Ep348: J. Money – Break Free From the Crowd to Make Better Financial Decisions

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Quick take

BIO: J. Money is an award-winning personal finance blogger. He’s founded several popular projects over the past decade, including Budgets Are Sexy and Rockstar Finance.

STORY: J went looking for a 2-bedroom apartment to rent in 2007. He got lost and ended up buying a $350,000 house on a whim 48 hours later, with no idea of what he was getting into. A few months later, the property market went bust, so he could not sell his house. J has always been a drifter and buying a house that he could not sell saw him get stuck in a place he did not enjoy living in for seven years.

LEARNING: Do not do things just because others are doing it; try to shape your lifestyle according to your dreams. You could make more money by being a renter than a homeowner because there is no guarantee you’ll sell the house for a profit.


“There is no shame in renting. Take your money and invest it in the stock market.”

J. Money


Guest profile

J. Money is an award-winning personal finance blogger, a daddy of 3, and mega-fan of the Personal Finance space online. He’s founded a number of popular projects over the past decade, including Budgets Are Sexy and Rockstar Finance, and is now curating the best articles from around the community at All-Star Money—a project in partnership with The Motley Fool. You can find his entire story here.

Worst investment ever

When J got engaged, he felt that the next thing on his life’s checklist was buying a home. But at first, they decided to rent a one or two-bedroomed house.

Finding a home by sheer accident

One day, as the couple was apartment hunting, they got lost after taking a wrong turn. They stumbled across a townhouse that was for sale. They thought it was a nice-looking townhouse, and they decided to call the realtor just for the fun of it.

The realtor confirmed that it was for sale and invited them to go inside and take a look. They told the realtor that they were planning on renting. The realtor convinced them that renting was just a waste of their money, and for only $200 more, they could own a house.

But my friends are homeowners

As the realtor tried to convince them to buy, J thought everyone, including his friends and family, was a homeowner. And at that point, he knew a house is an asset. All these thoughts convinced him to buy the house for $350,000 within 48 hours.

The decision to buy the house was entirely on a whim. They did no research or weighed their options thoroughly. They just saw a house that they liked, and it was well priced, so they bought it even though that was not their initial plan.

The bubble goes bust

While J felt that he had made a rash decision, he comforted himself with the fact that he had bought the house when the market was down, and maybe he would sell once it goes up.

Unfortunately, the market kept going down. Then the 2008 financial crisis happened and crashed the property market altogether. Now J could not sell the house.

The massive responsibility of owning a house

Besides having to deal with a declining market, J also had to bear the immense responsibility of owning a house. He had to deal with things like maintenance and property taxes, something he was not used to as a renter.

Tethering a drifter

J came from a military background and so was used to moving every two years. And while in his head he thought it might be good to settle down, it was impossible to buy a house every two years and sell it.

J and his family were forced to live in that house for about seven years because he could not sell the house for profit, even though he badly wanted to be on the move.

Lessons learned

You do not have to do what everyone else is doing

Do not do what others are doing. Live your life on your own terms. Buy a house because it’s the right thing for you, not just because your best friend bought a house. Know yourself, understand how you work, and build a lifestyle around that.

There is no shame in renting

It is okay to rent. In fact, there are some advantages to renting over ownership. With renting, you do not have to worry about maintenance costs and taxes. You can invest this money in something with a high return. Renting also gives you the freedom to move around as much as you want. You do not get tied down to one place.

There are other better ways of investing other than homeownership

An asset is supposed to bring you an income. Houses, unless it is a rental, do not bring income. Instead, they take money from you. There are other investment options, such as the stock market. If you are buying a house with the hopes of making money from it, don’t. Instead, invest in the stock market.

Andrew’s takeaways

Renting could make you more money than owning a home

Long gone are the times when owning a home was a huge investment in terms of returns. If you calculate the long-term costs of owning versus renting, renting is more cost-saving. If you are an intelligent renter and invest the money you’d use to buy a house, you could make a lot more than if you were a homeowner.

There are many investment options nowadays

Today, there are so many investment options that are easier to manage and will make you more money than owning a home. You stand to build wealth investing in stocks, bonds, and other asset classes.

Actionable advice

Write your dream down. What does your dream life look like? If a house falls into that dream, then buy a house. But, if you see your dream life does not include being attached to a home, J’s best advice is to rent.

