Every Monday morning, Tom and I have a Zoom call to discuss the coming week's priorities for this site. For the past couple of months, we've been focused on behind-the-scenes stuff as we prepared to launch the redesign. (That, and I was working on my course for Audible.) Now that the redesign is (mostly) finished, we've begun talking about content. What sorts of articles do we want to write in coming weeks?
"You know," Tom said this morning, "it wouldn't kill you to write about the financial tools you use. You love your credit card, right? And you use Personal Capital? If you were to write about this stuff, we could make more money."
As I've mentioned many times, Get Rich Slowly earns little compared to other sites its size -- especially other financial sites its size. Expected earnings for GRS are probably on the order of $20,000 per month; we bring in about $5000. (And right now, because of the coronavirus, our revenue is lower than this even.)
Hey, friends. Some good news!
First up, I finished my "intro to FIRE" course course for Audible and turned in the manuscript. Once the script is approved, I'll head to the recording studio. Not sure about any projected release date, but we're moving along.
At the same time, it looks like development on the brand-new Get Rich Slowly site design is done. Well, mostly so. There are still a handful of tweaks we'd like to make — but we'd like to do them after the new site is public. To that end, we intend to push the new design live in the next 24 hours or so. This shouldn't cause any hassles...but you never know. Continue reading...
After nearly three weeks of hiatus, it's time to get things back to normal around this joint! Has anything happened while I was away?
Believe it or not, the current coronavirus crisis is affecting Get Rich Slowly too. Things are slow around here. Traffic is down. Revenue is down. Production is down. Plus, I have a big deadline at the end of the month. My project for Audible and The Great Courses is due on March 31st.
So, just like the rest of the world, we're going to press "pause" for a couple of weeks. I will return next Wednesday with my annual birthday article, but you'll have to scroll down to see it. I'm going to pin this post to the top of the front page.
The break will allow me to focus my full attention on the FIRE course. Meanwhile, my partner Tom can work on behind-the-scenes stuff (including the nearly-completed site redesign!) without worrying that I'll mess things up haha. And, best of all, maybe we can get ahead on our publication schedule for once. We have two new staff writers. I have some articles planned. Tom has some articles planned. It would be great to resume in a couple of weeks with a backlog of material!
What a long, strange couple of months it's been for me. On the blog, things have been quiet. Behind the scenes, I've been as busy as I've ever been.
The good news is that this busy-ness will (eventually) lead to a number of interesting articles. I've been reading Cal Newport's Deep Work, for instance, and have some thoughts on it. I've been thinking about the concept of "no speed limits". Shocking but true: I'm going to write an article about my primary credit card. And I've been reading and writing a lot about "doing nothing".
Today, though, I want to clear my head (and my inbox) by sharing five short financial anecdotes.
After twenty-four days on the road, I'm back home in Portland. It feels good.
In mid-August, Kim and I flew to Italy. For the first week, we visited Florence and Rome on our own. We rode trains, drank wine, toured museums, ate gelato, and explored ancient Roman ruins. We also got sunburned. And we sweated from dawn to dusk.
Okay, enough with the navel gazing! I've been very introspective around here lately. While that was necessary (and cathartic), it's time to get back to work, to turn our attention to money once more.
Before we begin, though, let's talk about some changes to my workflow. Mainly, these will affect me, but they'll indirectly affect GRS readers too.
Refining Get Rich Slowly
As most of you have gathered by now, I'm going to shift how I approach my writing schedule. As in: I'm not going to stick to a schedule. I'm not going to feel pressured to publish. Instead, I'm going to write what I want, when I want. I think we'll all like the results.
For much of the past two weeks, I've been wrestling with my mental health. I could sense a crisis coming, so I scheduled some time away. I didn't want to have to be worrying about blog posts while I was worrying about everything else. Thus, my "summer vacation".
Long-time readers are aware that I've struggled with depression for most of my life.
In sixth grade, I missed five weeks of school with what my father called "parrot fever". (We had parrots, and he attributed my issues to a parrot allergy.) After our family physician could find nothing wrong with me, Dad took me to his therapist. Hushed conversations followed the appointment. The verdict: I was dealing with depression.
Thie middle of April is a Big Deal in my world.
The trees have nearly finished blossoming, which means my allergies will soon go away. We're seeing more of the sun, which means the worst of my seasonal depression is behind me. Yesterday, on the 14th, Kim and I celebrated seven years as a couple. And today, on the 15th, Get Rich Slowly celebrates thirteen years of existence.
That's right: This blog is now a teenager.
In the Beginning
When I started Get Rich Slowly, I had no idea what it was going to become. I had no grand plan or vision. I just wanted to write about money while accomplishing three goals.
- My primary goal was to document my own journey as I dug out of debt and (I hoped) eventually learned how to build wealth.
- My secondary aim was to help my family and friends get better with their money too. (Although, truthfully, in my entire social circle, I was probably the person with the worst personal finance skills.)
- And, third on the list, I wanted to make a little extra money with the site. I figured if I could make a few hundred bucks with it, I could pay off my debt a little sooner.
On 26 April 2005 -- a year before I started this blog -- I published an article called "Get Rich Slowly!" for my personal site. Here's what I wrote:
Today's entry is long and boring. It's all about the keys to wealth, prosperity, and happiness. Over the past few months, I've read over a dozen books on personal finance. Recurring themes have become evident.
These books have embarrassingly bad titles, seemingly designed to appeal to the get-rich-quick crowd: The Richest Man in Babylon, Your Money or Your Life, Rich Dad Poor Dad, Think and Grow Rich, Wealth Without Risk, etc.
Some of the books out there — most of them? — really are as bad as their titles. Others, however, offer outstanding, practical advice. The best books seem to have the same goal in mind: not wealth, not riches, but financial independence.
According to Your Money or Your Life, which I consider the very best of the financial books I've read, "Financial independence is the experience of having enough — and then some". More practically, financial independence occurs when your investment income meets or exceeds your monthly expenses. Financial independence is linked to psychological freedom.
How is financial independence achieved? Again, the best books all basically agree. (To some of you, this will be common sense, stuff you've known all your life. To others, like me, this kind of thinking is a sort of revelation.)
Here, then, is my personal summary of the collected wisdom found in these books.
"It's nearly impossible to get rich quick without luck," I concluded after summarizing all of these money books. "Getting rich quick is a sucker's bet. There's only a slim chance that you'll have the sort of luck that's required. You might as well play the lottery."
Instead, I thought the underlying message of these books was simple: "It is possible to get rich slowly, however, with no risk, and with no luck. All that's required is patience and discipline."
In 2013, I traveled to Ecuador for a sort of experiment. Host Cheryl Reed and mastermind Jim (J.L.) Collins had organized a chautauqua, a gathering of two dozen folks who wanted to discuss financial independence, early retirement, and finding purpose. My pal Pete Adeney (better known as Mr. Money Mustache) and I joined Jim and Cheryl as presenters. We spent a week at a centuries-old hacienda talking about money and life.
That first chautauqua was awesome -- not only for the attendee but for us presenters as well. To this day, those of us who attended that first chautauqua go out of our way to see each other as we travel the U.S. When I did my short tour of the Southeast last spring, for instance, I stopped in Kentucky to watch horse races with Amy, whom I met at that first event in Ecuador. Here we are at Keeneland: