I’m Retiring from Get Rich Slowly

This post from J.D. Roth is part of the reader stories feature at Get Rich Slowly. J.D. founded this site and acted as editor for six-and-a-half years. He now writes at More Than Money.

First, the short version: I'm officially retiring from Get Rich Slowly. I may write an occasional guest post here, but from today forward, my online home is at More Than Money, where I'll write about personal finance, yes, but also travel and fitness and books and philosophy and dating. Plus, of course, my old standbys: cats, computers, and comic books.

This news probably shocks nobody. Before I leave, here's a longer version of my history here, the story of Get Rich Slowly from Day One.

In the Beginning
I never set out to be a personal-finance blogger. Though I always wanted to be a writer, I always thought I'd write poetry. Or science fiction. Throughout high school and college, I took whatever writing class I could. I edited the school literary magazines. I wrote for the school papers.

During college, I made some dumb decisions. I came from a poor family, but was a at a school with a lot of wealthy kids. (Or kids who seemed wealthy, anyhow.) I desperately wanted to fit in, but couldn't afford to do so. But then I discovered credit cards.

I started with store credit cards, which allowed me to purchase clothes and cologne. Soon, however, I had signed up for a Visa with a $300 limit. I maxed that out in no time. And so my credit habit started. By the time I graduated from college, I had no student debt but I had plenty of consumer debt.

From there, matters got worse. When I graduated, I had no job and no prospects, so I took a miserable job selling insurance door to door to little old ladies in eastern Oregon. I bought a new car and a new wardrobe. I was essentially paying for three different places to live. In other words, I was digging the hole deeper.

In desperation, I took a job at the family business, a small box manufacturing company in rural Oregon. I was the salesman, but I wasn't any good at it. I made a meager income, with which I made minimum payments on all my credit cards. I never paid the balances down, though. Any time my credit limit was raised, I simply spent more. I was dumb.

Robbing Peter to Pay Paul
In 1998, I had more than $16,000 in credit card debt. I applied for — and was granted — a home equity loan. I used this money to pay off my outstanding debt. I cut up my credit cards. When I was certain that my balances were paid in full, I cancelled the accounts.

I paid faithfully on this loan for five years (it had a ten-year term). But when my wife and I bought our new home in 2004, the intricacies of the transaction (read: my lack of savings) forced me to fold my previous home loan into a new HELOC: $21,000 at 6%.

Couple this with a car loan, a computer loan, and loans from assorted friends and family, and I had accumulated over $35,000 in consumer debt. I was in bad shape. I felt as if I were drowning.

Seeing the Light
Fortunately, a couple of friends threw me life savers. They'd been watching me struggle, and were waiting until I seemed like I finally might be ready to listen. This was the time.

One friend loaned me Dave Ramsey's The Total Money Makeover. Another steered me toward the classic Your Money or Your Life. I read them both, and then went to the public library to borrow more books about money. I devoured personal finance manuals. As I read, I began to notice a stark pattern. “It's impossible to get rich quickly,” these books seemed to say, “but it is possible to get rich slowly.”

Spurred by what I'd learned, I wrote an article for my personal blog that summarized the information in these books. It was a braindump about money. I called this article “Get Rich Slowly”. I had no idea where this would lead.

Getting Rich Quickly
A year later, in early 2006, I was well on my way to paying off my debt. I'd cut my spending in many areas, and was looking for ways to earn more money. “What if I started a personal finance blog?” I thought. “It could be the first personal finance blog on the internet!” Little did I know that there were already dozens — or hundreds — of other personal finance blogs.

On 15 April 2006, I started Get Rich Slowly — this blog. My goals were to:

  • Share what I was learning about personal finance.
  • Help others improve their financial lives.
  • Improve my own financial life.

I wanted to make money from the blog. And I did.