No. 1 goal for the next 12 months

J’s number one goal for the next 12 months is to go back to his previous lifestyle before starting the All-Star Money project. His lifestyle included waking up at 5 am, working for five or six hours, then calling it quits at lunchtime, and then have the second half of the day for himself.

Parting words


“Just stay true to yourself and go check out personal finance blogs and see if anything resonates with you.”

J. Money


Read full transcript

Andrew Stotz 00:02
Hello fellow risk takers and welcome to my worst investment ever stories of loss to keep you winning. In our community, we know that the winning investing you must take risk but to win big, you've got to reduce it. And I bet you're exposed to investment risk right now. To reduce it, go to my worst investment ever.com and download the risk reduction checklist I've made specifically for you. My podcast listeners, based on the lessons I've learned from all of my guests, fellow risk takers, this is your worst podcast host Andrew Stotz from Ace Dance Academy and I'm here with featured guest j money j money j money j money. Are you ready to rock? Yeah, I'm

J. Money 00:47
a risk taker. I mean, you made me feel good.

Andrew Stotz 00:49
I love it. Exactly. That's what it's all about. Man, you can make it make it happen without taking the risk.

Yes, sir. Well, let

Andrew Stotz 00:57
me introduce you to the audience. J money is an award winning personal finance blogger, Daddy of three and mega fan of the personal finance space online. He's founded a number of popular projects over the past decade, including budgets are sexy, and Rockstar finance, and is now curating the best articles from around the community at all star money, a project in partnership with the Motley Fool, you can find his entire story at j money dot biz slash story. J take a minute in Philly for the tidbits about your life.

J. Money 01:40
Oh, yes, yes. Well, I'm 41 years old. I live right outside of Washington, DC and Virginia. And the US have three little boys, as you mentioned, they're never really been into money or entrepreneurship or I guess risk taking in general, most of my life, kind of stumbled across all of this stuff. Actually, by going through my worst investment, opened up the doors in my eyes into a whole other world. Good stuff and bad stuff, of course. But yeah, I'm just kind of one of those guys that goes with the flow my grew up in the military family. So travelled around, met a lot of people, and I just kind of just go with it until something changes me one way or the other. And over the past, I'd say 15 years, I've been better about crafting the ideal lifestyle, and taking more control versus the first half of my life.

Andrew Stotz 02:35
And maybe there's a couple quick things I'd like to ask you about before we get into the big question. And the first one we kind of talked about before we turn on the microphone, which is, you know, what is your method of acquiring knowledge in this, you know, space that you know so much about now?

J. Money 02:53
Yeah, I mean, really, it's the personal finance blog community. You know, I stumbled across it last looking for a budget. And I just, you know, googled what, you know, what, how you budget or something silly like that about 13 years ago. And I came across all of these, their websites, but they're just people talking about their own money. They're like, Oh, here's how much I budget for, you know, cars or food in real life numbers. And I was blown away by the transparency, and particularly when people would say, Hey, here's my network. Here's what's in my savings. Here's my debt. And I'd never seen real life money before. And so that just like I was glued, and because there were people talking normally they weren't experts quote, the word websites trying to sell me anything. It was just people, you know, the diaries, the journal, and I just got hooked. And that actually, because of the people made me want to pay attention more, and they kind of tricked me into learning and making my own money better, right, because they were like storytelling, and I was learning by accident. And then a few months after reading, I'm like, Robert, to tell my story. And I started the blog. And, you know, I was misspelling and cursing. I mean, I just, it was just blurting stuff out. So from other people, and then my own audience, commenting and emailing me, and teaching me is a really cool ecosystem online.

Andrew Stotz 04:10
Yeah, it's amazing what you can learn nowadays. I mean, I think about when I started in the industry, it was 1993. And I was in Thailand when I started. So the internet didn't really exist in any way that I could use it in, you know, we had bookstores, but they weren't even that many books. So the idea of acquiring knowledge was, you know, such a hard task. Now, of course, nowadays, it's the opposite. You're overloaded with information. And it's actually you know, it's funny when you when you we started seeing this happening, I don't know five years ago, or whatever that was where all of a sudden, the service of cutting out and focusing in to the most valuable information on the internet all of a sudden became something you'd be willing to pay for when you're overloaded with information.

