The Lonely Road of Personal Finance

I’ve been blogging about personal finance and fatherhood for over a year. I started this blog as a way to show people that this money stuff isn’t that complicated. You don’t need to be a doctor or lawyer to save, invest, or even retire early. All you need to do is pay attention.

In the past few years I’ve learned a lot about fatherhood and finances and just wanted to share some of my experiences. What I didn’t realize until I started writing was how it can be lonely being a finance nerd.

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flikr: Helgi Halldorson

The Things We Think But Do Not Say
A lot of us spend most of our days in jobs we don’t really care about to make enough money to take care of our families. Yet, when it comes to everyday conversations, money is still one of the least discussed topics.

Money isn’t a bad thing. We all think about money all the time. It’s just that we’re conditioned NOT to talk about it.

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Even though EVERYONE knows I’m the money nerd, I’ve learned to not talk finances unless someone else brings it up. I do try – I’ll throw in the words retirement or budget every now and then, but those topics don’t resonate as much as how awesome Pokemon Go is.

Making Fun of the Budget Nerd
The funny thing about writing a blog about personal finance is that I’ve come across quite a few people who make fun of me for my financial dorkiness. While I know for the most part they’re just teasing, I find it humorous that these folks make fun of me because my family is fortunate and we’re pretty good at this money thing.

I guess like Taylor says, “Haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate…”

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I’m not filthy rich or have all the answers when it comes to personal finance. But since Addie was born we have made great progress. Some of the things we’ve done is have a fully funded emergency fund, paid cash for a car, travel hacked Hawaii, and survived unemployment (while increasing our net worth). We still have a long ways to go to achieve our other goals such as early retirement, a paid off house, and having a fully funded college for our daughter (currently at $10k).

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Getting teased every now and then for being a finance geek is a small price to pay for achieving these goals.

The Lonely Road of Personal Finance
Don’t get me wrong, a majority of the feedback I get in response to the blog is positive. It’s just human nature that we focus on the negatives right?

While I do have a few people in my life with whom I can talk about money, for the most part all these thoughts I have about personal finance are left unsaid. There are a lot of times that my family’s financial journey is a lonely one. Our successes (and failures) aren’t really talked about because a lot of people just aren’t interested.

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I write this blog to hopefully make the topic of money a little less taboo. Words like frugality, budgeting, and investing don’t have to be seen in a negative light. I don’t write to show off how awesome my life is, but hopefully inspire people to just be a little more aware of their finances.

I’m learning about this stuff just like everyone else. Yes I may be A LOT more nerdy about it, but that’s fine by me. 🙂 One of my earlier post I boasted how I saved $50 a month (seriously) for my daughter’s future and called it Extreme Savings. Then I heard about Mr. Money Mustache and Go Curry Cracker who retired in their 30’s a felt a bit stupid for raving about my awesome savings rate.

I have never written a post telling people how to budget, how to save, or how to invest. There are plenty of different ways to do those things.

My blog is simply saying – this is what I do. I’m not that concerned if you follow what I’ve done. What I am interested is in WHAT you do. We all have a story to tell, and being able to talk a money a little more openly might go a long way into improving all of our lives. We could all learn different ways to save, invest, or make more money from each other.

Thank You
A big shout out to my friend Haydee (who often edits my posts) and my sister in law Paula (fellow travel hacker who texts me random money thoughts on a regular basis).

Much love and heart shaped emojis to everyone that that likes, comments, and reads this blog. I have made a lot of connections with fellow bloggers and readers that have inspired me to keep this blog going. It makes this money nerd feel a little less lonely on this road of personal finance. 🙂


Do you discuss personal finance with your friends and family? Or do they completely zone out like a lot of the people I know? Feel free to text, tweet, or reach me on Facebook if you want someone to bounce random finance thoughts with! 🙂

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77 thoughts on “The Lonely Road of Personal Finance

  1. Love, love, love! And totally agree. I find whenever people ask me about my blog, as soon as I start gushing, their eyes glaze over and I remember that oh, right. Not everyone cares about their finances as much as I care about mine. It’s a tough reality to admit, but it’s also amazing that the blogging community is so open with one another. Thanks for writing, Vic. I am and always will be a huge fan!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You know what’s funny, when you mention your blog, and people can’t even fake being interested by asking what the name of your blog even is? Happens to me quite a bit haha.

