How and why I sold Get Rich Slowly

When I started Get Rich Slowly — on 15 April 2006 — it made very little money. It earned a few pennies per day. Slowly, the income grew. A few pennies per day turned into a few dollars per day, and that turned into tens of dollars per day. Eventually I was making enough money from this site that I could quit my day job to blog full time. The last time I mentioned my income on GRS, I wrote that I was making $5,000 a month. That was in November of 2007, I think. Then my wife, my lawyer, and my accountant all asked me to stop writing about my income. When that holy trinity speaks in unison, you listen, right?

The more I worked on this site, the more the income increased. I won’t say how much I was making, but if you read Crystal’s article from earlier this month, you can make some educated guesses.

As Get Rich Slowly grew, one of the curious side effects was that people began to make offers to buy the site. I always ignored those offers.

Eventually I realized I was being foolish. I wasn’t following my own advice. What would I tell my readers? Well, I’d tell them to try to make more money, so why wasn’t I trying to do the same? At the beginning of 2009, I made a private New Year’s resolution: I decided to field every offer for the site that I received.

The Razor’s Edge

It didn’t take long to get the first offer. At the beginning of January 2009, someone wrote saying he wanted to buy Get Rich Slowly.

“How much will you pay?” I wrote back.

“I’ll give you $5,000,” the guy said.

“No thanks,” I said. That was less than one month of revenue. I’d be foolish to sell.

A week later, I received another offer to buy the site. But I didn’t notice. I was distracted. I’d just received news that my best friend had killed himself. This single event rocked my world. If you want to find a catalyst for all the things that have happened with me over the past few years — the travel, the soul-searching, the sale of this site — look no further than Sparky’s death.

Suddenly, blogging didn’t matter. I had been burned out before this, but now I wanted to leave, to quit cold turkey, to do something else. My wife and I talked things over, and she agreed that it might make sense to sell the site.

When the dust had settled at the end of January, I found the second offer to buy GRS waiting in my inbox. I replied.

“How much will you pay?” I asked.

“We don’t know,” the guy said. “First, you have to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Second, you have to send us all the financial information related to your business. Third, you have to wait.” This was baffling. I contacted my accountant and attorney to ask questions. They said this was standard practice, and to go ahead. I sent the info over and waited. And waited. And waited.

The First Offer

While I waited, Kris and I talked more about the possibility of selling Get Rich Slowly. Could I actually do it? Would I? In general, I loved the work, and I loved the community that was coalescing around the site. Plus, I felt a huge responsibility to the people who had been reading for three years already. I didn’t want to leave them in the lurch. But I was feeling increasingly frustrated, as if I’d said everything I could say about money. I wanted to quit anyhow, so what was the difference? And there was the fact that I wanted to write a book and begin giving community presentations about personal finance. Thinking things through made my head hurt. There was so much to consider.

Eventually, the company (which I’ll call Computer Resources so that I don’t violate the NDA) came back with an offer. How much was the offer? Because of the NDA, I can’t give a number, not even a fake one. But let’s just say Computer Resources offered me a lot of money for the site.

In fact, the offer was so big I couldn’t refuse. At the same time — again, following my own advice on this blog — I figured I had to negotiate. I submitted a counter-offer. Computer Resources went back to the drawing board.

About this time, I started to feel as if this was all way over my head. I did some research on the web and found other sites that had been purchased by Computer Resources. I contacted the site owners and talked by phone or by e-mail. They all had good things to say about Computer Resources except that apparently the company simply purchased sites, slapped ads all over them, and then left them to die. They never updated content. I didn’t really want that to happen to Get Rich Slowly.

One of the fellows I talked to suggested I contact an investment banking firm to help guide me. “They’ll take a commission, but it’ll be worth it,” he told me. “It’s just like using a real estate agent to sell a house.”

The Second Offer

As February 2009 wore on, Computer Resources still hadn’t responded to my counter-offer, so I contacted the investment bankers. They were excited to work with me. “You’ve already done a lot of the work on your own,” they said. “But we think you can get more for your site. We think you should spend a few months sprucing things up and then put it out at auction.”

“That’s a good idea,” I said, “except for two things. First, I’m burned out and I want to sell now. Second, the economy is tanking, and I’m afraid the revenue for personal finance sites will dry up before long. I feel like I’m on the top of a bubble and should sell now.”

Note: This last bit is an important piece of the puzzle. Remember that in late 2008 and early 2009, the economy took a nose-dive. It crashed. The site’s revenue was unaffected, but I thought I could read the writing on the wall, and I was worried. I wanted to “de-risk”, as the investment bankers called it.

I agreed to let the investment bankers contact one other company, a company called QuinStreet.

As the investment bankers were talking with QuinStreet, Computer Resources came back with their counteroffer. It wasn’t much more than before, but they added a bunch of stock options. I had a week to respond. I told them I’d think about it, and meanwhile started talking with QuinStreet.

At first, QuinStreet made me nervous. I was afraid they’d buy Get Rich Slowly and convert it into one big credit card ad. But during our conversations, they explained they had a grander vision, that they were committed to building a collection of sites with solid financial content, sites like Get Rich Slowly. Unlike Computer Resources, they wouldn’t let GRS wither on the vine; they needed to make money, yes, but they wanted to provide content while doing so.

As the deadline approached for a decision on the Computer Resources offer, QuinStreet gave me an offer of their own. If I would remain with the site for three years, QuinStreet would pay me almost twice what Computer Resources was offering. I was floored. Still, I wasn’t willing to commit to three more years at Get Rich Slowly. I was burned out. My best friend had just killed himself. I wanted to do other things. So, I did something strange: I asked for less money.

The Final Offer

Tuesday, 03 March 2009 was a big day for me. While the surface of this blog was calm and normal, there was a flurry of activity behind the scenes. Computer Resources was demanding a decision on their offer. QuinStreet was scrambling to give me a second, lower offer. I was hunkered at my accountant’s office, waiting. My lawyer was at his office, in constant communication with me. At the end of the afternoon, QuinStreet sent over their revised proposal.

They were offering about 33% more than Computer Resources. Plus, I wouldn’t be tied into the site for three years; I could walk away from GRS at any time.

My advisors and I agreed that this was an offer we could accept, and we finally responded to Computer Resources, which was growing impatient. I asked if they could beat the offer from QuinStreet. They thought about it for an hour, and then declined. They were cranky.

Note: Though the money played a huge role in my decision, it wasn’t the only factor. Because I was burned out on the workload, it was a relief to find an organization that could take on so much of the work, such as monetization, marketing, and all of the technical aspects of the site. QuinStreet also had access to contacts I could use when writing articles.

During the month of March 2009, I spent much of my time working on the “Asset Purchase Agreement” to sell this site. QuinStreet wanted some things in the contract, and I wanted others. Mostly, though, our visions matched. They wanted a personal finance site with solid content, and the contract we created reflects that.

For instance, QuinStreet offered me editorial independence. What does that mean? It means that QuinStreet won’t (and legally cannot) tell me what to write. It meant that I could continue to share the same sorts of things I’d been sharing at Get Rich Slowly since day one. I couldn’t be forced to write about credit cards or payday loans or other things that went against my better judgment. (Not that QuinStreet would have asked me to write about those things — it just gave me some insurance.)

But I couldn’t write about everything I wanted. As you know, I’m a pretty open guy. I share much of my life on the internet. And I would have shared the sale of the site, too, except that QuinStreet requested a non-disclosure agreement, just as Computer Resources had. I balked at this. “It’s standard operating procedure,” QuinStreet told me. “We don’t want our competitors to know what we’re doing.”

The investment bankers, my accountant, and my lawyer all said the same thing: “It’s standard operating procedure. They don’t want their competitors to know what they’re doing.” I went along with it, even though it meant I wouldn’t be able to share this very important event with GRS readers.

Note: Although the NDA prevented me from discussing the sale of the site, I’ve dropped broad hints over the years in a handful of articles. The hints were vague enough that 99.9% of people never noticed. But some people caught on. Over the past three years, a handful of astute GRS readers guessed the truth.

A New Era

On 01 April 2009 — yes, April Fool’s Day — we signed the paperwork. QuinStreet acquired Get Rich Slowly.

At first, I thought I’d stick around for only a few more weeks…or a few more months. I flew to San Francisco to meet with the new owners, and we discussed the direction of the site. They showed me the re-design they’d already begun to implement. (By the way: If this is the only design you’ve ever known for Get Rich Slowly, then you’ve never read it when I owned the site.)

Because I wanted to leave the site, we had to find new contributors. We held auditions for staff writers. Remember that? That was because I wanted to leave, and we needed replacements. Robert Brokamp and Donna Freedman write here because I was going to walk away. The reader story every Sunday started because I was going to walk away.

But you know what? I didn’t walk away. GRS was my baby. Plus, working with QuinStreet took a lot of the pressure off me. Besides, I felt an obligation to you, the readers. I stuck around. In fact, I’ve stuck around for almost three years now, working with QuinStreet to guide the site’s direction. No, it’s not exactly the direction it would have been taken if I’d been completely in control myself. But that was never going to be an option. I was going to leave the site after Sparky’s death. I was going to quit cold turkey. The GRS of the past three years is the best it could possibly have been under the circumstances.

Plus, QuinStreet has been more responsive than I had hoped. When I sold the site, I feared the worst. The worst never came to pass. In fact, the people I work with always listen to my concerns (and to your concerns) and try to balance those with the needs of the business. I think the partnership has been very successful over the past three years, and believe it will continue to be so.

Managing My Money

What did I do with the money I earned for selling the site? I practiced what I preached.

  • First, Kris and I paid off the mortgage. If you’ll recall, in early February 2009, we refinanced our home. We’d started that process before we realized that we might sell the site, and we saw it through to completion. But within weeks of re-financing, we paid off the mortgage completely. This has been one of the toughest things not to discuss. I’ve wanted to talk about it many times over the past three years, but have been unable to. Now I can. (And believe me: Not having a mortgage has made the divorce process much, much easier.)
  • Second, I paid taxes. Yes, I know that by paying taxes early, I’m letting the government have use of my money instead of earning interest on it myself. I don’t care. This is one area where I still prefer to be irrational with money. I like to pay taxes immediately so that there’s no chance I’ll forget about them or make a mistake. That’s what I did with the money from the sale of the blog: I paid taxes right away.
  • Third, I followed my own advice again. I set aside a piece of the windfall to use for things I wanted. I bought season tickets to the Portland Timbers. Kris and I vacationed in South Africa (and still plan to vacation together in South America next month). And so on.
  • But most of the money went straight into savings. One GRS reader — Dylan Ross — is a financial planner, and he’s been privy to some of my financial moves. He’s seen that a bulk of the money went into index funds (again, practicing what I preach), while another portion went into municipal bonds. (The economy was rocky at the time, and Kris was nervous, so we put some of the cash somewhere “safe”.) I’ve also loaned some money to the family box company so they could make some capital improvements.

Over the past three years, I’ve strived to not touch any of the money I earned from selling Get Rich Slowly. And that’s my goal for the future too. Instead, I live off my income from writing. QuinStreet pays me a modest salary to manage Get Rich Slowly, and I continue to write for Entrepreneur magazine and other outlets. Though I’m in no danger of falling into debt, I tell myself that touching my savings would be the same thing. My goal is to keep from deficit spending. So far, so good.

J.D.’s note: Some readers will be frustrated to learn that I now have a huge savings buffer. They’ll feel they can’t relate to my situation. I get that. And there’s no doubt that the savings buffer lets me sleep easy at night. But my actual operating income is very similar to that of many other folks. I have a ton in savings, but my monthly cash flow is rather mundane.

The Bottom Line

So, what does all of this mean for the future of Get Rich Slowly? I’m not sure, actually. QuinStreet owns the site, and they can do what they want with it. If they decided that this site would make them more money as a porn site, they could turn it into a porn site. But they’re not going to do that. After working with the company for the past three years, I’m convinced they want to provide quality content so that people can improve their financial lives. Yes, they hope this will lead folks to respond to the advertising — they want to make money — but they understand that content is king.

Example: We’ll soon be rolling out the Get Rich Slowly Guide to Money, an entirely separate section of the site designed to provide a central reference area for all your financial questions. I couldn’t have produced this on my own. But QuinStreet has the resources to make something like this happen.

I know that many folks will be pleased that I’ve followed my own advice and managed to achieve financial prosperity. I also know that some folks will resent this success. And, especially, that I haven’t mentioned it before. Well, I couldn’t mention it for a long time because QuinStreet was trying to keep the news from its competitors. But I can talk about it now.

The bottom line is that for roughly half its life, Get Rich Slowly has been owned by QuinStreet. (March 15th is the actual mid-point date for ownership.) If this site has helped you move toward your own financial goals over the past three years, it’s been under their reign. When I talk about “social media elves” or “marketing elves” or “technical elves” or any other sorts of elves, I’m actually talking about QuinStreet employees. There’s now a whole team of folks who help with this site. It’s not a one-man show, and hasn’t been for a long time.

There have been a number of changes to GRS over the past few years. We’ve brought on staff writers, and my voice has diminished. It’s flattering that some folks find this frustrating, but it was also unavoidable. Lately, though, I feel re-invigorated. Now that I’ve been able to share some background — both in my personal life and my professional life — there’s tons for me to write about. Plus, I’ve been wanting to do more smaller articles like I used to.

I won’t become more prolific this week or next — I’m about to leave for Argentina! — but in March, I intend to increase my output at Get Rich Slowly. It won’t ever reach the “12 article per week” level that I used to produce, but it’ll be more than the “one article per week” level I’m at now. It’ll be fun for me, and I hope that it’ll be fun for you.

Note: I suspect this post will generate a lot of comments and questions. Because of that, I plan to be around most of the day to be active in the comments. If I don’t respond right away, be patient. I’ll do so as soon as possible.
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There are 327 comments to "How and why I sold Get Rich Slowly".

  1. Kate says 31 January 2012 at 04:23

    Congratulations JD!

    I dont think you should worry about people resenting you or thinking you wont resonate with the readers anymore. The site is ‘get rich slowly’, not get just-about-comfortable slowly. Sure, we dont all have to be rich, but it’d be nice – right?!

    You’ve worked hard over a number of years, and it’s paid off. You should be proud of your accomplishment, not only because of the pay off for yourself, but also because it demonstrates to all of us that it can be done! I’m sure we’d all love to be in your shoes and it’s inspiring to see the progression of this blog into something profitable.

    I’m glad you’ll be sticking around to write more articles.

    Oh, and kudos for doing the right thing by your mental health and negotiating that deal. I think that’s just as important as financial rewards.

    Must be a relief to get this all out in the open!

    • Sam says 31 January 2012 at 07:18

      I for one liked the redesign and the other writers. I think different authors, obviously provide different view points, different life exp, etc. I suspected that there was some investors or other powers behind the current based on the dramatic uptick in ads, etc.

      I think it is great that you were able to quit your day job, turn your writing into a career and profit. Take that profit and use it for things that you love like travel.

      If you are not changing and growing you are stagnating. My only criticism is the separation from Kris. It bums me out, even even though I don’t know you guys personally, that you are walking away from a long term, stable relationship.

      • sandi_k says 31 January 2012 at 10:54

        Not surprisingly, Sam and I agree – I’m GLAD you’ve been so prudent and thoughtful and fiscally responsible. I suspected something was up when all the links to other blogs went away from the right side of the page (only to be replaced with ads).

        I know what a game-changer having someone close to you die can be; in a weird way, it’s reassuring to hear that that is such a catalyst for you, as it means that Sparky continues to have a serious impact on your life and your decisions. That’s a pretty profound friendship.

        I’m still bummed out about the split too. But it’s your life, obviously you and Kris are still talking constructively, and your only responsibility is to live it for you; we’re merely the audience. 🙂

      • Katy says 31 January 2012 at 11:06

        Congratulations. As someone who’s followed the blog very closely, I feel the content is just about as good as it gets in personal the finance world. Just my opinion, but being named to the 2011 list of the top 25 blogs by Time and winning the Plutus Awards lifetime achievement award in 2010 (both well after the sale) are both testament to the fact that others might agree with me. Good job and glad to see that we’ll be seeing more of you.

      • Nick says 31 January 2012 at 13:52

        If anyone’s interested in what the site used to look like, either because you started reading the blog after the redesign like JD mentions in the post, or because it’s simply been so long that you’ve forgotten (like me), you can check out for any pre-2009 date.

        The url below should take you there:

        • Vanessa says 31 January 2012 at 18:21

          Wow, nothing ever really dies on the internet does it?

          I must’ve been reading this site longer than I thought because I remember that layout. And then the change to the new layout, and the trial and error with the nested comments–how would we ever get used to them? And then experimenting with the colored comments, and finally the shades of green comments we have now. Quite an evolution in such a short period of time!

    • Lincoln says 31 January 2012 at 14:01

      Hey JD, congrats! I have been reading GRS for the last 4-5 years (rarely commenting) and am glad that you were able to “do what works for you” in selling the site and making a profit at the same time. I think it’s funny that, after you sold GRS, you have been “hiding in plain sight” as the editor.

      Question 1: if you had such a major windfall, why did you still feel compelled to give up comic books?

      Question 2: do you feel like it’s less socially acceptable to talk about increasing your earnings versus reducing your spending? More specifically, did you ever feel guilty for obtaining such a windfall, especially since you had to keep it secret for a number of years?

      • J.D. says 31 January 2012 at 22:52

        Answer 1: I’ve given up comic books because I feel like I’m collecting them out of compulsion. I don’t read everything I buy. I want to, but I don’t. So, I haven’t given them up completely; I’ve just reduced my comic spending radically. (As in $0 so far in 2012, though that’ll change soon.) This is the notion of “conscious spending” that I write about all the time. I would much, much rather spend that comic money on Spanish lessons right now. I love learning Spanish much more than I enjoy reading comics. That may change in the future (and probably will), but for now, the Spanish is a priority, and that’s my focus.

        Answer 2: No, I don’t think it’s less socially acceptable to talk about increasing earnings. I just think people don’t listen. They’re full of reasons they couldn’t possibly do it. And I’m not saying everybody will get lucky like I did. But even before I got lucky, I had boosted my income by a huge amount through hard work and strategic use of my talents. I think many people can certainly do that. But most people don’t. And won’t. As for the second part of your question, I don’t ever feel guilty about obtaining this windfall. And though I wish I could have shared the news from the start, I wouldn’t say I feel guilty for not sharing the info. I don’t feel like there’s anything to feel guilty about.

        • KAD says 01 February 2012 at 16:57

          I bet there are Spanish comic books out there… 🙂

          • J.D. says 01 February 2012 at 17:01

            🙂 🙂 🙂

            Yes, yes. There certainly are. But they’re hard to find, which slows me down. Still, I came home from Peru with a stack of faves. And Argentina is the home of the wonderful comic strip “Mafalda”. Ah, the wonderful blending of hobbies…

  2. Eric says 31 January 2012 at 04:30

    I really appreciate the disclosure. Still a fan of GRS! 🙂

    • Steven C says 31 January 2012 at 11:29

      Yes, JD exercised quite a bit of integrity–and loyalty to his readers–I believe, while trying to balance the legal requirements of the NDA. The fact that he cashed-in on this hard earned “investment” is an encouragement to most of us. Good on ya JD!

    • SB @ One Cent At A Time says 31 January 2012 at 11:30

      I knew it JD, not very long ago though. I noticed GRS and five cent nickel have the same IP. If I am not mistaken, I think Consumerism Commentary is also with QuinnStreet.

      Recently we saw ‘The Simple Dollar’ also got bought out. Bargainneering also is bought i heard. Wisebread and Money Crashers are owned by companies rather than individuals. I think as long as the original voice stays, blog would do just fine.

      I wonder what’s the next big blog target.

      What was your daily unique number when you were bought JD? If its not part of NDA, you can share

      • Trent Hamm says 31 January 2012 at 12:14

        It is extremely difficult for a single blogger to maintain a site when it reaches a certain threshold of popularity. There is just too much to do. You are constantly making Faustian bargains: do I write, do I approve comments, do I deal with the deluge of email, do I negotiate ads, do I spend time with my wife?

        At some point, you either have to do something radical like eliminating comments (like Zen Habits did), selling the site, giving up, or hiring staff. There simply is no other route, because as the site grows, the time required for a blogger to maintain the site grows.

        • SB @ One Cent At A Time says 31 January 2012 at 12:21

          Trent great that you came to reply! Appreciate it a lot. With my very small blog I sometimes feel over exhausted with those things you mentioned. If things continue to grow at the rate it is going now, I’ll have to hire staff. Absolutely no argument over that. Its good for readers and good for bloggers when hands combine.