J. Money 04:58
Oh, yeah. Oh, one of my favorite Books is called essentialism. And it talks about that and it's just it changed your Yeah, there's so much now. Yeah, I see a slew of other problems. Yeah, but the internet for me, that's really where I learned and it's internet, but it's also people one on one, you know, like, the personal story. And the personal connecting for me is, you know, really, really important.

Andrew Stotz 05:18
And you said one thing, just, when you're introducing yourself a little bit in you talked about kind of transforming the way that you, you know, that work fits into your life, and that maybe you could just explain what you meant by that.

J. Money 05:33
Um, yeah, so I mean, I kind of just going with the flow. And then when I had my worst mistake, which I guess I can hint was, was buying a house with no, no plan, no money. No, really, you know, I wasn't paying attention. I just, I just bought one. Right. And that kind of shifted me to do research. And when I kind of realized you can there I realized there's like two worlds is the world that's like normal. And like the path that everyone tells you, you know, like, get married, buy a house, have kids, like there's that whole path. And then there's people just doing whatever the hell they want. And I realize like, there's no rules like reading blogs, I'm like, Oh, my gosh, like, people are just doing anything. And there's no rules. There's no police say, Oh, you can't do that. You know. And so I had already gone part of my life following the rules, quote, when I realized there's another way to live. And so that's why I kind of started like restructuring my life. And I became good at blogging accidentally. And that became my new career. So I like had this whole degree. And then all of a sudden, now I'm a blogger for a living, which is really so strange, you know, and when you build a blog, you're writing, but you're marketing, and now you have income if you're advertising. So I accidentally became an entrepreneur, and I had a small business, you know, that I would go on to sell later. And through that, like, I'm like, oh, wow, you can just make money online, right? Like, this is crazy. What else can you do online? And so it just, it just, it is amazing what can happen? All from a mistake, essentially.

Andrew Stotz 06:58
I mean, that's a great lesson to all the listeners, including myself is that there simply are no rules. And when you realize that, it's like you've been in a cage, with walls that actually don't exist.

J. Money 07:15
Yeah. And what's hard is that all the people you surround yourself like in normal life, like they are following rules, right? Most people do follow rules. Yep. And so it's hard when you're trying to like not do something that everyone around you like, friends family, like, why were my mom thinking like, you're gonna like you have a degree and you want to go right and just share like, thoughts online. I'm like, yeah, that's what I'm I do you think it does take some courage to like, do it and not fall back? But yeah, right.

Andrew Stotz 07:42
Well, that's a challenge, I think, for all the listeners is to ask, you know, to tell yourself, that there, there are no rules, you know, you're doing things. Because you're conforming, you're doing things because that's what you're supposed to do. You're doing things because we've been brought up to queue up and line up. And we've been brought up to follow the rules. And we've been brought up to do all those things. But you don't have to do that forever. Right? Yep. So that's it. Well, now it's time to share your worst investment ever. And since no one ever goes into their worst investment thinking it will be. Tell us a bit about the circumstances leading up to it. And then tell us your story.

