This article contains affiliate links.
Three weeks ago my son discovered Pokemon. It derailed my grand Summer of Math plan. At first I tried to ignore Pokemon, but I soon learned that wasn’t going to work.
Instead, I did the exact opposite, I embraced the phase. I evolved from Magikarp to Gyarados. I went to the library and got a this Pokemon guide/directory. My 4 and 5 year old are now teaching themselves dictionary skills as they look up various Pokemon and their abilities.
The lesson here is simple: Ignoring a problem doesn’t make it go away. Embracing it can be an opportunity to learn and grow.
Right now you are reading the money blog that I started in April, 2006. I didn’t know where the blog would go, but I knew I didn’t want to get down to my last few dollars like I did with the dot-com bust. I knew I wanted a strong Plan B (and C an D) in case software engineering jobs continued to get outsourced to foreign countries.
Today, I can look back and say there were a lot of pieces of the puzzle. I started tracking my net worth (first with a spreadsheet, then with Personal Capital. That forced me keep my spending in check as I wanted to see that number grow every month. There were other factors, the greatest being marrying well. There was a lot of good luck as well, even if some of that was just avoiding disastrous bad luck.
However, everything started with one initial spark. I saw a few blogs where people wrote about money. I decided why not give that a try? I quickly realized something that I that I had forgotten:
The best way to learn is by doing.
By pressuring myself to write about money every day, I had to some up with something to write about. Some people lose weight by making food journals. Starting a money blog is your food journal. (If you are looking for a cheap, easy place to get started, Bluehost can help you out.)
Maybe I’m living up to my Lazy moniker, but I often find that I get excited about something and then forget about it as life “happens.” After all, even though most people don’t think I work, I’m always busy with a number of things.
This is where the “two months” comes into play. In about 2 months, the biggest personal finance blogger conference is happening: Fincon 2018. That’s enough time to establish a yourself as a blogger. It’s also around the time when the initial excitement of starting a blog seems to wear off. It’s really the only place where you can meet face-to-face with more than a thousand of people who are (more or less) like you.
Finally, if you book the conference now, you’ll lock yourself into blogging consistently until then. It’s a little like committing to running a race. Whether, it’s a 5K, half marathon, or marathon you’ll have created a goal in the future.
I will be the first to admit that going to Fincon is not cheap. Between tickets, flight, and hotel, it can add-up quite a bit. It certainly isn’t for everyone. Personally, I’ve been to every one except for the one where I stayed home to see my son being born. This year, the whole family is going, and we’ll celebrate his 6th birthday in Orlando. Do you think we’ll find any fun things for kids down there ;-)?
As I wrote in the beginning, this article has affiliate links. Roughly 10,000 of them, give or take several thousand. That means that if you click on pretty much anything other than the Summer of Math article (or how I keep myself busy) and decide it is a good service that you’d like to try, I’ll get a little money. That includes even the free Personal Capital service. However, I honestly believe that if you track your finances, start a money blog, and network with other money bloggers, it will put you on the right path to improving your finances.
I can’t think of a single personal finance blogger who has seen their financial lives get worse since they’ve started blogging. In a dozen years, I’ve probably talked with several hundred personal finances bloggers.
I feel that’s a very strong percentage and great odds at success.