Collections of Collections

One of my favorite things about collecting coins is that they all have their very own personal history.

First, in regard to their original minting and place in our country’s story, but also in the different places they’ve traveled and hands they’ve passed through over the years – all coming together to eventually land in my very own collection in my very own home!

So in effect, my collection of coins is really a collection of *everyone else’s* coins, that I just so happened to put together and now claim as *my own* collection.

I find that so cool :)

And like a true nerd, I document where each of these coins have come from too (the “provenance”) to always pay tribute to their origins. I just counted, and almost 54% of my coins came from other collections! With the rest coming from dealers or shops or places like Ebay where the provenance is long lost (they rarely note it unless it comes from a famous collector, so all that lineage up to that point gets erased with history :( )

This “Collection of collections” can be found in a multitude of other areas as well.

The things in your home, the books on your shelf, even your circle of friends! They come from all different places and walks of life, which you’ve collected and formed into your very own group of friends :)

This is the same with knowledge too. Take, financial knowledge for example. Did everything you learn come from one central person or place or book in your life? Of course not. It was accumulated over the years by different people at different stages in your life. “A collection of advice,” if you will!

Here’s a breakdown of my own financial roots and the people responsible for them:

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Frugality — My mother! Having raised a family of 5 on a meager military paycheck, it was not only a necessity to stretch her dollars as far as she could, but she also found immense joy from finding deals and shopping second hand. Something also very much passed down to me through her genes :) Here’s an interview I once did with her that captures a bulk of her philosophy on money: Interview w/ My Mom Who Just Found Out She Can Retire Anytime She Wants.

Retirement investing — My dad. Another person who’s been hugely influential in my life, outside of literally creating me! From day 1 of starting my first job he preached signing up to the company 401(k), and while it took a few years for me to finally listen to good ol’ Pops, I finally did and the momentum only grew from there. And since retirement accounts are hidden behind a bunch of rules and fees, they’re much harder to pull from and thus the only route for them to go is UP over time! No touchy, more growy!!

no touching arrested development

Debt — Mom and Dad. Whose favorite line was, “don’t put anything on your card you can’t pay off!” Which most times I listened to pretty well, but there were certainly others where my eyes were bigger than my wallet :) Still, without their early persistence it wouldn’t have become such a strong compass in my life which I’m forever grateful for.

Net Worth Tracking — Jonathan from My Money Blog – the very first blog I read! Many of you know my story of buying a home on a whim with no money down or no real financial knowledge back in 2007, so when I Googled “how to budget” I was surprised to find so many places sharing their financial journeys and how they saved, invested, paid off debt, etc. One of these places I ended up getting hooked on was My Money Blog who did something I’d never seen done in the history of my life – share a real life net worth!! I was GLUED!!!! Sure we talk about money with our peers and family, but never do we *really* talk about money. And no way would we ever share our actual numbers.

Seeing this from Jonathan was an epiphany for me, not only for my own finances (I started tracking my own net worth from that point forward – going on 15 years in a row now!), but eventually leading me to start this blog and completely changing my life/friends/career and best of all – my mindset. All because one person decided to share their most intimate financial details with the world. So thanks dude!! And his blog is still around too, btw, if you’re interested in checking it out – he covers a lot of immediate news going on which is super helpful, esp since people like me don’t :) –> MyMoneyBlog.com

(And btw – your net worth is a “collection of collections” too! A collection of savings, a collection of investments, a collection of debts – all combined to give you your collective financial snapshot! Heyoooo!)

Early Retirement / FIREERE Jacob and Mr. Money Mustache. The first people who a) taught me FIRE was even “a thing”, but more importantly b) SHOWED us how it can be done by sharing their own journeys with the community. I had already been blogging for a number of years before they even came on the scene, but as soon as they did it opened up a whole new world for me (and challenge!) and I’ve been soaking it up ever since. No more was I just chasing money so I can one day call myself a millionaire because “it’s cool,” but there was actually a *point* to it all! And a number I could work towards! Plus it’s always fun to just use the fire emojis. 🔥🔥🔥

MinimalismLeo Babauta. One of the original minimalist bloggers on the scene, whose book, “The Power of Less” hit me at the exact right time in my life (when I started making more money and tempted to use it for more and bigger and better things!). Then mix in Joshua Becker and The Minimalists, and countless hours of free time, energy, money!, and of course *freedom* opened up. One of the best things I’ve ever focused on to this day, and something I *still* work hard towards daily as Lord knows I still have a ways to go in some departments… Namely, around my kids 🙃

