This is our 14th “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 Mr. Money Mustache from MrMoneyMustache.com. Enjoy!
I think I can safely say there is nothing else like your blog on the Internet (and it’s become extremely popular in a short time). Did blogging come naturally to you or did you have to learn what works and what doesn’t?
Thanks very much – I’d be surprised if there are no other similar sites hiding out there on the Internet, although I’d probably never find them since I’m too busy typing on my own.
Mr. Money Mustache is my first and only blog, so whatever aspects work (and don’t work) are just there as you see them today. There is no sort of training or market study involved – I just live my normal life, have various adventures, read a bunch of books on the side, and combine the three forms of learning into articles about things that I think might be useful to the Mustachians in their own lives.
Where did the name Mr. Money Mustache come from?
Well, there was this one night I couldn’t sleep. My eyes blinked open at 1AM and I looked out the window and noticed there were pink swirly clouds in the black Colorado night sky. I crept downstairs, slipped on some sandals and hopped onto my bike to go investigate.
So I started riding towards this crazy cloud funnel. I ended up pedaling about 20 miles, arriving at the base of a steeply sloped mountain. And there was that funnel towering above the summit, maybe 2,000 feet above me. So I ran straight up the slope of that mountain, still in my sandals and flannel sleeping shorts, and ended up at the top. The wind up there was ferocious, and it seemed to be coming from every direction at once. And there was this enormous boulder just perched on the small plateau at the top.
At that moment, these four lightning bolts shot out of the sky, one from the North, the South, the East and West, and exploded the boulder into millions of shards of hot rock, sand, and dust!
After I cleared the debris from my face, I could see the lightning strike had formed this amazing logo made of polished granite, and it said – you guessed it – MR. MONEY MUSTACHE.
At that point, I knew I would have to start a blog immediately, and that would be the name.
There’s also another interpretation of how the name came about on the blog itself, here.
That is a great origin story! Your “Meet me” page compares the normal U.S. career/life path to The Matrix. In this case, however, one can’t simply take a red pill. So how do you recommend getting outside of this reality?
The Matrix reference is based on the idea that here in the US, and to a lesser extent in other rich countries, we live in an artificial bubble without much reference to the rest of the world. Because of this, we come to think that our way of life (giant vehicles, cheap products to fill every conceivable want and need, and using debt to pay for everything we buy) is normal. This naturally leads us to follow the path everyone else takes, which of course leads to an awful financial situation with decades of debt and rather unfortunate physical health as well.
Taking the red pill in this case is simply learning that there is a totally different way available to lead your life. One based much less on buying things, and much more on learning new things every day, being less of a wimp, and building better habits. The new way of life allows you to live much more happily. As a convenient side effect, it also makes you extremely rich and gives you a healthy, attractive muscular body as well.
Oh, and it’ll also save the human race from destroying itself through overconsumption of its own ecosystem.
Many of our readers are working to pay off debt – what advice would you give to help them expedite that process?
Paying off debt is just the beginner stage of what we talk about on Mr. Money Mustache – building up enough investments to live off of forever, making work an optional activity that you do only on your own terms for the rest of your life.
So the process is the same – you don’t need a “budget” to get out of debt. You need to totally unplug from the nonsense habits and false desires that got you into debt in the first place. After that, debt will be a distant memory and you’ll be on the longer (and more enjoyable) hike to getting some Actual Wealth for yourself.
Obviously I’m biased, but one method is to just start at Mr. Money Mustache, post #1, and read a few articles each day in chronological order until you catch up with the current post.
If you’re too busy for that, the most concise tip is: Stop driving around everywhere in your car! Ride a bike instead
Are there any memorable pieces of feedback and/or financial advice you’ve received from your readers (the “Mustachians”)?
Oh, so many of them. Some folks have taught me more about dividend and REIT investing. Others are master landlords, with dozens of rental properties that they run like clockwork, sharing their tips. Some are software designers who have helped me with technical aspects of the blog.
Every day or two, I get emails from people who have totally changed their lives and are now reporting on how well things are going for them. That’s obviously a nice kind of feedback, since it’s like a paycheck for writing the blog.
The biggest bit of useful feedback, however, is that there are readers who are much more badass than me in the area of running an efficient and hardworking lifestyle. People who use less energy, earn more money, lift more weight, eat healthier food, ride their bikes further, and raise their children better than I’ve learned to do so far. These readers share their own successes in the forum and in the comments section, and from them the rest of us are able to raise our own bar further.
What are you most looking forward to at FinCon this year?
I’ve never been to a blogger conference, so I think it will be neat just to soak up the vibe there. I know from the pictures to expect a lot of tidily-dressed people wearing nametags on strings. But will they be fun? Stuffy? Potential lifelong friends? It will be an adventure to find out.
Learning from everyone at the many presentations and in person will be very valuable to me as well.
I’m also looking forward to the plentiful free food and drink, as this conference is becoming a pretty ritzy affair, with some motivated sponsors.
Finally, I’m looking forward to giving my own little presentation on blogging, right near the beginning of the conference, and then being able to relax for the rest of the time. As much as I’ve enjoyed writing and refining it a little bit, the looming presentation in front of a bunch of people is taking up a lot of space in my limited brain. It will be a pleasure to get past that exciting event, and move on to other things.
Thank you so much for talking with me, and I look forward to meeting you in person!
Have questions for Mr. Money Mustache? Post them in the comments below.