This is our sixth “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 Dave from DebtBlackHole.com. Enjoy!
You are a proud geek and financial blogger, which I think is a great combination. How does that influence your writing and your blog?
Many Geeks spend their money and time differently than most people. While retirement, investing and other personal finance subjects are things most Geeks know are important- they’re not the center of our universe. Sure, I have typical investments, but I also invest in action figures, autographs, comic books, art and props. I think Geeks can have our Death Star shaped cake and eat it, too.
So, I write about personal finance issues I deal with as a Geek and my journey through what I call the Debt Black Hole (bankruptcy). People who like sports often use sports terms and concepts to explain their experiences. I do the same thing- but use references to Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Action movies, TV shows, video games, science, etc.
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I like that and as a reader I enjoy the unique perspective you write from. Is there any one fictional story that you particularly identify with or one that you believe has excellent parallels for someone trying to improve their own finances?
It’s tough to choose ONE story- there are so many books and movies I can think of. But with the current state of things, I can’t help but draw numerous parallels with The Matrix.
For most of our lives, many of us have been programmed to believe we need to spend, spend, spend and we’re content to live this way- even though it is killing us. Corporations (the machines) are happy to suck us dry and do everything they can to keep it that way.
It normally takes a traumatic financial event to make most people swallow the little GREEN pill and see the money world how it really is. And no one- even our own family and friends- makes it easy on us. It can be a very difficult fight.
Wow, that is very interesting comparison I had not thought of before! You’ve written about your own experience with debt, and many of our readers are working to pay off their debt. What recommendations would you give to those who are trying to become debt free?
Most people don’t have an income problem, they have a spending problem. We’re not talking Quantum Physics or trying to come up with a Financial Theory of Everything.
What’s important is a matter of perspective. If you are unable to feed yourself, clothe yourself or have adequate shelter or protection- then material possessions become irrelevant.
I don’t believe you have to give up everything to get out of debt, that’s only necessary in extreme situations. But if you’re on the brink or just frustrated- you have to be willing to give up a few things- temporarily (3-5 years usually)- limit your expenses and try to increase your income. You have to find the right balance of those actions for your specific situation. That’s why they call it PERSONAL finance. Don’t look for someone to give you the RIGHT answer- look for OPTIONS and STRATEGIES and adapt them to your finances.
The point is to try something different- because what you’re doing now isn’t working.
That is good advice – it’s important to find what works for you and your individual situation. On your blog you’ve talked about the importance of having different sources of income. You also have a son. How do you balance everything (jobs, family, and saving money)? Any tips for our readers who may be in a similar situation?
Some people are entrepreneurs, but many more aren’t. The same is true for real estate investing.
You don’t have to start a business to make additional income. That can be accomplished by getting a second or third job. The point is to use some of your time to create additional income. If you want to create art and sell it online- great! If you want to be a freelance writer- fantastic! If you prefer to deliver pizzas to make extra money- brilliant! You do what you’re comfortable doing to make some extra cash to pay off debt or save.
I love music and made extra money DJ’ing weddings and dances on the weekends for many years. I’ve also worked as a pizza delivery guy to make ends meet.
My wife and I include our kids in our finances so they understand why we say no sometimes and why we make the decisions we do.
Balancing everything is easy when you are focused and have a plan. Remember- time is a man-made concept. But when something is important- you find the time to include it in your life. When it’s not that important- a funny thing happens- there’s never enough time for it.
Very interesting! I’m tempted to ask about the funniest thing you’ve seen happen at a wedding. Instead I’ll ask this: After conquering debt, what is the best way to move forward with your finances (psychologically and strategically)?
Psychological- getting rid of debt is not the end of the story. It’s merely the end of Episode I (The Financial Menace) and the beginning of Episode II (Attack of the Consumers). Going back to the same old habits and routines will merely put you back where you started. And, I guarantee, you will be tempted by the dark side!
Strategically- find people in your life or read bloggers who have similar financial goals as you or have gone through the same issues and- most importantly- sustained their progress. Work together, support each other and create goals and time lines that keep you accountable. If you’re really worried about temptations or bad habits- find a financial or money coach (a Financial Jedi Master) who will help you continue to improve your skills and knowledge.
Awesome! Hopefully your blog (and ours) can be the Jedi Masters. One last question: what are you most looking forward to at FinCon?
Although I know the sessions will be amazing (how could they not with the great speakers lined up)- I’ve been told by numerous people the spontaneous hallway conversations and debates are the real superstars of the event. I plan to thoroughly test their theory!
I can’t make any promises- but I’ll try to limit the talk of Klingons, Stargates and Sonic Screwdrivers! Although, I’d love to get a group of fellow Geeks together to go see the full size Star Wars X-Wing Fighter on display at the Wings Over The Rockies Air and Space Museum!
See you in DENVER!!!!
Haha, I will join you for the “Geek Meetup.” Dave, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me. And I look forward to meeting you in person!
Have questions for Dave? Post them in the comments below!