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As regular readers know, I read a lot of personal finance and other blogs. I decided to share my top five money reads and tell you why I loved them.
It's impossible to find the time to read all the great bloggers out there. I rely on curator sites like Rockstar Finance, The Financial Diet, and The Money Mix to find much of my content. Each of these three sites has a unique way of curating content.
They are great resources for those wanting to narrow their search for good personal finance articles. However, the sites offer much more than finance content.
Rockstar, for example, has a directory of bloggers, financial advisors, and other resources to help.
The Financial Diet has categories covering money talk, career, in the kitchen, college, and living.
The Money Mix includes feeds from MarketWatch, Forbes, and other news outlets. Also, their front page has feeds from bloggers with their most recent content.
If you're looking for resources to find great content, I'd suggest bookmarking these three sites and coming back to them often. Or better yet, sign up to receive fresh content delivered straight to your inbox.
With that, here are my top five money reads and why I loved them.
Get Rich Slowly
Get Rich Slowly is one of my favorite blogs. He's in my Top Ten List of the most influential blogs. J.D. Roth, the author of Get Rich Slowly, started his blog back in 2006. He later sold it and recently repurchased it. He's now back to doing what he loves – writing great content and helping others better their financial lives.
The article below, Spending Rate Versus Savings Rate, made my list for several reasons. First, J.D. takes a different approach to saving and spending money in this discussion. Most bloggers are passionate about reducing or eliminating debt. J.D. challenges that approach.
He says that debt reduction and savings are side effects of good financial habits. If a person increases their income and reduces spending, they will get out of debt. He contends that the two things we can control are our income and spending; that we don't directly control our saving. He says that rises or fall based on the other two factors.
I know many would vehemently argue this point. Those who advocate for automatic savings would say that's the way to take control. And that's the typical view I see in the blogging community. That's why I like J.D. He isn't afraid to challenge “conventional” wisdom. His arguments are sound and well constructed.
He offers practical, actionable advice in most all of his articles. This one is no exception. For example, he provides simple formulas for calculating your savings and spending rates. He closes the article with practical tips on how to control what you can control.
I hope you enjoy this as much as I do.
For years, I've argued that your saving rate is the most important number in personal finance. ‘Saving rate' in the world of personal finance is the same as profit in the world of business. We all understand that a company needs to earn a profit in order to grow and thrive, but what most people fail to realize is that people need profit too.
The Finance Twins
The Finance Twins is a blog run by identical twin brothers Camilo and Francisco Maldonado. Their background is what makes their story and this blog so unique. They grew up in Colombia. When they came to America, they ended up in Minnesota. They lost their dad after a long battle with cancer when they were age 7. Their mom raised them and another brother as a single parent. They grew up poor. Both started working when they were fifteen years old to help mom with the bills.
Their education is another part of their remarkable story. Camilo left Minnesota to attend the University of Penn Wharton School of business. They offered a free ride to any student who met the schools' academic standards and whose family made less than $100,000 a year. That means Camilo got an Ivy League education for free!
And as good as that sounds, he experienced problems at school. You see, he was poor. And he was a minority, two things that made him stand out at the university. In the article below, Camilo talks about the challenges he faced, primarily based on his feelings of insecurity about his financial status. Because of his poverty; he couldn't go out to dinner with classmates to celebrate a birthday or any other event. He made up reasons rather than admitting he didn't have money.
Academics were his strong suit. As a result, he excelled in school. He went on to Harvard to get his MBA. His first job out of Harvard was at a premier investment bank in New York that came with a six-figure salary. That's right. His first job after college paid him over $100,000. You'd think life was all good after that.
Read about what he learned and how that has shaped the person he is today. It's indeed an inspiring story.
The Finance Twins is run by identical twins, Camilo and Francisco Maldonado. While The Twins collaboratively work on most articles, this one was written by Camilo. Being an identical twin, I got used to standing out a little more than the average person.
Scott runs the blog MakingMomentum. Scott lives and works in Toronto (beauty, eh?). Sorry I couldn't resist. And I'm sure I'll be corrected that I have the wrong part of Canada for that cliche'. Even so, I know Scott has a good sense of humor and will be OK with it.
Anyway, back to his blog.
Scott is one of the more creative bloggers in the personal finance space. He teaches us how to make and save money. He publishes a weekly roundup every Saturday and an interview series that includes a diverse group of people.
The post I've chosen is a reflective post from Scott of the things he feels he's fallen short of achieving. What I loved about this post was the emphasis on balance. Many working toward a long-term goal (financial independence, retirement, etc.) sacrifice so much to get there they forget they have a life to live between now and then. Scott challenges himself to check his balance to make sure he's doing both. He calls this guilt-free spending.
He offers three other areas where he feels he can improve. I'm not going to tell you what those are. You'll have to go to the article to read them.
I will say the list caused me to reflect on where my wife and are in our journey. Though we review regularly, I think we tend to focus more on the numbers than other things that are equally important. Scott's post was a good reminder about balance.
And in Northern Virginia, balance is something often missing from the equation.
Thanks, Scott for the great reminder.
Making momentum with your money and life is themed in the framework of compounding small wins to continue to move forward. Therefore, I need to be honest when I'm coming up short in certain areas and not pushing ahead as best possible.
The Rich Miser
I recently met Miguel and Lily in Orlando at FinCon, a conference for personal finance bloggers and money nerds. I guess I fit somewhere in there.
Miguel and Lily live in Miami via Puerta Rico. They run the blog The Rich Miser. Both are lawyers and both contribute to the blog. Each has a unique writing style. Lily's posts tend to be more personal and fall into the category of Richer Living. I would say this is her sweet spot. She has articles with a finance focus too.
Miguel, on the other hand, writes about all things personal finance. The competition (loving, of course) comes when one of Lily's articles outpaces one of Miguel's. I know the feeling, Miguel. I had my wife write an article about decluttering our house that is the most read article on my blog.
The post I've chosen is a unique post with six dining rewards programs to reduce the costs of going out to dinner. Did you know there is a rewards network? I didn't. It's a free program that allows you to sign up and get rewards points when you eat at participating restaurants. You'll also learn about credit card programs designed for restaurants, Open Table rewards programs and more.
Like many of you, we try to limit the number of times we go out to eat. That expense can add up pretty quickly. It's nice to know when we do go out; there are ways to save money or get rewards that are as good as cash.
I always appreciate learning new ways to save money or earn rewards. I found that in the post.
Yes, you can stack them if you find a place where all six apply! And, they're all passive programs – once you sign up, you have to do little or nothing to get your rewards at local restaurants; no clipping coupons or doing all sorts of work beforehand.
Money with a Purpose
And last but not least, I'll offer you one of the posts from my blog, Money with a Purpose. Remember when I told you that my most popular blog post was one I didn't write? Well, I'm putting my ego aside and sharing that with you below.
I'm very proud of my wife, Cathy. She convinced me (another word might fit here) that we needed to declutter. In essence, we're getting rid of stuff we don't need or use anymore. Let me confess something to you at this point. Both my parents were pack rats. That's right; they saved everything they ever got. Here's a smooth technique my mother used to get rid of stuff she couldn't bring herself to discard.
When Cathy and I would visit, mom always had a stack of stuff (sometimes small, sometimes not so much) that she said Cathy “might be able to use.” Haha! Translation – I can't bring myself to throw it away, so if I give it to you I can say it went to a good cause. I'm serious. She did this for years. It was the standing joke in our house.
After a long period resisting decluttering, I finally agreed (again, another description might fit here). And I confess. It wasn't that bad. It was pretty fun. I'm amazed at the things people will buy. It's everything from a wicker basket for $3, to our road bikes, which we sold for around $1,000. When it was all said and done, she raised over $3,000 during the last seven months or so. She did it slowly and carefully. The article below reveals how and where she does it. My wife is very detailed. She doesn't leave much to the imagination.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I and everyone else did.
Today's post offers five tips to get top dollar when decluttering. The author of this post is my wife, Cathy. So far this year, she's made over $3,000 by decluttering (getting rid of) stuff in the house we no longer use. She's the brains and the organizer for these types of projects.
Well, that's my list. It was a lot of fun putting it together. It was even more fun reading and learning from these great writers.
I hope you will visit these great blogs and support their efforts. All of us write to have an impact on our readers. We hope we can simplify complicated financial concepts and introduce you to real-life stories that show how other people use them in their own lives.
Thank you for reading. And please. Let me know if you enjoyed these articles. Let me know what blogs you read. I'm always interested in great content from great writers.