        • mdd says 31 January 2012 at 14:18


          I hope you’ve gotten more honest since the day when you told people on your site to hide their assets in the names of other family members so kids quialified for more grant money for college. That was illegal, and I stopped reading you then. I hope that, like JD, you paid taxes on your windfall and that you haven’t hidden the money to qualify for forms of assistance.

  3. Annelise says 31 January 2012 at 04:33

    I absolutely do not resent your success! When you began the site, did you envisage, even just as a flicker at the back of your mind, that it might end up making you a lot of money, and ultimately financially independent? To go from working a boring job in the family firm to this is quite remarkable, especially as you were long past the age by which we’re supposed to have “made it”. And do you just think you got lucky, or could someone set up a blog today and emulate your success? I’m quite happy in my career and am careful with my finances, but blogging seems to be quite a trendy way to make money at the moment and I do admire people who manage to earn a living that way.

    • J.D. says 31 January 2012 at 04:45

      Great questions, Annelise. Let’s see if I can answer them.

      When I started Get Rich Slowly, I had no idea what it would become, financially or otherwise. I’ve always said that my goals were (in this order): to help me get out of debt, to help others get out of debt, and to make a little money in the process. That I’ve been able to exceed all of these goals amazes me.

      Did I get lucky? Yes, of course. But luck isn’t the only element involved. I worked very hard to produce quality content. And I stuck with it day after day for years. Some folks don’t appreciate just how difficult this is. At the peak, I was working 80 hours a week on the blog. But as I’ve said in the past, hard work isn’t enough. In order to do what I’ve done, you also need some luck. In my case, I was lucky enough to catch the attention of some influential readers early on. They shared the blog with their friends, and it spread from there.

      Could someone achieve the same success with a new blog today? Of course! And there are those who do. But I’m not sure what the right recipe for replicating this success is. There’s so much involved with it, and some of it seems difficult to define.

      Blogging may seem the trendy way to make money, but it’s still not path to get rich quickly. Not usually, anyhow. Like everything, it requires hard work and dedication.

      • MoneyforCollegePro says 31 January 2012 at 07:19

        @JD – I did start reading your site right before the re-design, so it appears that I started reading right as you were selling. Crazy!

        It’s been a fun journey to track your progress, and I feel like I have come to know you over the years. I would like to go back and read the body of work from before April 2009 however. Just to see what the JD ROTH only site was like. Best of luck in all your future endeavors (and I hope you continue to write here for many years!)

    • Tyler Karaszewski says 31 January 2012 at 10:52

      Blogging isn’t so much a “trendy” way to get rich lately, as a highly publicly visible way. It’s sort of like being a professional athlete. You have to be both good and lucky to get rich doing it. Anyone can play basketball just like anyone can start a blog, but only a few can do it well enough to make money at it. If anything, basketball is a lot more straightforward because there’s a well established career progression to becoming a pro player, at leastyoumalways know what you have to do next.

      This isn’t to say you (or anyone else) shouldn’t try, but don’t think that just because J.D. succeeded doesn’t mean it’ll be simple for anyone else.

  4. Jennifer says 31 January 2012 at 04:36

    J.D., congratulations! What a terrific accomplishment. I’ve only been reading your site for a few years, so I wasn’t familiar with it pre-sale. It is the most well-written P.F. blog I’ve seen and I love the format. Kudos to you for pursuing your dreams and making some money in the process!

  5. TheTradingInvestor says 31 January 2012 at 04:47

    WOW! I am very surprised about this post. I thought this site is owned by JD Roth ONLY. Never thought you have already sold it. But still, your site rocks! It really helped me a lot financially! I am still 26, no debt only assets (though only paper assets for now. Real estate will be next). Thank You! =)

  6. Russ says 31 January 2012 at 04:50

    First of all, congrats! First Trent, now you – seems this is the month for personal finance bloggers reaching (or revealing) major milestones!

    Secondly, your mortgage refinancing post says your mortgage balance was $207k. If you paid this off and still put ‘most’ of the money from the sale into savings, you must have received a very tidy sum indeed. Now I’m wondering just how much revenue this blog generates if QuinStreet expect to get their money back even after all those running costs. Wow.

  7. my honest answer says 31 January 2012 at 04:50

    Wow, I never suspected a thing! I’m very pleased for you that you reached your goal of financial freedom. Please do not apologize for that – it’s what we’re all striving for, and why we’re all here. I’m looking forward to hearing more of your stories after your vacation (enjoy it!)

  8. louisa @ TheReallyGoodLife says 31 January 2012 at 04:53

    We’ve been approached about selling various elements of our enterprises a few times. None have progressed very far for one reason or another so it’s very interesting to read about someone who has gone through with it – and especially that you managed to negotiate a no tie-in deal is very interesting.

    I understand that you wanted to de-risk but did you consider doing what QuinStreet are doing with the site now by yourself? ie, hiring people to do the extra work/marketing etc.

    One other thing: I hadn’t particularly twigged that the site had been sold until Crystal’s article the other week but I have for a long time suspected that the Twitter stream was written by someone else. It feels soulless, like a corporate stream written because someone has to write it rather than wants to – not like the content on the site (which I love) at all.

    • J.D. says 31 January 2012 at 05:00

      Good question.

      I didn’t actually ever consider hiring people to help with aspects of the site I didn’t like. I’m not sure why. I guess I never could wrap my mind around a blog as a business, even though mine clearly had become one. I mean, when I sold it, I was paying somebody to help me part-time, and had just hired a graphic designer to give the site a more professional look.

      Over the past three years, I’ve met many bloggers who do operate their sites as businesses. (The women of the Savvy Blogging Summit are great examples.) I see that it’s a model that can work. There’s a part of me that wishes I had tried that. It could very well have been even more profitable than the path I chose. But ultimately, you can’t second-guess the decisions you make. What’s done is done. You can just look at them and learn for the future, right?

      RE: The Twitter stream — There isn’t a lot of personality in it, I know, but that may be because QS has tried to keep it intentionally neutral. The “social media elf” behind it has plenty of personality, though. Maybe I should encourage him to put some of that into the tweets. 🙂

      • louisa @ TheReallyGoodLife says 31 January 2012 at 05:11

        Thanks for replying – I agree, what’s done is done, I was just hoping that with a bit of insight, the rest of us could learn for the future from your experience 🙂 (I did try hiring people to do the bits of blogging I didn’t like – but it wasn’t very successful as they didn’t have the same love for the sites as I did. I’m almost glad that it didn’t particularly pay off financially and I had an excuse to call an end to it!)

        And yes, do please encourage the Twitter elf to show us a bit more of his fun/human side 🙂

        • Elizabeth says 31 January 2012 at 06:47

          I agree about the Twitter elf! Social media is like blogging — it’s much more interesting when there’s personality and a story behind it. If people want a feed of articles, there’s RSS for that.

  9. TOm says 31 January 2012 at 04:53

    Wow. Always thought it was weird you got your mortgage paid off so quick. Hard to trust the site now. Congrats by the way.

    • J.D. says 31 January 2012 at 04:56

      Hm. I’ve never revealed before today that we paid off the mortgage. I simply stopped talking about it. And when I did talk about it, I stuck to facts about the loan only instead of discussing it in present tense. It was…awkward. I didn’t like it.

      That said, some folks figure it out, as I mentioned.

      • TOm says 31 January 2012 at 05:20

        As a prudent saver and budgeter I just always thought it was odd you went from in debt to “completely” debt free so fast. I assumed that meant your mortgage. I’m not hating. I’m happy for you. Congrats. Btw, I always thought the other contributors were guest bloggers. Are they paid too?

        • LauraElle says 31 January 2012 at 09:05

          I thought guest bloggers were paid. You know, like a guest star on a sitcom. This is a personal finance site so I assumed they were getting paid.

          • J.D. says 31 January 2012 at 09:17

            Staff writers are paid. Guest bloggers are not. I don’t know of any other site that pays guest bloggers either. Guest bloggers usually provide content in order to gain exposure, including links. Links are the currency of the web, and in many ways more valuable than money. I’m not joking. I spent six months writing for the Time magazine money blog. That was an unpaid gig, but I was happy to do it because (a) it gave me wider exposure and (b) I got links links links! When I write guest posts for larger sites (like Boing Boing and Lifehacker), they never pay. Again, the payment is the exposure and the links.

            But staff writers? Yes, staff writers are paid.

  10. Tarun says 31 January 2012 at 04:56

    Dear J.D,

    I am reading all the articles on ‘Get Rich Slowly’ for some time now and have never commented before or took part in discussions.
    However, As a silent admirer of this site’s good personal finance content, I would like to comment and congratulate you on your success.
    This site made you rich slowly and surely.


    Tarun Sikri
    New Delhi, India.

  11. javier says 31 January 2012 at 05:05

    That’s what happens when you don’t look at the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, you don’t realize who you are talking with. I didn’t.

    I have to recognize that this posts takes me a bit away from my target of sending you a stroy as my first year living on my source (job).

    One question, I guess QuinStreet has made a great deal. They’ve paid less and you haven’t left the site.

    • MC says 31 January 2012 at 07:10

      They paid more and he still has a work revenue stream when he “wants” it. That’s a nice position to be in.

      To me that’s the end goal, work because you want to, then it’s not work.

  12. Thad P says 31 January 2012 at 05:13

    Fascinating view behind the scenes. I have followed your blog for well over a year, and always find your articles helpful. The journey seems to be paying off for you, and yet you still have held on to the core of who you are. That is really hard to beat.

  13. Stephen says 31 January 2012 at 05:15

    As others have mentioned, GRS = J.D. and as long as you are around writing articles, I’ll still be around reading them (hopefully anyhow)

    Not to diminish the work of the staff writers, but a lot of the content they put out has been lower than your own work. There are some great articles in their too, but on a whole it just comes across as less. Less than what, I’m not so sure. Perhaps it is just the difference in motivation for writing, perhaps it is just that your writing has been following a journey that lots of us can relate to, even if we aren’t on the exact same path or position.

    Either way, massive kudos for achieving what you have, and I don’t just mean the money.

    • J.D. says 31 January 2012 at 05:20

      Thanks for the kind words, Stephen.

      For me, the difference between some of the staff writers and my own work boils down to one thing: story. When I speak to other bloggers, I stress the importance of story. Story (or narrative, if you prefer) is a HUGE part of this blog. Not just the getting out of debt story, but other parts of my story as well.

      For some reason, many people are scared to share story. They want to produce purely informative articles that anyone could write. That’s not just true here, but at other sites too. People are scared to inject life into their work, or have been trained not to. (When I learned to write in high school, I was taught to remove myself from the articles I was writing.)

      I think that all of the writers here are capable of putting their selves into their stories, but they don’t always do it. Even I’ve done it less lately, but that’s because I haven’t been able to. Now, with two enormous announcements in the past few weeks, there’s nothing hidden anymore, and I should be able to inject more story into my posts again. I can write about real life. And real life is what makes this blog interesting.

      • Zach says 31 January 2012 at 05:58

        I just wanted to jump in and say that I have a different view! Donna’s posts are fantastic, IMHO. I look forward to them more than anything, because it feels like she’s “in the trenches” with me. JD’s posts have been a bit more “future oriented” to me, but nevertheless important.

        • Vanessa says 31 January 2012 at 08:19

          Didn’t Donna used to write for MSN Money? She’s no ordinary staff writer, she’s in a whole different league!

        • schmei says 31 January 2012 at 11:46

          Donna is the tops. Every time I see that there’s a new post from her, I grab my coffee and get ready to enjoy a few minutes of fine writing.

          Not to dismiss your own fine writing, JD, but hiring her was a brilliant move.

        • Jess says 31 January 2012 at 13:58

          Oh yeah, Donna’s posts are awesome! But I like most of the staff writers’ stuff, it’s good to have different voices/experiences.

        • imelda says 31 January 2012 at 17:46

          I actually enjoy April’s posts the most, after JD’s. Possibly that’s because her voice comes the closest to JD’s. I am usually disappointed when I see a post that didn’t come from JD, but when I see April’s name, I relax a little.

        • Fond Farewell says 01 February 2012 at 13:04

          I doubt Donna will be in the trenches with us for much longer as her popularity grows and she earns more and more. I love her and read everything she writes, but lets face it, if it can happen to JD it will happen to her. And I’ll be happy for her!

        • Katie says 01 February 2012 at 22:44

          J.D., April, and Robert Brokamp are my favorites. Donnna however is my least favorite. Her posts always feel a bit too pat and almost fake. Not fake untrue, but writing for your audience taken to the extreme. They feels much more commercialized, and more like fluff/human interest pieces. Boils down to I Just don’t like her style and skim them at best.

      • Ash (in US) says 31 January 2012 at 08:08

        I think the more “personal” stories on the site–the ones where people talk about their personal experiences with money–are really what make me follow this site. I don’t have a lot of use for “here’s a review of this product” or “should you pick X or Y” articles, but give me some details (like April did in her article on loaning money) and I’ll read or chat all day. It’s nice to have varying voices, and I like them with personality!

      • Jaime says 31 January 2012 at 12:56

        I think that’s what makes GRS different from other websites. There are way too many finance websites that are informational, but the personal stories make GRS stand apart from the other sites. The stories are what make GRS relatable and human.

  14. KAD says 31 January 2012 at 05:27

    Thanks for sharing, JD. As someone else said, it must be a huge weight off your mind to be able to talk about this. Congratulations on building something through hard work and seeing your efforts rewarded, not just financially, but also by the fact that the community continues to thrive.

    And I’m glad you decided to stick around. I think it’s not a coincidence that we all respond more strongly to your voice than to any other. It’s your *story* that we began following.

    The other posts are relevant to readers interested in personal finance. They are mostly well-written, and sometimes very funny — yes, I’m looking at you, Donna Freedman! Even the reader stories and ask the readers pieces, which build and reinforce community, are occasionally very interesting or compelling.

    But these posts stand alone, and most of them give advice. They are not chapters in a story. This is mainly why I miss your voice. Narrative engages people more deeply than preaching; we identify with the main characters, we engage emotionally, we want to find out what happens next. We learn more effectively through stories than through just about any other process — except for trial and error. And I think some people felt upset about the sale of GRS because nobody wants to be taken in by a story that turns out to be fake.

    So, I’m glad to hear that we will be reading more from you again in the future. Someday, if you feel up to it, for instance, I would like to hear more about how Sparky’s suicide changed your mind about what you want to do with the rest of your life. I hadn’t realized before the divorce post that he killed himself. (Now I know what “died unexpectedly” means.) Suicide is complicated, but…is it possible that being a First World nomad did not make him happy? That may be too painful to write about, which I would understand. I guess I ask because I want to know what you see when you look at your future.

    Anyway, thanks for the post.

    • Jaime says 31 January 2012 at 12:58

      Lots of people travel and don’t end up committing suicide. Plenty of people choose non-conventional paths and are very happy and don’t choose suicide. I think its kind of rude to say that his friend’s nomad lifestyle led him to commit suicide.

      Come on!

      • KAD says 31 January 2012 at 16:45

        Obviously, there are people who stay home all or most of their lives and yet commit suicide, too.

        You misunderstood me as implying that travel caused the suicide. That’s not what I said, and definitely not what I meant to imply. Remember, I did acknowledge that suicide is complicated. We readers of the site don’t know why Sparky took his own life. What I suggested was that the nomadic life, though JD told us Sparky enjoyed it very much, was somehow not enough to make Sparky want to stay in this world.

        But if JD took it that other way, I certainly apologize to him. I wasn’t casting aspersions on his friend’s lifestyle in any way. Just wondering about the role of travel in JD’s own search for happiness. Though I’ve never been a nomad, I’ve done a bit of traveling, even lived and studied abroad for a few months at a time in three different countries, and one thing I’ve learned is that Buckaroo Bonzai was absolutely right: wherever you go, there you are. Even the guy who traveled around the world without luggage ( still brought himself along for the ride.

  15. MikeTheRed says 31 January 2012 at 05:27


    A very belated congrats on the sale. I’m among those who has only known GRS during the time of QuinStreet’s ownership, but that ownership was so subtle that I never even suspected it.

    At this point I’ve contributed two reader stories and a reader question to the flow of content over the past two years. Given how consistent your voice has been and how free of influence the site seems to be, I don’t mind for a moment that I contributed to QuinStreet’s success rather than simply your own directly.

    I think the comments section on this article will be VERY interesting to follow. There will be those who are very happy for your success, turning a side-hustle into a full-time job then selling it for a nice pile of cash and financial freedom. On the other side there will be those who are upset for “selling out”, as if success up to a certain point is good, but really knocking it out of the park is somehow a bad thing.

    Now that you’ve made public your success, could we maybe see some articles on the benefits (and perhaps drawbacks) of finally hitting that point of true financial independence? The site already has a lot of “Deep in Debt”, “Digging out of Debt” and “Debt Free at Last!” articles, I think we could use a bit more on the last stage of personal finance: “Post-Income”

    I’m glad the additional staff was able to relieve the burden enough that you kept at it, kept writing. If you had skipped town a few weeks after the sale, I don’t think I ever would have found this site when I most needed it. Who knows where my financial path would have led without the advice of these articles, and the support of this community.

    I hope you’ll be around for quite a while to come. This site is still a huge help to me!


    • J.D. says 31 January 2012 at 05:42

      I can try to write an article about financial independence and “post-income” personal finance. The caveat is that I don’t consider myself there.

      Yes, I can now freely admit I’m in the fourth stage of personal finance (and that all my ruminations on those stages were spurred by the impending sale of the site — that series was written during March 2009, as I was negotiating). But, as I’ve said, mostly not much has changed except I have a huge buffer in savings. Because I try not to touch that buffer, it doesn’t play an active role in my decisions.

      That said, the site generated a lot of income even before the sale, and I have used some of that money to fund my travel, etc. Plus, being debt-free means I can use my current salary for the things I want. (Again, including travel.)

      So, while my current life isn’t radically different than my former life, there probably are some things I can write about. Plus, now I can write about how and why I invested in individual municipal bonds, and whether I think that was a good idea.

      • Mom of five says 31 January 2012 at 08:22

        Congratulations! I’m really looking forward to seeing how you manage your wealth.

        We’re not quite where you are yet – we still owe about 125k on our mortgage. We haven’t made paying it off a priority, choosing instead to focus on increasing our savings and investments. We began non-retirement investing about two years ago and we are real newbies. We mostly have been going with individual dividend paying stocks, but we’re totally open to being convinced to do something else. 😉

      • Michael says 31 January 2012 at 15:21

        Your site has been a huge help to me as well. I’ve read your articles for the past four years and they’ve been the most helpful than any other site.

        Kudos to you and also the QuinStreet team for keeping this site relatively intact!

        Who knows where my financial life would be if it weren’t for your blog?

        Keep up the great work. congrats!

  16. Traci says 31 January 2012 at 05:38

    Thanks for your honesty. I say congratulations and keep up the terrific work!

  17. abby says 31 January 2012 at 05:41

    good for you!!! i’ve only been around for a couple of years so i never knew grs as yours. although i never would have guessed it was owned by someone else so i think you did a really good job! congratulations again!

  18. Sonja says 31 January 2012 at 05:41

    Good for you 🙂

    I’ve apparently never read the site while it was yours, but I like it either way. And as long as you’re still happy with the decision and it was the best mentally and emotionally, good job.

  19. Cheryl @ Heavenly Cent says 31 January 2012 at 05:42

    I just started reading your blog. As a new blogger trying to get going (and not loving my day job right now), I find it inspiring that you were able to find financial success in blogging… you quit a job you didn’t like, paid off your debts and have a great financial future.

    The fact you didn’t share the sale with your readers is just business, in my opinion. You have continued to share great wealth building strategies through it all–and that’s the important thing.

    You’re living the dream and that’s pretty inspiring!

  20. Justin says 31 January 2012 at 05:55

    Big congrats J.D. – very happy for you!

    I assumed staff writers were a way for you to maintain sanity as the demands of the site grew. I’ve been with you from nearly the beginning and your transformation has been rewarding to watch as well as inspiring.

    While I haven’t experienced a “pay off the mortgage windfall” I have eliminated all credit card debt, gotten married, doubled my income, locked away money in savings and bought a very affordable house. At the very least, your experiences have been a great example to hundreds of thousands of us, so kudos. Enjoy it.

  21. Mike Holman says 31 January 2012 at 05:55

    Congrats on the sale JD.