      I stopped telling people that I even have a blog unless I can really tell they’d be interested. I leave the self promotion of the blog to Facebook and Twitter 🙂

      I love connecting with like minding bloggers such as yourself Alyssa! I’m a huge fan of your blog as well!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh yes, definitely!

    I started blogging a decade ago precisely because I was working on a financial road that no one in my life knew or understood. It’s been amazing to be able to think through my plans and get feedback from interested readers, instead of just getting a blank stare, though it has of course changed a LOT since I started out. I still go back to the oldies like My Money Blog for new investing ideas, regularly, but most newer bloggers these days are blogging with plans to monetize rather than using it as a tool to document and analyze progress. I was excited to find your blog both as more of a documentary than a How To, because I read for the stories, not so much for the How to Budget and Why You Should Have An Emergency Fund sort of posts.

    Also, though I’m not in the LA area anymore, it’s nice having same state bloggers even though most interactions are typically online.

    Offline, I have about 3 people with whom I can intelligently discuss finances in-depth, and two of them are long time friends I met because of the blog 🙂

    High five to you for getting into this and making such progress!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A decade ago?! That’s like a hundred years in blog years! Great job on keeping it going!

      I wouldn’t mind getting my blog to the point where I could monetize it. But I do want to keep it as a document of What I Do vs. telling people what to do (not that there’s anything wrong w/ that approach).

      Offline I only have a handful of people I can talk to intelligently. Even when people around me talk finances, a lot of times they don’t really want to hear my input so I keep my mouth shut. They don’t really want to hear my opinion of getting a huge car payment with a 6+ year loan!

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  3. I can definitely relate!
    I started blogging so I could track myself because I couldn’t talk to others about money. Everyone brings their own baggage to the conversation and while I wanted to learn from others I didn’t necessarily want judgement (good or bad). I wanted to celebrate $50! This is where the blogging community had come in,

    The only person IRL who knows about my blog is ML. I didn’t want my friends to think I was judging them or to know this much about my finances. I love your blog and your budget nerdiness 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s tough! I can’t even talk to my mom about money! She thinks it’s weird that I track my purchases.

      I stopped telling a lot of people about the blog because some people just don’t care. Money is a very touchy subject for a lot of people and they don’t want to feel like they’re being judged. I just have to bite my tongue sometimes when money becomes a topic.

      Thanks! I’ll own my budget nerdiness! It’s my thing 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh Vic! As soon as I read this title I was like um, brb, gotta go comment and tell Vic I will talk about money with him all day and not to feel lonely!

    I love that you’re following the wise words of Ms. Taylor Swift, because omg yes, haters are going to hate, and you can rest entirely secure in the fact that you’re doing an amazing job taking care of yourself and your family. I actually find that now that I’m blogging about money, other people bring it up and ask me questions, which I l-o-v-e. Maybe I’m just lucky to know a lot of millennials who don’t have set-in-stone opinions about money yet?

    Also, because you will die when you hear this, my boss brought up my blog as the intro to giving me a raise, lmao. Talk about a great segue into a money conversation!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Haha thanks Des!

      I definitely don’t feel lonely in general, it’s just that when it comes to finances, I don’t have many people to talk to.

      Oh I definitely get a good amount of people that ask me money questions, but usually with me it’s not people I’m that close to – work acquaintances or friends of friends for some reason. And I agree on the whole millennial thing – the ones I talk to are a little more open to talk about it than older people who already have their own ideas of money.

      Your blog helping you get a raise? AWESOME! That’s the dream! I told my boss about my whole travel hacking thing and I think I’m gonna help him get some free/cheap trips!

