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Friday inspiration: Learning to invest & paying attention to personal finance

Friday inspiration: Learning to invest & paying attention to personal finance

This is part of a series of interviews with people who are either working to improve their financial situation or who have already reached their goals. This week’s interview is with Kevin from No Debt Plan. He is working on becoming more focused on personal finance and investing.

Could you tell us something about yourself?
I’m 24, happily married, and we just had our first anniversary of living in our new home. I’ve been blogging about personal finance since January of this year and am finally starting to see some success come from it. My blog traffic is rising and I’ve got more than 500 RSS subscribers. That number might be small for some, but for me 500 is huge! I’m big into PC gaming and yet, somehow, my wife still loves me. I’m about to upgrade so I can play Left 4 Dead.

In what way have you turned your financial life around? (Or what are you working on changing?)
(Going to answer the 2nd question not the 1st) — I’m currently trying not to get rattled by the economic environment we are in. Stocks plummeting, unemployment rising, some “experts” saying we are in for worse than the Great Depression. Keeping my emotions in check has been a challenge recently. I’m also always working to increase the number of people who read my blog daily.

Can you give a little bit of background on your story? What were things like for you pre-change?
I became interested in personal finance in college. I took a management of finance course and the professor did a lot of teaching about personal finance. My parents got me a subscription to Money Magazine and suddenly I was hooked. The whole “start when you are really young” thing hit me hard and I dove in head first.

Pre-change… well, I’d say I was still pretty focused on saving money before I got really interested in finance. But I didn’t know the depth of possibilities that lay before me.

How much progress have you made?
Substantial… to the point that I’m now blogging about finance, and give advice to friends and family on what to do.

How do you feel about your financial situation right now? (Or how did you feel after reaching your goal?)
I feel good about our current situation, but I don’t want to become complacent. We don’t want to loosen up and have our spending go out of control.

What was the catalyst that caused you to take action?
Fully understanding compounding interest (both negatively — credit card debt — and positively — investing, savings, etc.)

Did you have any setbacks? If so, how did you deal with them?
Happily, not really. I helped my wife set up a budget before we were even engaged. I would say for many saver-mentality folks out there the biggest setback they have is getting their spending-mentality partner on the same page. I was blessed enough not to have to worry about that.

What has been the hardest part of the process?
Well as of late… watching our investments go down, down, down. Typically it is fighting the spendthrift inside of me that wants an HDTV or a new whatever.

The easiest?
Having an understanding, loving partner who is on the same page. Everything that goes right flows from this.

How long has it taken?
It’s an ongoing process. Once we reach one savings or investing milestone, there is another one right around the corner.

What will be your next step?
Continue to blog, continue to build up alternative side-income streams, and continue to save money.

What’s the best financial advice you’ve received?
Spend less than you earn. If you can’t do this simple thing there is no point in having the financial conversation. If you can do this, nothing but success lies ahead.

What inspiration could you give to someone in a similar situation?
Financial inspiration: Sit down with your receipts / account statements. Go through everything. Give every dollar a name. Honestly sit down with yourself and look at where your money is being spent. You can only make changes after you are aware of your situation.

Speaking to blogging: post regularly with quality content. Irregular posting with high quality content won’t succeed. Posting regularly with crap content will also not succeed. You’ve got to have both.

If you would like to be interviewed via email for a future article, please email me at c o m m e n t s (without the spaces) to let me know you’re interested.

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