Call for reader questions and stories!

This week I'm in Orlando for Fincon, the annual gathering of folks who work at the intersection of money and media. As a result, I haven't had time to do all of the things I normally do during a week. I haven't been reading or writing about money. Instead, I've done a lot of chatting with colleagues.

We've been coming together at Fincon since 2011. At first, we were nearly all strangers to each other. Today, many of these people are my closest friends — but they're friends I see in person only once or twice each year. I value every moment I get to spend with them.

On Tuesday, for instance, a group of us booked a private VIP tour through the Disney theme parks. We had a blast. I mean, look at this wretched hive of scum and villainy...

Our tour group at Disney

Chatting with other money nerds this week has given me additional clarity about the future direction of Get Rich Slowly — on the web, on YouTube, and in the email newsletter.

You see, most money bloggers (and podcasters and YouTube creators) are in it for the money. That's fine. I have no problem with that. But that's not me.

Yes, I would very much like to earn income from the work that I do, but I'm in the fortunate position that I don't need to earn that income today. I had a windfall from the site thirteen years ago, which allows me to pursue this as a passion project (at least for a time).

Instead, I can focus on making Get Rich Slowly meaningful to me and useful to you. I can ignore the financial side of things while I work to build a resource that helps people master their money — and their lives. While I might not earn anything from the site today (or next week or even next year), I have faith that if I provide value, then eventually I'll discover a way to make money in a way that doesn't compromise my values.

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More about...Administration

Success stories (and the people who hate them)

I spent last week in St. Louis for the third-annual Financial Blogger Conference. In two short years, Fincon has grown into more than just a gathering of bloggers. The place was packed with 500 bloggers, authors, journalists, sponsores, and financial professionals.

Naturally, the workshops and main-stage speakers were outstanding. Our keynote speakers included Jean Chatzky, the financial editor for NBC's Today show, and Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income. Many of your favorite finance bloggers shared their knowledge in smaller groups, with talks like "How I Made $300,000 in Two Years with an Autoresponder", "How to Use WordPress Like a Ninja", and "How to Connect with Extremely Successful People".

This year, I didn't have a main-stage talk. Instead, I participated in a panel on making money from your blog. I joined Luke Landes from Consumerism Commentary, Toni Anderson from The Happy Housewife, and Andrea Deckard from Savings Lifestyle for a one-hour discussion of ads and affiliates and ebook sales. (I learned far more than I shared; I'm four years out-of-date on blog monetization!)

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More about...Retirement

The shocking truth about medical bills that can save you thousands

This reader story is by a longtime GRS reader Sumitha from afineparent.com, a blog founded on the simple belief that "Good Parents Are Made, Not Born."

Some reader stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success or failure. These stories feature folks with all levels of financial maturity and income.

How much would you think it would cost to treat an ant bite?

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More about...Health & Fitness

The stories we tell ourselves

I had lunch with Sabino yesterday. He's my accountant -- but he's also my friend (and a loyal Get Rich Slowly reader).

I told Sabino about how our house has been a money pit over the nine months since we bought it. I told him how much fun I've been having with Get Rich Slowly since I bought it back, and about how much work it has turned out to be to get the site renovated.

Sabino told me about his businesses (he doesn't just own the accounting firm, but bits and pieces of several other companies too) and about his kids (who, to the surprise of both of us, are all teenagers now). He's worked hard all of his life to give his family a solid future, and now -- at age 48 -- all of his dreams seem to be coming true.

I've shared Sabino's story several times in the past. But for those who are unfamiliar, here's a synopsis.

Sabino's family moved to the United States when he was ten years old. They were poor and didn't speak English. But from an early age, Sabino wanted to be part of the American Dream. He learned English, worked hard, and put himself through college.

After Sabino got married, he and his wife Kim set financial goals. Their chief aim was for Kim to stay home and raise a family. So, while our friends were buying new homes and new cars, Sabino and Kim rented a mobile home in the country for $200 a month and paid $950 cash for a 1982 Honda Accord. They both worked full-time jobs, but they lived off Sabino's income alone and used Kim's salary to repay $35,000 in student loans.

"We made sacrifices," Sabino says. "We made these choices because of the goals we had. We knew what we were working for, and we were happy to do it." (Back then, I didn't understand their choices and sacrifices; twenty years later, it all makes sense.)

Today, Sabino is a successful business owner while Kim stays home to raise their three children, just as they planned. Because of their diligence, they now own a nice home in the country (they paid off the mortgage last spring) and new cars that are fully paid for. By staying focused on their purpose, they've been able to build the life they always dreamed about.

Rejecting Society's Narrative

Yesterday over lunch, we talked about the qualities that lead to success. As I often do, I complained about the current narrative that the mass media is trying to sell Millennials: their lives are tough because the economy sucks and the deck is stacked against them.

Bullshit Article with Lots of Reddit Upvotes

"I just don't believe it's true," I said. "The economy doesn't suck. And now might be the best time in history to be alive. Besides, even if this story were true, so what? If you're dealt a crappy hand, it's up to you to make the best of it."

