Financial Lessons Learned from My Favorite Bloggers

Since 2007, I have been obsessed with reading various blogs. I can't even remember what was the first blog I read but once I discovered that other people were sharing their ideas and their personal journeys, I became hooked on. I currently follow hundreds of different blogs ranging from financial independence, personal finance, dividend investing, self improvement, paleo recipes, travel hacking, and much more. I read blogs on a daily basis, sometimes checking my Feedly iPhone app every few hours. I love learning new things and blogs have given me so much inspiration and resources. I've sometimes read 20+ blog posts a day and love learning about new strategies to build wealth, save on taxes, new credit cards with high sign up bonuses and so much more. 

Since I've started my own blog in January 2015, I thought it would be appropriate to pay credit where credit is due to those bloggers who have truly inspired me and have opened my eyes to some really interesting concepts and have helped save me a lot of money in the process.  Here they are:

Financial Samurai: The 1/10th Rule For Car Buying Everyone Must Follow

Buying a car can be a huge financial decision and can really take a chunk up of your hard earned money. I used to think that I had to have a flashy car to say "I finally made it" as an accountant. In 2012, I made the mistake of buying a car that was worth almost half of my salary (and I financed a large portion)! I ended up selling that car and voluntarily going carless for a few months. Luckily I stumbled upon Financial Samurai's car buying guide that notes you shouldn't spend more than 10% of your salary or 10% of your net worth. When I finally started looking for cars I ended up buying a car that was only $8K, (12% of my annual salary, ~8% of my net worth) so I did a lot better that time around. Going by this rule of thumb will save me a ton of money down the road.

MMM: Anything really!

Mr. Money Mustache is one my favorite bloggers. His badassity is something to be admired. At 30 years old, he was financially independent and retired from his engineering gig. I have a lot of respect for this guy and even though he live a more frugal lifestyle than I care to live at this point in my life, I still find his articles interesting and have many changes in my life based on his insight on things. He was the major influencer for me on my path to financial independence.

Mad Fientist: The Ultimate Retirement Account

I never realized just how valuable my Health Savings Account was until I read Mad Fientist's post on The Ultimate Retirement Account. This was a real eye opener. One thing learned that you don't pay FICA taxes on the contributions. If you max out that account you will save you even more in taxes. Not a whole lot of money but I love paying the least amount of taxes legally possible. The other thing I learned was that you don't have to reimburse yourself with health expenses right away. Whenever, I have an HSA eligible expense, I pay for it with one of my rewards earning credit cards. Since I don't need the money now, I will wait until later as I want my tax free contributions to grow. The other cool thing about his account is that after you turn 65, you don't have to use it for medical expenses, it becomes just like a traditional IRA.  

Jim Collins: Stock Series

The Stock Series from Jlcollinsnh is quite possibly my favorite resource on investing. He presents his information in simple logic and I agree with most everything he has to say regarding investing. My retirement money is in low cost index funds through Schwab and Vanguard. 

James Altucher: Why I Am Never Going to Own a Home Again

I really enjoyed reading James' post about why he's never going to own a home again and I agree with many points he makes. In 2013, I decided to convert my residence to a rental property with the goal of selling after about a year. With maintenance, closing costs, taxes, and the feeling of being trapped in one place really put home ownership into perspective for me. I've since converted my rental property back to my primary residence. Although I currently am happy owning my home, I am giving serious consideration to renting after I sell my house.

The Bottom Line

Some of these articles may be somewhat controversial, and if you take a look at the comments of these articles, you may see some naysayers. It's so easy to post your thoughts in the comment boards and whine about why you disagree and come up with excuses about why you can't do it. You can do anything you put your mind to. My advice to anyone just starting out reading blogs is read a lot from people you admire. You don't necessarily have to agree with everything they write about but let some of the concepts just marinate in your brain if you aren't ready to take action. These guys didn't get to where they are by making excuses. They may not be the most mainstream in their ideology but I think that's what makes them so unique. They followed a different path than everyone else and they are simply sharing what worked for them. It probably won't work for most people but had I not read these articles, I wouldn't be where I'm at today. And for that, I am grateful.

Jeff Maddux, CPA

WHAT I DO: I help millennials save money, get financially fit, and create an awesome lifestyle.

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MY BACKGROUND: Personal Finance, Daily Money Management, public accounting, corporate accounting, governmental accounting, bookkeeping and individual tax return preparation. I've taken three mini-retirements by the age of 31 and I'm currently on my fourth mini-retirement (see experience section below for details).

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