    I suspect you made the right decision with the lower offer. Had you taken the higher offer and been “chained” to the site for the past three years – you might not been so keen to stick around once the earn-out phase was over.

  22. Adam Baker says 31 January 2012 at 06:04

    You deserve all your success. That was true 3 years ago, and still true today.

    You’ve helped, mentored, and inspired an uncountable number of people, including me. 🙂

    Congrats for the reveal! 🙂

  23. Kevin B says 31 January 2012 at 06:08

    Congratulations on your integrity, success, overcoming a personal tragedy and reinvigorating yourself. It’s inspiring to me, also a stressed out entrepreneur. I teared up because I was moved by your personal journey and thank you so much for sharing it.

  24. Leah says 31 January 2012 at 06:09

    Ah, so many things now make sense! The comment tinkering, especially, is now clear (I remember so many different formats for that here). I know I was reading pre-sale, but I don’t remember the exact design/format.

    I am so glad that you’ve stayed along for the ride. Like others, your voice is the one I appreciate the most. I agree with you about story — that’s my favorite part. I can read all the tips I want, but what I really want to know is how someone puts those tips into action.

    I must say, your posts have been rocking the boat quite a bit here, JD. I hope we get some good, practical, frugal traveling stories once you return.

  25. sai says 31 January 2012 at 06:14

    Congratulations J.D.!
    But you know, I have mixed feelings reading this article. In fact, a couple of your articles in the past one month have left me flummoxed and initially speechless (The divorce one was the other). To be truthful, I am left in a bit of pain.
    I am a guy from India and have been a religiously regular reader of GRS for the past four years and more. I must have read and digested each and every article published here in the past four years. I have immensely benefitted from the sage advice and direction that your blog provided. Over time, a sort of personal relationship has developed with this blog and your voice.
    And after all these years, finding that this actually has been a corporate voice for quite some time makes me feel a bit flustered. A slight violation of trust, maybe?
    I am writing this without taking any time out for reflection and without reading the preceding comments and your responses, so if the tone seems harsh, do bear with me.
    Anyway, I once again take this oppurtunity to convey my sincere thanks and appreciation for providing all of us with such a wonderful, well-meaning, and life-altering ( for me anyway) blog. It has been a very positive association for me.
    Thank you for the content and also the candour.

  26. Angela says 31 January 2012 at 06:19

    This feels a little bit like finding out that your parents had to have sex in order to have you. First there’s squeamishness and a little bit of horror, and then you’re like, “Well, duh! Why didn’t I see that before?”

    I’m just glad that this post essentially recommits you to the site. I was worried that this was the wind-up to you saying goodbye, instead of saying you were about to get more prolific.

    • Jen says 08 February 2012 at 23:23

      Well said… That is almost exactly how I felt when I first read this post!

  27. RichUncle EL says 31 January 2012 at 06:27

    Hello and thanks for sharing this post with all of your readers. It’s interesting and motivating to read how you turned this site into financial freedom status, kudoos to you. I wanted to ask you if you could do it all over again would you start your blog with wordpress or blogger? Also could you make money without running any adwords ads on your site? Any advice is appreciated as I am working on my new hobby with my own blog. Thanks.

    • J.D. says 31 January 2012 at 06:42

      To be honest, I think the tool you use for blogging is completely irrelevant. I don’t even think the sort of advertising you use matters. If you write unique and useful content that people enjoy reading, that will maximize your chance at success. The other stuff is irrelevant. (Or irrelevant-ish.) Content first. Above all else, content.

    • jim says 31 January 2012 at 13:32

      JD is right, content is king.

      I’d recommend you check out They are a group of personal finance bloggers you might want to join.

      General consensus is that WordPress is perferable to Blogger. I’m on Blogger myself and have been for years. It works OK but I do think it woudl be better to use WordPress in general. You might want to switch to WordPress sooner rather than later or you mgiht get stuck on Blogger like I am. Since you’re already on Blogger you could stick to it for a while and then maybe switch to WordPress later if you want to. But the longer you delay that transition the harder it will be to switch.

      Otherwise I wouldn’t really worry about making money in the first few months. You won’t make much money anyway. Focus on building a good site and writing great articles.

  28. Kevin says 31 January 2012 at 06:27

    JD, count me as one of those who definitely do NOT resent your success. I’m extremely happy for you. You’re a real-life success story. You took a hobby and turned it into a business that made you into a (presumeably) millionaire overnight. You’ve worked very hard, and you deserve this windfall.

    Congrats, my friend. Enjoy the fruits of all your hard work.

  29. tribalNerd says 31 January 2012 at 06:30

    Grats JD… This explains where the story telling has gone. 🙂

    Besides updating a bit more here and writing for E, do you have any future plans of your own yet? Like a book maybe… ???

    • J.D. says 31 January 2012 at 06:41

      Well, I’ve already written one book — but it wasn’t the “J.D. book”. One of my projects for this year is to land a deal for an actual “Get Rich Slowly” book, one that’s more intimately tied to story and mission of this site. (In other words, a book that explores the psychology of personal finance through the lens of personal stories…)

      • Ilene says 31 January 2012 at 11:44

        Awesome. That’s a book I will really look forward to reading!

        Congratulations on your success.

        And sympathies on the divorce. My ex-husband and I divorced after 31 years of marriage–our children were grown, but we both love our family life. We’ve done the hard work to remain friends and to acknowlege that divorced or not, we are all still family. I want to encourage you and Kris in having a quality relationship as you move forward on different paths. It can be done!

  30. Michael says 31 January 2012 at 06:31

    I’m happy to hear you found success in your passion.

    I recently paid off my house as well. I was shocked by the level of vitriol this created in people I told. I had to learn (1) not to tell people my business and (2) not care what the haters say.

    It’s strange how that aspect of things is the death knell. I go and buy a new car, no one says anything. I pay my house off, and suddenly I’m an elitist. It’s very strange.

    • Jane says 31 January 2012 at 06:42

      Vitriol is a pretty strong word. What kind of comments or reactions are we talking about here? Is it the envious – “Well that must be nice, but us normal people can’t do such as thing.” reaction?

      Or it true vitriol like “You rich pig” or something equally rude?

      Just wondering.

      Your use of the word “haters” gives me pause. Usually when I hear someone use that moniker it is usually code for, “People aren’t falling all over me telling me how awesome I am, therefore they are just “haters”.”

      • Michael says 31 January 2012 at 09:51


        Vitriol is a strong word. Sorry, there’s a lot of emotion in what I feel about it. It’s probably too strong.

        One of my wife’s very close relationships was severely damaged over paying off our house, because the friend felt like we thought we were better than her. That was a very painful situation we went through, brought about through our excitement for accomplishing an important goal, and not being used to not talking about it. At the time, we wondered, why wasn’t everyone excited?

        As far as haters are concerned, I just mean that to people (and there were dozens) who told me that paying off my house was not the best investment choice. At the same time, they would drive off in their new car while I drove off in my clunker used 10 year old civic. Once again, you’re SO excited to be accomplishing a goal you previously didn’t think possible, but now someone is criticizing you for it.

        It’s taught me to not care as much what people think and to keep more of my financial picture to myself.

        • Jane says 31 January 2012 at 11:19

          Thanks for the clarification, Michael. It is a shame that your wife’s friend couldn’t be happy for you. I have learned over the years to share financial information and successes only with those who are in the same boat. It makes things easier. For instance, if we paid off our mortgage tomorrow, we would share it with my parents and others who we know have paid off their houses. Otherwise, I think it could lead to hard feelings with, say, with my sister who is struggling financially.

          It’s too bad that we as people can’t learn to be happy for people even if we don’t have what they have.

          Envy is a pervasive emotion.

    • Sam says 31 January 2012 at 07:23

      That’s awesome. We and me got a lot of negative comments when we paid off our student loans. Mr. Sam’s loan was low interest, mine was too, and everyone kept telling us we were doing the wrong thing. Some were actually mean about it but who cares. We are debt free except for the mortgage (working on that next) and its a great feeling.

    • Bess says 31 January 2012 at 08:26

      I don’t know, I think this response is par for the course…though I haven’t encountered anything really nasty, I think there’s an overall assumption that when you achieve a financial goal you must have had some opportunity that everyone else didn’t have.

      I’m paying off my student loans this year after working my way up through comparatively low-paying, unrewarding jobs for several years, living in an expensive city where it’s hard to cut costs, to get to a job that I like with reasonable pay. The automatic assumption is that I must have had a break somewhere, but the truth is, I didn’t. It took hard work and compromises all along the way.

      I realized a lot of the people my age are STILL waiting until they get their “dream” job or “dream” salary to do any deep financial work. These are not people making minimum wage or living paycheck to paycheck; they could achieve some goals if they prioritized and made some sacrifices. If I had waited around for some magic dream job I’d still be thousands more in debt and have no retirement money socked away.

      J.D., congratulations. It is a bit disorienting to find you’re no longer the owner of the site, but there was ample evidence along the way, imo. Your “windfall” was the result of tons of hard work and good business sense, and you deserve it.

    • Jaime says 31 January 2012 at 13:11

      Actually this happened to my mom when she started making money with her business, some of her friends and acquaintances got very jealous.

      I think that’s why when people get to a certain level of success they start associating with people of their level of success or status.

      Its sad how people can’t be happy for each other. Why do people have to be petty? Honestly the story of you pay off the house ought to have inspired your wife’s friend.

  31. Short arms long pockets says 31 January 2012 at 06:41

    Congratulations! I find it inspiring that you have been able to achieve success while still following your ideas and principles.
    I’d also like to commend QinStreet for retaining the integrity of the site and enabling you to continue in your own voice. I wish there were more corporations that understood that doing right can and does result in doing well.
    I feel like I’m missing something from the article though. Why are you able to reveal this information today? Has the non-disclosure agreement ended? I’m curious as to the timing.

    • J.D. says 31 January 2012 at 06:45

      No special reason for revealing today of all days. It just feels right. The business reasons for the NDA have faded (and, in fact, QuinStreet has begun to publicize ownership of GRS), so more and more people are hearing the news. That means that at last, I can share this with readers. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while!

      • barnetto says 31 January 2012 at 07:34

        I imagine this disclosure in some ways gives Quinstreet an advantage over their competitors that keeping everything under NDA would not have accomplished.

        If they’re still acquiring blogs, it must be very reassuring to owners who would worry about the direction their blogs could take under new ownership.

  32. David C says 31 January 2012 at 06:43

    Please let me extend congratulations on your success. You have earned every bit of it. I discovered your blog late November of 2007 and have been an avid reader since. I have learned a lot from you, escpecially, “Do what works for you”. I am not totally out of debt yet (pesky mortgage), but reading your story and reader’s stories have been a lot of inspiration.

    I understand how personal tragedy can be a major catalyst for change, both good and bad. I think you have chosed the good path and I wish you all the best in everything you do. I do hope you will stick around for a while longer. Thanks for everything.

  33. Elizabeth says 31 January 2012 at 06:48

    Ahh. A lot of things are making sense now. Like some of the others, I didn’t clue in about the sale until recently.

    Congrats on your success!

  34. Ron says 31 January 2012 at 06:50


    Can you speak a bit more about the Investment Broker you worked with? Would you recommend them to someone else in your shoes ?



    • Elisabeth says 01 February 2012 at 06:14

      I am interested in this as well. Not the specific investment broker him/herself, but how you go about finding such a person. I know people who handle investments, but none that I would trust to be savvy enough to know how to auction a business or advise on multiple offers.

  35. Robert says 31 January 2012 at 07:03

    Nice story it’s my dream to work from home and be free from corporate. JD You’ve helped, mentored, and inspired a great number of people.

    • James says 17 December 2012 at 13:03

      I agree with Robert, working from home is my ultimate goal! I came across GRS a few months back and a lot of the articles I have read on this site has motivated me and helped me tremendously! Reading this post made me realize that working from home blogging and becoming successful is possible. The best part is you have helped a lot of people by providing us with helpful knowledge. I am happy for you J.D. I am happy that you were able to get what you deserved with the whole deal and be able to share your experience with us! Thank you again for creating this site!


  36. Andy says 31 January 2012 at 07:04

    Not gonna lie, JD, jealous! You have achieved what everybody wants, and that is the ability to not have to ever worry about money again. I imagine it must be the most liberating, almost childlike, sense of calm that few of us once we reach adulthood ever realize. Congrats!

    • Jenna says 29 June 2012 at 23:55

      Well Said Andy! I think that its great that you were able to reward yourself with the sale after all your hard work you put in! You definitely deserve it for helping others like us! I’m glad everything worked out the way they did for you and GRS!

  37. Elle says 31 January 2012 at 07:04

    Congratulations on your success!!

    I commented on Donna’s article yesterday about how I love her writing. I appreciate you both because of the way you include your personal stories and provide useful information at the same time (and Donna is hilarious–a freezer in the bedroom named Chester, how funny is that!). Thanks for being open with your readers, and I consider your success an inspiration.

  38. Merinda says 31 January 2012 at 07:09

    I just wanted to say congratulations as well. I think I’ve been reading since about 2008. I’m sure you’re happy to get both these big things off your chest, and I look forward to reading more content from you. (Not that I mind the staff writers!)

  39. Stephen says 31 January 2012 at 07:13

    Wow – what a surprising way to start my morning! Like another reader said, this is second only to the divorce posting a few weeks ago. What will JD share next? Moving to a Mars colony? I was afraid you were going to announce that you would no longer be affiliated with the site, so I was pleasantly surprised to read instead that you may be writing more in the future.

    All that said, a big congratulations on the sale of the site. I enjoyed reading about the negotiations and your thoughts behind the entire process. And I am very glad that the buyer has done what they said they would do and kept the site running fairly unchanged as far as content goes.

    I am envious that you paid off your mortgage, but one of the reasons I read this site is to motivate me to continuously think about ways to save more money or to make more money so that someday I can join the ranks of the “mortgage-free” – someday before I am 70 or 80 that is . . ..

    Thank you for sharing – it’s a great story, and I’m glad it is still being written, and that we will still be hearing from you.

    Happy travels!

  40. Jessica Peters says 31 January 2012 at 07:15

    I have not read your site for very long but once I got into it I read it every time there is a new post (whether it is from you or one of the other contributors) and it has really helped me. I am a college student who is not in debt to school loans. I have one credit card that only has a $750 dollar limit and I have never come close to maxing it out. With the help of this site, I saved up enough money to get out on my own (only renting, but it was more viable for us, considering we are still in school and could move after we graduate) but I think we have done very well for ourselves, considering we aren’t even 21 yet.

    I will continue to read this site as it has really helped, and I know that as my family grows, the cost will too, so I will continue to need your guidance.

    I also wanted to say Congrats that you found a company that will better suit your needs and the site’s needs. We, your readers, are very grateful.

  41. Sebastian says 31 January 2012 at 07:17

    Bravo, well done.
    I have to admit though that I liked the blog much more when you were the only writer. For the last years I have spent much less time on GRS.

  42. Rail says 31 January 2012 at 07:17

    Congratulations JD. Hard to believe its been 5 yrs. since I started visiting this site. I must say that the fiscal info shared on this site is what made me come here, but Kris writing about the garden is what kind of “sealed the deal”. The variety of subjects and free flow of ideas are what makes this site a joy to participate in, and I hope that will not change in the future. You have put a lot into GRS and it realy is something to be proud of. Thank you for all the info and inspiration over these last few years, and looking forward to many more!

  43. JD L says 31 January 2012 at 07:21

    From one J.D. to another, congratulations! I’ve been a reader for several years and always appreciate your openness and candidness. I’m glad to know about QuinStreet and how they have helped you live your dream despite your hardships, and I’ll follow an ad or two for both you *and* QuinStreet now!

  44. Vic says 31 January 2012 at 07:22

    I came across this site when I first started working 3 years ago, I wish I had come upon it sooner. The content I’ve read here has helped me tremendously.

    As one of the silent admirers and avid readers I want to say congratulations on all of your success JD! It is well deserved!

  45. lorakathleen says 31 January 2012 at 07:39

    As another fairly silent reader, I also want to say congrats and I’m looking forward to having you back on the site more!

  46. tom says 31 January 2012 at 07:40


    I’ve been reading this site since it’s inception, or around there, and have seen it grow into a huge successful venture. I didn’t really think about the addition of staff writers as a sign that you sold the site and were looking to leave. I think that’s a great testament to QuinStreet continuing with your vision.

    A late congratulations on the sale!

    One question I now have is, where does your current income come from? Do you get paid as a contributor?

    • J.D. says 31 January 2012 at 08:31

      I think of my work more as an editor than as a contributor. Does that make sense? I actually don’t know much about the financial arrangements with the staff writers. I have no role in that. But my own income comes from the work I do to guide the direction of the site, to do PR, and, of course, to write articles like this one.

      • tom says 31 January 2012 at 09:47

        Makes sense…

        QuinStreet pays your salary then?

        • Brent says 31 January 2012 at 16:06

          “QuinStreet pays me a modest salary to manage Get Rich Slowly.”

  47. Rob+Bennett says 31 January 2012 at 07:44

    Congratulations, J.D. Your story is an inspiration to all bloggers.

    The company that bought you out is lucky that you have stayed around. The other bloggers here are good. But your writing is special. It’s your writing that is the secret ingredient here.

    You are right in referring to the special ingredient as “Story.” I am not sure that you grasp how hard it is for others to replicate that. Others see your success and try. It is very hard to pull off.

    I believe it is a personalty type thing. Many of the writers in this field are of the INTJ type. That personality type is drawn to numbers-based exercises (they are engineers and such). You clearly have some of that in you (with your love of Stat Trek and such) and that helps you write about personal finance, which is a numbers-oriented topic. But you clearly love the story element too, something that most INTJs are not at all good at. It is that unusual mix that makes this place special, in my assessment.

    Sorry to get a bit personal. It seemed appropriate given that the blog post today is a personal one and lots of people will be wondering about the future of the blog. If you stay around, the future will no doubt be bright. If the other bloggers are able to replicate your skill in telling the Story of personal finance, that will also work. The key (in my view) is that the company understand how important that is and work hard to keep the Story at the center of things here (They obviously get it that they need to do this).

    You are a super guy who has built a super business and who has employed intelligence both in managing it and growing it and now to some extent transitioning away from it. It’s great to hear the story of how one of the good guys pulled off a multi-dimensional win.


    • A says 31 January 2012 at 09:59

      Had to laugh when I read that paragraph about the personality. When I took sociology in college, our professor made us take the test for MBTI and I ended up being INTJ and I’m an engineer.

  48. Wes says 31 January 2012 at 07:45

    Thanks for the peek behind the curtain, J.D., and congrats. This story is a helpful explanation for why the site seemed to go downhill (for lack of a better term) over the last couple of years. As a reader since 2008, I noticed that the content had become far less personal and much more disjointed (due to multiple authors) and shallow (i.e., articles that seem like SEO bait, like “How To Stock Your Liquor Cabinet on the Cheap”). I’m glad that you’ll be coming back to the forefront of the site. Sorry if that seems like a backhanded compliment; I guess what I’m trying to say is that the site’s just better with you fully engaged.

  49. Jeffrey Trull says 31 January 2012 at 07:51

    Thanks for sharing, JD! Congrats on selling the site and achieving many of your financial dreams in doing so! I don’t hold it against you at all, and I’m very happy that you’ve stayed involved (I’m not sure I would’ve become a regular reader if you hadn’t). I’m looking forward to reading more from you soon, too!

  50. Alex says 31 January 2012 at 07:57

    Hello J.D. I have been an occasional reader since about 2008 when the financial crisis left me in ruins. I don’t usually comment on blogs but feel I should wish you good luck and thanks for the work you have done. We are about the same age and I felt a kinship with you and your struggle to get out of dept, your vegetable garden, the little bits of your personal life. I’m sad about the divorce, I feel I am losing two friends. Life is short. Enjoy your travels.

  51. Martin says 31 January 2012 at 07:58

    Yeah, I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t feel a little betrayed, and yes, I agree completely with your assessment that some people (myself included) will not feel like you could possibly understand what it’s like to be financially strapped when you’re absolutely not. You can’t, and you don’t. You DO sleep well at night, as you’d said.

    OTOH, your life isn’t mine. If it bugs me enough, I’ll simply stop reading.

    • MikeTheRed says 31 January 2012 at 08:41

      But if you read through the site and JDs story of overcoming debt and becoming financially stable, you’d realize he does know what it’s like. He lived it for years and is only in the last 4 or 5 years really out of it.

      Don’t discount past experience just because his current situation is better.

