You wouldn’t think that a middle age guy that runs a blog and writes articles about personal finance and debt management would be writing one on how he became a better person by doing that, but it really is true. Picture, if you will, the scene in “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” where the Grinch’s heart grew three sizes after he helped the Who’s in Whoville.
I’m not saying I was a bad guy before I started blogging about personal finance, not at all, but when I began my debt-free journey, began researching finance and my spending habits, I wanted to write them down. I wanted to put them into a form that would hold me accountable for my actions and would hopefully help anybody that happens to read my ramblings overcome similar obstacles. I also hoped that any of the few readers that I happened to get would learn a little bit more about personal finance and debt management.
This site was never about the fame or money, even though I can’t even walk down the street without being mobbed by paparazzi now. Okay, I also exaggerate the truth sometimes. Not to say that I won’t eventually monetize this site, the bills have to get paid after all, but that has never been my end goal. My end goal has always been to try to connect with people who are in a similar situation to mine, that I can communicate and share knowledge with.
Finances are a very personal subject. A subject that people don’t like to talk about, especially if they are in a large amount of debt. You very rarely hang around the water cooler at work talking about how much debt you are in and what your plans are to get out of it. You don’t go on a date and discuss your credit card debt with each other. It’s embarrassing and you want to appear like you are “keeping up with the Joneses”. So many people are keeping up this appearance while struggling so severely that they are almost ready to lose their house to foreclosure or their vehicle to repossession. I have seen it personally and it is sad.
As a matter of fact, I was one of those people, and am still struggling to come back from it. Nice house, needed it. Nice car, needed it. Latest gadgets, needed them. So much crap that it built up into this giant debt monster that loomed over me on a daily basis and I wasn’t even sure what I bought with it anymore.
But once I began blogging about personal finance and debt management and bringing my own life into it, people started contacting me about their experiences and situations. Situations that were very similar or identical to my own. When you combine this and the social media community behind it, I was brought off the island that I felt that I was stranded on and became part of a large group of people who have become like a part of my family.
It also helped me relate to other people better. It helped understand people on a deeper level, in that, what you see on the surface is not always all there is to a person. This goes back to the “Keeping up with the Joneses” theory. I know for a fact that there are several families in my neighborhood that up to their necks in debt, just to live the lifestyle that is “expected” of their circle of friends. I know this because I have talked to them at different events and they have told me that they are struggling and that all of their credit cards are maxed out, they have a second mortgage on their house, they can’t afford their car payments, etc.
Before having my personal finance revelations, beginning a personal finance blog, and coming into contact with the incredible people who I have I had the pleasure of meeting through this site and social media, I was one of the people judging them. Judging them, even though I was doing the exact same thing. What right did I have to judge these people who had the same spending habits that I had?
After the experiences I have had with Middle Age Money Man and social media, I have found myself not only not judging people, but going out of my way to try to help people on a daily basis. Don’t think that I carry a soapbox with me everywhere I go and get it out to make my lectures when I see someone doing something that I think they shouldn’t. I just find myself having more empathy and pointing people to sources of information so they can make their own decisions and figure out where and how to get started. That is the hardest part of this crazy journey.
It also gives you that “water cooler” to discuss personal finances around. When people comment on my posts or I comment on other bloggers’ posts, it begins a discussion about personal finance or debt that reveals some sort of information or knowledge that one of us didn’t have before. Because it is on the internet, millions of people have access to that knowledge as well. So just by having what I think is a simple discussion with myself or someone else via my blog or social media, it may actually help others in the same or similar situations.
So to all of you bloggers out there who are writing posts for all the right reasons, here’s to you for helping people who truly need it. For all of the site visitors who comment on the posts, here’s to you for starting a conversation that needs to be had about a topic that you may not have the courage to discuss with your friends or family in real life.
We are always here for you, and thank you for making me a better person.