At the start, I made a few pennies every day. Before long, those pennies grew into dollars. And as my audience grew, so did my income. Within a year, I was making as much from Get Rich Slowly as I was from day job, selling boxes for the family business. After about eighteen months, I had eliminated my debt. After two years, I was able to quit my job to blog full time. And within three years, I had sold the blog for more than money than I thought possible.

Sticking Around
When I sold Get Rich Slowly, I thought I was done with the site. Because of turmoil in my personal life, I wanted to quit the blog. I wanted to walk away. To do something else. Anything else. In fact, I turned down a bigger offer that required me to stick around the site for three years. I wasn't willing to make that commitment.

Turns out, that was a mistake.

The thing is, I loved Get Rich Slowly. I loved writing for the site, and I loved the community. I felt a responsibility to the readers. Get Rich Slowly was my baby, and I wasn't ready to leave. So, I stuck around for three-and-a-half years, writing and editing and performing PR.

I always knew, however, that the day would come when I had to step away. To that end, I worked with the new owners to create a smooth transition. We hired new writers. We tackled new topics. Gradually — very gradually — I stepped back. I wrote Your Money: The Missing Manual. I began to speak at various conferences. I met with GRS readers and began to help them pursue their dreams.

By the beginning of this year, it became clear it was time for me to leave the site completely. All year long, I've been working to make that happen.

Moving On
Now, the time has come. There's a solid core of staff writers here. There's a new editor. The audience no longer expects this to be a blog about me and my journey. (And, in fact, when I do write about myself, I get plenty of cranky comments. That's a good thing! It means the shift has been made.)

Note: Again, I want to stress that although I'm leaving Get Rich Slowly, I'm not done writing for the web. If you're one of those who likes my voice, and you're willing to read about a variety of non-financial topics, go check out More Than Money, the site I started six weeks ago. I suspect many of you would enjoy both that blog and this one.

It feels liberating to have made this decision. Get Rich Slowly has been an awesome gig, the best work anyone could ask for. I love you, the readers, and I love the work I've done. I feel as if I've done something good for the world, you know? But I think there's more good in me. I want to continue helping others. Doing what? I'm not sure. But I'll noodle that out in time.

For now, I'm happy to learn Spanish, build muscle at Crossfit, and travel the world. I'm also eager to continue meeting GRS readers in person. It's a blast to exchange ideas and to help others follow your dreams. If you're ever in Portland, let me know.

Finally, I should note that although I'm done writing and editing here (except for an occasional guest post), I'm not completely done with the site. I'll continue to act as the site's face. If a newspaper needs a quote, I'll give them one. If a conference wants a speaker, I'll be that guy. I'm proud of the site that I created and helped to build. I want its success to continue in the years ahead.

More than that, I want your success to continue in the years ahead. Be well, my friends, and always remember: The fundamental rule of personal finance is to spend less than you earn.

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Sarah
Sarah
7 years ago

Thank you for your work. Thank you for sharing your financial life and personal goals with us. Thank you for caring about the quality of this website and tending to it so diligently. All of the best to you — you have built something piece by piece that is much more than money alone in this financial blog.

Sandy
Sandy
7 years ago

Thank you JD! I’ve been following this site for well over 5 years now and as a reader I’ve been part of your journey. I’m really very happy for you and I hope you get to live out all of your other dreams from here on forward.

I’ll start following your new site now. Because even though I still like GRS, I always appreciated your posts best.

Good luck to you, and thanks again!

Lisa
Lisa
7 years ago

I will miss your voice here, J.D., but I’ll follow you at your other site. What you’ve built here will live on. Congratulations on your success and good luck on the next stage of your life, a life I hope is filled with health, humor, and happiness.

guinness416
guinness416
7 years ago

Best of luck, and see you at WDS in July!

Marsha
Marsha
7 years ago

I’ve enjoyed reading GRS for several years, although in my case when it comes to personal finance you’re preaching to the choir. You’ve created a bit of a subculture of wise spending, saving, and earning that is counter to our larger culture of spend-spend-spend.

I think in the long run, GRS is better and stronger–and more adaptable–with having more voices, more viewpoints. May your future endeavors be as successful as this one has been.

