Hey, Ann. Thanks for the feedback.
The content and tone of Get Rich Slowly have changed over the past few years. As I've grown and changed, so too has the blog. This might be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on who you are and where you're at.
If there's a disconnect between me and the readers, that's certainly not intentional. From my perspective, I feel like I'm more involved with my readers than I ever have been: I'm answering more e-mail, I'm meeting more readers in person, and I'm trying to answer more reader questions on the blog. But although I can see that I'm more heavily involved with readers than I used to be (and Kris can see it, too), it's probably true that readers can't see it.
Part of the problem is that blogging doesn't scale. While I could create an intimate environment for 7,000 people, I can't do that for 70,000 people. Does that make sense? There need to be ten J.D.s to provide the same personal contact for 70,000 people as one can for 7,000.
I never intended for GRS to become this big. I just thought it would be a place for me to chronicle my own experiences as they occurred, and maybe help some other folks along the way. And I do feel like I've helped people (and continue to help people), which is awesome.
But another part of the problem is that, as I mentioned, I've grown and changed. I don't struggle with money like I used to. Yes, I still make mistakes (my iPad very much feels like a mistake at this point), but these mistakes are minor compared to the ones I used to make, and I deal quickly with the problems. Plus, I've managed to get out of debt, build savings, set money aside for retirement, and now I'm able to take time to travel and pursue other interests. I'm in a very different place than I was four years ago.
It's important to realize is that I did all of this by following my own advice. When I write about how important it is to increase your income because it's one of the most effective ways to improve your cash flow, I'm speaking from experience. That doesn't mean you have to run out and start a blog to make money, but that you should look for ways to make more money that make sense to you.
For four years, I've written and edited Get Rich Slowly without charging readers a penny. As Kris will attest, I spend hours every day answering reader e-mail. I care deeply about this community, and I crow about it to everyone I meet. And give away books? I ordered 50+ copies of Your Money: The Missing Manual from Amazon, all of which I've been giving to various GRS readers as the situation warrants. But I haven't posted about his on the blog, because there's no way to do it that makes sense logistically.
Finally, I agree that most of the value at Get Rich Slowly comes from the readers, not from me. I agree that reader comments are often more interesting than the posts themselves. As I've moved into the third stage of personal finance, there's less interesting stuff to write about (as your own comment attests), which is why I've brought on staff writers, and why I try to feature guest articles from other authors. This place would be a dull, stagnant place if I didn't open things up to the community.
How do I repay the readers? I'm constantly trying to feature reader websites on the blog. (Last week, for example, I linked to Chicago Elevated, which is run by a GRS reader who gives walking tours of Chicago.) I've featured reader writing, art, and more. I do my best to promote new and upcoming personal finance sites, including Baker's http://www.manvsdebt.com. And, once again, I don't charge for any of this. I do it for free.
Does Get Rich Slowly make money? Of course it does. It makes good money. I've never been shy about that. But the money doesn't come out of reader pockets. And I don't think it's wrong for the site to make money. In fact, I think it's an excellent thing, and I'm proud of it.
I regret that it looks like I don't care about readers. I care. I care a hell of a lot.