Yeah, sure. So

J. Money 08:24
as I alluded to earlier, my worst announcement or my worst investment was buying a house. And at the time I was had, you know, had a steady job. I was engaged. I didn't have kids yet or anything. But I was kind of like I mentioned before, I was kind of checking off the things you're supposed to do like, Okay, I'm engaged. All my friends were buying their first homes. Whenever I was like, that's like the next part of the plan. And so we actually initially went to just go rent, because we're moving in with my fiance. And we were looking for a one bedroom or two bedroom apartment to rent. Got lost, like we took a wrong turn. And we stumbled across this, this townhouse. And it was for sale. And we thought, Oh, that's a nice looking townhouse, right? There's some like water nearby. Like, oh, we should just call that number just just for fun. Like, let's just see what happens. You know, I'm totally not really expecting anything else. Because again, we were initially trying to rent and they said oh, it's for sale. Why don't you come inside the realtor? Right? Good realtor answered right away within 30 minutes we were inside like that's a really good realtor. You know, see, we're talking Oh, you know, renting stealing your money away, like, Oh, just for $200 more, you can have a house blah, blah, blah. You know, and then in my back of my mind, right, well, everyone's buying homes, All my friends are doing it right. My family, everyone's are homeowners and everything I know up to this point is that a home is an asset, right? Like it's an investment. That's what you're told the whole time, right? And so to kind of long story short within 48 hours, No money down. We bought a house 350,000 on a whim no budget. Fortunately, we did have, you know, we both had full time jobs so we could afford the place. You know, and it was right. It was in 2007 to the market, the bubble like it started to kind of go down. And we thought, Oh, well, it's also a good time, right when it's going down a little bit. And then we bought, and then it just crashed, as we all know what happened there. But really, like, it's not even the crashing, I guess there's two parts to why it's bad financially was horrible, because the crash in our house went from 350 to, let's say, 270. Within months, right? That's about that, obviously, you know, was not fun. But more than that was the emotional, like, I didn't realize what comes with owning a house. You know, like it's a responsibility, it's maintenance, it's all these things as a renter, you don't know or care, think about, you know, and when you're buying a home, I am thinking of an investment, everyone's doing it, it's the right thing. You know, you forget about that mental thing. And by the way, all these people say, oh, rent and mortgage, just look at that number. And that's like the difference. Like they don't tell you maintenance costs and taxes. Like there's so much more they don't compare properly. You know, and we're not humans aren't good at doing it in our heads. So financially was a bad decision. But you know, as I mentioned, I came from a military background. So I'm used to moving every two years. And while in my head, I thought it might be good to settle down. Like, that's a whole huge change. You can't just buy a house every two years and sell right, you'd be losing money left and right. But that is my worst investment. And kind of over the next 10 years. We lived in there probably for six or seven years, I want to say we never like we could always afford the house. So that part was fine. But it was just being tied and not enjoying it. And then kind of realizing like, hey, maybe homeownership isn't for everyone. And is that okay? Right. And then I became a financial blogger. And so that's the big thing. How can you be a financial blogger like, if you don't own a house, right, and I talking about renting and how much I've missed renting. Eventually, we rent out the house, and I do go back to renting for three years. And love that, oh, gosh, I love renting so much. And then you know that I became an accidental property owner or property manager. Right now I'm dealing with other I'm dealing the stress of that. So there's a lot that you know, as you can imagine, and most you know, a lot of listeners are homeowners. So you know, you know what the deal is. But the Lord

Andrew Stotz 12:39
about the home now.

J. Money 12:42
So we lived in it for let's say seven years, I rented it for two to three. And then we sold it in December in the winter. This was probably three or four years ago, we sell it and we were renting for probably two or three years. And I loved it. It was bliss. And it was good. So and we had to even pony up at closing to sell this 10 years after owning a home which everyone says it goes up in value, right? Like you can't go wrong. We ended up bringing like 30,000 just to sell it like just a break just to like close on it. $30,000 something like that in cash, which obviously, those are big numbers.


J. Money 13:21
You know, what's funny is when we're at the closing table, and they are saying congrats to the new owners of the home, everyone gets Congrats, but you really Congrats, the person that's selling it. And I'm like, hey, like I'm here. Like, I got my freedom back.

Andrew Stotz 13:36
So how did you feel when you sign that and you and your wife? I love the car and laughter Oh, it

J. Money 13:40
was the best feeling that was the best like 30,000 I spat like, it was beautiful. You know, and again, it's all mental. And you know, I'm a very emotional person to like, you know, I always take I always pay attention to the feelings versus numbers. And so that, to me was a huge weight lifted off. And so we rented for a few more years. Ironically enough, I am back to owning a home. on your terms. on my terms, yes. But also now I'm married. Now I have three kids. And it was one of those things where like, we do want to settle for like, I'm out of the moving every two years thing. And we do want to settle. But my preference is still to rent. Like I literally rent for the rest of my life if I could like I just love the freedom of it. You know, but now the family voted. And I got out voted. Hey, I don't have to have my way all the time. I voiced my reasoning I lost and that's fine. So I'm owning in a different way now.

Andrew Stotz 14:39
Now they could be sneaky and say well Dad, why don't you rent our vacation home? So let's, let's go through tell us how would you list out the lessons that you learned from this?

