A Year on the Journey From Broke to Financially Woke
“It’s been a little over a year since I wrote my post From Broke Phi Broke to Financially Woke. Let’s jog down memory lane and see what I have learned along the way so far.”
-Peerless Money Mentor
A Walk Along the River…
As I walk along the river walk downtown, I stop and stare. I stare at the dark brown Mississippi river water. The motion of the water hypnotizes me. Time ceases to exist as I embrace serenity. I get lost in thought, reflecting on my journey from broke to financially woke.
The Genesis of Peerless Money Mentor
I got the idea to create Peerless Money Mentor after reading personal finance blogs for a year. Some of the first blogs I read religiously were Wise Bread, Life Hacker, and Budgets are Sexy. The reason why I read these blogs were to search for ways to increase my income.
One day I discovered that the creator of Budgets are Sexy, J. Money, had created this site called Rockstar Finance that curated the top personal finance articles in the blogosphere. From there, I got into the habit of reading Rockstar Finance daily. I felt inspired by all of the wonderful writers sharing their money stories.
Although I was once a writer myself, it never crossed my mind to start my own blog. I ignored the how to create a blog section of every blog I read. To me, the idea that I could make money from blogging was a pipe dream, and those who were promoting these links reminded me of the students approaching me to join MLM’s in college.
Besides that, my first writing project had failed. After sending my manuscript Spark Change: Biblically Inspired Poetry out to several publishers, I got very few responses. Perhaps I could have kept trying, but I simply gave up. The story I told myself was that my writing simply was not good enough.
Encouragement from My Aunt and J. Money
But one day while visiting my Aunt’s house, she ask me two questions about personal finance that would make me consider writing a blog of my own. She asked me how I was able to travel so much and how to maintain a good credit score. In response to her first question, I told her how I had been doing some travel hacking. My response to her second question was a snide remark about how everyone knows how to maintain good credit (so not true, the curse of knowledge is real).
After listening to me explain how credit cards worked, she suggested that I write the information down somewhere. The following week I would email J. Money, asking him how to start a blog. He responded by saying, “Best thing to do is honestly just START IT and write your heart out…”
My aunt and J’s words of encouragement inspired me to devise a plan. I created a document with possible names for the blog and article ideas. Although I wrote all these wonderful plans, I hesitated. Instead of writing articles, I told myself that I had to go back and reread the following books:
- The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr.
- The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century
- Verbal Advantage: 10 Steps to a Powerful Vocabulary
After reading these books, I came up with more excuses not to get started. I wondered if I could add anything new to the conversation. After all, there is nothing new under the sun, right? And then one day I checked the Rockstar Directory out and saw that less than 1% (84 out of 2,069) of the money bloggers on the list identify themselves as African American. Given that fact, I wondered, could I provide a peerless (unique) perspective?
A Peerless Perspective
Although I am Black, what does that even mean? Would you guess that some of my favorite subjects are personal finance, economics, philosophy, and science? You would probably assume that I love Hip-Hop. Or would you assume that I am some negative stereotype, a criminal?
Hopefully you do not make any assumptions at all. But we know that’s not how human nature works. I am a lover of Hip-Hop, who enjoys studying behavioral economics, game theory, philosophy, and science. My favorite thing to do in this world is read. When I was growing up in the ghetto, my mother and father would take me to the library almost every day. I also am a lover of the NBA (Kobe is the GOAT!).
In my writing, I try to combine my love for all of these things. For example, my post From Broke Phi Broke to Financially Woke was inspired by Kanye (the old Kanye) and included Tupac Shakur’s lyrics (my favorite rapper). In the Dark Side of Greatness, I included pieces of Kobe Bryant’s (The Goat) showtime documentary.
Furthermore, in a lot of my articles, I include book recommendations. Whenever I see other bloggers do the same, I get excited.
Although being open from the start about my identity has not been a problem for me in the financial independence community, it did become somewhat of a problem when I was featured in Business Insider.
With National Media Attention, Comes Negativity
A week after my Business Insider feature went live, someone notified me that I was the subject of this Youtube video. The title of the video was Uber Driver’s Insane Budget Reveals Black Wealth Delusions. In the video, several negative things were said about me.
Here are few:
- His income is too low to be giving financial advice
- He only cares about himself
- He’ll never make any money blogging
When I first saw this, I wanted to respond badly. My closest friends and a few other bloggers in the personal finance space told me to ignore the negativity. I did just that, after firing off a few tweets, of course :-). When you place yourself in the national spotlight, criticism is to be expected. I just hope one day I’ll be able to tell the critics to kiss my assets, like John from ESI Money!
Having people criticize you harshly can cause even the most positive of people to doubt themselves. That’s exactly what happened to me for a nanosecond. Then I kept it moving…I reasoned that after being featured three times on Rockstar Finance, I must have been doing something right. A man or woman should never let critics stop them from relentlessly pursuing their writing goals.
Why Do I Write?
Writing is something that I love to do. The ultimate goal of my writing is to spark change and inspire others to live a better financial life. I believe words have power. Words can be used to tear a person down or build them up. It is my belief that we should try to do the latter.
When creating content, I try not to be judgmental of others. Who am I to question your purchases? I believe you should be free to purchase the things you love. For example, I love technology so I have purchased a Google Home and a Google Home Mini in the past year.
Is this a waste to some people in the financial independence community? Probably but who cares…My writing is to help you discover your own unique path to financial independence. I want you to take the peerless steps necessary towards building wealth and growing your legacy.
That means applying the principles of financial independence as you see fit. The main thing is that you focus on increasing your earning potential, living below your means, saving and investing. And growing your givings rate!
In my opinion, life is best lived somewhere in between front loading the sacrifice and letting the good times roll (laissez le bon temps rouler).
If I am not your cup of tea, please go check out some of my other blogger friends…
- Fly to Fi
- The Mastermind Within
- Making Momentum
- Ms. Fiology
- Money With a Purpose
- FI Introvert
- Miked Up Blog
- Life for the Better
- Your Money Geek
Tsunami Rooftop Bar
The jog down memory lane leaves me a little fatigued and hungry. I make my way to my favorite spot in Baton Rouge, La, a rooftop sushi bar, where I order the Black and Gold roll while letting the good times continue to roll…
Jerry is a Business Insider Contributing Writer who is obsessed with personal finance. He believes you can improve your financial situation by applying principles taught by the financial independence community to your financial life.
If you are having trouble saving, he recommends that you join the SaverLife Savings program where you can get a $60 reward after six months (no income requirement). All you have to do is put a minimum of $20 a month into a savings account. Easy, right?
For a fun read, check out his article 10 Signs You’re a Personal Finance Addict to see if you are a personal finance nerd.
Before you go, check out the new From Broke to Financially Woke Interview Series.
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