Cathy
Cathy
7 years ago

I haven’t been here in a very long time, so it’s quite a surprise to me that you made this announcement. I started following you back in 2006 when I made my own revelations about my debt problems. It was great to have someone like-minded to follow, instead of the usual gimmicky get-out-of-debt schemes. I’ve been debt free for well over 5 years, and have done fairly well even during these difficult economic times. It was great to go through this process with you. Best wishes to you in your new venture.

Leah
Leah
7 years ago

Thanks for all your time here! You’ve been a help to more people than you’ll ever know. For my part, even I was influenced. I’ve never had an issue with consumer debt, but I’m still learning how best to manage my money to maximize return. I recently went back to school for two years to improve my career prospects (and I now have a better job) but needed some help. I took out subsidized loans but worked my butt off to save money while in school, including doing lots of side gigs. I’m happy to report that I was able… Read more »

Mary
Mary
7 years ago

Best of luck to you as you move in new directions. Thank you for this site–whenever I want a new perspective or to research a topic, I poke around the archives. 🙂

Lisa Aberle
Lisa Aberle
7 years ago

I will miss your voice here, JD. You are my hero!!!

Derek
Derek
7 years ago

I’ve been following GRS since about 2008 (hardly comment though). It was the only personal financial blog that I’ve read consistently and your voice (and story), JD, is because why.

It’s been a very fascinating journey reading about your personal struggles and triumphs. I’ve lost interest in the past year since the introduction of the new staff writers, but I understand the direction of the site.

I will definitely be following you at More Than Money. Thanks JD!

Jimi
Jimi
7 years ago

Congratulations J.D.!

I’ve been reading this site for longer than I can remember – in fact I think it was one of the first few PF blogs I stumbled upon. I’ve improved my money management in more ways than can be counted, so all I can say is this:

Thankyou, and all the best for the future. I think you’ve left this page in good hands 🙂

Jimi

Kym
Kym
7 years ago

I am so happy for you, JD. I’ve been following GRS for a few years now and have loved your voice here. Partly because you are one of the few bloggers whose writing style is like having a conversation with a friend, and partly because we share similar views of religion and politics. I wish you all the best and will be sure to follow you at More Than Money.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
7 years ago

Congrats, J.D.! Thank you for all of your hard work here and for creating such a fantastic community. Best wishes for your new blog — I’ve been enjoying it so far!

Lucille
Lucille
7 years ago

Stating the obvious is I guess, how to get rich slowly. I know too many people on this path and I’d like to overtake.

Tom Drake
Tom Drake
7 years ago

Happy to hear you’re pursing your own goals J.D. Good luck with More Than Money!

Carolyn
Carolyn
7 years ago

Thank you, JD, for your contribution to my financial health. Your voice is true and for that I thank you.

Financial Samurai
Financial Samurai
7 years ago

Thanks for all these years JD! Good thing you’re just a click away.

Best, Sam

PawPrint
PawPrint
7 years ago

Thanks for the memories. . . 🙂 Change is inevitable, but it’s been a bit difficult to adjust to your absence. I’m glad that your voice is still around on your other blog, and I’ve been enjoying reading it.

Cat
Cat
7 years ago

JD, you have evolved and shared your personal “wealth” of knowledge, insight, and inspiration to such a degree my life has changed profoundly. Mahalo. I, too, learned lessons in the financial world the hard way, reminding us all the beauty of being human is to have the capacity and desire to transform- in any area! This is just another adventurous step into the unknown…. Enjoy, live, prosper!

Kathy M
Kathy M
7 years ago

Best to you. You are and will be missed. See you at More than Money.

Rail
Rail
7 years ago

Congratulations J.D.! Thanks for the forum and the information that has been the halmark of this site. Even though you no longer helm this ship day to day it is on a true heading. Looking forward to the future of GRS and will take a gander at your new site. Thank you.