J. Money 14:55
I guess lesson number one is you don't have to do what everyone else is doing. You know, the end is Sounds like so easy to do. But you know, we're just so used to it. And number two, like, I would say, it's okay to rent, right? Like, there's so many advantages to renting, like, obviously the freedom part, you know, to a degree. But when you know, when you have all those maintenance costs, and the taxes and all this other stuff, like it is a big chunk of money, it's not just mortgage versus rent. And so what a lot of my friends do, especially online that like to travel stuff, they'll rent, and whatever the difference was, they were, you know, let's say it's like a $500 difference between renting and owning, they'll throw that $500 right into investments. And so and or, let's say, the stock market or index funds, so like that, you know, an asset, well, I realize to an asset supposed to bring you income, right, like, it's something you own that brings in income and houses do not give you income houses, unless it's a rental if the home you live in, it's not bringing income, it's taking money from you, right? And so and there's a whole debate and you're going to go on one side or the other, is it an investment? Or is it not is or technically not. But there's other ways to, quote, have investments, that isn't your house, right? You got stock market, you got all this other kind of stuff out there. So I say as long as so what I learned is that I don't need to own a home in order to like, be invested. Right, there's other ways. And, yeah, and there's no and I think nowadays, I mean, at least I'm hoping that renting isn't as frowned upon, like it was maybe a decade ago, I feel like I'm sensing that more, but like millennials and stuff, too, like there is a lot more people with lifestyle design and traveling and stuff. You know, but still, we still hear like, oh, if you rat like that means XYZ, you know, and that's a shame, because there's no shame in you know, and renting.

Andrew Stotz 16:40
And one question I have is, if this house was instead of 350, if the house that you stumbled upon and ended up buying was, I don't know, 200? Or 180? You know, how would the price that you paid for that change the story?

J. Money 16:58
Um, well, I think if it was lower, I guess we still would have had the problem, I guess the two problems would have been the same, the emotional attachment is still the same, regardless of the price, like you still have to maintain it. And if something breaks, you know, it's just that fear of like anything in my house can break and we'll write everything will break at some point in your life. Yep. Or the roof. And it's always like, it's not like a $20 thing. It's always like a 500,000 thing, right? And especially if you're at the part where you're either living paycheck to paycheck, or you're only you know, you're like your first job. I think I was at my first real career, so I could afford it. But if something broke, like my emergency fund, let's say it was like two or $3,000. Right. And so now 10 years later and more money in the bank like and that's why I'm it's easier for me to own now I have the money to cover stuff. And you know, I could pay the house off if I wanted to, you know, so like, there's more that financial freedom definitely changes that. But even now, right, I have plenty of money. And yet I still like anytime the fall, something happens the faucet or the toilet actually, during the winter, our heater, like we smell gas, we had to turn the heater off. And it took a week for it to get fixed. You know, and I kept thinking all this is good. It's like horrible. Like it was such a like anxiety filled, I even had the money no matter what to cover it right. And whereas the words renting, right, like you still have the trouble of you know, someone fixes it, but it's not on you and you can go somewhere else.

Andrew Stotz 18:26
Exactly. Please come and fix my heater.

J. Money 18:30
Yeah, so I think it would have been less extreme. Had we not bought our first house at that level of 300,000.

Andrew Stotz 18:38
But still, the point that you're making, I think is valuable is that most of the obligations are still there. Mm hmm. Yes,

J. Money 18:46
it didn't change that I like to travel and that I felt tied down. Yep. Right now, if you don't feel those things, and you're going to be in the same spot, and you'd like security, oh, god, that's probably like, like a blessing. Yeah, so you know, it's just this certain type of personality, it doesn't fit as much.

