Sometimes I Think My Husband Is Totally Nuts (Or Maybe Not)

 As promised here is the second guest post from my wife, this time she talks about our spending.

Okay, I’m married to a personal finance blogger and I don’t actually want to kill him every time I go to buy something. But it wasn’t always this way.

When we first got married, it took me a long time to understand Tim and how he spends money. Me, I’m more of a spender, but I’m a good spender. You give me a finite sum of money to buy clothes with (for myself or our son) and I will see exactly how many items I can get, I hit the sales racks with glee. Tim on the other hand will not spend anything for six months and then announce he’s going to buy a laptop.

This difference in spending styles used to drive me nuts until we sat down one day and discussed it. Then I realized both ways were valid. He spends his way and I spend mine. The trick of it is to sit down and discuss it so you don’t feel guilty about your spending habits. Case in point, I have never had to hide a pair of shoes I bought, nor have I ever felt compelled to.

Interview with Trent from The Simple Dollar

I have to admit I’m always a little amazed how when I ask a writer of big blog for an interview that they often say yes.  So continuing with this trend, I got a hold of Trent from The Simple Dollar (TSD) to answer a few questions.

Tim:  Your blog recently hit the point where you could consider writing full time (or going Problogger). It seems to me that it is a very personal decision.  How do you handle debating your decision in the public eye with the feedback from hundreds of people?

Trent: It’s made the decision easier.  Having readers offer their own perspectives on the choice has given my wife and I a lot of food for thought on our decision.  We’ve literally used the comments as part of the discussion in our home.

Tim:  Interesting I would not have guessed that your readers have been so helpful in the process.  Now do you feel you can offer more to your audience from your own experience with debt?

Trent: The reason TSD has been successful to this point is that I write about the issues that a lot of people my age are facing and grappling with – the financial realities of getting married, having children, defining the career, and still having time for personal enjoyment of life.  Often, that results in debt.  I try to cover this entire balancing act.

Tim:  It really is a tricky balancing act.  So what is the most important thing you want people to take away from your blog?

Trent: You’re not alone, and it can get better.  Personal debt can be overwhelming and personally isolating.

Tim:  It is an interesting statement given the connected nature of blogs.  Now you have been noted as a very productive blogger when producing posts. Yet you recently reduced your posting frequency in order to balance your own life.  How has this change effected your personal life and the blog?

Trent: I reduced my frequency to focus on other projects a bit.  It hasn’t noticeably lowered my traffic or my feed readership.

Tim: Good to hear.  So what are some of your other writing projects beyond TSD?

Trent: Right now, I’m working out the details of a cooking blog, shopping a book package with an agent, and also fleshing out a special Simple Dollar related project that should be announced in a month or two.

Tim:  Well I’ve got something to look forward to on your blog.  Now in closing what is your idea of your retirement?

Trent: To me, the traditional retirement means “waiting to die.”  I never want to do that.  My goal is to gain enough financial independence so that what I do each day doesn’t have to be for the purpose of earning money if I don’t want it to be.  I want to be able to just walk away and try something new when I want to.

Tim:  That is perhaps one of the better descriptions of retirement I have every hear.  I wish you the best Trent and thank you for taking the time to talk to me.  So everyone that ends our current series of blogger interviews.  In the new year, we will be shifting gears and turning the interview series into a regular feature on this blog.  The exact frequency of interview will depend a bit on the interest from everyone and suggestions on who we should interview next.

Interview with Mike from Quest for Four Pillars

Today we continue to interview the writer’s behind Quest for Four Pillars.  Next up is Mike.

Tim: Having started as a frequent commenter on other blogs.  What made you want to start a blog of your own?

Mike: As much as I liked commenting on other blogs I was limited to the topics that other bloggers came up with.  I thought it would be neat if I had my own blog and could cover all the topics I was interested in.  Plus I thought being a blogger was cool. 🙂

Tim:  Cool?  Really when did that happen? *grin* So after all your reading and writing on blogs, what is the most important thing you have learned from a blog?

Mike: I think one of the big things I’ve learned is that you have to know a topic pretty well in order to write about it.  You can talk, read, and comment about a topic you think you know well, but when you try to put a post together you realize that you often have to learn more about the topic.  As far as learning from other blogs, I think the whole concept of passive investing has been the biggest lesson for me.

Tim:  Since I already asked Mr. Cheap I feel I have to ask you.  So why did decide to merge your blog with Mr.Cheap’s blog?  And how do you like being a co-writer for your blog so far?

Mike: Quite a number of reasons – the big one was that I just couldn’t see a long term future for my original blog doing five posts a week since I just didn’t want to spend that much time blogging.  I could have done it for a year or longer but eventually I would have lost the passion necessary to do five posts.  Another big reason was that I really enjoyed reading Mr.Cheap’s blog and I knew he would be a great partner for a new blog especially after meeting him in person a couple of times.  The fact that we had both started our blogs at roughly the same time made it easier to merge since it was kind of a “merger of equals”.

I love co-writing the blog since the effort to write two or three posts a week is just right.  It’s also fun to have different writers and opinions on the blog instead of just me, day after day.  It also helps to have someone who actually knows the technical side of a blog.

Tim:  Good to know Mr. Cheap is another guy to bug with WordPress questions!  As some readers may already know Mike also as a second child on the way the same as me.  So with your second child on the way, do you feel your RESP series of posts and the baby expense posts are going to be useful or not?

Mike: I will definitely be rereading the baby series since the central theme (buy used and get hand-me-downs) will be even more applicable for the second child.   I’m not sure how useful the RESP series will be since I already know how they work but I will probably reference it occasionally.

Tim:  Of course I can’t help asking people this question but could you describe your vision of your retirement?

Mike: This could be post, or even a series of posts :).  I’m hoping to retire in my mid-fifties (I’m 39) so it’s a long way off.  I think one of the things that I want to be doing in retirement is being active.  I love participating in sports and I’m hoping to be able to do that for as long as possible.  I have a friend whose retired father-in-law is in his late 50’s and plays hockey a couple times a week, squash, tennis, golf etc which I think is a great retirement.  My wife and I have also talked about travelling a bit – I don’t think we’ll do any major treks but maybe we’ll take a month each year and go somewhere.  My parents also own a great cottage which hopefully will be still be in the family when I retire, so that would hopefully be part of the picture as well.  Volunteering is another thing I’d like to do.  Not sure what type or in what field the volunteering would be.  I suspect we’ll probably stay in Toronto but that’s not written in stone.

Given that we have one and a half young children and quite a few years before retirement, it’s hard to plan for the future.   Maybe I will end up spending the first few years of retirement as a roadie for my kids’ rock band 🙂

Tim:  Now that could be fun!  Best of luck with the baby and enjoy the holidays.  Ok, next up is Trent from The Simple Dollar who has been making all sorts of interesting decisions lately, which I got to ask him about in tomorrow’s post.