      • Martin says 31 January 2012 at 08:59

        Maybe so, but I know for a fact that if I won a lottery today that allowed me to pay off my mortgage, pay all my taxes, buy a car outright, go on vacation, and deposit a huge nest egg that I could use to weather any financial storm, it would change my status over against my friends. The people who were living hand to mouth and wondering how to pay all they owe will not want to hear me talk about money. You simply cannot relate anymore.

        And I know some will say it isn’t like JD won a lottery–he worked hard. I disagree. I know people who work their asses off–every bit as hard as anyone and cannot get ahead. I have a blog–why can’t I sell it for hundreds of thousands. It was luck that JD got in to a good thing at a good time and made it work. No different than getting lucky at stocks, but it’s not for more than 99% of us regardless of our work ethic. It was lucky, and yeah sorry if it burns a little that some have a ton and others do not. The fact that those who do have a ton want to try to sympathize with those who do not is insulting. Educate, sure. But to try to talk as an equal, you can’t.

        • J.D. says 31 January 2012 at 09:15

          Martin, I agree with you that there’s a large element of luck involved. Very much so. I also agree that once your financial situation changes, it’s tough to completely identify with where you were before. That’s not to say I don’t remember the years of debt, but that my immediate concerns are different. That’s one reason that — behind the scenes — we’ve tried to find somebody in a similar position to the one I was in when I started the site. Turns out it’s tough to find good writers in that position. But this is also the reason Donna Freedman is on board. Her frugality-oriented posts are outstanding, and she helps provide that grounding element, you know? It’s a real balancing act, but we work to provide content for folks in all sorts of financial positions.

        • Ash (in US) says 31 January 2012 at 10:44

          I’m not normally snarky here and I’ll try not to be in this comment. A few things:

          1) Yes, it IS easy to disassociate from where you’ve been when you aren’t in that place anymore.

          2) It’s JUST as easy to say “that’s mostly luck” and discount the hard work behind it.

          Lots of people put in effort–effort is not preparedness. Working with the skills you have can be better than putting in effort that is in the wrong direction. If you do the prep work in the right areas, you’ll be ready to take advantage of luck when it happens.

          You say you have a blog–why doesn’t your name link to it? I read your post and may have clicked through to see what you write about–that’s a lost opportunity there.

          I don’t say this to accuse you or to claim that you aren’t working hard enough. I just want to say that the mentality isn’t helping.

          As a person with previous debt issues, I remember thinking to myself, “Well, those people had a leg up/parents to help/are better at X” which, while true, didn’t explain why I was doing Y. I needed to work with what I had and make progress from there. It took me quite a few years to realize that.

          And, while I’m not rich (slowly or otherwise), I’m certainly making progress. Meanwhile, I have friends and family that say, “well, that’s because you chose that major/are smart/got that nice job…” Sometimes it’s not what you have, but how you use it. And the mentality to get beyond where you were.

          Anyway, hopefully this didn’t come off as holier-than-thou. Sometimes I read things and they set off my triggers.

          Probably doesn’t help that I just talked to a “mouth-poor” friend that is already planning on spending his tax refund on another new PC. His roommate is shaky and he might need to find a new place to stay (with no money saved), but he’s getting a PC (when he has 2). :/ I could rant for days about the people I know. Time to stop.

        • Martin says 31 January 2012 at 11:34


          (For some reason when the comments reach the threshold they have, I can no longer reply to a particular person, so I’ll do it like this)Thank you for your response, and the fact that you try to accommodate a wide range of situations is appreciated. Of course you remember the days of debt, I only point out that your current situation makes it nigh impossible for you to speak empathetically to those not in your situation. Part of the appeal was that as the site’s figurehead, you were ‘in our boat’. The fact that you were instead due to a windfall secretly in a situation that many of us not only envy but will never see in spite of our best efforts is what burns. I know the NDA precluded sharing. I know that doesn’t invalidate the information on the site. It’s a strictly emotional response, but it does make me feel like I was shafted and in a bad way because in a world where regular people are so often patted on the head by the ‘haves’ it was nice to feel like this wasn’t one of those places. That’s really all I have. I’m sure after I absorb it, it will be even more of a non-issue than it was when I first read the post.


          I’ll try not to be snarky as well. 🙂 You seem to disagree with the ‘luck’ bit of my reasoning, thinking that the excuse is that I want to foist off a bad predicament onto unwise choices. Reading between the lines of your reply, it seems to me that you’re suggesting that I might be the cause of my own failure (I don’t link to my blog, I might spend where I shouldn’t like your PC-purchasing friend). I’m the first to admit I don’t do everything right, but who does? (My blog, BTW, contains only my thoughts–I doubt anyone would pay for that). However, I can tell you that I subscribe to much of what’s outlined here, and although you can’t know my situation, I can tell you that beyond my mortgage, I’m debt free, I put cash aside each pay for the rainy day, I have insurance, I own my vehicle, I pay all my bills each month in full, and I never buy anything without knowing I have the money for it when I buy it (that goes triple for frivolous things like a second PC). I too have friends that will buy a new sweater when they have a closet full even though they’re up their eyeballs in debt, and those folks ‘set off my triggers’ too.

          My point is, while the ends are meeting, and I think I am being wise, I can tell you that a single job loss or catastrophic life event and I am screwed. I can ‘use’ my earnings (what’s left of them) only so much. And, I dislike my job but I’m stuck as I have a house (and yes, my family needs the small two bedroom semidetached I chose for us). I can work at a job I don’t like for the rest of my life and not have the sort of nest egg JD got in one fell swoop. And yes, it *was* greatly luck. Sure, there was some effort, but the windfall? Luck.

          I’m sure that the people in our lives who set off our triggers by being unwise with money and then complaining they have none wouldn’t want to hear advice from me, because I’m “Mr. In The Black” and I cannot relate. In the same way, how could I possibly feel like JD could relate to me? He’s someone who is sitting on a job he loves, with travel possibilities and a huge nest egg should anything go wrong.

        • Jaime says 31 January 2012 at 12:29

          Well that seems rather petty don’t you think? If you struck it big wouldn’t you want other people to be happy for you? Why can’t people just be happy for each other?

          JD had like 30k in debt, why wouldn’t you want to be happy for someone who worked hard for their success? He worked hard for it and he deserves it.

          IMO don’t hate people who worked hard for what they have, really the whole story inspires me and it should inspire you too.

        • Martin says 31 January 2012 at 12:52


          Not really. I get that the world has its haves and have nots. I also get that just by sheer virtue of where I live I am very fortunate comparitively. I understand that some people get lucky and some do not, and that’s the way it is. I don’t, however, think JD worked any harder or is any more deserving than many people. He just got lucky.

          None of that’s at issue though. The thing here is that, as someone else pointed out, his site is called “get rich slowly” and he got rich quickly. *Very* quickly. It’s hypocritical. And my original point is, he’s in no position anymore to be trying to struggle along equally with the readership. If he’d seriously worked hard until he retired and had only what he earned in that way like the rest of us, that’d be one thing. But in one she-bang, he got it all. Why should this make me happy? I’m not happy that Steve Jobs’s children never need to work a day in their lives and that his unborn grandchilden are already richer than I’ll ever be either. I have my life, and that’s what I have. My point has always been that it’s a far cry farther from JD’s life than I believed it was. *shrug*

        • Ash (in US) says 31 January 2012 at 12:53


          I don’t think you are the cause of your own failure. Please believe me when I say that. There are truly situations in life that cannot be duplicated. Luck plays a big role in many situations. But, you can “augment” luck (and timing), if you will, with the choices you make. Your luck can be helped by your skill set, debt burden, and willingness to take risks.

          Yes, JD “got lucky”. But, did he know that he would get rich so soon after quitting his day job? That was a choice that let him find his “luck”, if you will. He could have easily gone the other way and said, “This blog won’t make me a better income than the box factory, and I need to make sure I can do X” and GRS wouldn’t be what it is today. On the other hand, he could have trudged away at this blog for years on the side, not made any income, and not given up. Does that mean that person was less lucky? Maybe he or she didn’t have the ability to draw the audience in as well (skill/technique)? Maybe they had bad timing starting their financial blog?

          Is it the chicken or the egg?

          When you (or anyone else) steps out into the unknown, they are taking a risk. Some of the luck we get can be utilized to “make” more luck. Some of the hard work we do isn’t lucky, but the breaks we get that come with it are. You might not find the luck to make you a millionaire overnight, but why couldn’t you find the “luck” to make yourself a comfortable income?

          As far as your personal thoughts–have you heard of “The Bloggess” or “27b/6”? They are the thoughts of those people. Admittedly those two can be extremely funny.

          It all comes down to how you interpret success. Some people would say you are already there–that they can’t take advice from someone with no debt. My only issue with your comment was the sort of “it only happens if you are lucky” vibe. I hear that sort of phrasing too often and so I tend to pick at it.

          This is way too long an answer…

          Best of luck to you.

        • Martin says 31 January 2012 at 13:02

          @ Ash

          Makes sense to me, thank you for taking the time to clarify. “Luck” is a slippery topic, and I think we could go around for a while on this. At the end of the day, I suppose I just feel jealous of those that seem to have more “luck”. On my worst days, if I think that I’m going to do what I’m doing until I die and all I’ll be able to say is, “at least I’m not in debt” it sorta makes me feel like why should I bother? But the brass ring of “more than enough” not only seems impossible to reach without “luck”, but also a movable target based on attitude. I will try to work on mine.


        • Stephen says 01 February 2012 at 01:28

          JD and GRS were “overnight” success stories after 3 years of writing 1-2 posts, 6 days a week. Yes there is always an amount of luck involved, but also lots of work.

    • Sarah L says 01 February 2012 at 11:16

      I feel a lot like Martin does. While I am very happy for you JD, and I know it was in part due to hard work, and good fortune, I have had the sense over the last few years that you, and now, a few of your staff writers (Donna excluded, I love everything she does) are just so…far, for lack of a better word, ahead of the average person working their butts off, trying to make ends meet, or get ahead a little bit that so many of the posts are either not applicable, or seem to be rubs at the people who can’t or don’t want to buy organic chocolate (for one) or travel extensivly, or pay for a house with cash, or build their own house, or become a successful blogger and financially well off within a few years.

      Of course, I understand many of us have different curcimstances, for example, you have no children, but I know many of us do, and sometimes, it’s actually MORE discouraging reading some of the posts than it is encouraging. I miss the old GRS, back when it seemed like you were working towards your goals, instead of having already gotten to the stage of wondering what to do next, since you’ve done it all already.

      I know, that any time I want to, I can stop reading, and for the last few years, I mostly just skim, hoping for the rare gems that used to appear daily.

      While I am happy for your success, I am saddened that the site doesn’t seem (in my opinon) to speak to the average person anymore.

  52. Sandy says 31 January 2012 at 08:01

    Thank you for sharing. And congrats on your success!! GOOD FOR YOU!!!!!

  53. Joe D. says 31 January 2012 at 08:02

    Congrats to you and your success, JD. You have the premiere financial site on the web as far as I can see.

    Had not even an inkling that you sold the site. When you create something of outstanding value, other companies will be interested in acquisition. So I guess no one should be shocked.

  54. olga says 31 January 2012 at 08:07

    A huge congrats on a well and smart executed idea even if it might have not been such at the beginning of the era. Lots to aspire to, in general, a.k.a. if you do what your heart desires and put solid effort, things pay up. Kind of an American dream:) I have a somewhat of a friend whom I told recently she is my definition of an American dream by setting the bar high, dreaming real things up and going after those goals full speed. She gets them, too. So do you.
    And I agree with a handful comments and your one response that the reason your website draws attention and has folks stick around is the story. The story behind simple math or article about how and what. Personally, I don’t gain anything from GRS because of where I come from and frugality instilled and debt being simply not an option, and accumulation slowly, and fighting, and never giving up, and planning…(just wish I had that entrepreneur gene in me to add:)), but I really enjoy reading well written stories shared, well delivered advice, and at times when I don’t find something that attractive – I skip a day or few. But overall, awesome job.
    I am thrilled you were able to pick an option that allows you to stay while not pressuring you into it. Great combo. And if our voices matter (and I believe they do, for you, to a certain extent) – please keep putting your voice her to be heard and manage other’s voices – we seem to like you:)

  55. Doughboy says 31 January 2012 at 08:11


    I noticed the changes that began back in 2009, but thought you were simply cutting back on work. I knew the site was profitable, but was wondering how you were paying for all of the travel, while writing a lot less for Get Rich Slowly.

    Nice to learn that you made a good deal to sell the site while still working for it, but I’ve been coming here a lot less since you cut back on your articles here. Maybe that’s because I like your writing style so much. Then again, my own financial situation has improved tremendously since I start reading this site back in 2008. That’s partly thanks to your advice (and partly thanks to a new job that pays a lot more than my old job).

    Anyway, congratulations on your success, but don’t let it make you lose sight of the financial values you’ve learned and shared with us over the years.

    • Becky+P. says 02 February 2012 at 02:41

      This is right where I am. I’ve been reading less here since you (JD) quit writing so often. I too, wondered, how you could travel more when you wrote less, but I figured you had a solid readership base and enough advertising so that the income had become rather “solidly passive” by then.

      Anyway, while I think most would be honest to admit a little “jealousy” to your situation, we also are genuinely glad for you. I want to always rejoice when someone I know gets hit with something great. I love to hear about travels and great experiences other have and don’t want to respond with “wish I could afford that.” I know that you worked hard for several years to achieve this.

      But at the same time, I learned about the sale of the site and the divorce on the same day. (I read the part about the mortgage being paid off makes the divorce easier. and I was in complete shock–had to go back to my Google reader and try to find the post that mentioned that–a while ago–was behind due to Christmas activities, sickness, and then a trip to Kenya.)

      I’m kinda “down” today–which is ridiculous since I don’t even know you. I guess it is because I started reading a long time ago, when you were early into blogging and have followed your life.

      The site is great, though and I will continue to come back. I do read less, however, since you quit writing. I will like to see more of your posts again.

  56. Jessica, Everything Finance says 31 January 2012 at 08:16

    Even though it was 3 years ago, congratulations on the sale of your site. I think a large percentage of website owners secretly hope for the day when someone recognizes the potential in their site and wants to purchase it.

    I look forward to reading more of your posts here.

  57. Beth says 31 January 2012 at 08:26

    I think Rob hits the proverbial nail on the head here. J.D.’s story makes GRS. I find the other writers are good, but they’re writing articles based on their experiences (well, mostly). That’s not the same as an ongoing narrative.

    • Beth says 31 January 2012 at 08:29

      Argh. I meant to reply to Rob in #65, and now I can’t edit my comment! 🙂

  58. Allan Jackson says 31 January 2012 at 08:33

    Aha! I was a frequent reader and then a daily reader for a long time, but around the time you hired the staff writers, I pretty much stopped reading the site except for an article every month or two. A lot of that was me having read all the basics and getting bored with the new content, but I’m guessing the new ownership (and writers) played a part too.

    Anyway, congrats JD. Sounds like it was definitely the best decision for you personally. No hard feelings…I mainly just got bored with personal finance in general.

  59. Ash (in US) says 31 January 2012 at 08:38

    Hi JD and Congrats!!!

    I didn’t really clue in on the sale until I read the comments (where others mentioned it) in a different article, but I don’t begrudge you one bit! It’s fantastic that you managed to negotiate what you wanted to get and the freedom, too. Pretty fab.

    I’m honestly glad you sold it, because the burnout you were displaying was pretty severe. You needed time to step back and recuperate. And I think, if you hadn’t sold it the way you did, you might not be as willing to come back now. Being able to walk away anytime in the last 3 years must have been a great psychological boost when it came time to write things. Bravo for knowing your limits–money is a tool to get what you want, and you wanted freedom. You didn’t leave your day job just to get stuck with one you were starting to hate.

    I’ve been reading less for the last 6 months or so, but I find myself coming back more often now. It’s the personal in personal finance–articles are great, but people are what make things interesting.

    Oh, and just another person that wants to thank QuinStreet for keeping this site so useful.

  60. Malcom says 31 January 2012 at 08:42

    I started reading this site over a year ago. I started reading the site because I had “learned” that the site was started by a guy who had financial problems and this was his road to get out of debt. I felt this was one of the few honest sites out there.

    Today I find out that this is not a “honest” site. I don’t think I will be visiting this site again.

    • J.D. says 31 January 2012 at 09:09

      Hm. I’m not sure what makes you think this site is dishonest, Malcolm. I did start this site when I had financial problems, and the site did help me get out of debt — even as I did so. I’ve striven to be as honest as I can here, even when it hurts. The sale is the one thing I’ve been unable to talk about (and, later, the issues with my wife). I feel like the last few weeks have allowed me to bring these important things in the open, so that everything is clear again.

      • Adam P says 31 January 2012 at 09:40

        Well…tongue firmly in cheek…the title of the blog is misleading for the creator of the site personally. You’ve preached ways of spending less than you earn, getting out of debt, and investing in tax deferred low MER dividend funds over your lifetime to retire rich (slowly) as I understand it.

        But what you’ve done yourself is create a business and sell it to become rich quickly – like that obnoxious Ramit Sethi guy might preach (I don’t care for him at all if it’s not obvious).

        That said, everyone should be happy for you JD and I certainly am. It does sort of attribute to the wisdom my grandfather (a wealthy man) has always told me, that you won’t get rich working for other people. Create a business and that’s where true wealth comes from.

        • Becky+P. says 02 February 2012 at 02:51

          When he started the site, that was his goal. Do you think he should rename it? Is a person supposed to rename something as circumstances change?

          I hardly think he’s being dishonest or misleading. When people are it their early 20’s and 30’s, they think that anything that takes 3-4 years is “forever.” His plan was to “get rich slowly”.

          Maybe some think he shouldn’t write here now that he isn’t poor. That is silly as he has a depth of knowledge and perspective that most of us don’t have. When he got out of debt, he was very clear that “now that he is out of debt”, he had to change directions. He then discussed it and talked about it openly and talked about being in a different stage of personal finance. He also admitted that he would now start talking about investments and try to stay on topic to those who were struggling, but since he wasn’t struggling anymore, he also wanted to talk about some of those more advanced topics.

          I personally like the range of topics provided-just like JD’s writing style better than most–I don’t even know why that is the case.

    • Jaime says 31 January 2012 at 12:38

      His hands were tied because of the NDA and honestly do you think that businesses tell their customers EVERYTHING they’re doing? Even small businesses need to keep things private at times.

      • imelda says 31 January 2012 at 18:10

        …. That doesn’t mean we have to like it. Right?

        I think that JD acted with integrity. That said, I can understand the POV of someone who thinks they’re reading the personal blog of someone who is in the trenches with them. They might feel betrayed to find out that there was more going on behind the scenes.

        That said, I would suggest that person consider just how much that impacts what they’ve gotten out of this site. For me, the impact has been minimal.

        I liked this site much better back when JD was the main writer, but I still believe this is the best personal finance blog on the web.

  61. Kacie says 31 January 2012 at 08:46

    I suspected as much, because I came across some reputable sources that said you had sold it in 2009 (though I forget exactly where), and to me that is just fine!

    Your site continues to be the best personal finance blog out there. Well done!

    Could I make a request of your technical elves? Can you add a plugin so that the site is compatible with mobile devices? It will load so much faster on people’s phones that way.

    • jim says 31 January 2012 at 13:44

      I’ll 2nd the request for a mobile compatible format for this site.

  62. Shawn G says 31 January 2012 at 08:49

    I’ve been a GRS reader for many years, and have really enjoyed the site. As JD has already said, the fact that he was telling his story is what makes this site what it is.

    JD, I’ve noticed the change over the last few months and am glad that you will be writing more once you return from your trip. Your voice is the one that has drawn most people to this site and it is why I still return. I enjoy a couple of the staff writers (Brokamp is my favorite), but you are the reason that I check the site every day.

    • J.D. says 31 January 2012 at 09:12

      Just to be explicit: My goal (and I don’t know how achievable this is) is to keep things as they are now except that I’ll add a few small afternoon posts each week, which will be written by me. I don’t want to overwhelm folks, so these won’t be long. But they’ll be from me and they’ll be in my voice. Long-time readers will recognize them as the quick afternoon posts that were common when the site as young. I haven’t done many of these lately, but they really do add value, I think. They’re quick write-ups of articles at other sites, pointers to new financial tools, etc. There are plenty of longer, in-depth articles here, but there’s not enough linking to the wider world of financial info on the web. These afternoon posts will let me do that while also allowing me to reassert my voice here.