Andrew Stotz 19:02
So maybe I'll summarize a few things that I took away from this story. I think the first thing is I want to, um, you know, one of the courses I taught at university and online is about, you know how to give a great presentation. And you talked about something that I talked about in the course. And for those people who aren't driving your car right now, I want you to who are just relaxing and sitting in a chair, I want you to close your eyes and think about the words that I'm about to say. And the connotations to those words like emergency. Well, that's usually negative. And you know, love that usually positive. And I do this exercise where I go through a series of positive and negative words and then I ask my students and I'll ask the listeners, how do you feel about the number 15 and use the I get a baffled look and what I Try to teach is that numbers convey no emotion. And that's really what you were saying is that, you know, you're about numbers. And, you know, I, I, when I think about, you're a writer, and you're expressing emotion, you know, a lot of analysts in my world think that writing out, you know, this company had 20% year on year earnings improvement, which brings a gross profit margin to 22.3. And I always tell them, these are meaningless terms. And that numbers evoke no emotion. So that's the first thing you really kind of reminded me when you were just it's not related to your story, but it's the way you told your story. The second thing is that I didn't buy my first property until I was 40. And yeah, and, you know, I, I just never felt qualified to invest. You know, I felt like I had to learn more. And I've always been an analyst and advising others, but for my own money, I've just been super cautious about it in particularly in the beginning, although I invested in a couple startups, one that survived one that didn't, and both of them have cost me a lot. But the point is, is that I was walking down the street near my apartment here in Bangkok. And I saw a building being built a condo near the park. And I just thought, This is nice. And so I decided I had extra money. So I said, Okay, I'll put money down, and they'll build that, and eventually, I'll have the space. And I'll move in here. And once the building was built, you know, I didn't really think it through. And the size of the apartment was half the size of my current, you know, the place that I was living at the time. So I was living at 300 square meter place, and this was 140 square meters. So I didn't even like think about that. Of course, the unit wasn't built, so I didn't really have any feeling for the unit. So I just realized I never gonna live in this thing. And then I said, Okay, well, now no problem. A lot. Like when people buy stocks, and they crash, they go, Well, I'm a long term investor. But I said, Well, I'll rent it out. And then I realized, holy crap, that's a lot of work. And then I just realized, okay, that's a business, renting out a, you know, a unit, ultimately, is a business. And if you want to be good at it, and you want to make money from it, you probably need three or five or 10, or whatever that number is. And I asked myself, is that the business that I want to be in? And the answer was no. So I sold it.

J. Money 22:33
So well. So did you ever live in it? No. So you bought your first home you never lived in? And then you sold it? That's interesting. Yeah. And, and good for knowing yourself, though. You knew yourself well enough that you didn't even put yourself through the misery of trying to force it to work? Yeah.

Andrew Stotz 22:48
Yeah. And that's, and I've lived in since that time, I've lived in the same apartment now for nearly 20 years. And it's just renting right now. I'm renting. Yeah, I have a 55 year old dislike the 40 year old virgin, 55 year old renter, or my whole life?

J. Money 23:07
Oh, that's the best thing I've heard today. And

Andrew Stotz 23:09
there's nothing I regret about it. Because the other part is it. You know, you mentioned about index funds. And you mentioned about investing. I mean, I'm an expert in investing. And the fact is that, over the long term, I'm going to earn somewhere between, let's say, five, and 10%, when you consider my investment in stocks, plus a little bit of bonds, maybe a little bit of other asset classes. But when you average that out over time, and as you get older, of course, you're allocating to safer investments, you're getting a lower return, you can say, to my average return over over my lifetime, also, because I know how to keep costs down, it's probably going to be about 6%. Yeah, and that's trouble free 6% Hmm. And, you know, I have one business that I invested in with my best friend, and we both own it equally. And that's, you know, a business now that it's grown to have 100 employees here in Thailand, and it's 25 years old, and it's a great business, and it is a way to create wealth, but what I would say is that, it's a lot of work. Whereas when I invest in the stock market, whether it's in stocks, or in an index, particularly in stocks, you know, if I don't like how hard the management's working for me, I just sell and go to another management team and go, alright, you guys get to work. And I think people, you know, they wanted to start up and all that, but the fact is, is that, you know, there's a lot of opportunity nowadays. And then the last point that I want to talk about related to this is that my money I have five nieces and I wrote my course and my aunt my book called How to start building your wealth investing in the stock market. For my five nieces, my sister passed away from cancer in 1998. And I had Sheila she left three you know, love the daughters, and my other sister has two daughters. So I have five nieces, I thought what could I give them that they could be valuable? So I really wrote out A book about how to start investing for someone who knows nothing about investing. And then I flew to America for the first daughter's my first niece's high school graduation. And I came with $3,000 of cash in my pocket. And I put it down on the table, and I said, we're going to open an investment account at Vanguard. I'm going to teach you how to, you know, invest. And I did that with each of them when they each graduated with $3,000. So they all started their life, you know, with that, but I'll just tell you one, one last part about that. That's an interesting part. So people now that the oldest one is getting close to turning 30. Give us a man, these guys must be sad. And I always say I tell them a story about how after about five years, we got together and I asked them, you know, okay, everybody tell me how much is in your account. And they told me numbers, the first four of them told me the number. And it was like, Yeah, not that much. It it just grown. And the fifth one, the one who actually knew the least, about finance, and was the least interested, she had an amount that was more than double, if not triple the others. And everybody was like in shock. And we said, How did you do that? And she said, Well, Uncle Andrew, I just followed what you said, you know, every month, I took my babysitting money and whatever else money I had, and I just put it in that. And that's where I started the online course. Because I realized that I failed with my nieces. What I wanted to do is get them started and see the power of contributing at a young age and contributing as much as you can. So what I realize is that, you know, people require a nudge, also, and they require support and questions and getting their questions answered. So, but I want to highlight this one point of my niece, she's got a good paying job, we're in the middle of a crisis. And then she calls my mom and myself, and she says, You know, I just bought a house? How are you doing that in the middle of a crisis? And you know, the interest rate is so low, how can a young person not borrow money, when the interest rate they're getting is like two or 3%? It's almost like free money. And when you consider some of the other tax incentives, my question that I had in my mind is like, Are we just creating a whole new generation of people that are in debt? Or is this a good thing? You know, I mean, I just, I couldn't really figure it out. So those are the thoughts that I had, as I was listening to what you said, Would you have anything you would add to those?

