This is a bonus “Better Know A Blogger” interview that we did at the last minute. Before today, we posted two per day, except on Saturdays and Sundays, leading up to the 2012 Financial Blogger Conference. The purpose of the series has been 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)
Our bonus interviewee is Gyutae from MoneyCrashers.com. Enjoy!
Money Crashers is one of the most successful and popular personal finance blogs out there. When you started, did you have any idea it would grow so much? What factors contributed to your success?
Thanks for the kind words. When Andrew Schrage and I first started Money Crashers, we didn’t really envision it growing so much. At that point, it was more of a hobby than anything else – a place where we could spread financial awareness and help people manage their money. They don’t really teach this stuff in schools, so we wanted to create a community and a resource where people can come to learn. The site has evolved quite a bit since then and we now have a number of different contributors writing on various topics ranging from investing and retirement to couponing, frugal living, and going green.
Were there any particular bloggers or writers who inspired you to start Money Crashers?
We were pretty new to the personal finance online community when we first started. For us, it was more seeing the gap in financial education and starting from there. Of course we met a lot of awesome bloggers and writers along the way and we look up to them a lot. I’m really looking forward to connecting at FinCon as well – it’s always great to put faces to names and meet in person.
Did you have any financial struggles or make any mistakes before learning about personal finance that motivated you to learn more?
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I’m very fortunate in that my parents are financially responsible and were always looking to teach me about money in various circumstances (e.g., including me in the process when buying a car, setting me up with bank accounts and a credit card early on, showing me what goes into a credit report, etc.). Of course, I’ve made some minor mistakes in my college years – things like overspending, using more credit than I should have, or making risky investments, but they were all helpful in giving me the perspective on finances that I have today.
What are the most important financial tips or lessons you’ve learned since starting your site?
I’ve learned a ton from the online community as well as from our own contributors. The world of personal finance is vast and includes a lot of knowledge, and I’d like to become more well-versed in topics such as investing, retirement planning, and taxes. The most important lesson for me really was that I can’t know everything – it pays to invest in yourself and in your education and to consult with experts whenever possible.
Many of our readers are working to get out of debt. What strategy would you recommend they take to pay off their debt as quickly and smoothly as possible?
I think it definitely helps to have set goals in mind, no matter how small they may seem. Paying off a credit card and moving on to the next is extemely rewarding, and motivates people to continue on. Tools like ReadyForZero are definitely useful for this. After all, you can’t improve what you can’t track. I would also recommend some small splurges once in a while along the way to prevent frugal burnout.
Very nice! That is an exceptionally low interest rate. Okay, last question(s): Did you attend FinCon last year and if so what was it like? Also, what are you most looking forward to this year and do you have any advice for a first-time attendee?
I did attend last year. It was great! I loved meeting all of the people I had associated with online. It was like attending a family reunion with people you actually like. This year, I’m looking forward to catching up with friends, and looking forward to being a part of the Plutus Awards. I’m on the planning committee, and it’s been fun to see it take shape. For the first-time attendee, I recommend that you get out there and meet as many people as you can. It’s a lot of fun when you just go for it.
Okay, last question: Did you attend FinCon last year and if so what do you remember most about it? Also, what are you looking forward to this year and do you have any tips for a first-timer?
I attended FinCon last year, and it was great event put together by Phil at PTMoney. It was really the first of its kind, and the response was positive from all of the attendees. Now that it’s proven and more established, I’m looking forward to seeing the event grow even more as well as the financial blogging community as a whole. One of the highlights for me last year was attending the community service event – it’s always great to give back and help others, especially those who are less fortunate. This year, I’m excited to see everyone again, learn more about blogging and personal finance, and have some fun!
Thank you again!
Have questions for Guyate? Post them in the comments below.