This is our 8th “Better Know A Blogger” interview. We’ll be posting two per day, except on Saturdays and Sundays, leading up to the 2012 Financial Blogger Conference next month. The purpose of this series is to introduce you to some excellent bloggers from all across the web who are able to shed light on topics ranging from debt to saving money to investing. (Each interview is conducted via e-mail and then published here)
Today’s interviewee is Bob from ChristianPF.com. Enjoy!
You’ve talked about how your debt almost crushed you when you were 20 years old. How did you end up getting out of debt and what recommendations would you give to our readers who are currently trying to accomplish that?
I did a few things – 1. I decided that I was going to make big sacrifices in order to get out of debt quicker, knowing that they were only temporary. This is what most people forget when they are making sacrifices like selling a car, or eliminating fun money, etc. 2. I used milestones to keep me motivated. Using the debt-snowball approach, I had a lot of small victories along the way to being completely debt-free, and I celebrated each of them and that helped me stay motivated to the end.
When someone gets out of debt, that’s a great opportunity to start investing (something you talk about on your blog). Can you explain the most important steps to take when you’re ready to start investing?
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For me, it is knowing your risk-tolerance and knowing your time frame. If you have panic attacks when you see your investment drop by 10%, then tech-stocks aren’t for you. And if you are 25 investing for retirement, you shouldn’t have all your money in a money-market account. For most people, just figuring out their time frame and risk tolerance will really help them narrow down which investments will be right for them.
You started blogging shortly after deciding to get your finances on track. How has your blog evolved over time?
It has been a fun journey, almost 2 years after starting my blog I wrote a post called how to make money blogging that shared my journey and explained how turned it into a full-time income. I was pretty ecstatic at that point, but the blog has continued to grow since that point a few years ago. We now have a team of about 10 writers, have over 27,000 email and rss subscribers, and I couldn’t be more pleased with how things have gone.
Your faith and your desire to give back are underlying themes of your blog. How do these shape your view of personal finance and your goals for your blog?
As the name of my blog suggests, Faith is a big part of it. For me, I see financial freedom not just as a goal that will benefit me, but ultimately many others. As a Christian, I have a Biblical responsibility to serve and give to bless the lives of others. The Bible says, “from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” I see this as an opportunity to master my finances, in order that I will have a lot more money to give away over the rest of my life. When you are in debt up to your eyeballs (like I used to be) it is very hard to give anything because all your money is accounted for, but when you are debt-free, suddenly there is a lot more disposable income that can be used to benefit the lives of others.
You’re attending FinCon this year. What are you most looking forward to? And if you attended last year, what was the most memorable part of the experience?
I had a blast last year and am very excited about this year. I was floored at how good the sessions were last year, and this year is looking to be even better. But my favorite thing from last year and what I am most excited about this year is connecting with all my online buddies. Just spending the weekend around like-minded people is a pretty fantastic experience.
Thank you, Bob!
Have questions for Bob? Post them in the comments below.