J. Money 27:27
No, that's interesting. No, I think just like, I think everything goes back to knowing, knowing yourself, at least, that's my, that's my takeaway from my own journey, like, you knew yourself and you ignored yourself and listen to everyone else. Like I should have just realized how I work, you know, naturally and built a life around that. I think the lifestyle design stuff a lot of people think about, and I did financial coaching for a number of years. And there's numbers, and then it's like, What do you want? Like, what do you want your life to look like? Let's say you hit all your goals, and you had you needed, you know, you want a million dollars? Great, you have a million dollars? Like, how do you actually want to live? You know, like, That part is really, really important. And I think a lot of people are so focused on the numbers or goals and hitting it, and they don't step back and like, like, what is your dream life look like? You know? So for me, like that shocked me into, like, trying to figure it out. And, you know, again, accidentally stumbled across blogs, and then that started my career. And now like, I'm talking to you, right? 12 years later, like, you know, it's so funny how life happens, you know, but yeah, so pay attention to how you are, and then try and force yourself or try to, like, mold your lifestyle, you know, how you want.

Andrew Stotz 28:35
So the last big question here, I want to preface it by imagining a young person or young couple, driving around a neighborhood, thinking about renting, coming across a really cool house, talking to a real estate agent who's very good at getting them in very good, and convincing them all of that stuff. based upon what you learn from this story and what you continue to learn what one action would you recommend our listeners take to avoid suffering the same fate?

J. Money 29:03
I would, I would write down if you don't have it already. What what your dream life looks like? Like, where you're living? How, like, you're like, what you do during the day? Are you working half time? Are you know, spending time with family? Are you traveling, like, whatever your dream life looks like? Like, you need to figure out what that is. First. If the house falls into that, like, good, you have my blessings, like go for it, you know, but if you see your dream life doesn't include you know, being attached to a home, you know, whether it's emotionally whether it's, you know, the money, you know, stresses you out. I think that's that's going to be like the big at least for me, and again, I'm more emotional maybe than the average person but I think that's you know, an important thing to figure out how it fits in with with your goals, especially the you know, the spur of the moment thing, right like in your story, my story is all like kind of like on a whim, you know, it's usually doesn't end well. It could have ended well could have been right But I think knowing what you want out of life, I mean, and I already said it, but I feel like it's so important. And also to know that you can craft your life, right? Like I read a something an article today that was talking about there's no, there's no law that says when you have to retire, there's like no rules, right? Like there's some stuff about you know, when you're 65 you can do this and that, but tech msvc, the fire movement, right, the early retirement stuff. There's no rules. And you're like, Yeah, I don't want let's say, you don't want to work for the rest of your life. Like, maybe that's your dream, right? Like, great, like, now go backwards? Like, how can you make that happen, because you can make that happen, it might be hard, it might take you longer than the average person. But like, all this stuff is possible that sometimes we think is not possible. And going back to the online stuff, there's someone out there, you know, doing it or figuring it out, that you can just copy them or start reading or reaching out to them. So yeah, that's, that's my, my convoluted answer. They're

