As it’s been a couple of years and we have a bunch of old and new friends here on the blog I haven’t had the pleasure to meet yet (👋👋 👋) I thought we should kick things off by re-introducing ourselves and getting the party started :)
I’ll go first, and then I hope you’ll drop a comment down in the comments below so we can get to know you more too!
Let’s do it!
I’m J. Money – real name, of course – and I created this blog in 2008 when I didn’t know much about $$$ except I liked it and really wanted more of it, haha… I was hungry and scrappy and ready to dive right into the world of finance, and my ultimate goal was to be able to call myself a Millionaire one day just because I thought it was cool (smh)…
I even created a club around it that had 200+ members strong :)
A few years later I realized I was a dummy and really what I was after was the *freedom* money gives you vs the money itself (plus – millionaires don’t spend millions, they save it! NOT AS INTERESTING!! lol…), so I started hustling and stashing and consuming everything I could about money, all the while accidentally becoming an entrepreneur and completely changing my life, friends, mindset, career (became a full-time blogger – who knew that was a thing?!), and of course catapulting my finances in the process.
Here’s an extended look at where we last left off on my net worth reporting:
[I used to track and share my net worth every month here for everyone to see for 12+ years… It won’t be coming back at least for now, but I do plan on being just as transparent everywhere else!]
Fast track 14 years later, I’m now a (multi) millionaire, semi-FIRE’d, a daddy of 3 beautiful boys, an online “influencer”, and basically just an overall lover of life. Especially so as I was just recently diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease that attacks my face and tried killing me earlier this year!!!! Okay, well that may be a bit over dramatic, but it definitely woke me up even more to the fragility of things, and now I’m trying to take advantage of this 2nd Life as much as I can.
I’ll be blogging more about this over time to spread awareness, but it’s called Pemphigus Vulgaris and is a blistering disease that affects the mouth, nose, throat, eyes, and even the genitals for some unfortunate folks. (Not me, yet – *gasp!*)
And just a quick PSA before we move on:
If you ever get spontaneous blisters, lesions, cuts, sores or anything else funky in your mouth, be sure to see a DERMATOLOGIST first!
I lived in hell for three months until a doctor finally recommended seeing a Derm, and within one month we not only STOPPED the nasty thing from spreading, but also got an official diagnosis AND treatment plan going as well. A true miracle!! I had no idea dermatologists go into your mouth (even my ENTs couldn’t help me), and had we started there first it would have saved gobs of time and pain and frustration. I couldn’t even swallow my own saliva for a good week and had to be hospitalized, so thank GOD we live in the times and technology we do when it comes to our health – we’d be done in by some of these things just a few decades ago!!
But that’s enough about that – you didn’t come here for blisters 😂
Here’s more about my financial life which I’m sure is of more interest:
- I work online and make anywhere from $20,000-$200,000 a year depending on the year and industry and amount of hustle I put in
- I house all our banking accounts at USAA, and all our investments at Vanguard
- We’re 100% debt-free, including home
- I invest 90%+ of our money in index funds (mainly VTSAX)
- I used to budget religiously, but once I got my cash flow on lock I switched to tracking Net Worth only which I find still holds me accountable and is a lot easier/fun to update ;)
- I’m a big fan of renting vs owning, even though I’m back to owning again
- I max out my IRAs every single year. (Just doing this *one thing* will eventually give you double commas over time!!)
- I’m a long practicing (and often failing) minimalist
- I have a love/hate relationship with Crypto (currently, hate)
- I gladly spend over $5/day on coffee – the true source of all happiness!!
- I’m a sucker for yard sales and thrift shops
- And I’m a believer we all have the power to make daily changes towards a better, healthier, lifestyle – without needing to be FIRE’d yet!! You can start by doing small acts of happiness each and every day for yourself!!
- Oh, and I’m also married and we share finances – with me being the one who manages it all as my wife hates money 🙃
Here’s a little more about my personal life:
- I’m 42 y/o
- A Capricorn
- Daddy of 3 little boys (9, 7, 4)
- Proudly live in the great commonwealth of Virginia
- Collect rare coins and books from my hometown (I’m obsessed with local history!!)
- Have created, sold, shut down, re-acquired dozens of online projects over the years
- Have FAILED a number of times too → Failure Resume
- Won 12 industry awards including Blog of The Year and Lifetime Achievement (hah!)
- Help coach people on money, blogging, fintech, as well as valuing coin collections
- Love blaring hip-hop and more recently bluegrass/folk
- Love mustard on my mac n’ cheese!!
- Have gotten into writing short – RAW – poems about stuff you usually only keep in your head. And it’s frightfully exhilarating! (So long as no one ever sees them!!)
- And last year, at 41, I started skateboarding out of nowhere and it completely amped my happiness… Such a great way to challenge yourself and get a good work out in the process, all the while immersing yourself into a whole new culture and friends and way of life! I don’t exaggerate when I say I feel 20 years younger when I hop on that board and all the stresses of life melt away… Just unbelievable. Though I will say my wallet is not as impressed with my constant overspending now on new Vans/skate gear, haha… But I gotta get my drip on!!!
[Hitting skate park on my 42nd bday!]
For more on me/my money/history of this blog, check out my “about” page: budgetsaresexy.com/about
Why come back to the blog all these years later?
It’s a funny thing, this life… Completely at peace with a decision one day, and then a little seed plants itself in your head and the more you water it the more it grows into something even more beautiful than you originally gave it credit for.
I wasn’t planning on buying back the blog, but one thing led to another and the opportunity was too good to pass up. Both in terms of financials (I bought it for much less than I sold it for), but also for the chance at another go of being creative again and maximizing my talents and joy.