Vangile
Vangile
7 years ago

Thanks for sharing your story JD. This was one of the first blogs I came across when I was struggling to sort out my finances. I admit I hated the concept of getting rich slowly be be ause i wanted a wuick fix to my problems, but it was good to see that it was possible, which gave me hope to go on the journey as well. This blog has been an awesome inspiration

Meg
Meg
7 years ago

Hi JD,

I am a GRS reader who will be traveling in Portland and would love to meet up. GRS has been incredibly helpful for me and I would not be in the financial situation I am now without it!

Hope to hear from you soon (e-mail works well)–

SMR

Ali Manning
Ali Manning
7 years ago

Thanks for everything you did here,JD. You made a huge difference in the lives of thousands of people, mine included. Heading over to your blog to subscribe. Good luck 🙂

s.l. mccollum
s.l. mccollum
7 years ago

I have enjoyed reading this blog. I really enjoyed reading a few years ago about the Cinnamon Bear on KEX. I can remember listening to that year after year.

Best of luck

Cheers

slm

Tara
Tara
7 years ago

Why do I feel duped? Again.

Malcom
Malcom
7 years ago
Reply to  Tara

Because we all were. I remember JD writing an article saying he “was not” going to be leaving the website.

I don’t understand why he is going to remain the face of this website when it is no longer his. My guess is just to dupe people some more?

JD I hope you remember in future years that is was the “little” people who made this website.

J.D. Roth
J.D. Roth
7 years ago
Reply to  Tara

I’m not sure why you feel duped, though I’m sorry that it’s the case. I am a human being. Am I not allowed to grow and change? Am I not allowed to take different paths? I did say that I was going to stick around, but ultimately that proved not to be productive. It’s best for everyone involved if I move on now. So I’m going to, and without any guilt. I’m not obligated to stay just because you think that I should. I need to make the decisions that are right for my life, not the ones that are… Read more »

Shannon
Shannon
7 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

Go back and read what you wrote JD. Based on your prior writings, I don’t think you would have been (or ever have been) so rude to a commenter before. Don’t know if it is the money talking or what. Either way good luck to you and may I say good riddance.

Lisa Landtroop
Lisa Landtroop
7 years ago

I have enjoyed your posts very much over the years and am soo excited to see you’re still having goals and dreams….and chasing them!

That’s awesome and wonderful on a tremendous level!

Congratulations on the new site – I’ll be checking it out right now.

Keep up the great work!
Lisa

Jennifer
Jennifer
7 years ago

Thank you, JD. I’ve followed this site for many years while I was getting out of $40,000 in consumer debt. You were my daily support.

Good luck with your new ventures!

Doughboy1917
Doughboy1917
7 years ago

I started reading GRS in 2008, as I began digging myself out of debt. JD, your stories helped me tremendously. I’ve been debt-free for quite a while now (except for my 15-year mortgage) and have been building wealth, slowly, through my 401k, Roth IRA and HSA.

I stopped reading GRS as JD’s contributions slowed, but it was a great help while I was getting myself into financial shape.

Thanks for all the knowledge and good luck with the new site!

Greg Go / Wise Bread
Greg Go / Wise Bread
7 years ago

Not sure if I ever mentioned this to you in person, but Get Rich Slowly was the first personal finance blog I read, and eventually it was the site that inspired us to start Wise Bread. So thanks for the awesome stories over the years! And best of luck with More Than Money. I’m looking forward to more travel posts like the ones about Turkey!

Stuart
Stuart
7 years ago

Although its a bit sad to hear the news of your retirement but i am happy for you and grateful for all of your contributions to us all. Enjoy life my friend.

LeRainDrop
LeRainDrop
7 years ago

Hi, JD, I’ve really enjoyed the journey with you and am wishing you all the best! Also, your link to the original Get Rich Slowly post goes to the wrong place. Here’s the one you intended, I believe: http://www.foldedspace.org/weblog/2005/04/get_rich_slowly.html

Erman
Erman
7 years ago

Hello JD. Thank you very much for everything. You have done good for yourself and been an inspiration for many people.