Andrew Stotz 30:58
fantastic. And what would be the best if for those people that want to follow you, where is the best place for them to go,

J. Money 31:06
you can see read about me and what I'm up to in projects and ways to reach out at j money dot biz, just the letter J money.bi. z. And then if you're if you love talking about money, thinking about money, and you like the personal aspect, check out my new project, All Star money.com. And in a nutshell, like, I scan, I think we're talking about 1500, personal finance blogs all around the world. And I scan everyday, every single article that someone publishes, which comes out to about 150 a day. And then I pick my three favorite articles, and I post them up online. So every day, you can kind of get a curation of what I think is good content, covering debt, you know, early retirement, investing everything, right? Some people you'll love, some people hate but that that's kind of a really easy way to see what the personal finance blogging community is. And then the ones that you relate to, you can start reading and you know, and you'll probably find one or two weeks that, you know, really resonates with you.

Andrew Stotz 32:04
That's awesome. And I just typed it in. And I recommend to everybody listening type in all star money, and basically.com. And you'll get there and you'll find this curated list. And here's one of the articles I see. How frugal Are you a check

J. Money 32:20
a checklist? principle, you can print it out and check after ones?

Andrew Stotz 32:24
Yeah, that's great. Why this is valuable. I mean, I've never seen that. So really appreciate that. That's awesome. Fantastic. All right. Last question. What's your number one goal for the next 12 months.

J. Money 32:38
So I'm going to revert back to lifestyle before I started this new project, all star money. I had, I was at one point, I had my blog, that was my full time job. Then I thought, Oh, great. Let's start a whole bunch of blogs. And let's try and make more money and more, you know, try and be popular and build an empire. So at one point, I owned 12 blogs all making money. And then I had kids and I said, Well, let's start I was starting to work too much. I started working 80 hours a week. So other people think oh, blogging, you know, it's a dream lifestyle. So easy, still work. And so the last five years, I've been scaling back time, I stopped working night stop working weekends. And I went down and I sold off every single thing budgets are sexy, which is my baby Rockstar finance, I sold everything last year I had I own nothing online. And the Motley Fool, you know, contracted me to start another project. And I said, Ah, but now I'm kind of, you know, retired ish, kind of, but I love to, you know, work on projects. And so I started this one, and we were going to launch for we were launched for about a month now. The point of all this is that went from doing nothing all day for six months, to now working about 12 hours a day again. And I realized this is not my dream lifestyle. I love the project but working 12 hours days. So my goal in the next 12 months is to go back my perfect is wake up at five. Everyone's sleeping, do some work for five, six hours at lunchtime, call it quits and then have the second half of the day for me have to go back to finagling how to do that with the project.

Andrew Stotz 34:17
Fantastic. All right. listeners, there you have it another story of loss to keep you winning. My number one goal for the next 12 months is to help you my listener to reduce risk in your life. That's the whole point of this podcast. So go to my worst investment ever.com right now and download the risk reduction checklist and see how you measure up. As we conclude mister money. I want to thank you again for coming on the show. And on behalf of a Stotz Academy I hereby award you alumni status for turning your worst investment ever into your best teaching moment. Do you have any parting words for the audience?

J. Money 35:00
Now just stay true to yourself and go check out personal finance blogs and see if anything resonates with you.

Andrew Stotz 35:07
Beautiful, beautiful. And that's a wrap on another great story to help us create, grow and protect our well fellow risk takers. This is your worst pod guys hos Andrew Stotz saying I'll see you on the upside


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About the show & host, Andrew Stotz

Welcome to My Worst Investment Ever podcast hosted by Your Worst Podcast Host, Andrew Stotz, where you will hear stories of loss to keep you winning. In our community, we know that to win in investing you must take the risk, but to win big, you’ve got to reduce it.

Your Worst Podcast Host, Andrew Stotz, Ph.D., CFA, is also the CEO of A. Stotz Investment Research and A. Stotz Academy, which helps people create, grow, measure, and protect their wealth.

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