      That’s my goal, anyhow. 🙂

      • Jacci says 31 January 2012 at 11:57

        I look forward to your afternoon “spare changes” and the like. In fact, I still check every so often in the afternoon to see if you have posted! I have been a quiet, long time reader and value your voice and story.

  63. Kyle says 31 January 2012 at 08:51

    I honestly would never have noticed you sold the site. I just assumed you were making a ton of money and hired staff writers to take some of the pressure off yourself. But then Quinstreet called me maybe 2 years ago wanting me to try out one of their widgets on my own site. They pointed me to GRS as an example of what the widgets would look like, telling me “we own this site.” The direction the site had taken definitely made a lot more sense at that point. Congratulations!

    Quinstreet has a great reputation and from what I’ve seen around the web, they really are serious about providing great content. I’m sure they won’t screw the site up.

  64. Kevin R. (Portland) says 31 January 2012 at 09:00

    Congrats J.D.! Quite an accomplishment and a wonderful financial position you’ve put yourself in. As many have commented here, I appreciate the openness in sharing your story.

    As you may have already discovered, now that you have a significant amount in savings, it is returns on your investments that takes center stage as the overall biggest financial impact. Expense control is important but secondary, especially as it seems you have very good handle on that. This transition to be more focused on your investments rather than on finding new ways to save money does not come naturally (in my experience). I would love to see you post on how things are different (or not) for you in this regard.

    While i imagine for peace of mind, you did what most people only dream of – paid off your mortgage early. i offer a different way of looking at your new financial situation in regards to having a mortgage.

    1. mortgage rates are about 4% (cheapest they have been in over 40 years). interest deduction on taxes makes effective rate closer to 3%.

    2. a conservative investing approach such as the permanent portfolio historically has earned 10% annual return over the last 40 years, with lowest year return of -4%. A remarkable track record as you have noted in a post before.
    More info on Permanent Portfolio:

    3. using your tag line of “personal finance that makes cents”, the odds are heavy in your favor to make a lot more by carrying a low cost mortgage than it is by being debt free.

    I write this because I did the same thing as you about 5 years ago. I received a windfall from the sale of my business and immediately paid off my mortgage and put the rest in savings to invest. In looking at above analysis, I decided it makes much more sense to use historically cheap money for a historically low risk solid return investment portfolio. I close on a new mortgage tomorrow. That’s my two cents, FWIW.

    Looking forward to seeing where life takes you next.

    (a fellow Portland Diehard investment group member)

  65. JAK says 31 January 2012 at 09:02

    Congrats, JD. I first stumbled onto your site when I was doing some photog research. Go figure!
    All the best!

  66. Andy Hough says 31 January 2012 at 09:08

    I found out you had sold the blog last year and didn’t realize you had never announced that you had sold it. I know QuinStreet has bought a few of the popular finance blogs. It isn’t really a secret since you could find out what blogs they’ve bought by using Google.

  67. Beth says 31 January 2012 at 09:10

    Okay, okay…congratulations (I really mean that). Can we get back to the personal finance blogs now? 🙂

  68. Financial Samurai says 31 January 2012 at 09:12

    Fantastic color JD! It is hard to walk away given this site has been your baby for so long.

    I don’t think anybody could turn down the offer they gave and let you still have editorial control.

    If you’re burned out, like you mentioned during lunch, you’re burned out! Time to move on and balance things out.

    Pls let me know next time you’re in SF so we can grab a bite again!

    Best, Sam

  69. Ben says 31 January 2012 at 09:14

    JD, congratulations on your success (thought that seems a bit belated now). As someone who wants to write professionally, it’s inspiring to know your story.

    Thanks for sharing.

  70. PB says 31 January 2012 at 09:16

    Hi, JD —

    Several comments.

    First, I am so sorry that you and Kris broke up, but that is your own business.

    Second, your garden posts were my least favorite columns, but now I find myself wondering what will happen to the garden.

    Third, I am glad that you are not leaving the site, because it would not be the same without you.

    Fourth, I still think that all the comments around the time of your mother’s illness show a great need for guidance through the healthcare maze of those of us dealing with our aging parents, and that you should write a book about that.

    Travel safely!

  71. Tatyana says 31 January 2012 at 09:16

    I do like the JD articles more than other staff writers (although I like Kris’ the most).

    I think it boils down to how one relates to the audience. I can see the staff writers sitting there knowing that there is a deadline and having to come up with a good topic. However that topic isn’t tied to their real life. I think that lessens the worth of the topic. It’s always things that are very basic like “how to save extra 30 dollars in a month” or “how to automate your savings”; things that a lot of readers know by now. But those can be spruced up by real life with “how this already frugal staffer tried saving money for 30 months and how he/she succeeded/failed”. Advice in a vacuum isn’t as interesting.

    I think the multiple authors could have a great impact. I think the reason I like Kris’ canning and gardening posts most, is because I can relate. I want a dream house, I want a garden, I want to grow my own food, and yes I’m a female. I can’t really relate to JD anymore because a working mother has different challenges than a self-employed (sorta) divorcee. I don’t need advice on furnishing a new apartment. I need advice on how to have the heart to not give my kid all the Stuff she ever asks for. From that aspect more authors, more points of view, more relatable life stories.

  72. Tony says 31 January 2012 at 09:20

    I think that I started following GRS about the same time you sold it. A lot of the appeal to follow GRS is that I felt I’m getting advice from people like me. Even knowing that you don’t own the site I still feel this way. You have done a fantastic job at keeping GRS ture to it’s roots, and still gain financial success from it. Thanks, and Congrats!

  73. John | Married (with Debt) says 31 January 2012 at 09:23

    JD – kudos for coming out – it must have been tough keeping this quiet for so long.

    I’m so glad that you did it in a way that didn’t compromise your original vision.

    I think you know that so many readers value this site because of you, and view GRS and JD as inextricably linked. I know I do.

    Best wishes on your vacation and your new direction in life.

  74. Melinda says 31 January 2012 at 09:24

    That is great news that you paid off your mortgage. It’s great that you found someone to buy the site (years ago), and I’ve been around awhile and like the site. And I’m glad that you “get that” people might feel a little put-off by your not having a large debt such as a mortgage. Yesterday, I read Trent’s post at The Simple Dollar and simply felt amazed, and I’m amazed again. If I’m to be honest, I’m jealous of you both that you’ve been able to do it (but happy for you at the same time). This is a goal of my own and I am taking small steps to pay it off quickly, though I’m not sure I can do it as quickly as the two of you. In the meantime, I do wonder if our paths will diverge just a bit more because I’m not sure you’ll be writing “for me”. Seasons change and all that. But I heart Donna. Don’t ever do anything to make her leave.

    • Bella says 31 January 2012 at 10:09

      Yea, anything you can do to make sure Donna never leaves!

      • J.D. says 31 January 2012 at 10:15


        Trust me: I agree with you, and Donna knows it. I’m pretty sure she loves the GRS audience, too, so she’ll stick around as long as she can.

        • Donna Freedman says 31 January 2012 at 11:15

          Group hug!!! [[ ]]
          Seriously: Thanks to those who have said kind things. I do like writing for this community and I will stick around as long as they’ll have me.

    • barnetto says 31 January 2012 at 10:12

      “I’m jealous of you both that you’ve been able to do it”

      I would use envious, rather than jealous. Both mean you would like what someone else has for yourself, but jealousy also means you resent the person who has it while envy does not. You don’t feel the need to bring someone down to pull yourself up.

  75. Josh @ Live Well Simply says 31 January 2012 at 09:24

    Sounds like you’ve done well for yourself with Get Rich Slowly. Everyone should chase the dreams they have and you’ve accomplished just that and laid aside a nice nest egg. All the best to you!

  76. Tiffany says 31 January 2012 at 09:26

    I’ve only been a reader for a month but it’s already become one of favorite blogs (and I read a lot of them). Congratulations on your success, it sounds like you deserve it! I’m looking forward to reading more.

  77. Teeny says 31 January 2012 at 09:28

    Congrats! I have been a reader since I graduated from college in 2006 and found myself with a lot of student loans. To me it sounds like you really did good for both yourself and your site. I am a big fan of your work, and will continue being a avid reader of the site.

  78. katherine says 31 January 2012 at 09:32

    I have read your site almost everyday for the few years along with Trent at Simple Dollar. You have taught and entertained me and I feel I have come to know “you” through the content you share. Congratulations on your success! You have earned it.
    About your divorce, Thank you for sharing your personal pain. No matter what the reasons, divorce is very difficult. I hope you find the happiness and personal satisfaction you need.

  79. Terry says 31 January 2012 at 09:33

    I applaud you for finally “coming out of the closet” ,so to speak, with your announcement. I am sure it was a load off your shoulders to finally divulge this information to your readers. The majority of entrepreneurs start businesses with the idea of one day selling it. Nothing wrong with that. But it’s not easy letting go. It’s like seeing your son or daughter finally riding a bicycle by themselves and not needing your guidance anymore. Nothing ever stays the same. Change is inevitable. I’am sure your best friend’s death and your divorce made that more clear. In the meantime, the wheel keeps turning. There is sometime right now blogging away in some basement or garage dreaming of one day have the success you’ve attained. Congratulations.

  80. LJ says 31 January 2012 at 09:36

    Wow, I read your column and the 30 comments, come back after mulling it over for a few minutes and lo, there are 90! By the time I post this I’m sure there will be more! You DO have a loyal following, J.D., a following you’ve worked hard to build and that has come because of (a) good content and (b) your authenticity.

    Congratulations, J.D. I will continue to try to glean helpful information AND inspiration from your posts, the guest bloggers and from your archives. Keep up the good work!

  81. Brenton says 31 January 2012 at 09:37

    Belated congrats.

    When the site first started turning from a personal blog to a “business” blog, and staff writers started writing alot more content, I was a little dissapointed. I had just started following the blog, and was annoyed that my new favorite blog was changing. Over time, though, I think the writers have evolved into a nice mix of voices. And if JD posts less, well, as long its quality over quantity, then I think everyone will benefit from that arrangement.

  82. Susan S says 31 January 2012 at 09:37

    Good for you! The site was your idea and the result of your hard work so there is no reason to not enjoy the results of your efforts. I am a recent reader and always assumed that you had investors and staff because the site is so professionally done. Knowing the background doesn’t change my opinion of the contents, which is that the articles generally contain useful, practical information.

  83. Corie says 31 January 2012 at 09:39

    I read this article:
    about a month ago and I guess I didn’t put two and two together that it wasn’t publicized/revealed that you sold your blog.

    Congratulations on your success! I’ve been a reader for only about 6 months but will continue to do so in the future!

  84. JD Carroll says 31 January 2012 at 09:39

    You have personally helped me by responding to my e-mails and for that I am very grateful. Your success is well earned and I hope it continues.

  85. Val says 31 January 2012 at 09:43

    Congrats on the sale of the site!! Quite the accomplishment indeed!! 🙂 I must say, to be honest, that I’m glad that the sale went through before your divorce so Kris was able to reap some of the rewards, i.e. a mortgage free house and hopefully some other things.

    Along with traveling more, do you plan to do some volunteer work? Give more to charity?

    Hope you’re enjoying your financial freedom, most definitely well deserved after all your hard work. Just sad you’re not going to have Kris around to share it with. 🙁

  86. Amy says 31 January 2012 at 09:46

    I’ve been a reader for the past year, and I can’t tell you how many times I have drafted questions to get your advice on something, only to turn around and do my own research and have financial discussions with my husband to reach our own conclusions. But drafting the question to you first always helped me organize my thoughts. Inevitably, I would end my “questions” with, “You will probably say that I need to…” and after I finished that statement, I knew what my answer was.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is thank you. I hope no one begrudges you success, because this thing that you built is so helpful to so many people, I am glad that you are able to sleep soundly and still do what you love to do.

  87. Frank (Sparky) Douglass says 31 January 2012 at 09:49

    Hey JD – I’ve been reading your blog for over a year now and I have used some of your stuff with my clients and I have referred many to your site.

    What caught my eye today was the name “Sparky”. There aren’t many of us around so when I saw that he was your best friend and he ended his life so tragically, I just wanted to send you a note and say I am sorry for your loss.


    Frank (Sparky) Douglass

  88. mike crosby says 31 January 2012 at 09:53

    Hey JD. Like Jacob at ERE, you move on in life. Good for you. I’d love though to know though what you got for selling.

    It amazes me how people can make so much off a blog. I’ve never monetized my blog and I see others who are popular (blog wise) but struggle financially.

    Thank you for the years of great content. There can be no denying that.

    But for some reason I do feel like I was a pawn in this whole thing. My thinking was you were the owner and it was a bunch of similar minded people wanting to better their lives. We were all in this together. Now it seems we were in a way used for the grand scheme of someone else.

    • J.D. says 31 January 2012 at 10:06

      Hm. I’ve never, ever considered GRS readers “pawns”. If I had, I would have never stuck around for three years. I would never go out of my way to meet them for lunch and dinner. I wouldn’t respond to their e-mails. And so on. It’s precisely because I do think we’re in this together that I’m still here, still writing, still trying to help people achieve financial success. I’ve been lucky (or blessed, or whatever you want to call it). I feel like it’s my obligation to pay it forward.

      • mike crosby says 31 January 2012 at 10:15

        Thanks JD. God bless.

  89. DPB says 31 January 2012 at 10:05

    To those that say they feel you havent been honest i say “Go pound sand!” As EVERYONE of us would have done what you did. You were smart in that, you kept control, but at no expense to you…Bravo!
    I wish to thank you, I have never commented before, and have only missed a few articles in the last 5-6 years I have been reading. I have too, enjoy the personal stories of you and other readers, that keeps me coming back.
    I wish you the greatest of fuures!

    On a side note, I also want to thank you for assisting in a very round-a-bout way of getting clean, I had a substance abuse problem and it came down to what do I want to do with my money: an hour of bliss or a lifetime of happiness, I am choosing the latter. thanks and Enjoy your travels another passion of mine!

    Be well,

  90. Bella says 31 January 2012 at 10:06

    The last couple weeks have been a doozy. I need to revise my comment from the divorce post – I’ve been really impressed with how graciously you have handled the negative comments. I’m impressed.
    As for selling the site – I’m also impressed. I’m impressed that you managed to find a way to stay true to something you made instead of just walking away. I appreciate your honesty in telling us just how bad it was. And I’m glad personally that you stayed on. I’m also glad to know that you really did achieve financial success by working hard, creating something great and having someone realize it’s worth and pay you for it. I find that very inspiring. I guess I just wish for you that you could have emerged with a happy marriaage intact.
    Count me back in as a loyal GRS reader.

  91. Tara says 31 January 2012 at 10:18

    I just wanted to simply say – Thank you and Congrats on a well deserved achievement!

  92. Brent Pittman says 31 January 2012 at 10:19

    I’ll echo the 100+ congrats. You built it and it helps people. It’s ok to profit from success. I hope to do something similar in the future. Perhaps I’ll have “elves” of my own someday!

  93. Shane says 31 January 2012 at 10:26

    Congrats JD – very good news and something you should absolutely be proud of. I’d say it’s definitely inspiring!

  94. rkt says 31 January 2012 at 10:26

    Thanks for all the writing and honesty JD, have loved it all and look forward to continue reading your writing about your evolving perspective.


  95. Gerard says 31 January 2012 at 10:33

    “If they decided that this site would make them more money as a porn site, they could turn it into a porn site.”

    Sounds nice. But that would conflict with the get Rich SLOWLY part. What would they put on the site, slow porn?
    Just kidding.

    Congrats J.D. You’ve earned it.

  96. Mary says 31 January 2012 at 10:38

    Wow! You had me nervous- I thought you were going to reveal that you were leaving for good.

    I can’t remember when I started reading… But it was definitely before 2009! A friend on livejournal set up an RSS feed. Been reading the blog through LJ the whole time. 🙂

    Congrats JD.

  97. Troy says 31 January 2012 at 10:41

    Lots of congrats and back patting on here.

    I’m not feeling it.

    As someone who owns multiple business of which to compare, your situation is “unique” to put it nicely.

    Don’t misunderstand, I would have sold also. But remember there are lots of business where more work doesn’t necessarily mean more income.

    And after less than three years you sold. Not getting rich slowly anymore. In fact, the exact opposite. I have a little money also, so I understand the allure.

    But I did’t make my money by selling the idea and the image of someone chuggin’ away for decades saving…like the real millionaire next door…so he can too get rich slowly… which turns out to be false because he sold out years prior.

    If the financial blog named slowly was authored by one who did it quickly you would feel decieved.

    Like I said, I don’t blame you. I would have sold also. But you aren’t the same. The site isn’t the same. Even the name of the site isn’t the same. I would have negotiated to tell my readers at the time of the sale, because that connection is what is valuable.

    Sorry man. I like the site and it has real value to many, but you have been lying to your readers for nearly 3 years, and everyone here keeps congratulating you for it.

    • Carla says 31 January 2012 at 11:02

      I totally hear you., Troy. His situation is very unique. No matter how hard I worked at my business, it did not, and perhaps would never become more than it was. I think that’s where the disconnect lies. He preached Get Rich Slowly, but in reality he Got Rich Quickly and it was more luck than anything. How many people could put the same amount of time and effort into a project and yield the same result?

      Still happy for him either way, and I can see why he didn’t disclose this right away. ‘Do what I say, not what I do’.

    • Jethro says 31 January 2012 at 11:39

      What you need to remember is that JD did not set out to get rich quickly — his goal was to use the “get rich slowly” philosophy to get rich slowly, and to use his writing skills as part of the process. The get rich slowly philosophy would have helped JD reach his financial goals in the long run, but it was his writing skills (mixed with a little entrepreneurial spirit) that actually got them done in the short term. Given the terms of the deal he made, I would say he did a pretty decent job of not lying to his readers.

    • Jaime says 31 January 2012 at 12:49

      While becoming wealthy does take time, sometimes people can do certain things to speed up the process. Why do people go to college or start businesses?

      Going to college and starting your own business does give people a leg up in the world that they wouldn’t otherwise have. There are legitimate ways to speed up the process of wealth.

      It seems that some people are a little jealous of JD’s success, well I say to those people, go and make something of your life. Then we’ll talk. My mom made like 80,000 with her small business and she had to deal with jealous friends and acquaintances sometimes.

      With affluence comes resentment and that’s really sad. Instead of being jealous, why can’t we be happy for each other? If your business isn’t doing well then maybe its time to find something else that will give you a better income.

      • Carla says 31 January 2012 at 13:48

        You’re assuming some of these so-called “jealous” people didn’t work hard if not harder only to fall flat on their faces. The reality is, that IS life.

  98. Maureen says 31 January 2012 at 10:46

    Best wishes! You’ve worked so hard and it’s wonderful that you are able to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

  99. Carla says 31 January 2012 at 10:54

    Congradulations for selling GRS and the success you’ve had! Just remember, no matter who owns GRS and how many staff writers or guess bloggers you have, it will not be GRS without you, JD. Ever.

  100. Wendy says 31 January 2012 at 11:00

    Woo hoo! Congratulations, JD!!

  101. KarenJ says 31 January 2012 at 11:01

    I became a reader about two years ago. I don’t resent your success, I am inspired by it! I have an idea for a blog/website and I only hope and dream that I can achieve financial success while making a difference in the lives of people as you have. You’ve done what many people aspire to do, and that is to shape your own destiny doing something you love. Congrats to you and best of luck moving forward in whatever direction you choose.

  102. Allison Best says 31 January 2012 at 11:01

    Thank you for creating this site, selling this site, and still contributing to this site. Your articles and the direction this company has gone has helped me get under control and be it through you, your book, your blog, or Quinstreet’s blog — this is a wonderful thing.

    I hope you enjoy your trip to Argentina!

  103. Maria says 31 January 2012 at 11:01

    Congratulations! I’m happy that all this wonderful stuff has happened to you. I am a bit sad that you and Kris are parting ways, but at least it’s not a bitter parting from the way you tell it.

    Keep up the good work!! Enjoy life and the pursuit of your dreams. 🙂 I’m envious as I still am not sure what my own dreams are at right now. 🙂

  104. Bethh says 31 January 2012 at 11:05

    I guess I started reading your blog closer to The Beginning than I knew! I wish there was an easy way to figure that out but I suppose it’s irrelevant.

    I too have noticed the changes over the years and I think the deal you negotiated was brilliant! Having an exit strategy is great for one’s mental health.

    I’ve often pondered what I’d do if I came into a chunk of money, and I think I’d do much as you did – pay off debt, enjoy a bit, then carry on with my life, knowing I’ve got a cushion if need it.