It was also very nice to meet you personally-and also to meet Nick- (To all of you who are curious what JD Roth is like in real life; he is just like his writings, sincere, fun and articulate).

I will be following your new blog and wish you all the best with it.

Theresa
Theresa
7 years ago

Thanks for putting in the hard work and inspiring a community, J.D. I love your blog — it’s the first (and only) personal finance blog I’ve ever read. Best of luck.

The Ninja Baker
The Ninja Baker
7 years ago

Such an inspirational story, JD. Many thanks for sharing your wisdom and life lessons. God speed in your new ventures.

Glen
Glen
7 years ago

Sad to see you go but happy to see you start this next chapter in your life. Yours is one of the first “PF blogs” I discovered and it had a huge impact on my life. Thanks!

Jess
Jess
7 years ago

Thanks for the excellent writing, JD. I forget how exactly I found GRS, but I was taking a personal finance course in 2007 and I know I found it around that time. I’m bummed, as it appears many other readers are, that yours will no longer be a regular voice around here (and that it hasn’t been for a while) – but I’m not surprised. It’s been a crazy few years for you, and I thank you for staying around and keeping us readers in the loop. I follow your Foldedspace blog, so I think I’ll finally have to switch… Read more »

SweetCoffee
SweetCoffee
7 years ago

You’ve inspired me tremendously on my own journey to better finances. Thank you JD! I’ll keep tabs on your other blog and definitely keep digging into the archives here at Get Rich Slowly– what a gold mine (pun intended)!

steve
steve
7 years ago

Congrats, JD!

I wish you continued success.

I read your posts over the years, took your advice to heart, and improved my financial life (which, in turn, solved many other problems in my life). I am grateful to you and the community that your work inspired.

I live by ‘do what works for YOU’ every day.

Thank you for lending me the tools.

Best of luck

Raquel
Raquel
7 years ago

Best luck, J.D.!
Thank you for helping me understand about personal finance and inspiring me to be financially healthy.
All the best!

William @ Drop Dead Money
William @ Drop Dead Money
7 years ago

Bon voyage!

What you’re embarking on is a journey (wanted to say trip, but caught myself) and may you discover (as here) unexpected joys, people and experiences.

Ro
Ro
7 years ago

Congratulations on your retirement, and best of luck in all your future endeavors.

Patti
Patti
7 years ago

I agree, your voice will be missed around here. I don’t check in much now that you aren’t posting as often, I don’t find much original content worth coming every day for. Good luck to you though and thanks for all of the inspiration!

saro
saro
7 years ago

Thank you! Your writing, website and community helped me when I was so deep in debt. Best of luck to you.

Ash (in US)
Ash (in US)
7 years ago

Thanks for everything, JD, and good luck! This site was an inspiration and a path when I was getting my stuff together post-college.

I may have missed the editor actually being named… is it April?

Jen from Boston
Jen from Boston
7 years ago

Congratulations on your retirement! I will miss your cat pictures, though.

Thanks!
Thanks!
7 years ago

Big fan of the blog. Good luck having a full life.

Just a note, not sure if this has anything to do with your leaving, but when I came to the site today, an obnoxious flash over add showed up. It was buggy and I couldn’t make it go away. I am sure that you would never let something like that happen if you were running the show. 🙂

Jason
Jason
7 years ago

J.D.
You are one of the reasons I am planning a foray into personal finance and PF blogging. (Ramit & mmm) are the others. While money isn’t everything, society at large has some whacked-out ideas about money and finance and these ideas are hindering many people from enjoying the rich opportunities available to them. Thanks for everything you’ve done and for lighting the way for many people to enjoy financial freedom!

Military Money
Military Money
7 years ago

JD – you were the first personal finance blogger I ever read and continue to be one of my biggest influences on my own finances. Your no none sense advice and drive to live for “more than money” continue to inspire me. Good luck in your next adventure!

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