(Though I did have an epiphany this week while decluttering – if you can get rid of areas where things naturally want to accumulate – like baskets or ledges or shelves, etc – then they magically won’t! My wife keeps bringing home more and more storage units, but I keep telling her that only encourages MORE STORING!! If you get rid of the storage, you get rid of the STUFF that tries to go into it! You still need to find *a place* for that stuff, but at least you keep the areas around you clean and tidy.)

the power of less

Index InvestingJL Collins and The Dough Roller Podcast. I credit the Dough Roller podcast first because it was on that show that it struck me I should finally do something about my haphazard investing strategies… Rob had asked me how I invest and why, and like a stuttering fool I had to admit that I really didn’t know. My investing up to that point was more like a hodgepodge of ideas from “investing in what I love and use” to “copying Warren Buffett” and a half dozen other strategies I had read about and thought sounded smart over the years.

So the next few weeks after recording the show I started paying more attention to what all my blogger friends where doing (i.e. my “circle of trust!”) and it was immediately clear how a majority of them invest: through index funds. And in particular, total market funds with Vanguard. Then after devouring JL Collins’ stock series and peppering him with a million questions, I knew it was the right move for me too so I cashed out of alllll my random baskets of funds (many with insane admin fees!) and went “all in” with VTSAX.

You can read more how it all went down here:

Lifestyle Design — I can’t really pinpoint *one* person who started me down this path, it was more a collective of different bloggers out there, but I can say Derek Sivers and David Cain of Raptitude are the ones influencing me these days. Always getting me to think – and challenge! – what I’m doing and why, and if it all aligns with what I say I want out of life. Highly recommend both of them, as well as a little Tim Ferriss too if you’re just starting out in your journey (he’s a bit “much” for some, but I think he can be a good jolt for those who really need one!). His book, “The 4-Hour Work Week” really opened my eyes years ago and helped me realize there is more than one path to live out there! We just gotta be brave enough to go after it!

derek sivers books

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So basically the first half of my financial foundation was shaped mainly by my parents (how to save, stay away from debt, start investing), and the second half was influenced by the blogging community (tracking net worth, FIRE, minimalism, mindset).

Pretty cool… My collection of knowledge!

A fun exercise to go down too if you’ve never thought about where your own roots came from… We may think of our beliefs as *our own* now, but they all originated somewhere! And we should be so thankful for them!!

So thanks everyone listed above, as well as those reading this right now. Without this blog I’d be half as interesting or successful with things, and I certainly wouldn’t be as good looking ;) Y’all are constantly pushing me to be better and I appreciate it!

Here’s to more collecting 🙌

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9 Comments

  1. Joe September 5, 2022 at 10:03 AM

    I’d add J Money to this list. He made me realize talking about money can be fun and engaging. It doesn’t have to be boring. I’m seriously glad to read your voice again.

    Reply
    1. J. Money September 6, 2022 at 7:05 AM

      Thanks Joe – awfully kind of you to say so :)

      Reply
  2. Impersonal Finances September 6, 2022 at 1:11 AM

    Dude I love the Dough Roller podcast! I learned a lot about relatively nuanced financial topics from Rob’s matter-of-fact yet oddly captivating delivery. I never see anybody mention it, but Rob’s book Retire Before Mom & Dad is up there on my list of personal finance book recs. Unsung hero!

    Also, I agree with Joe!

    Reply
    1. J. Money September 6, 2022 at 7:11 AM

      Haha… just Googled it and the cover has a pied piper making all his dollars follow him 😂 Looks promising already!

      Reply
  3. Liz September 6, 2022 at 7:36 AM

    I get my love of everything bagels from my grandpa. Because they were made last with all the left over toppings they were the freshest. Plus you got all the toppings by buying just 1 bagel. Plenty of other depression era frugality was passed down from all of my grandparents. My dad’s uncle had a candy store, and at holidays we’d have all the ‘Seconds’ aka imperfect pieces. Ends of or broken ribbon candy, less than perfectly covered chocolates. Tastes the same…but available at a discount. Plenty of lessons all around.

    Reply
    1. J. Money September 6, 2022 at 8:55 AM

      I feel like I just stepped into a black and white movie, haha… Love it. Thanks for sharing :)

      Reply
  4. Jim September 6, 2022 at 10:43 AM

    Great post J, nice of you to pay ‘homage’ to your parents, I’m sure they are quite proud of you. Love your stuff J, been a long-time reader!

    Reply
    1. J. Money September 6, 2022 at 11:44 AM

      Appreciate you 🙏 🙏

      Reply
  5. nxventure September 7, 2022 at 4:02 AM

    As always, very interesting post, I realy enjoy your blog. I always check your site for new articles!

    Reply

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