I used to save up paychecks, just to see how many I could save without cashing them. By doing this, I felt like I had options. I look back now and feel grateful that I have had these experiences. It caused me to seek out information that has taught me strong money management skills. I learned all about â€œThe Rule of 72â€, and compound interest, and saw, at the age of 19, how powerful it is to start saving early. I didn’t come from money and I know that the majority of the population didn’t either. I guess that’s why I have taken such an interest in personal finance blogs. I don’t think I know everything, in fact, I readily admit that I’m an amateur. I can’t figure the net present value of something off the top of my head and I don’t understand the markets very well, but I do understand what I consider to be the â€œbasicsâ€
-Spend less money than you earn
-Invest as much as you can as early as you can (front load)
-Don’t be consumed by our materialistic society
-Recognize that most of those people you think are successful, are most likely just in debt
-Don’t try to keep up with the Jones’
-And a bunch more that you can read on just about any of the personal finance blogs
I’m excited to feel enlightened and in control of my finances and I wish the same feelings for everyone else who weren’t blessed with a silver spoon in their mouth. Once you experience being in control of your financial future, it really is addictive. That’s why I enjoy blogging about it. If anything I’ve written gives someone even one new idea, or point of view that helps them get the addiction to being financially â€œfreeâ€, then I’m happy.