    It’s got to feel GOOD to have your voice back and no more secrets. Welcome back! And of course congratulations.

  105. Kevin M says 31 January 2012 at 11:07

    Just curious, maybe I missed it, why did you decide to spill the beans now?

    Congrats on your success and cashing in on your hard work. That is what entrepreneurship is all about in my opinion.

    • J.D. says 31 January 2012 at 11:35

      I’ve pestered QuinStreet on and off over the years, asking to be able to write about this. They finally said yes. I think the business reasons for the NDA have faded, and now they want to be able to brag about GRS being a “Time blog of the year”, etc. In other words, at first it made sense for them to keep it secret; now it makes sense for them to publicize it. I’m just glad I can finally reveal the story!

      • Kevin M says 31 January 2012 at 13:11

        Man I just Googled Quinstreet and they have been busy. I for one am glad they offered to buy it rather than you just quitting and letting GRS wither away. I’ve learned a lot, and shared a bit of it with my clients. I’m glad to hear you’ll keep writing.

  106. Alan Cordle says 31 January 2012 at 11:10

    This is awesome. I’m so proud of you.

  107. Edd N says 31 January 2012 at 11:17

    WOW, im floored. I have been a total fan of your site for some time now. I have followed your advice and have managed to pay off $25,000 of debt in four years. I have referred to your site quite extensively. Ive purchased books youve recommended and ive read many of your staff writers articles as well. I do have mixed emotions about this site now. On one hand I very much enjoy reading about your personal trials and tribulations and how you’ve managed to leave your “Day job” to manage this site. On another hand i always thought publishing one article per day was ALOT for any business blog to maintain. And yet on another hand, Im VERY happy for you in your success.

    This site, and your writing, just proves to me that life happens. Life is not what you think it always will be or is. And you have to look out for number one. I know your personal and professional will be extremely succuessful and you havent even gotten close to your peak achievements, so I congratulate you on your success.

    If you ever would consider personal mentoring please keep me in mind. I live in the southwest where its hot and dry and if you ever want to do business out here please let me know. The food and the weather is GREAT!

    Again, congrats on your success and dont ever doubt your decisions. Youve made the right ones. CONGRATS!

    Edd Natividad

  108. Putri says 31 January 2012 at 11:25

    Dear JD,

    Congratulations 🙂

    I did notice sometime ago that the site design had changed, for the better.

  109. frugalportland says 31 January 2012 at 11:29

    hey, good work, and thanks for the disclosure.

  110. Elaine says 31 January 2012 at 11:35

    I have nothing but the most sincere congratulations for you! I am so darn proud of you. Please don’t listen to the readers that say you can’t empathize with those that are still struggling – you can! I don’t understand why Americans have a love/hate relationship with the wealthy – we all WANT to be rich, but then we HATE the rich. I, for one, came from a family of nothing but drug abuse, put myself through college and graduate school, and am heading to medical school. In addition to that, my husband and I are trying to start a business from the ground up, with pretty decent early success. I have more at 25 years old than I thought I would ever have in my life. But I still remember being a 16-year-old emancipated minor with a monthly income of $500 and working midnight shifts so that I could afford to go to college. It’s BECAUSE of that hard work that I am where I am today – much the same way you have progressed through life, JD. I still wish you would reconcile with Kris, or at least try a trial separation first. I’m really happy to see that the two of you have been able to leave her with a paid off house. Best wishes to both of you.

  111. Cynthia says 31 January 2012 at 11:38

    While I appreciate the frugal blogs; I do have a sense of frustration with your blog and “The Simple Dollar.” I applaud you turning your finances around, but I think that it was really easier for you than someone who has been frugal their entire life. You experienced excess and went ahead and bought the clothes, the CDs, went out to eat all the time and just in general lived the high life. So you already had several material possessions before you got your finances in order. It was easier to say no to things, because you already had a lot of things to begin with. You then decide to be a saver, write a blog about it and make a boatload of money off of it. It just seems so unfair. Particularly to those of us who have been frugal their entire life, which is, I think, a lot harder. As a frugal saver my entire life, it makes me wish that I had instead gone your route, because it seems that is what is rewarded in America. For example, amongst my saver friends, we always are joking but serious that we will have to pay for our spender friend’s retirements. And the sad part is, we’re probably right. I’ll have driven an old car for years, lived in an extremely modest house, and be paying for other people who bought a brand new SUV every year and a large house’s retirement.

    • J.D. says 31 January 2012 at 11:55

      Interesting comment, Cynthia. But remember: I had to pay for those things I bought before I became frugal, and I had to pay for them many times over because of interest. I don’t think having those things is what helped me get out of debt and build wealth. Instead, it’s what I’ve tried to preach again and again and again and again on this site: the drive to make more money. So many people dismiss the idea of making more money as not something they can do. Fine. But if you really want to get ahead, you have to find ways to make it happen. Frugality keeps you out of debt, but increasing your income fast-tracks the road to wealth.

      • Cynthia says 31 January 2012 at 12:31

        Thanks for your comment. That is a very good point about INCREASING your income. That is a point that I think I often miss, and it is also difficult. I likely should divide my time more evenly between saving money/frugality and finding ways to generate more income. And so far as buying several things while a spender, and then having to essentially pay for those items twice or 3 times – that is true too. Perhaps the real solution for me, and other savers, is some more moderation. To be frugal, but also allow myself more purchases from time to time that are “wants” as opposed to “needs” within my budget.

    • Jaime says 31 January 2012 at 13:32

      Cynthia, my mom came to the U.S. from Russia, she was a professional before she came to the U.S. and went to trade school and became a stylist.

      After working 5-6 years at a salon, she decided to open up her own small salon and her clients followed her to the new place. She made close to six figures about 80k because she had people skills and worked hard and worked a lot.

      In the early 2000s my mom and I became naturalized citizens. My step-dad is American, she recently retired in her late 50s. My mom worked HARD and a lot of hours to get her business to the level of success it became it doesn’t happen overnight.

      It takes a lot of work, she never went into debt for it either. She knew other stylists that never made that much and that’s because they didn’t put in the same energy she did.

      If a Russian immigrant can do it then you can too! It wasn’t easy for my mom, she had to deal sometimes with people who had stereotypes of Russians but she found plenty of American customers whom loved her and were loyal to her.

      Sometimes I hate hearing about people who were born in the U.S. and had every advantage, more advantages than people who weren’t and still complain about how hard it is to make it.

      No in the U.S. its easy because the government lets you do it. You have freedom and mobility. You live in the first world. Even in this economy people are finding success.

      How is that possible? Hard work and tenacity. You can do it too Cynthia. Its possible. You should be inspired, but I urge you to go to college or trade school and make more income.

      Plenty of people go back to college to change careers. I urge you to do that so that you don’t have to struggle forever. IMO anything is possible, you live in the richest country the world has ever known.

      I know a lot of people think the U.S. is going downhill, but even Roman Empire had its problems, every country does. Still the U.S. offers more opportunities than most countries do. Okay I’m done, good luck.

      • olga says 01 February 2012 at 08:11

        Jaime, your mom and I shall chat at some point:) Thanks for a wonderful story, best to you and your family.

        • Jaime says 05 February 2012 at 09:43

          Thank you my mom inspires me every day. 🙂

  112. Seattle Nancy says 31 January 2012 at 11:39

    I’ve been a reader since almost the beginning and guessed the sale after the site had been redesigned and staff writers came on, and JD moved on to new ventures and seemed to have a lot more money for travel, etc. I enjoyed GRS much more in the early days, and only read sporadically in the past couple of years. Just not the same.

    I do think luck has played a huge role in JD’s success. Lots of people work their tails off and never cash in the way JD has. Do I think it was handed to him? Nope. But I also think that timing, the economy, the lifecycle of the blogosphere, etc. aligned.

    I like Donna Freeman’s writing and enjoy her personal blog, too. I’m happy to see her doing better financially with her writing gigs–as another middle aged woman I like to see someone reinvent herself.

    Good luck in whatever you do next, JD.

  113. Laura says 31 January 2012 at 11:45

    I must admit to a “duh” moment myself. JD seemed to be doing pretty well because of the blog, as have other bloggers I’ve seen. I did scratch my head wondering how they can they make decent money doing so. I think it’s wonderful for JD…it is a wonderful blog. However, I do think its disingenuous that some of these backers force a non-disclosure and don’t want to be revealed. The whole “so our competitors don’t see what we’re doing” argument seems a bit flimsy. Seems anti-social media. Had I known that the company was behind it, I would not have thought less of the blog at all.

  114. JayTee says 31 January 2012 at 11:45

    Look me up in Buenos Aires. Came here 2.5 years ago, just after I started following your blog. Beware there’s a ton of mis-information on the web re: visiting and living here, I’ll buy you a cortado o cerveza and point you to the ‘better’ info sources.

  115. Michelle says 31 January 2012 at 11:47

    Congrats, J.D. I believe you have simply come to one of the last chapters of your initial goal: to get rich slowly… which you did by learning how to manage your money while building a small business that first earned you a liveable income and then became a sellable asset.

    You achieved financial freedom — something many of us here are working for.

    I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to say that we are proud of you, and we hope to follow in your financial footsteps in our own way.

  116. schmei says 31 January 2012 at 11:53

    Wow. Part of this made me realize how long I’ve been reading GRS… I guess it’s been since 2007 or so.

    With this post I feel like you’re leveling nicely with your readers. I suppose you don’t really owe us anything, but it’s nice to get this explanation.

    And, dude, congratulations! Both on the sale and on the prudent investment of the windfall.

  117. Another Kate says 31 January 2012 at 11:58

    I’ve read your blog both before and after you sold it. It has changed over time, but I had no idea you sold it, and I still make it my “go to” blog for personal finance information. You are a role model for me, financially and as a blogger/entrepreneur. I was shocked to see that you had sold your blog. I’m glad you didn’t abandon it and will be more involved than ever.

    J.D., some people have commented here on your divorce, and I’ve decided to, as well. I hope you will understand — you have been so open with us over the years, you feel like a friend, even though most of us haven’t met you, so I guess, just as I would give a friend my honest opinion, I will do that with you, even though you don’t know me from Adam (Eve?). I just find that I think from time to time that I wish I could share my thoughts with you, because sometimes I just feel like maybe if I said something to someone about an issue, I could make a difference. I may not, but I will have it weighing on me if I don’t. I know you are a deep thinker, so may have considered all of this already. At any rate, I’d compare whatever is going on in your life with Kris with how things have gone with this blog. Things were very troubled for you for a while, and you wanted out, but, while you did scale back, you stayed with it, and we are all grateful for that. In the same way, are there things that you just need to work through now that can help you stick with this for the long haul? I’ve heard that studies have shown folks who stick with their marriages through the hard times get through them and are eventually happier. Likewise, divorce does not necessarily make them happier. Obviously, this isn’t always the case, but it often is.

    I’m married to someone with ADHD — something neither of us knew about him when we married. It’s been tough, and there are times I’ve wanted to throw in the towel, but I’m glad I haven’t. It’s not that he’s perfect now (and he could point out plenty of ways I’m not perfect), but I think sticking with it has been good for both of us. I don’t think I would be happier without him, and I think learning to work through things is good for me as a person. It “builds character.” 🙂 I’m not the person I want to be, but I am a better person for working to make this marriage work, rather than giving up.

    The last bit sounded a bit high and mighty, perhaps, and that’s not how I meant it to sound. I am a better person than I was, not than another person, including you. I will continue to consider you my go-to person, I will continue to like you, regardless of your decision. I am not living your life, and I can’t tell what’s going on, and you don’t need to tell me. I just needed to put in this plea for “working things out.” Like I said, sometimes things weigh on me.

    Thanks for your blog. I know it has been good for you financially, and I am happy for you, but it has also been a real gift for us, your readers.

  118. bg says 31 January 2012 at 12:02

    No, it’s not exactly the direction it would have been taken if I’d been completely in control myself. But that was never going to be an option. I was going to leave the site after Sparky’s death. I was going to quit cold turkey. The GRS of the past three years is the best it could possibly have been under the circumstances.

    Thank you so much for this posting. I too was a bit frustrated over the last entries, wondering where all this developed to. But as I started reading in 2008, I cannot really complain that the site has been around long enough so that I could learn better money habits from it 🙂

    Knowing turning point moments myself, I congratulate you on doing the thing(s) that feel right to you. Too many people stay in situations that aren’t good for them instead of taking a leap, and it usually doesn’t end too well for them :/

    Good luck in all your future undertakings, business or private.

  119. Jaime says 31 January 2012 at 12:14

    Congrats JD. I’m happy that you are doing well. I think your story shows that change is possible. I’ve always felt inspired by your change.

    Two weeks ago it was just shocking to hear that you sold the blog and about the divorce. I didn’t react very well but I do wish you the best. When I read the post of how you quit your job at your dad’s business I thought you had to be making really good money to make a decision like that.

    I don’t resent your success. I think its awesome and congrats dude! BTW, at times you’ve written that you’d like to do other kinds of writing such as science fiction, maybe now you could do that?

    I can imagine that having GRS was like having a small business and that it was stressful for you. My mom had a small business and although she liked it, she was glad that she retired and could do other things and not worry about having to make an income anymore.

    I realize that people do move on to other things and I wish you the best in your new endeavors. It just goes to show hard work pays off and you can make a living writing if you work hard at it. Congrats JD. 😀

    Thanks for sharing why you sold GRS.

    P.S. I can’t help but wonder whom the first company was. I know you can’t say their name but I’ve heard that Yahoo has bought a lot of websites over the years that they’ve let die. Thanks for making a wise decision in your sale of GRS. 😀

  120. SimpleIslandLiving says 31 January 2012 at 12:21

    This is a wonderful portrait of what can be achieved with hard work, dedication, and a bit of lady luck. I always loved that you were a genuine voice that never tried to sell me anything you didn’t believe, and that you got paid for your integrity is a novel thing in this world. Kudos man.

  121. Sandy says 31 January 2012 at 12:38

    Thank you for the perspective. Many of us have known that QuinStreet owned the site for some time, but this provides some perspective.

    I’ve had a few offers to purchase my site – none of which I’ve been tempted to entertain, but if (when?!) I am ever at that place, I know that I’ll refer back to this article.

    Thanks for sharing.

  122. JL says 31 January 2012 at 12:44

    I appreciate the disclosure. I’ve been reading this site since well before the redesign. I read several blogs and this is the only one I check everyday.
    Reader Stories is one of my favorite parts of the blog. It helps to get ideas from how others saved money.

  123. MF says 31 January 2012 at 12:51

    JD, Congratulations on your success in entrepreneurship! It’s not at all frustrating to me that you worked hard at something and were rewarded for it. That’s something I hope we all strive for.

    As for your divorce, I was very sorry to hear that when you first mentioned it. If you wish it weren’t so, you might consider watching (or listening to, via or similar) this video on marriage from the Authors @ Google series: It helped me.

  124. Jill @ Dollars-or-Cents says 31 January 2012 at 12:59

    Congrats on your success! I just started both blogging and trying to get a handle on my finances, so you and your site are a huge inspiration!

  125. Kerry Murray says 31 January 2012 at 13:07

    I love the transparency of this article. It is really helpful to get a glimpse of the actual process of growing a blog in to a successful business that attracts a buyer.

    I too was concerned you were going to end the article by bowing out. So glad to hear you will continue to contribute to the site.

    All the best in your travels to Argentina. You will love the workout that your Spanish gets with all those uniquely Argentine pronunciations.

    Go well, JD.

  126. tim says 31 January 2012 at 13:23

    Really, Timbers tickets? Should have got Sounder tickets! Best Wishes, thanks for everything.

    • J.D. says 31 January 2012 at 13:43

      Boo! Where’s the thumbs down button when I need it! 🙂 RCTID

    • Cassie says 01 February 2012 at 00:10

      I second that.

  127. BD says 31 January 2012 at 13:31

    I won’t lie, I feel a bit put out that I’ve been interacting with you via a large third-party corporation for these last several years. I started reading getfitslowly and getrichslowly back when they were very clearly home-grown blogs, and I liked thinking that I “knew” you. I probably would have stopped reading if I’d known about the sale, just because I would have expected the blog to get boring. That didn’t happen, so props to QuinStreet, but I think they got the better deal with the NDA. I value transparency and honesty quite a bit, and I no longer think I can get that from this blog!

  128. reeder says 31 January 2012 at 13:45

    “So, while my current life isn’t radically different than my former life, there probably are some things I can write about. Plus, now I can write about how and why I invested in individual municipal bonds, and whether I think that was a good idea.”

    I think this is a bit disingenuous. I’m happy that you’re pursuing your happiness, really, but your current life is now (or is almost) a bachelor lifestyle. That is a large change even though you and Kris didn’t share bank accounts. It makes me wonder about the financial enablers for divorce. Will you also be planning for retirement without Kris or a companion? That’s a change in investment strategy as well.

  129. Jonathan says 31 January 2012 at 14:14

    I’ really pleased to hear how well your hard work and committment paid off and it just goes to show that you can realise your dreams if you put the time and effort into it.

  130. Samantha says 31 January 2012 at 14:16

    Hi J.D:
    I started following you right out of college in 2007. I did noticed the new design but always thought you’ve just gotten so popular that companies are paying to advertise their products and you hired more people to help you. I am very happy for your accomplishments. Regardless, this site has helped me make many correct financial decisions and taught me more about money than I learned in college (My major is business/Accounting/Finance). Have a wonderful vacation and please keep in touch with all of us via this website.

  131. Claire says 31 January 2012 at 14:19

    I was a daily GRS reader in the 2006-2007 era, but have tapered off over the years and now only check in periodically (once every few months) when I need to search for pointers on a particular topic. Like many readers, I found the site became less and less relevant to me over time — and I mean that as a compliment. GRS/J.D. helped me get my finances in order, prioritize my spending, get out of debt, build savings, then start to build wealth…etc. I’m by no means rich (yet, LOL), but I’m much more financially stable now than 5-6 years ago, and I sincerely believe sites like this were instrumental in getting me there. The fact that I “outgrew” the site is a testament that the advice here works!

    Congratulations on the sale J.D., and all the best.

  132. jim says 31 January 2012 at 14:20

    Congratulations to your success JD. I think its well deserved. This blog became a success long before it was sold based solely on JD’s great writing.

    To me the fact that Quinstreet bought this blog 3 years ago changes nothing and doesn’t really impact much. I don’t care who owns the site behind the scenes. The reason we read the blog is for the good articles from JD and the staff writers. Its still the same content from the same people. I’d also say that the staff writers here are generally better than staff writers at other similar blogs. Of course the writers have a variety of styles and they won’t all be our favorites but the writing here is good in general.

    I also think that since the sale was not obvious to most of us for so long is testament to how well it was handled by JD and Quinstreet. We have 3 solid years of evidence that JD has retained his editorial independence. Quinstreet did little to change this blog other than managing the mechanics.

    I can see how some people feel upset that they weren’t told earlier. JD certainly wasn’t trying to deceive or lie to anyone. You do have to understand JD was held by an NDA. I think companies have very good and legitimate reasons for confidentiality agreements and it has nothing to do with them wanting to lie to the readers of this blog.
    And again, really how does it matter? You don’t come to this site just cause you thought JD was independent but because of the quality of the writing.

  133. Amy says 31 January 2012 at 14:25

    Congratulations, JD and good luck into the future!

  134. Milan Cole says 31 January 2012 at 14:27

    This is a great story. Part of what gives this blog integrity is your efforts to disclose as much information as you realistically can, even if sometimes your hands are tied. Congrats on the sale.

  135. Nan Comargue says 31 January 2012 at 14:30

    I’ve been reading GRS for many years (before the sale) and while I had noticed the changes, I didn’t realize what had happened. I think that says a lot about the site’s consistency.

    I am happy for you, J.D., and really amazed at how far you’ve traveled (figuratively) in the past few years. I wish you well on your future (literal) travels as well.

    Ditto on the Donna comments – she is my favourite staff writer!

  136. CJones says 31 January 2012 at 14:31

    While I do congratulate J.D. on what I see as a savvy financial decision, I was neither surprised nor shocked at the ‘announcement’; but I was a bit bothered. It felt like a farce of sorts.

    I’ve only been reading this blog for about 18 months, and I have learned so much. I also identified with J.D. because I was about his age and in about his situation when I began my financial makeover. To me he seemed like a real guy, tackling real problems.