And unlike the first time around, I’ve already capitalized on everything I originally set out to do, so now I can just chill and have fun and truly make this a side project without all the pressure to succeed!
I just gotta make sure I don’t get SUCKED into it all again!! :)
Here’s a list of all the reasons I sold the blog when I did, and then my thoughts on where we are with it today:
Freedom – In 2019 freedom was one of the most important things to me so I could reset and explore new ventures, and I’d say for the most part it worked. I built out a couple of new projects (All-Star Money, PF Swagger), schemed on a few others that remained in my head, and then after a year or so kinda got complacent and couldn’t find anything to work on that REALLY moved me. Which is typically the problem I have these days – lots of extra time but nothing worthy enough to spend it on! Until now!
Opportunity – This was also a biggie – finding the *right* company and *right* people and *right* terms to be able to hand over the blog. And the opportunity that The Motley Fool brought with its culture and vision aligned too perfectly to pass up… I never fully trusted other organizations during talks, and I knew it would be in good hands with them or at least not implode as so many do! And as I mentioned on Monday’s post, they were indeed great stewards 👍
Identity – What happens when the ONE MAIN THING everyone knows you from is your blog, and then you’re not there anymore and go away?! Do you fade into oblivion?? Do all your friends and experiences and street cred go out the window?! Of course not! But MAN is it a scary thing to test when you pull the trigger!!! Haha… I’ve spent literally more than 1/4th of my life with this blog so I didn’t know what would happen or how it would feel once I was away from it all… Obviously I survived and all was well in the world, but it was a good thing to test and know for sure.
Collaboration – After years running projects by yourself, you start missing other people and teams. And the Fool offered me a salaried gig to stay on to consult and help them build out All-Star Money, so I was able to easily transition into something else fun and new, while at the same time being part of a team again and it worked out nicely… Though I will admit there were a few times where it sucked not being The Boss and being able to make some of the bigger decisions you thought were right ;) But that’s the trade-off of working with others and being an “employee” again! Can’t have it all!
Capitalization – We kinda already hit on this, but I basically wanted to capture ALL the hard work I’ve spent on the blog over my life, especially as the stats were relatively high at the time in case it crashed later! lol, so selling towards the peak was the ultimate way to capitalize on everything while setting up my family better for the future as well. And since I constantly think about death and the point of life and blah blah blah, it was also nice to be able to take this off the plate of my family in case anything *did* ever happen to me as they’d have no idea how to keep the blog running or sell it, etc. So selling was basically a nice way to wrap everything up with a pretty red bow on top :)
Change – I was also getting burnt out back then, and honestly just tired of talking about myself all the time , haha… It was time to shake things up!
Financials – And then of course there was the $$$… And while I never did prioritize it over the content and mission of this site, I did do enough to at least make a living off it and get mid 6 figures out of the deal. Which I then turned around and invested, of course, so that the mid 6 would turn into higher 6 one day!! Something I very much considered when I was working through the deal :) “If I did NOTHING for years my money would double — orrr — I can keep blogging 40 hours a week and probably make the same amount of money?” – HAH! And as we now know looking back, those 2019-2021 years sure were good to us…
And then lastly, selling was the ultimate Minimalist Challenge – There’s a lot of things you can get rid of in life and be fine, but letting go of one of the most important things to you (at least at one time) is a whole other thing. And I REALLY wanted to see if I could do it! And true to the written word, it was perfectly fine and not nearly as big a deal as it looked peering in. In fact, it even reinforced the idea that you don’t need to *own* a thing in order to *enjoy* it! When I continued writing for the blog under the new management I experienced just as much joy as if it were mine! And possibly even more since I was getting paid more reliably and didn’t have to deal with any of the hassles of ownership! Lol… So definitely proud of myself for this one and glad I got to put it to the test :)
Now onto Round II and seeing what we learn!!
And that’s all about me, my money, and some blog background…
Share some fun facts about yourself – where you live, how long you’ve been reading the blog, how you manage your money, what stage of FIRE you’re in – and whatever else helps us get to know you more!
Even if we already know you, still share, as so much has changed in the past 14 years and we’re constantly evolving!
And to all new people here I haven’t personally met yet, I hope you’ll stick around and see if you enjoy my style or not :) Some say it’s an acquired taste, but I do like to have as much fun as 5am Joel does even if I’m not *as* cheery, haha… But I will curse more and get feisty, so buyer beware!
Alright, lots of fun things ahead… See you in the comments 👊
Killer resources and apps:
- Best Budget Templates & Spreadsheets (FREE)— The best free budget templates from around the community! Including the ones I use :)
- Personal Capital* (FREE) — A great app to track your investments and net worth. You can see an in-depth review we did here from a millionaire who checks it daily 😂
- You Need a Budget (YNAB)* (FREE TRIAL, then $14.99/mo or $98.99/year) — One of the BEST budgeting methods in the space, with new users saving $600 on avg their first two months, and more than $6,000 over their first year! Check out my friend Vic’s review of YNAB here that went on to completely change his finances 💪
- Digit (FREE 6 mo. Trial, then $5/mo) — This is one of my favorite apps for automatically saving money, and I even came on board as an advisor I believed in them so much! You can see my full review on Digit here.
- Acorns* ($3-$5/mo) – Similar to Digit, this app helps you automatically INVEST money by rounding up all your transactions to the nearest dollar and then investing it right away for you. My full review of Acorns can be found here.
- Honey (FREE) — By far my favorite coupon service out there! Click the Honey button any time you're about to buy something online, and BOOM - any discounts it finds will be automatically applied at checkout. You can see my write up on them here.
- Credit Karma* (FREE) — An easy way to check and monitor your credit score AND report! See my full review of these guys here.
- My Favorite Blogs + Books < -- Click here to see all my other recommendations!