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From the moment I started reading personal finance blogs I was hooked. It was in 2013 and I had just gotten married to Mrs. Widget. We decided to combine our finances and I was a little out of my league when it came to planning for the future of our family. We decided to meet with a “financial advisor” and there were some things he was telling us that, to use an engineering term, “didn’t pass the eye test.”
As an engineer I frequently review analyses and designs for products. During this review process I evaluate whether or not the analyses make sense or if the designs will work. Applying this process to our meeting with the financial advisor, my intuition told me that something didn’t seem right and therefore, did not make “Engineering Cents.”
One of the first topics the financial advisor raised was life insurance, specifically whole life insurance. Without realizing it I began applying the Engineering Cents Financial Decision Process. I identified the problem, of whether we should be investing in whole life insurance, and then began researching this issue.
During the course of my life insurance research, I read posts by financial bloggers and stumbled upon several by The White Coat Investor that piqued my interest. I consider myself a logical person and everything the good Dr. was saying appeared highly logical and was contrary to what our financial advisor had told us. I will go into more detail about this experience in a future post, but long story short we ended the relationship with this person.
This experience made me highly skeptical of the financial advisor industry. Don’t get me wrong, I am certain there are many advisors out there that genuinely want to do nothing more than help people achieve their financial goals. However, at the time I felt too ignorant to be able to trust another advisor and began doing my own research on financial topics.
One of the first topics I started researching was net worth. That is when I found posts by Sam over at Financial Samurai. If there is one person I can point to that convinced me to give this a go it would be him. I turned to his posts as a starting point for my research on my financial topics and in a recent post he stated that 97 percent of people wouldn’t take action. I wanted to be part of the 3 percent!
This endeavor has been a long time in the making, so in order of significance, here are the reasons I decided to start a personal finance blog.
1. To Help Others
This is easily numero uno. Helping others is very important to me. Whether it be a colleague at work, my wife (she helps me more), or a stranger on the street, I get the most fulfillment out of life from helping another person with something. I have been very fortunate in life so I feel a sense of responsibility to help others that have not had the same circumstances.
I have spent a lot of time over the past several years researching various financial issues, having learned many lessons along the way. Most of these lessons I only learned by making mistakes. If I can help just one person avoid a mistake with an insight from something I have experienced then this blog is a success.
2. To Leave a Legacy
Baby Widget was born this year and it has been a great experience so far. One of the things I have enjoyed is watching her experience everything for the first time. While I think this is amazing, I also find myself thinking about all of the things I will need to teach her so she can avoid some of the mistakes I have made. These lessons will help give her a solid financial future. Things such as creating a budget or how to save and invest. I will of course enjoy teaching her many of these things, but I also worry that I will miss something.
Leaving a record of my experiences to my children is something that is very important to me. I know there are things they will need to learn on their own but I want to set them up for success as best I can.
3. To Learn
The personal finance blogosphere is full of awesome people with a ton of knowledge. There’s a great saying that states “If you are the smartest person in the room, then you are in the wrong room.” I have always sought out opportunities to work with brilliant people throughout my career, pushing myself to learn as much as I can and to continue to grow as an engineer.
By creating my own blog, I hope to continue to push myself to learn more about a wide variety of financial topics. It also provides the opportunity to connect with the inspiring and knowledgeable people in the personal finance blogging community. The great thing about this community is there is no shortage of intelligent people to seek out and learn from.
4. To Challenge Myself
Prior to meeting Mrs. Widget, most of my free time was spent relaxing and playing video games. In other words, when I was not at work I was not very productive. Recently, I have started feeling a lack of accomplishment if I am not being productive on the weekends. This feeling led me to look for a new challenge or hobby in which I can invest my time and feel productive (producing some side hustle income wouldn’t hurt either).
With no prior experience running a website or a business, I look forward to challenging myself to learn all there is to know about both.
5. To Make Money
Making money is a distant reason to the others. Money is important, it helps us achieve our goals and for me it is also a way to help others. So far I have learned that the time and effort to start a website/blog is not trivial (giant understatement). Because I intend to invest substantial time in this blog, it would be nice to make some money from my efforts.
My initial goal is to recoup the initial investment and cover the yearly operating expenses. Maybe this will take a year or two, but I am in no hurry and willing to put in the effort. I will be posting monthly or quarterly updates on how the site is doing financially.
So there they are, the five main reasons I decided to start a blog. I have wanted to start one for a while and am glad I finally got around to it. This is definitely a challenge that I am excited to face head on. Hopefully some of you will be able to relate to and learn from my experiences and challenge me to learn and grow even more. I look forward to meeting and interacting with many new people in the personal finance community!
Readers, what are some of the reasons you started a website or blog? Have your reasons changed over time? Leave a comment below!