Sabino nodded in agreement. "I don't like that sort of thinking either," he said. "But it's nothing new. Our culture always has a story they want to tell you about yourself. When I came to this country, for instance, everyone -- my friends, my teachers, my family, everyone -- had expectations for me and what my life would be like."

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"When I was young, my parents worked in the fields. That's how they made money to support us. One day my father pulled me aside. He told me that my future too was to work in the fields -- unless I chose to change my destiny. That talk made an impression on me. Nobody expected a poor Mexican kid to graduate from high school, but that's what I did. Nobody expected a poor Mexican kid to graduate from college, but that's what I did. Nobody expected a poor Mexican kid to own an accounting firm, but that's what I did. I decided to live a different story than the one that others had written for me."

Sabino is one of the inspirations for my financial philosophy, and the reason is obvious. He's lived it! (And he continues to live it.)

For more on Sabino's story, check out this interview he did for the Oregon Multicultural Archives at Oregon State University.

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More about...Psychology

Make more money: How to supercharge your income

Nearly every morning, I get up early to go exercise at the local Crossfit gym. While I wait for it to open at 6:30, I do laps around the cold, dark parking garage with my friend Dan. Sometimes we talk about money and how to make money.

This morning, for example, Dan asked, "Do you ever feel like you're not going to make it financially?"

"I used to," I said, "I worried about it all the time, but not anymore. I have things under control now. A lot of that is because I learned how to make more money."

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More about...Side Hustles, Career

Living in a car to pay off debt

Some reader stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success or failure. These stories feature folks with all levels of financial maturity and income.

I don't spend lavishly on clothes, hair appointments, or travel. I drive a 12-year-old Honda Civic. I got into debt by trying different business investments, including real estate and selling refurbished tablets. I also took out a student loan that I really didn't need but couldn't turn down the money I automatically qualified for. Those are the main sources of my debt.

My debt payments began to total more than $1,100 a month. I moved in with an aunt and uncle to make ends meet. When they wanted to raise the rent, it was the straw that broke the camel's back. I was fed up with my situation. I couldn't even afford to rent a room anymore.

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More about...Debt

My grandmother’s home remedies

This reader story come from SB, a regular reader and commenter on GRS. SB writes about personal finance and personal development topics at One Cent at a Time.

Some reader stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success or failure. These stories feature folks with all levels of financial maturity and income. 

This is my second guest post at this blog. I am grateful to J.D. and his team's humble gesture in allowing me to do it. I hope to provide the same value regular writers of this blog provide to you.

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More about...Frugality, Food, Health & Fitness

How to buy a car at auction

This guest post from Jacq is part of the "reader stories" feature at Get Rich Slowly. Some stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success — or failure. These stories feature folks from all levels of financial maturity and with all sorts of incomes.

Woot! I just bought a new-to-me SUV at the local auto auction. It's a 2008 Mitsubishi Outlander XLS 4WD and is loaded. I don't think I've ever been in a car that's this loaded! Well, maybe I have — but definitely not one of my own. And it's red with a black leather interior. How fun is that?

As you can tell, I'm super excited since:

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More about...Transportation

Traveling cross-country dirt cheap

This guest post from Michelle Russo is part of the "reader stories" feature here at Get Rich Slowly. Some reader stories contain general "how I did X" advice, and others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success — or failure. These stories feature folks from all levels of financial maturity, and with all sorts of incomes. This story is perfect for Memorial Day weekend, which kicks off the summer holiday season in the U.S.

I've traveled the continental United States, sampling a wide variety of cuisines, and I can say without reservation that the best meal I've ever eaten was a hamburger at a fast food chain just outside Mount Rainier National Park. But in all fairness, I'd spent the past nine hours climbing a mountain, the granola bars were long gone, and I was beginning to see spots.

Twice I've spent a month driving across the country, from Philadelphia to San Diego and back. I've logged over 20,000 miles, and I've seen more during that time than all the rest of my vacations combined. I've also done it for less than $2,500. Continue reading...

More about...Travel, Frugality

10 financial lessons I learned from my parents’ divorce

This guest post from Sydney is part of the “reader stories” feature at Get Rich Slowly. Sydney blogs about personal finance, entrepreneurship, self improvement, travel and lots of other fun stuff on Untemplater.com. Some reader stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success or failure. These stories feature folks with all levels of financial maturity and income.

It's hard to believe it's been about 20 years since my parents first separated, and it's actually a blessing it happened when it did. No parent ever wants to put his or her child through the nastiness, heartache and sadness that comes with divorce, but having lived through my parents' split, I can tell you that it actually can be the best option.

When I was a kid, I didn't understand why my parents couldn't get along. Neither one of them was mean or evil; they didn't cheat on each other. They had jobs, loved me, supported my interests and activities, and they didn't seem that different from my friends' parents. Well, except for the arguing. It got really nasty toward the end of their marriage. There is absolutely nothing positive or healthy for a child of any age who has to live in a house with two yelling parents.

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More about...Debt