Subscriber Swap Saturday: One on One with No Debt Plan

One on One with J. MoneyWelcome to Subscriber Swap Saturday! The basic idea here is to get the subscribers of one blog to subscribe to the other blog for at least a week, just to try it out. If after a week you don’t find that blogger’s content enticing – then just drop it like it’s hot.

The main hope here is that over time you’ll find several writers you weren’t familiar with who provide some meaningful content to ya. Of course, you’ll only see one writer here on Budgets are Sexy since I’m interviewing the creator of it, but you get the point ;) You can bookmark the link for future Saturdays though! You can read more about Subscriber Swap Saturday at his get out of debt blog, and you can read his interview with me here.

No Debt Plan is about getting and staying out of debt with a plan. Kevin, the author, is passionate about budgeting, saving for the future, and using goals to reach financial freedom. You can subscribe to his blog by RSS or email. Here are his answers to my bloggy questions!

1: What would you say your 3 favorite things about blogging are?
Kevin: Easy! Helping others, sharing knowledge of my passion, and making money. It’s a great combination. I’m not making a ton of money, but it is nice to be rewarded after a year plus worth of posts.

2. You seem to know a lot about cutting back debt and keeping it off. Do you work in the financial sector during your “real” job?

Kevin: Absolutely not. It’s a myth that you need to work in finance or business to understand money. I work as a recruiter in the IT staffing industry. I sit at a desk all day and try to put job seekers together with company’s hunting for workers. I started from scratch with understanding finance. My Dad got me a subscription to Money Magazine and I lucked out with a great Intro to Finance course in college. The simple math of investing X dollars for Y years at Z return = millions of dollars… that really got me hooked into learning more.

3. What is your all-time favorite financial vehicle (or product)?
Kevin: Wow. A very interesting question. I really have never thought of which one was my favorite… they all play a role. Savings accounts are great especially when you earn a decent rate. Stocks and mutual funds are interesting, but you aren’t in much control of that. I’m very tempted to say credit cards because they work wonderfully for us, but I can’t… too many people have been burned by them.

How about the 30-year mortgage? I’ve written in the past that I think a 30-year mortgage trumps a 15-year mortgage. Many people disagree with me, and I understand why. The 15-year is by far the less expensive option. But if you take the 30-year and pay it like it was a 15, the results are very similar plus you get a little bit of added flexibility in your payment. That is, if you had to stop the extra payments you could. It would only save you a few hundred dollars per month, but every little bit counts if you get into a financial pinch.

4. How about your least favorite?
Kevin: It’s a tie between adjustable rate mortgages and whole life insurance. I can’t decide which one I hate the most. ARMs are terrible ideas all around. You’re basically hoping to move or refinance before it resets. That ties into the whole thought process of housing prices never go down. And we’ve all learned how true that is.

Whole life insurance is just flat out stupid. I don’t care what the pitch is. It’s stupid. When you run the math and calculate all of the fees involved you end up earning 2-3% per year at the best. You are much better off getting an incredibly inexpensive term life insurance policy and investing the difference elsewhere.

5. Every now and then I allow myself to slide and spend $ on some pretty stupid stuff. What sorta “stuff” would someone catch you picking up?
Kevin: I read this question out loud to my wife and she went “Pfft, nothing! You don’t spend money on anything.”

While that is awfully nice of her and somewhat true, I do splurge occasionally. I recently bought a Blackberry Storm when we renewed our contract. I don’t need it, but it’s a cool device. (Plus I hope to be running a business sometime soon where a Blackberry will come in quite handy.) People might also catch me snagging some PC games or upgrading my desktop equipment (for PC gaming). This isn’t constant — every few years or so on the hardware — but I do splurge on it.

Oh, and I do have a 1978 BMW sitting in my garage that I plan to work on once I finish my MBA. I just don’t have time for it now.

6. You often write about getting a good budget in order. Is it fair to assume that you also find the budget sexy? ;)
Kevin: Uh, yes. Quite sexy doesn’t begin to touch it. Budgets are incredible. If people would take the time to sit down for a few hours… just once… and look at their spending… I guess I just feel like that would be enough for many people to realize they have a problem.

Don’t get me started on Excel spreadsheets and FV (future value) calculations. Oh snap!

7. Do you ever think about finance so much that you sometimes question your sanity? (don’t worry, I do all the time)
Kevin: I’m glad to hear you question my sanity all the time ;)

I do think about finances a lot… not in a brooding, I MUST HAVE MORE type of way. I feel like I am more aware of our financial goals than most people are. (Primarily because most people don’t have financial goals.) So I don’t spend my time going out and partying. The cost isn’t worth the benefit to me.

8. What bands/music are you currently listening to?
Kevin: I listen to a lot of music on Pandora. I have a Christian station set up that plays a lot of Casting Crowns and Chris Tomlin. The second station I have setup plays Coldplay, John Mayer, and similar artists.

Thanks for the honest & fun answers my friend! And remember, you can check out my interview over at No Debt Plan.

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