    One part of my makeover, was being more in tune with maketing ploys and strategies to get people to spend. I often wondered to myself why a site that was dedicated to help the average Joe learn and implement good financial practices, would be filled with ads from credit card companies. I knew instinctively, that something was not right; so I was not shocked by this story…same for the divorce story.

    Thankfully, I am in a place where I read GRS daily for its substantive help, and never even looked at the ads. I do wonder though, whether other readers may have gotten themselves into more of a financial mess by partaking of the offers that are all over the page.

    It is unfortuate that many of the books and articles meant to help us get out of debt, are probably financed by many cooperations; but it comes down to whether the reader/user takes the good and ignores the bad.

    Am is truly disillusioned? No, because nothing surprises me any more. Am I a bit jaded? Yes. However, this is am amazing site that has a ton of helpful stories and advice. So J.D. is not really in the same position as some of us…well isn’t that what we are all working towards? Again congratulations, and thanks for informing your readers.

  137. Penny Pincher says 31 January 2012 at 14:36

    Congratulations J.D.! Before moving to Argentina, if you ever consider it, please read FerFAL’s “Surviving in Argentina” blog. Because of the recent elections there, and the new socialist president Christina who immediately started nationalizing everything, he just moved to Northern Ireland.

  138. lisaschamess says 31 January 2012 at 14:43

    I am so glad you haven’t walked away. I have learned so much from your blog. I started out as a consumer looking for ways to change my money habits, and I loved the no-nonsense title and follow-through of your blog.

    Your blog gave me the courage to tell my own stories about my money, to let my readers watch me gather expertise in real time, as well as make mistakes. Your blog–including this post–reminds me that the SEO gurus are not always right. People WILL read long posts when they are full of good information, well presented; and it IS possible to connect with a money-making idea yet remain personal and in touch with your community.

    There is so much I have learned here about money in general, and certainly about writing the money beat. thank you for (for me) a wonderful 18 months so far. Thank you for sticking with it.

  139. Honey says 31 January 2012 at 14:47

    Well I just want to point out that this puts a huge hole in the theory of many of the commenters to your divorce post that you sold the site only several months ago and decided to divorce Kris immediately. If you’ve been debt free for 3 years, obviously the marital issues are their own separate deal. I feel quite a bit better about it now, actually (not that I necessarily have a right to, but there you have it).

  140. Dan says 31 January 2012 at 14:47

    J.D., As opposed to the folks that can no longer relate to you, I’d like to welcome you to the club: those of us who live well within our means even though our “means” are more substantial than average.

    I’ve been reading for about two years now although I’ve never had issues with debt or income. Just because I don’t live hand to mouth doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy and relate to the perspectives here. I track my spending very closely and take great pride in the fact that as my annual income has gone up many fold over the years, my expenses have stayed neutral.

    Maybe you should release your tax returns now!

  141. Dan says 31 January 2012 at 14:51


    I never “knew” you pre-sale, but I’ve had my suspicions. Between the growing amount of staff writers and the various references to different “elves” I had to wonder if you had had the support of something much larger. Honestly, for a “one man show” I thought you were bringing on more staff writers than was justified. I get that you bring on writers to get some of your time back, but at some point, you’re paying out more that it’s worth. But you know what what? I like most of them — particularly Robert, Sarah, and Donna. The first two bring a really fresh perspective to those in the later stages of PF. Donna, she just writes well.

    With regard to the comments section, I never got the sense that you “owned” it. You spoke of it very passively, as if you didn’t know what was going on, which I found odd given that this was your baby 🙂 Me, even if I wasn’t writing the code to do it, I’d be able to speak of it as if I did.

  142. Carlyle says 31 January 2012 at 15:02

    If they decided that this site would make them more money as a porn site, they could turn it into a porn site.

    LOL! That would be a waste…there’s ample financial porn available on the Internet already!

    You did good by doing good. Congratulations on a job well done.

  143. Erin K says 31 January 2012 at 15:25

    Congratulations JD! I had no idea this was going on behind the scenes, and I’ve been reading for much longer than the 3 years they’ve been involved. So excellent job! I’m glad this has all worked out so well for all parties, including the readers.

  144. Stephen C says 31 January 2012 at 15:32

    Just my two cents…

    I’m a college student and I’ve been an occasional (once or twice a week?) reader. I’ve rarely commented, but when I do, I write essays.


    I wanted to congratulate you on this. I think I became a reader right before the handover, so I’ve only seen the blog under Quinstreet’s management. Like many occasional readers, I didn’t notice anything, and I’ve enjoyed reading your posts and the posts of other fine voices.

    I think it’s wonderful that you made a smart and savvy move that not only gave you quite the nest egg (paying off mortgage, loaning money to a business to improve equipment, and beefing up your retirement) but also gave you the freedom to take a deep breath and start living. Practicing what you preach indeed! I was surprised that one man could become quite so tech savvy–it all makes sense now.

    I look forward to continuing to read this blog.

  145. Glen Craig says 31 January 2012 at 15:38

    I’ve read your site since before the sale. I remember the old layout wondering how you kept it so basic for so long (haha). Your was also the first PF site I came across and the one the was influential in my own decision to start writing about personal finance. For that I’ll always be grateful (I think I told you as much at FINCON).

    Congrats on the sale. I’m glad you’ve stuck around. You’re also a wonderful ambassador for personal finance. You were both open and gracious when I met you at FINCON (thanks for telling me a bit about Portland, we plan to visit there over the Summer).

    I’m happy to hear you found an agreement that worked for you. Quinstreet have done a great job keeping the site growing.

  146. Jennifer Atienza says 31 January 2012 at 15:42

    First of all, Congratulations! It’s great to see hardworking, smart, and conscientious people succeed. Most of all, I like a success story from one who offers a value product.

    While I was reading this article, I have to admit that I was concerned. I am in the online space and know who your first buyer is(I won’t mention it, don’t worry!) and the second as well – as they are my company’s competitors. I know how a big part of all this is getting user eyeballs and ultimately revenue from advertising. I was afraid the site would turn into a content farm – souless, contrived, and fake. I learned so much from this site and it would be a huge disappointent to see it go downhill.

    But I have to be honest and give you the credit you deserve. I have not noticed anything different as far as the quality of the content since you sold this site. And I actually liked how there’s much more variety from having several writers. I’m glad to see that this acquisition has turned out to be a win-win situation for you and your readers. So for that, congratulations! And THANK YOU for not selling us out and keeping this site AWESOME!

    Congratulations again, much deserved!!!

  147. reading since day 1 says 31 January 2012 at 15:52

    Wait a minute.

    You are a greedy greedy fraud.

    I’m not jealous of your ‘success’. I am pissed that some corporation you sold out to 3 years ago has been running the site with you acting as a frontman and keeping us in the dark about it. Oh oh you had a NDA! Oh in that case! Just sign an NDA and lie and omit the truth for years! No rules! NDA’s are the golden fleece which protect you under all circumstances!

    Good luck sleeping soundly after getting this huge lie off your chest jerkoff.

    • Nan Comargue says 01 February 2012 at 11:27

      This comment came off as quite harsh to me. If you read the post, you will notice that the reasons J.D. gave for selling GRS were intensely personal. He was facing burn out. It wasn’t simply a case of “greed”.

      Yes, I was surprised as well by his disclosure about the sale happening three years ago, but I can’t attribute the kind of motivations to the decision that you obviously have, nor, if I did, would it affect how useful and enjoyable I’ve found GRS over the past three years.

      • lisaschamess says 01 February 2012 at 16:17

        Trolls are going to troll, Nan.

        and “reading since day 1…” My WORD, such language! If I wanted to read that, I’d stay on my own blog.

        You do sound like you’re an expert at getting something off your chest all by yourself at night, though. I am sure you also sleep well afterward.

        Here, have a moist towelette. It’s not even corporate: honestly, it is an artisanal moist towelette.

  148. retirebyforty says 31 January 2012 at 16:15

    Great post JD. Thanks for sharing.
    Hope you have fun on your trip. Maybe you would enjoy an around the world trip too. I would love to do that someday.

  149. Cheep3R5 says 31 January 2012 at 16:30

    Congrats. I think you achieved the implied key to success with the sales of GRS. A blog is an invention just like any other manufactured product. You achieved one part of the dream of any invertor by selling your product to someone who could take it bigger. So sad about your friend. So glad you took care of yourself. Very glad you stuck around.

  150. El Nerdo says 31 January 2012 at 16:33

    Congrats on getting rich quickly, you lucky dog! Your next book could be about how to do that. I for sure would love to learn how to make more money. I still struggle financially, but I DO relate to your story; and I don’t need you to suffer in perpetuity to make me feel better– on the contrary, please be successful teach me how to make the big bucks! It’s good to keep the bigger goals in sight.

    About GRS: I like the staff writers and the variety of perspectives they bring, even when I disagree with them. What I don’t like is the occasional infomercial that slips past the radar, but I’m sure other people enjoy those too (the credit card miles one was particularly irking to me, but eh, it had positive responses also). It’s good to know that these aren’t pushed by QuinnStreet, because sites that get infested by sleazy advertorials will quickly lose the public trust.

    The financial crisis is actually what brought me here, and probably drove a lot of traffic to the site. The death of my clients (90% were non-profits) is what broke my bank account in late 2008/early2009. This made me start paying attention to personal finance– first I had to downsize and survive, then when I started to think”what now?” I landed on this place. I’m guessing that you sold the site at a time of (relatively) peak demand for this type of information, no?

    And you’re right, content rules, which is why this place is so successful. This site’s design isn’t exactly the prettiest (I hate file-cabinet green), but it lets the content shine through without distractions. Long articles on the web usually give me eye pain, but here, black text on white background, it’s like butter…

    Okay, good. You made it financially. But… why don’t you watch good fútbol? 😛

  151. The First Million is the Hardest says 31 January 2012 at 16:53

    Congrats! This story is what a lot of us aim for when we go about starting blogs of our own. I’m glad it worked out so well for you

  152. Bob Lee says 31 January 2012 at 17:08

    Hi JD,
    I am from New Zealand and have been following your web-site for a long time. You have done well on your journey to financial independence and I wish you the best in your personal life.
    Cheers, Bob

  153. Ann I. Ball says 31 January 2012 at 17:17

    This is refreshing and heartening. I have often read [and seen for myself] the results of such sales that turn out to be horror stories.

    I’ve had very modest offers regarding my blog, but I was too wary to pursue even the least of them.

    Thanks for the wonderful story. I wish the best of continued success.

  154. Tara says 31 January 2012 at 17:17

    Awesome! I am very happy for you. You should be nothing but proud of what you have accomplished.

  155. Jackie says 31 January 2012 at 17:24

    I’d suspected that it was sold, but it’s nice to have it confirmed by you, and to hear the thought process that went behind your decisions. I’m glad you stuck around! (And I’ve been reading your blog since shortly before I started the first iteration of mine in the summer of 2006.)

  156. Anna B says 31 January 2012 at 17:26

    Hello – This is my first time posting to your blog. I have been a fan in the last two years and had no idea of the back story. It was a fascinating read- thank you for sharing it and congratulations to you!! You are the one who put the hard work into your blog and was able to capitalize and benefit from it. Basically, you reaped what you sowed. Anyone who says otherwise is jealous or has a victim mentality. Thank you for being open enough to share about it!

  157. Josh says 31 January 2012 at 18:06


    Thanks for sharing and a huge congrats!! As someone who came across this site in its early stages I can’t imagine how any reader could resent you for your success. That’s the purpose of this site after all anyway right? What are we doing reading everything here if not to aspire for the same for ourselves??

    We can turn on the TV everyday and watch so many so called experts giving out advice to the masses about careers, life and especially finance. Do they subscribe to the same ideas they spout about?? The realness of this site is what drew me to it and this simple adds to its authenticity. Good luck and may the best of you todays be the worst of your tomorrows.

  158. Drew says 31 January 2012 at 18:07

    WOW! I am one of the readers who had no idea that the site was being operated by a third party. I have been following GRS since early 2009, probably about the time the new design took over. I am glad you stuck around JD! I too am one of the readers who has connected with you and your stories. I would like to say thank you! I have followed much of your advice over the years and it has led me quite far from where I started. I would like to share with you my story.

    I was a victim of the recession that started in 2008. By early 2009, I was unemployed and broke with less than $50 in my bank account and all my credit cards were maxed out to the tune of about $6,000. Going off some advice from GRS I spruced up my resume and began not only searching for a job, but a job that would pay me much more than I had previously made. After a few months of searching, I had found a job. If you look at my history in Quicken you can see the exact week I received my first, new, bigger paycheck. It was mid 2009. That was the first week of my money transformation. For the next year I continued living well below my means and managed to just about pay off my debt. I had built up an emergency fund, and had begun budgeting and tracking my cash flow carefully. Next, I decided I could do a bit better. I changed employers which cut my drive in half, and gave me a slight raise and benefits. I started shoveling money into a 401k as I continued to chip away at my debt. By this time I had become obsessed with my finances, and began reading books relating to money. In mid 2010 I paid off the last of my credit cards. I was debt free!

    In early 2011, I continued my journey down my path to financial freedom, and I decided to start my own photography business. Just something I could do on the side while still having employer sponsored benefits and income stability. My business broke even the first year and this year I plan on closing the year well into the “black.” In late 2011 I took another leap forward in my career and accepted a position with my current employer as a supervisor. The new job came with a hefty raise. My wife and I were now in a position to buy a home. I was fortunate that I had been saving this whole time, and as of Dec 2011 my wife and I are home owners!

    Fast forward to today. As I write this I am a home owner, I have two fairly new vehicles that are paid for, no debt(other than the house), money in the bank, a healthy emergency fund, a growing 401k, a growing photography business, and I was just informed I will be getting a raise at work! I am extremely fortunate, and I am extremely thankful for all of your advice over the years. JD, again I say…THANK YOU!

    • J.D. says 31 January 2012 at 22:56

      Awesome story, Drew. Thanks for sharing it.

  159. PFM says 31 January 2012 at 18:14

    As a long time reader I was always amazed how 1 guy made such a great site, what made me come back again & again though was the content, J.D. you’re right with your previous comment that it’s all about the content.

  160. Bonnie says 31 January 2012 at 18:17

    “And believe me: Not having a mortgage has made the divorce process much, much easier.”

    I’m sorry, I haven’t been the most regular reader since you brought on the staff writers (I just prefer blogs with a more uniform voice), but when did you get a divorce? I completely missed that. Sadly, I’m not really surprised.

    I am really glad that you were able to sell the blog and maintain some level of creative control. For the most part, the readers are here because of you and I wonder whether it’ll be as successful if you ever decide to leave completely.

  161. SJT says 31 January 2012 at 18:25

    Don’t apologize for doing exactly what you’ve been blogging about doing for years…getting out of debt, building a solid savings and retirement account, and having enough disposable income to do the things you dream of doing. Good for you, JD. LIVE THE DREAM!! I applaud you for your success and for your integrity.

  162. Chris says 31 January 2012 at 19:02

    Thanks for letting us know – I feel better that the ownership is now in the open. (I’m one of those people that had figured it out, though only recently). I’m always for full disclosure. I’m envious, though in a good way. Wouldn’t we all like to see our hard work pay off? Take care and I’m looking forward to reading more.

  163. Zach says 31 January 2012 at 19:11

    Congrats JD! This site has provided me with a ton of valuable information over the years. Glad to hear you will be sticking around!

  164. Bridget says 31 January 2012 at 19:24

    Very cool! I don’t think my blog will ever be headed in such a direction (or maybe it will?) but I found this story really interesting. I love Get Rich Slowly, I don’t really care who owns it, it’s a valuable website that provides information I need and enjoy. Good job! I’m glad you got rewarded for all the hard work and time you put into this project!

  165. Dionta says 31 January 2012 at 20:25

    Great story and I’m sure its a huge release to be able to talk about this sell after so long.

    But I still can not help feeling like a kid being told that Santa Claus isn’t real – but being aware enough to appreciate the parents that actual spend their hard earned money to buy presents for Christmas Day.

    Thanks and continue on, the world still needs your voice. Best

  166. Michelle A. says 31 January 2012 at 20:28

    I had no idea that blogging could be so profitable. Sounds like a win-win situation! I’m happy you stayed because I enjoy reading the articles.

  167. Ryan says 31 January 2012 at 20:45

    You know, I had my suspicions when the logo changed, the staff writers were added and the Privacy policy was changed (I think it had a giant RED link for a few months).

    But you know what sealed it in my mind? This:

    I hope you enjoyed your ride. 🙂

    • J.D. says 31 January 2012 at 22:59

      Haha. 🙂

      Actually, although the Mini purchase occurred around the time of the sale, it happened exactly as stated. Because the deal hadn’t closed, it was completely funded with pre-sale money.

  168. Paul says 31 January 2012 at 21:03


    Congrats on the sale. I am 24 and am a CPA and started a personal finance blog when I realized many of my friends did not know much about saving and investing. I found your blog and found it very helpful and enjoyable. Good luck with everything and thank you for the inspiration.

  169. Bill says 31 January 2012 at 22:11

    Congratulations! I will give myself credit for at least thinking that you couldn’t possibly afford all of these staff writers.

  170. tim says 31 January 2012 at 22:33

    Congratulations J.D,

    Very happy for you, two questions.

    1) How did you invest the money, percentages will be good to know.
    2) How does one know if you have enough for retirement? Is there a withdrawal percentage you have calculated ?

  171. bemoneyaware says 31 January 2012 at 23:08

    My initial reaction was of shock, then wonder – if you had sold the website in 2009 why are you declaring it now?
    I have been reading your posts for quite some time and was inspired to start a personal finance blog for India. Last week I mentioned about you in my post Mis-Selling or Mis-Buying: It’s My Money, My Responsibility about how you took the responsibility of your debt!.

    After reading the full post I found the honesty that is what I have come to associate with your blog. The signs were there staff writer posts etc this posts just connects those dots.

  172. Sara says 31 January 2012 at 23:09

    Congratulations, JD! You should be so proud of all of your accomplishments! I have followed this blog since nearly its inception, and you’re right that it’s the *story* aspect that has really kept me along for the ride. The content truly is superior to other personal finance sites. While your voice is my favorite, I have grown to really enjoy hearing the other voices, too, particularly Donna and Robert, but there have been several gems from the other writers, as well. I definitely understand all the commenters who have noted a strong connection to you, despite not knowing you in person, as that’s how I feel, too. I think you did a post in the last few months or so taking us through popular posts throughout the years, and it really made me so happy for you to see your growth and the development of the website. Now I know it was even more transformational than I realized! Congrats again on all your successes!

  173. dh says 01 February 2012 at 00:16

    Boy, I started reading this site back when it was just an article at Folded Space! I remember Marshall Brain, the founder of How Stuff Works, had a link on his blog to the original Folded Space GRS article. Largely because of the great advice and inspiration of this site, I achieved financial freedom years ago. I’m not even a GRS fan anymore, I’m a JD Roth fan, in the same way I’m a Stephen King fan — I just like to read what the dude writes, period. Hell, JD, I think the new travel blog could be turned into another very successful blog eventually. And Folded Space still brings the heat … I’m just excited about the future of your writing, man. And congratulations.

  174. Lucille says 01 February 2012 at 03:32

    JD-since I’m a relative newbie at GRS I had no idea that you weren’t in charge!!
    Makes sense though when I contacted you re. doing a guest post and you asked for some changes which I took for a lack of enthusiasm.
    Maybe all bloggers are business people in disguise….I thought it all came from the heart(??). I’m naieve I guess and maybe that explains why other sites are not keen on accepting guest posts. If we don;t feature each other’s work so that all of us can get a little bit richer (slowly or otherwise) what’s the point?? I already have to cope with comments like: “what’s the point of a blog that no one reads”???!!! Feel more than a little disappointment with personal motives – is it a blog eat blog world?

  175. T says 01 February 2012 at 05:20

    First, to JD and QuinStreet, thank you for your commitment and dedication to make GRS a great site. I think that overall, most of the changes have been positive, you can’t win ’em all.

    JD, thank you for sharing your stories that have made thousands of people all over the world care very deeply about you and this site.

    As a long time pre-sale reader, I was completely shocked by this news. Unfortunately, I feel that not announcing the sale for almost three years is at least somewhat dishonest. SOP doesn’t make it right.

    This entire experience has made me question and want to learn more about for-profit blogs. The shadowy behind-the-scenes happenings are very non-obvious to those outside the blog community.

    • Jaime says 05 February 2012 at 09:58

      He couldn’t talk about it. He’s asked the company for permission to talk about it and they finally gave it.

      This is the norm for businesses. A lot of businesses when they sell have contracts where they can’t talk about it sometimes for years.