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  5. I totally get where you are coming from Vic. My family still doesn’t get why I blog about money (or blog period actually), and that is okay. They don’t view my blog site and in a way that is probably good as they would not like the details I disclose about me and my husbands financial progress. I would never hear the end of it. Our culture is talk to avoid the topic of money at all costs, unfortunately even with our own children. What a shame. Don’t get me wrong, I have the best parents, but they never taught me about saving, investing, debt or credit. There are certain traditions I liked growing up with my parents and I will pass those on when I have kids, not to talking/teaching my kids about money is not one of them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love my parents, but they didn’t teach me that much about managing finances besides the typical go to college –> get a good job –> the end. I had to learn a lot on my own. I’ll make sure that my daughter knows all about money before she graduates high school. 🙂

      While it’s disappointing at first that some close friends and family don’t read my blog, it’s something that I can’t control. I don’t really promote my blog to people these days unless I get the feeling they might read it. I’ve learned to blog simply for myself and my family. I’m grateful for anyone else that happens to come across and read it as well 😉

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  6. “My blog is simply saying – this is what I do.” And this is exactly why I love following your blog, Vic! Your journey has inspired and encouraged me, and I’m so glad I’ve had the chance to connect with another YNAB geek! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Looking at this great comments VIc. I think it’s safe to say you have a group of people that will talk to you about finances all day long. I’m less than a year at this whole blogging thing but I can see that there is a great group of people here. Screw the haters, they never understand. And if you want to Skype I’m all over that!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It’s hit or miss for me. Sometimes when I tell people I write about money, they look at me like they feel bad for me. Like, “how did you get into that topic? Did you do it on purpose?” Hahaha. But then I have awesome conversations about it with unexpected people, and that’s always nice 🙂 MONEY NERDS UNITE!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You get to work from home and not have to deal with a lot of the crap that is normal workers have to deal with. You have my dream job. 🙂

      Glad to have made your acquaintance! Thanks for meeting up with me and responding to my random texts and DM/

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  9. We can totally relate! This phenomenon is what I’ve called our “double life” — the idea that we share our real selves here in the blog space, and our “public selves who don’t talk that much about money” with the rest of the world. (Of course part of it for us is that we’re laser focused on early retiring ASAP and can’t risk our employers finding out, because that would foil our plans.) But yeah, society is super focused on spending and “looking” rich, and it definitely runs counter to the big norms to aspire to non-consumption and saving. As I hope you can see from all the comments and love here, you’re definitely not alone! We’re all here cheering you on! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for being awesome as always ONL!

      I do hope to one day be in your shoes to early retirement! I think we’re gonna go at it at a slightly slower pace than you, but I don’t envision my wife and I to work until 65! 🙂

      It’s definitely tough to live in this spend happy culture. The second I talk about saving or not buying something I feel that some people just look at me as a cheap tightwad. I’m not concerned about “looking” rich, but actually having wealth!

      I do appreciate everyone making me not feel alone! I know there’s some like minded people out there, it’s just a challenge to see that in real life. Even if people like talking about personal finance, I’ve just found that it can be a challenge to even get to that point in the conversation!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Reading this post, I feel so much better, thank you! I started blogging earlier this year, and have since discovered that friends and family who are interested in reading it are few and far between! Money is still a taboo subject, so it’s hard to really know how others manage their finances. Loving the tips and real-life stories from the blogging world, inspiring!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sarah!

      It’s definitely humbling. A lot of the people who told me that it was a good idea to blog aren’t my regular readers. I don’t think it’s too much to ask of close friends and family to spend a few minutes reading my thoughts.

      BUT…I can’t spend too much time worrying about that – I didn’t write for them. I write for me. And readers like you 🙂

      It’s tough to blog, but please keep it up!

      Like

  11. totally true! This is why the internet is so awesome, like minded people find each other! sure there are haters there but let’s ignore. It is so powerful to know that others out there ‘get it’ and even if they don’t know you would be pretty happy for you if you achieve some of the same goals they are trying to achieve!

