Interview With My Personal Finance Journey Blogger Jacob Irwin

The following is an interview with one of my favorite bloggers: Jacob of My Personal Finance Journey.

1)    What Made You Start Blogging?

I started blogging at My Personal Finance Journey in January of 2010. My first post was sharing a free money Chase credit card promotion. It’s amazing to think back on how much I’ve learned about blogging, finance, and website building since then. However, that is another story in itself! Back to the question at hand! I started blogging 30% out of boredom and 70% out of interest in starting a my own business.

First, I’ll explain the primary reason that I started blogging (the 70% interest in starting my own business part). Ever since I was a senior in high school (around 2003-2004), I have been fascinated by the challenge and idea of starting my own business and watching it grow. Since 2004, I have now started 3 home-based businesses – 1) a pet waste removal service called The Super Scoopers, 2) a eBay selling business called CyclingJazzdog, and now 3) My Personal Finance Journey (blogging is the one that definitely fits me the best!).

The actual prompt to start my blog came in January of 2010 when I was reading a book about different businesses that could be started with little or no capital investment. Among the listing of businesses was the idea of starting your own blog. I knew the second that I read this page that writing a personal finance blog would be a perfect fit for me . Not only could I tie together two of my passions in life (personal finance and starting businesses), but it would also be contained in an omnipresent, searchable internet location that could make the information accessible to anyone in the world. Shortly after that day in January, I had my first several posts generated, and My Personal Finance Journey was born.

Now, I’ll explain the 30% boredom part. At the end of 2009, I had just moved from near the mountains in Virginia to the suburbs of Philadelphia. Being a very outdoorsy person that loves to hike, camp, bike ride, and trail run, it would be an understatement to say that the suburbs of Philly were not the ideal spot for me to live. In Virginia, much of my social life had been centered around the outdoors. However, in Philly, most of the people I met and hung out with were more interested in socializing by doing “city activities” – going to Atlantic City, going to downtown Philadelphia, etc. Because of this, I found that I had a lot more time to myself in my apartment and needed something to fill up this downtime. Blogging was a nice fit for this!

 

2)    Do People Ever Feel You’re Too Young to Be a Personal Finance Blogger?  If so, How Do You Handle That Scenario?

Great question actually! I would have thought that people would see me as being too young to be a personal finance blogger. However, what I’ve found is that most personal finance bloggers are in their early 20’s – mid 30’s, so being almost 26 years old now allows me to fit in well with this group!

 

3)    What’s the Main Point of Your Site?  For example, is it to educate?  Is it to ddiscuss current events?  What’s the drive behind Your Blog?

The main point of my site is to educate. I strive to write good resource posts that people can use as “spring-boards” for getting ideas for directions in which they can either 1) save money, or 2) manage their finances better. I also like for my site to be a place where people can share their knowledge on developing new investing or savings strategies. A good example of this is a recent post on Valuation Informed Index Investing.

 

4)    What Has Surprised You About Blogging?

Probably the one thing that has pleasantly surprised me about blogging is how much of a team/interactive effort it is. When I first started blogging, I thought that if I just wrote good articles in my own “bubble”, people would eventually find them and read the information.

Boy, was I wrong! There is so much else that goes in to building a blog than just writing content. In the past 1.5 years or so, I’ve learned a great deal about networking, branding my site and new initiatives, and how to expose my content to new audiences.

 

5) What’s New With Your Site/Upcoming Events?

I have two big projects going on right now in my blogging life – 1) The Tour de Personal Finance and 2) getting more and more personal finance authors and journalists to interact with personal finance bloggers in The Carnival of Passive Investing.

The Tour de Personal Finance is something that I dreamed up in February of 2011 as a way to celebrate the Tour de France cycling race (I used to be a competitive cyclist, so this is my way of keeping in touch with that part of me! Haha) and expose readers to some of the best articles written by bloggers over the past year. The way the Tour de Personal Finance works is described below:

 

  • Personal finance bloggers submitted their best, highest quality post from the past year (only one post) to me via email by July 1st.
  • The posts were then paired off using a random number generator.
  • The paired posts will “compete” against each other each day in a stage (what they call each day of racing in the Tour de France), which will be posted on My Personal Finance Journey. We are currently on Stage 3 of the competition!
  • Readers will comment on the post to vote for which post they think is better. The post with the most votes each day will be declared the STAGE WINNER.
  • The stage winners will move on to the next round, where they will square off against other stage winners. Again, the best post each day will be voted for by the readers.
  • At the end of the month, the final winner of the competition will be crowned the Maillot Jaune (or the yellow jersey, which is given to the overall winner of the Tour de France each year).

 

 

6)    What Is Your Biggest Financial Goal?

My biggest financial goal is to max out my contributions to my 401k and Roth IRA and maintain my asset allocation targets each year.

 

7)    What is Your Biggest Blogging Goal?

My biggest long-term blogging goal/dream is to someday collect all of my main personal finance ideas in to a concise, actionable book about investing, saving money, and debt reduction. I also think it would also be really wonderful to be asked to speak at a financial conference someday!

Written by Chris

Chris Thomas, owner of the online freelance writing and web-copy company, FreelancePF. Chris's interest in personal finance stems from leaving grad school with six figures in student loan debt.

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