This is our 11th “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 Khaleef from FatGuySkinnyWallet.com. Enjoy!
I love the name of your blog – how did you come up with it, and what (or who) inspired you to start blogging?
Thanks! My wife and I were just playing around with names one day…I can’t remember which one of us thought of it, but it was probably her. We just wanted to come up with a name that described my goals of losing 100 lbs and paying off over $100,000 in debt.
By the time I started Fat Guy, Skinny Wallet, I already had another website with a blog named Faithful With A Few (or KNS Financial, depending on who you ask). It’s a site that focuses more on giving personal finance advice, and also taking a look at what the bible has to say about how we handle our finances.
I initially wanted to start a website where I could post financial articles for my clients and also for anyone else who wanted to read them. I get asked the same questions and I encounter very similar situations often, and I wanted to be able to have detailed, thorough answers already written out, and then simply direct people to my website. Well, a friend then introduced me to the WordPress.org platform (since I was struggling to build my site), and the rest is history (sort of ;-))!
You’ve written about how you’re working to pay off debt. What has that process been like, especially sharing it publicly on your blog? What kind of feedback and/or advice have you gotten from your readers?
Unfortunately, my blog has probably been 90-95% weight loss and only 5-10% finance. Starting in September, I plan to share the details about our battle with debt with as much fervor as I do my weight loss journey!
What I can say is that readers love details, and they are willing to share their successes and failures with you if you open up to them.
Many of our readers are also working to get out of debt. What advice would you give them about how to tackle it?
I think that the best debt repayment strategies will all include a few basic things:
A Great System of Record Keeping – You have to be able to sort out all income and outgoing communications, so you can avoid late payments, changes in terms, fraudulent charges, and also so you can easily pull up whatever information you need.
Meaningful Goals – You should set goals that will motivate you to both exercise discipline and make sacrifices. Trying to get out of debt simply because other people are talking about it or you read a book that said debt isn’t good for you, will probably not be enough to help you make those tough choices.
A Realistic Budget/Plan – I feel that sometimes people set these crazy goals without truly evaluating their situation. That usually leads to creating an unrealistic budget, which then creates failures and frustration, and will ultimately lead to discouragement and quitting. Be sure to take time to evaluate your complete situation before creating a budget.
In addition to writing about finances, you write about health goals. Is there a lot of similarity between the two?
Yes. I didn’t realize how much similarity there is between the two until I started writing and talking to people about fitness and weight loss. I immediately noticed that a lot of the concepts that I have been implementing into my health have parallels in personal finance as well. In fact, I plan to write an article about that soon.
I guess the main things are discipline, planning, setting goals, honoring God, budgeting (either money or calories), and deciding what it truly important!
You helped start “Fit for FinCon” this year. Can you explain how it works and how it came about?
I just wanted to find a way to help get bloggers to be more active. Many of us sit at desks for our full-time jobs, and then we come home and sit at another desk, blogging and doing other related tasks for a few more hours. Those that blog full-time still have the problem of sitting at a desk for 10-12 hours a day! It is virtually impossible to be healthy with that type of lifestyle.
Also, I figured that the bloggers who only need to make a small change in order to hit a goal could try to do it before the conference. That way, they could make a healthy push for the conference, and be sure to make a great first (or 2nd for some) impression for their networking efforts!
I teamed up with Brad Chaffee of Optimal Health Pro and Adam Underhill from Health and Wealth Makeover, and we came up with a large list of challenges that people can do leading up to the conference. You can see my Fit for FinCon challenges here (with my before pictures as well) – I took on a lot of challenges, because I have a lot of goals.
We actually want to do this again leading up to FinCon13, since some people (like me) actually have long-term goals. So if anyone wants to be a part of that, just contact me and I will get the details to you right after the conference.
And finally, what are you most looking forward to at FinCon this year?
Although I know I will learn a lot about blogging, marketing, and SEO from the conference, I am most looking forward to meeting so many new bloggers, and seeing the people that I met last year.
My wife and I started and developed a number of good relationships at the conference last year, and we are anticipating more of the same! We are actually flying in a day early and leaving the day after the conference, just to make time to hang out with people if the opportunity presents itself.
Thank you, Khaleef! Looking forward to meeting you there.
Have questions for Khaleef? Post them in the comments below.