    And I do find it so strange that talking money is so taboo. It is just a means of exchange….Now if our schools would only teach financial management (which I lobby for pretty much at all times and always research at least how to teach my OWN kids about that….mmm maybe Is should start an entry on that).

    and thank you for sharing your story – it helps random people on the internet that actually have real lives and these learning big implications ;).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I began telling a friend how I was interviewed in another blog and as I was telling him I could tell he didn’t care so I abruptly stopped myself mid-sentence. lol.

      I do wish people would talk about it more! But sometimes I cringe when I do hear people talk about their money and they’re making poor money decisions. Most people like that don’t want to hear your two cents so I’m pretty quiet about money unless someone else brings it up.

      Reach me on Twitter anytime you’d like to chat about anything money!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I really love your angle for writing. I am also writing about my personal finances. My husband loves talking about it, and gets called a nerd all the time for it. I look forward to reading more, as we also just bought a car for cash, and have a fully funded emergency fund. Baby steps!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the awesome comment!

      It’s tough because I LOVE talking about money, but even when people start to talk about it I won’t chime in until I can tell they’d be interested. Most of the time people want to think what they think and they don’t want a Know it all like me telling them opposite.

      That’s great wins! I look forward to checking out your blog! It’s been tough to keep up with this blog, let alone check out others, but I promise I’ll look! 🙂

      Like

  13. This blog post was extremely helpful and a person is never too young to understand personal finance and be smart about it. Knowing the importance on saving is something I can relate too and making sure I do not blow money. I also like how you talked about goal setting, I have never thought about that and will probably be something I think about using in the future.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for reading 🙂

      Goals are super important. It’s what makes me try harder when it comes to work and our money. As long as I have something to work for, I’ll be a lot more mindful of what I spend my money on 🙂

      Like

  14. I started my blog to keep myself focused and to be excited about saving money, spending wisely etc. Sometimes I get the feeling that people just nod and smile when I get excited about saving money or paying something off so most of the time I keep it to myself. It’s such a touchy subject for a lot of people so I can definitely see why it could be awkward. I do love reading about people who have mastered personal finance and how it has helped them to move forward so I think you should keep on keeping on and kicking butt!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. My husband and I are in the same boat. We often get “you’re too young to worry about this stuff!” I constantly am reminding people that you’re never too young to worry about how you’ll pay for college, retirement, etc. But then I tell myself in 30 years when we are both retired and living our dreams, they will all still be working, and I’ll sleep well at night knowing we made the sacrifices now to live debt free. But it really can be lonely when you’re not normal in terms of living debt free.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I always look at it from the perspective of an older person (I’m 35). I always think to myself – if I knew what I knew about money now when I was 24 I would be so much better off!

      You have a great perspective! With me, I don’t like to think of it in terms of sacrifices, but choices. Sacrifices means that I’m giving up something today so I can benefit later.

      While that’s definitely true – I like to think of it as I’m making a better choice today so that my family will have a better tomorrow.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I agree, it can be lonely in the real world when it comes to being interested in personal finance. That’s probably why I’ve always loved reading books and magazines on the subject, and now of course blogs and websites. They’re the only places to find others like yourself.

    The people I know would rather talk about their new car, cool vacation, or the remodel they’re doing than how they’re doing for retirement or what strategies they have to save for their kids college. And it’s considered not polite to ask how they’re affording those things. Heck, I discovered that a friend who took his family on an awesome trip to Disney and Universal Studios last year took out a loan to do so. And was apparently on food stamps at the time. So the real answer to “how did you afford that” was “I didn’t.” Great post, keep up the good work!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Taking out a loan for Disneyland? Although it sounds crazy to us, I know a lot of people probably do that. I know someone that funded their vacation on credit cards and will figure out how to pay it later.

      I’m glad that you liked my post! I’ve been slowly working to get back to posting 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I’m with you my friend–money is fun to deal with.

    Since we were children, we were taught that it was wrong to discuss our personal finances with others. After all, “money is a private thing”….But you know what? It shouldn’t be. Why? Because discussion adds value and creates accountability.