      Sometimes they will make you sign an agreement where its non-competing, like you can’t start a similar business for a certain # of years.

      This is standard in the business world. Besides businesses won’t discuss everything they do with customers, when you’re a business you’re in competition and you can’t have your competition knowing what you are doing.

      Trust me GRS isn’t the only blog that does this. A lot of businesses are afraid of corporate espionage. What would you do if you started a company from the ground up? You would want to protect the health and well being of the company.

      Your livelihood and your co-workers livehoods are at stake. I don’t blame Quintstreet for making him sign an NDA.

  176. Drizzt says 01 February 2012 at 07:39

    sadly this will become a commercial site where more product peddling occurs.

    • Laura says 01 February 2012 at 16:03

      Now that’s a silly comment. It’s not like JD sold the site today, he sold it 3 years ago, and that hasn’t happened yet!

  177. Angela says 01 February 2012 at 08:22

    I am happy to see all your hardwork pay off JD, but I am still sad to find out that if I was only a bit more savvy, I would have been able to decipher that your blog had been sold years ago. I guess the lesson to be learned is to not trust surface appearances and always check the fine print (Terms of Service). I don’t understand why you couldn’t tell us about the sale upfront even though it was obvious to those who read the Terms of Service.

  178. Jason says 01 February 2012 at 09:02

    Congrats, I have been a reader for a good while about 2008/9 I started. When I was getting out of debt I read the site every day, as things got better (debt free mid09) I read just the stories that had more interest to me.

    That said it was pretty clear to me (most I would assume) that things had changed for you. You had money to do the things you enjoyed (Soccer games, crossfit, travel, buying the Mini), you weren’t struggling anymore. So things were looking up, people continued to read, enjoy and learn. Just because you took a payday and sold the site shouldn’t change that. Either you were successful making money with the site or successful for selling the site and continuing to work there. Either way I don’t see how anyone could feel cheated. Its not like you were saying you were broke still.

    But haters gonna hate. I understand it is just the way people are but don’t let that take away from the success you are and the positive impact you have on others lives.

  179. The Ten Bob Millionaire says 01 February 2012 at 09:10

    What an amazing story. I admire and support success and I believe if I were in your shoes, I would have done exactly the same thing with the money. Getting the taxes out of the way and being done with the obligation is one of those sighs of relief that I think is worth any lost interest gains!

  180. Geek says 01 February 2012 at 09:59

    Yay! You’ve done what many of us only can hope for, congrats. I’m crazy jealous and very happy for you (moderated by sadness about the pending divorce).

    You’re no longer getting rich slowly though, are you? 🙂

    One of my other favorite blogs’ founders left to make space for the intended contributor type of the blog (in her case, young feminists without another outlet). Because she became fairly famous and is getting book deals, she has a platform and recognition, and wants the blog to continue to serve its original purpose. It seems like you’ve been preparing to do the same, and weaning us off of the one-contributor model.

    Here’s her post:

    • Jaime says 05 February 2012 at 10:05

      Ah another one, I read feministing on and off, sometimes I get sad when bloggers move on but I understand it.

      Everyone needs to grow, interests change, some of the bloggers that moved on did it because they wanted to try other things.

      Even the lady who wrote the tightwad gazette moved on to other things. I was too young when she wrote it, I just recently came across her book. Anyway life goes on. 😀

  181. Fond Farewell says 01 February 2012 at 11:13

    It’s none of my business, but as a reader who was with you from the beginning, I feel a little deceived. From the information you’ve given us in the past relating to your budgets, etc. I am assuming you walked away with at least $500k. Good for you!

    When you announced your divorce and that your ex was keeping the house and you were moving into a tiny apartment, I felt bad for you because you left me with the impression that you were not only paying a mortgage but rent.

    You’re correct, there is no way you can relate to the rest of us when you are clearly financially secure and choosing to live on your earnings alone.

    You mention others who will be contributing to the site, like Donna. Donna is a good writer, but I can’t help wondering how she can continue to relate to us (i.e., eating discarded food she finds at the bus stop) while she must be making an excellent income by this time. And good for her, too!

    Best of luck to your future endeavors. I hope we’re all as fortunate!!!

    • Jaime says 05 February 2012 at 10:22

      That seems a little sad, if you made it to a certain comfortable level then wouldn’t you continue to want to grow as a person? Wouldn’t you want for people to be happy for you?

      Some people think that JD’s new found success is the reason for his divorce and some people are saying they’re not surprised. Then how do you explain couples that made it out of debt together and built wealth together and made it to old age together?

      Dave Ramsey and Sharon Ramsey did it and they’re still together. So its not success that’s evil. You never know what goes in a household and what couples go through. Plenty of couples are able to grow together.

      Just because Dave Ramsey is a multimillionaire doesn’t mean that his teachings are any less true. If you want to be successful the way there is to listen to other successful people. You can learn from JD, and just because certain things don’t apply to you now doesn’t mean they might not apply to you in the future.

      Studies have been done and most people are able to get out of poverty. Other studies have been done that say we get used to material things very fast. John Stossel did a report for 20/20
      covering how most people are able to get out of poverty fast.

      I mean I think if you’re healthy in both mind and body, then you’re able to work and make something of your life. You can learn from anyone.

  182. Andrew says 01 February 2012 at 12:06

    Congratulations JD! It is interesting to read all of the comments out there. I don’t know you personally but am incredibly happy for your success. I’m amused by the scorn some readers feel, but my guess is if you offered to give away $100 bills to everyone, someone would ask you why it wasn’t $200.

    Honoring your confidentiality agreement doesn’t seem dishonest to me. You seem to be pretty forthcoming about details of your life others might not be willing to discuss at all. Adding staff writers seemed to be an inevitable step for you to take advantage of the success you were having – regardless of whether you sold the site or not. I personally would have never discovered the great writing of Robert Brokamp without this step forward. Thank you.

    Some readers have pointed out how lucky you were. Please. Do you know how many failed ‘personal finance’ blogs there are? GRS has found success by combining a lot of great elements – (1) consistent quality posts (how many times do you visit a site where the last post was made about 4 months prior?), (2) a true connection with readers, (3) simple site design and (4) editorial control over advertising choices.

    JD’s success selling this site doesn’t change his story. It’s merely another chapter.


    • Jaime says 05 February 2012 at 10:31

      Honestly few people put hard work and energy into their blogs. I’m very active in the blogosphere and there are a lot of bad bloggers out there. Too many IMO.

      I read about 30 blogs each week because my time is limited and those are usually the top blogs on the internet. I don’t want to read the bad ones. Truthfully there are millions of blogs out there and many of them are dead.

      A lot of the bad bloggers focus on design and put little content, if they do put any content a lot of it doesn’t make sense, and sometimes they write about random stuff that nobody wants to read like what they ate for breakfast. Who wants to read that?

      The bloggers that do really well are usually putting in a lot of work, writing a lot, putting up quality videos, doing a lot of research, hiring great web designers, etc. Someone once said “The harder I work the luckier I get.”

      I’m not really surprised that GRS did very well. Hard work usually gets rewarded.

  183. GrannyAnnie says 01 February 2012 at 12:13

    Mixed feelings about this. Between this news and the divorce news a while back, I’m just, well, taken aback a lttle. I’m happy for anyone able to pay off a mortgage, and sad for anyone experiencing a divorce. But it feels a little like thinking I bought one thing and when I open the package getting something different. I’ve learned a lot of things from this site, and I suppose that’s what I started reading it for, but the more I read, the more I was interested in your life. I guess I’m pretty naive. I thought what you were writing was really how it was. I’m not so sure I’d put it all out there either, so I’m not blaming you one bit. It does, however cause me to read with a little more skepticism. I wish you well, and I am glad you are doing whatever it is that makes your life peaceful.

    • Jaime says 05 February 2012 at 10:46

      Yes I had mixed feelings too especially about the divorce but honestly you never know what’s going on in peoples houses. You really don’t. But I don’t think success is the enemy.

      There are couples who pay off debt, and build wealth and grow old together. As for him not talking about the sale of the blog, I don’t blame him, he did ask for permission several times and he finally got it.

      Confidential agreements seem to be the norm in business. My mom was a small business owner and she knew other business owners whom had sold businesses and had to sign NDAs.

      Sometimes these agreements included things like the seller of the business couldn’t start a competitive business for a certain # of years. It seems to me that JD did want to be honest with us but for business reasons he couldn’t be.

      A lot of businesses these days are concerned with corporate espionage, it sounds so far fetched to non business folks, but for businesses this is reality.

      Although I do think Quintstreet should have been able to let JD tell us “hey guys I sold the blog, can’t go into it too much but I sold it…” That would have been nice, but it is what it is, in the grand scheme of all things, GRS is still a great blog and businesses get sold all the time.

  184. Andy says 01 February 2012 at 12:56

    JD, I don’t have time go through the comments to see if other readers are happy for you. They should be. You practiced what you preached and it paid off. To be upset at your success would be ridiculous. Some people demonize successful people as sell outs, yet they wish for the same success for themselves. Congrats. I’ve enjoyed the site since it started. I’ll continue to read. Thanks for sticking around.

  185. Marwan says 01 February 2012 at 14:53

    Congratulations. You practiced what you preached, turned a side hustle based on your passion into a career, and into financial independence. I hope I can do the same.

    I’ve appreciated the content on GRS not so much because I get a tip that saves me money every day but because of the mature, somber, and non-radical tone it sets about money and choices. You’ve been at the center of that for all these years.

    I hope you enjoy the fruits of your success.

    On a different note, thanks for bringing us up to speed on your plans and even the events in your personal life. I wish you the best.

  186. Laura says 01 February 2012 at 16:00

    Congratulations, JD! You did something that can be very difficult for founder/operators – you gave your baby into someone else’s hands. And on top of that, you have happily stayed around for several years – that’s quite unusual.

    As an investment banker myself, I’m delighted to read that you got help. Selling a business is unlike any other transaction in your life, and is usually a one-time thing that involves a life-changing amount of money. Not something you should try as a “do it yourself” exercise.

    I started reading just before you sold, I guess, because I rememeber the old format. But I didn’t notice changes in content, so I think the buyer did a great job keeping the “feel” of GRS the same. Guess you chose the right partner!

  187. Lindsay says 01 February 2012 at 17:43

    Way to go JD! I had a feeling when you started using the term “GRS elfs” either way I love GRS! And will continue to follow. But you are my favorite writter!

  188. Ray says 01 February 2012 at 18:02

    Wow, that is some outstanding achievements! The fact of the matter is: There is never a get rich quick scheme. Getting rich takes patients times and effort inorder to build up a successful revenue. Heck, look at how facebook started, and how long it actually took for mark zuckerberg to be the current position he’s in. Started out at 2001 i believe and now he’s has an asset of over 15billion dollars. You’re truly an inspiration for all blogs out there.

  189. Melissa d says 01 February 2012 at 20:21

    Thank you for your honesty and for practicing what you preach! I haven’t been a reader for very long, but have really learned a lot from you. My husband and I have become better savers and make better decisions in part because of what we’ve learned on your site. Enjoy your well deserved vacation!

  190. KathyinMN says 01 February 2012 at 20:21

    Wow JD. Reading this now the blog change makes sense, as I started following you right before this. Congratulations, and I’m glad that it’s making at least one partof your divorce easier. Thanks for telling us your readers/followers-I’m sure writing this was not easy.

    As a collector of model horses, something I’ve slowly curbed over the past couple of years, (and now have even sold a few) I’d love to read more on why people collect….money spent…display…use….what happens when it gets out of hand (what point is that anyway? Based on cost? Number of items?)).

  191. Chickybeth says 02 February 2012 at 05:18

    I don’t resent anything about your personal success, but I always felt there was something a little “off” after the whole site re-design. I thought the scrolling ads for stuff was strange and annoying and I haven’t enjoyed most of the guest writing. Your site really helped me in the early days and I am in a much better place now because of it. I guess I now know why I have been feeling like I couldn’t quite relate.

  192. maria says 02 February 2012 at 07:17

    This is not a constructive comment however… one of the first things I thought after reading this article was that even though JD had to keep quiet about some things I bet he was laughing his pants off at some of the comments. Especially ones from the bad attitude know it alls with one way opinions. I know I would have been lmao! Actually, if I had more time on my hands it may be amusing to go back and read some of the past articles by JD and comments now that this new light is shed.
    I do like this site and have for many years. I have taken away several pieces of useful and handy information. The variety of information that is shared by the staff writers via their unique writing and financial styles is very refreshing.
    JD.. great job working hard doing what you love, using your skills to lead you in the appropriate directions to create a highly successful and sought after business and practicing what you preach regarding financial matters.

  193. Sarah L says 02 February 2012 at 12:16

    I have to admit, I’m coming back to comment again because something’s weighing on my mind…

    Your personal money choices are your own, of course, and you don’t need to justify, it’s just that since you’ve put out so much of your personal info on here, I am curious… for some reason today, I remembered an article you posted, after your trip to Africa, and you talked about how you and Kris went, and you felt like it was your responsibility to do something to help, to contribute, and then afterwards, you guys got a ton of school supplies, but then decided not to mail it, because it was too expensive to mail… I just wondered, and hoped, if perhaps you’d changed your mind on that, or were at least donating some of your money to some groups or charities that could benifit, now that you’ve sold your site, or if you’ve descided to keep all of that money to improve your life.

    • J.D. says 02 February 2012 at 20:20

      We never mailed the school supplies. And I’m still reluctant to contribute money to causes because I feel like there’s too much “leakage”. But one of the things that’s happening behind the scenes is that I’m becoming much, much more active in volunteer work. I’m spending five hours a week volunteering right now (plus travel time), and am in discussions to do even more work. Plus, I’ve been meeting with representatives from non-profits and charities recently. Part of this is related to actual work, but part of it is because I’m trying to find causes I believe in. And I’ve found a few, all of which are related to immigration issues. At the end of March, I hope to teach a personal finance class (in Spanish) to a group of 35 hispanic women, for instance. So, it’s taken me some time to figure this out, but I think I’ve finally found a path…

      • Jaime says 05 February 2012 at 10:58

        Well JD volunteering your time is a great way to contribute if you’re concerned about where the money is going. You can see how your hard work is making a difference and feel peace in that.

        I don’t have time to volunteer, I’m very busy between college and work, but I did find a charity that I like to contribute to, its St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

        You can always check a charity through the BBB and other charity watchdog groups. I feel confident in donating to them. 😉

  194. Matt says 02 February 2012 at 19:17

    J. D. Roth: The millionaire next door to the millionaire next door!


  195. Monevator says 03 February 2012 at 09:59

    Just another note of congratulations, J.D.

    As well as helping people with their personal finances, you’ve inspired a generation of us personal finance bloggers.

    Monevator is now achieving more success than ever before, and is finally recouping a little, but I can’t imagine selling. Then again, I’ve only ever been confronted with derisory offers!

    You sound like you have no regrets. That’s all that anyone can ask for with such a life changing decision, with something you’ve poured your heart into.

    I’ve sold out of a start-up, so I know a little of what it’s like. Not everyone reading the money really is secondary (or even further down).

    Again: Congratulations! 🙂

  196. Ruth says 03 February 2012 at 12:35

    Congratulations on the sale. I stopped visiting this site a couple years ago after finding Early Retirement Extreme, which is more my style. When ERE stopped updating recently I came back to check out GRS, but all the intrusive ads will keep me from being a regular reader again.

    • Jaime says 05 February 2012 at 11:05

      Use an ad blocking program like Adblock Plus, that’s what I do, it isn’t perfect, it doesn’t block all the ads here or other websites, but it does block a ton of ads at most websites I visit. TONS. I love it. 🙂

  197. Tim says 04 February 2012 at 17:00

    Congratulations on the sale. No need to be worried about retribution or people being disgruntled over the sale or your savings. You’ve been giving really good financial advice and the site is still going strong. It looks like the arrangement between you and the buyers is a good one and healthier for you. All the best in your future endeavors 🙂

  198. Karl B says 04 February 2012 at 17:22

    WOW. Thanks for this post! I would be VERY interested in the process you went through in monetizing the site. I just started my blog at Christmas, and I’m at the “pennys per day” stage with Adsense. I would love to know what your process was. Any pointers? Did you already cover this in some other posts that you could point me to? Thanks again! Fantastic read!

  199. Anita says 05 February 2012 at 00:03

    JD your story is very inspirational and thank you so much for sharing. I started my blog from scratch and with debt to pay. Then I turned things around by using my blog as a vehicle and motivator to financially succeed. Now I’m at the point to take my blog to the next level and I too wouldn’t hesitate to sell it if I got the right offer, afterall it was all part of my goal to be debt free and achieve financial freedom. I also believe in saving money because you can’t get anywhere, other than in debt, if you don’t have money to fall back on.

  200. Chris says 05 February 2012 at 09:16


    Good for you on really turning around your life and Getting Rich from your hard work (and a little bit of luck but lots and lots of hard work).

    I am fine with the late disclosure – there are business realities such as NDAs – but am sad to see your personal troubles at the same time your money troubles seemed to have gone away. It is all your personal business but I hope it wasn’t related and am sad for you and Kris.

    I very much look forward to your continued contributions. While I am fine with most of the guest contributors and even like some of the different perspective, the reality is that I continue to come to hear your story.

    May it be everything you hoped in the end. Once again, congratulations on the sale.

  201. Katrina says 07 February 2012 at 10:16

    You are a success story. You’ve shared more than you’ve had to. You’ve worked hard, and worked hard to be honest.

    I’ve appreciated and admired everything you’ve done, and especially how you’ve handled it.

    Give yourself some humble credit, you deserve it.

  202. PFAddict says 07 February 2012 at 14:04

    Congrats on becoming financially free!

  203. the muskrat says 07 February 2012 at 19:08

    Congrats—I’m a more recent reader and certainly wouldn’t have guessed the site was owned by a company instead of an individual.

  204. Karl B says 09 February 2012 at 04:04

    Do you have a recommended source for SEO info? There seems to be so many “experts” out there, and I suspect that most of them are scammers. If I’m going to pay for something, I would like to know that it is legit.

    Any help you could provide would be GREATLY appreciated.

    • J.D. says 09 February 2012 at 08:03

      I don’t believe in SEO. Too many people focus on SEO, when SEO is actually a means, not an end. The best SEO is good content. If you write well, and if other folks link to your content, then you will have achieved SEO. But doing SEO for its own sake means you’ve failed at your primary goal. I truly believe this. Sure, there are things you can do to make your pages more appealing to Google, etc., but the top thing you can do — by far — is write high-quality content that other people want to link to. I preach this when I speak to bloggers, and I preach it here.

      • Karl B says 10 February 2012 at 04:12

        Good to know. Thanks! I won’t worry about it then. I’ll just focus on my content.

  205. Dawn says 12 February 2012 at 08:39

    yes, congratulations! i’m behind on blog reading. i had been confused so this clears up some of my questions…not that that is your responsibility 🙂 good luck

  206. Skeptic says 27 February 2012 at 13:23

    Got rich slowly selling snake oil idea that others can get rich slowly too. Clever but leaves a bad taste in my mouth because your “talent” is manipulating your readership into thinking you are “one of them.” But you’re not. And you know you’re not. You are a salesman and skilled storyteller that sells hope. That is the key to your success. You’re like what a Disney movie is to young impressionable girls. Lol. Congrats.

  207. rubin pham says 12 March 2012 at 11:22

    quinstree could talk about the social issues in this country. such as institutional racism in the usa. a very good example is how americans are making scapegoats of the chinese once again.

  208. Blain R says 22 March 2012 at 09:36

    I have 100% respect for what you did, thank you for sharing this story. I blog for a living myself and make a good living. In the past I have been in your same position before you sell, really considering just taking a break and walking away. In the end though I feel that it is my baby and even if I can’t post as often as I like, I am still going to keep with it.

    When you decided to sell, did “QuinStreet” ever offer you options alongside cash? Also, was there a non-compete clause that prevents you from starting another blog down the road?

  209. Megan Jones says 27 April 2012 at 09:08

    I think this experience can show you that not everyone reacts to change badly. It seems as though you thought your readers would revolt if the site strayed from how you originally did things. I think that if the quality remains the same many of the readers will not only be okay with the changes but might really embrace them.

  210. sonja says 25 May 2012 at 15:26

    It’s great you managed to continue to work what you obviously love although you are not an owner anymore. It is normal that things change in life, but it is a good change for you. Sorry for your friend. Don’t worry about what others would say, live your life and be happy with yourself… thanks for helping others… have a nice day…

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