I never thought I’d be writing about personal finance, let alone be writing about it for over two years. When I started my personal finance site, the intention was solely to track my progress in paying off my $48,000 of student loan debt. I accomplished that in 14 months.
After that success, I felt a little aimless. I still wrote on a site called Dream Beyond Debt. I bought a house. I increased my retirement contributions. I floundered. I started a savings challenge and then lost interest. I considered paying off my mortgage, but didn’t commit. I quit my side hustles and lived off one income stream.
I let weeks go by without posting anything to my site.
For a little while, I had a renewed interest in pursuing freelance writing. Then, once I started pursuing it again, I remembered why I didn’t like to pursue it in the first place. I let that fall aside and focused on filling my emergency fund. It was a little low for my situation. I took it from $5,000 to $10,000 in four months. To do that, I needed to write about it. I needed to process the process, so to speak. And, I needed community.
We all know that Jim Rohn quote, right? He said, “You are the sum of the five people with whom you spend the most time.” Or, there’s the popular notion that if you want to be successful at something, surround yourself with others who are pursing it or already successful at it. Well, one way to do that is to be a part of the personal finance community. Start a blog. Comment on other blogs. Attend events like FinCon or a Chautauqua or a local bloggers’ gathering. It will move you along.
It will provide accountability and encouragement. Without those two things, I don’t know how anyone accomplishes anything.
After paying off the student loan debt and buying a house, I wanted to focus on writing a memoir. I wanted to give more time to my creative writing life. I thought I’d focus more effort on my literary life.
But I can’t let go of personal finance.
It’s because personal finance touches my literary life. Actually, there is not one area of my life that is not touched by personal finance, or money, or the economy. We have to find ways to fund our lives. Like it or not, my creative life is affected by my ability to support it financially. I have to make money in order to pursue my art.
I’m not a big believer in “Do what you love and the money will follow.” I think you have to make a plan for what you love to make money so it can support you. The money will not magically appear.
My debt did not magically disappear.
But, as my debt decreased, my stress levels decreased, as well. As my stress decreased, my interest in my creative work increased. I had the capacity to give it attention. Before, that capacity was filled with worry and fear.
I replaced that worry and fear with accountability and encouragement, and those came from community.
When people ask about how I paid off $48,000 in 14 months, I tell them that my success hinged on three things: 1.) I lowered my big expenses, 2.) I made more money, and 3.) I started a blog.
Blogging about personal finance changed my life.
But, I had to change my life in order to start a blog in the first place.
I had to acknowledge my problem (debt) and seek solutions. I had to take responsibility, because no one was going to fix it for me. In order to fix it myself, I could no longer hide, from the problem or from the world.
I had to put myself out there. I had to reveal myself. I felt incredibly vulnerable.
But in the end, it was okay.
It opened up my life, because I had opened my life to others. We were all interested in making our financial lives better. To do that, you have to make yourself better.
I can’t stop writing about personal finance because I don’t want to stop making myself, and my life, better. I’m fed, professionally and creatively, by the personal finance community. I’m inspired by it.
And I’m always working to fund my adventures. We are all always working to fund our adventures.
I thought I would eventually stop writing about my financial life, but since it fuels my entire life, I’ll stay here and talk dollars. I’m writing, and I’m writing about subject I’ve come to love. I’m writing to people who inspire me, and I hope my work can inspire a few others. It’s not the literary life I thought I wanted, but wants can change. I still want a literary life, but I want it fed by personal finance.