    On the other hand, there are those who say that what we do (attempting to maximize personal/family money) is a bad thing. They relate it to Bible verses and say that our “love for money” is evil and produces all sorts of bad things in our world. That may be true, but I’m talking about something else entirely here.

    Imagine that you were a tools guy. You decided to begin spending all of your time with your toolset. You wrote songs to your toolset, dreamed about it, and spent all of your time out in the shed working on this and that so that you could…you guessed it…be with your toolset. That would be bad. Very bad. And weird. You would lose all of your family members, friends, and acquaintances because you decided to exchange them for more time with your tools.

    Now, that sounds crazy, right? But that is the way that some people are about money. They DWELL on it ALL of the time! That is not good. That IS evil and WILL mess you up. You start valuing dollars more than people (even though dollars lose value constantly).

    If we can just realize that money is a tool–a means to an end and not the end itself–and then work together to wield that tool skillfully, then I believe that we will be engaging in a mutually edifying process. Thank you for your writing! Let me know if you would ever like to guest post for The Wise Money Manager!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad to hear it! Just the other day a coworker got weirded out when they found out about my blog. So I’ve learned to keep it to myself for the most part unless I can tell the person would be into this nerdy finance stuff 🙂

      Like

    1. Thanks for the kind words!

      It’s tough – during Thanksgiving there were a few situations where I wanted to get into financial topics but it’s way too sensitive for a lot of people. I overhear conversations of bad financial advice and I just have to bite my tongue…

      I’m a bit on a hiatus until January as I’m taking a 10 week course related to my current job so I don’t have time to write, but I’ll get back on soon! I’m on Twitter and Facebook! I’ll check out your site. Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep! I was the same way for a long time! I used to think I’d figure it out when the time comes.

      Now, I’m getting close to 40, and my daughter’s future is all I think about. My wife and I retiring comfortably would make it so we wouldn’t have to burden my daughter when she’s an adult.

      Like

  18. I hear you bro. I just started blogging to take this issue from a New Zealand perspective but when I saw how few people actually cared (or searched for this issue on Google trends and even on WordPress) I decided I’d start my first series on immigration instead. Sad that personal finance never tends unless people go broke. Your post is a breadth of fresh air. Thanks for keeping it real.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading! Sorry for the late reply as I’ve been on a hiatus. Nowadays I’m all about quality over quantity. I’d rather have a few readers who are really into personal finances than thousands of readers who just peruse my site like they do Facebook.

      Although I’d love a lot of readers lol.

      Like

  19. Same here. My blog also talks about what I do. Not perfect, not all knowing, just the limited that we know. And indeed it sometimes feels lonely but heck continuing the fight and advocacy is worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. nice article you’ve made. this kind of topic should what we need to reverberate around the world. it seems a lot of people out there does not understand the true value of money

    Like

  21. I can totally resonate with you, when it comes to discussing finances! I have also learned not to bring it up or offer opinions unless I am asked. I love how many friends and family have started down this journey since I started my blog, just three weeks ago. I also feel like I am not blogging to brag, but to be informative and inspirational. Good luck in your endeavors, I will be following you!

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  22. Hey Vic,
    I agree with you. People just don’t seem to care much until they hit major financial hurdles. And even then, they often just try to bury their head in the sand and keep doing what they are doing.
    I think the baby boomer generation retiring is going to be an eye-opening experience for many millennials. They are going to watch their parents retire with no money in the bank. They will struggle through lingering debt and live very cheaply on social security.
    My hope is that my generation will see the writing on the wall and get their act together. I do think there is evidence of this happening. Dave Ramsey has increased in popularity a lot over the last couple years. His financial peace university course is taught by the thousands around the country and many millions have changed their financial future because of it.
    Keep talking to those you love and care about. It is frustrating to see them making poor decisions but keep on keeping on, because you can control your own family tree.
    I love talking about finances and I’d be happy to have a dialogue about it if you need someone to chat with!

    Like

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