celebration time

Heyo!

Well that was a fast month! Who’d you see? Where’d you go? Who’d ya meet? What’d ya know?’ (Sex & The City reference for the win – BOOM!)

I’ll answer first if you will next?

Who’d you see?

My wife, my kids, my laptop

Where’d you go

Starbucks and our money forums! Turns out both are pretty addicting, and even more so when combined 🙂

Who’d ya meet?

Over 400 of you who joined these forums! Which is why I didn’t even feel like I was “gone” – I just changed the place where I was hanging. And it’s been a blast so far getting to know y’all in a more personal way.

What’d ya know?

I’ve come to realize a handful of things over these weeks:

First, that it’s always better to be at the bottom of a ladder you want to climb, than half way up one you don’t.

I stumbled across that line earlier in the year, and it’s amazing just how helpful it’s become over these past few months. Never has a quote affected me as much before, and I literally think about it anytime I’m trying to make a major decision now! As well as my second favorite quote lately by Derek Sivers“If it’s not a HELL YEAH, it’s a no.” (Helps prevent you from spending energy on all the so-so stuff instead of all the REALLY GOOD stuff that drives you!)

Second, it’s amazing how stuck we are in our routines.

If I hadn’t stopped blogging cold turkey like this – something I’ve been doing almost every single day for 9 years straight (!!) – I’m pretty sure I’d still be at it. Stuck in auto-pilot and too afraid to break out.

If there’s one thing I learned the most during this sabbatical, it was that life shouldn’t be run on auto-pilot. It’s much better to put yourself out there and FAIL HARD if you have to, than stay stuck doing stuff just ‘cuz it was “the right way” at one point in your life. Despite all your goals and dreams having changed. At least when you fail it means you’re fighting for something important!!

Third, when you’re working on something you care about, all other stuff disappears into the background 🙂

As crazy as it’ll sound coming from a money blogger, do you know the one thing I did NOT pay attention to at all during this break? My money.

I was so consumed with my projects and having fun and learning/trying to figure everything out, that the last thing on my mind was my personal finances. Of course I had to check in eventually when the new month arrived to update our net worth (coming back again to the site, woo!), but if I can set my life up like THAT going forward, I’d be one happy man.

It’s all pretty ironic if you think about it: needing to pay attention to our money for so long, only to finally be able NOT TO one day. Guess that’s life.

And finally, at the end of all this, I realized I’m just not cut out for early retirement. At least in the standard way of thinking.

Now do I want to be financially free? Oh yeah! But work-wise I had an entire *full month* off to relax and do whatever the hell I wanted, and all I wanted (and all I did!) was to keep hustling towards those projects. Perhaps a month isn’t quite long enough to forecast the future, but I doubt I’m going to become one of those TV binge watchers once I hit my millions 🙂 It’s so addicting to see how the world interacts with your ideas once they’re pushed out into the open!

I’m always going to be around building stuff, and I’d imagine that once I stop thinking about money for the long term I’ll only start making even more of it. Not unlike other early retirees who still bring home gobs of money even though they’re not setting out to do so (Mr. Money Mustache being a perfect example – he’s making multiples of his old salary every year and his blog was only meant to be a passion project!)

So that’s the story of my life this past month 🙂 As for those projects I was committed to getting out the door?

tools

Well, I did work on all three of them (plus about 4 others), but technically only one of them is officially live. Here’s the quick updates:

Money forums – The only one that’s live! I already went over this one a couple times already so no need to go into more here, other than to say that if you still haven’t checked it out yet, and are looking for a good – safe – place to chat about money openly, you’ll probably get a lot out of it: forums.rockstarfinance.com

Blogger Directory – The good news is we now have data on *over 400* bloggers so far – without me adding to it myself at all! – but the bad news is it’s taking a lot longer to get out the door than expected. To my credit though, I’ve decided I wanted to build this out the *right* way vs the *fast* way (like I tend to do), so while there is a delay, in theory it should be much more robust and helpful than my original plan 🙂 And considering we’ve gone without this for about 20+ years now (how long has the internet been around by this point?), I’m pretty sure another month or two isn’t going to kill anyone 🙂 Estimated new launch date of Phase I: late January. (Add your blog here if you haven’t already!)

The “Community Fund” – This has been the most frustrating project of them. It turns out it’s not so easy to directly give money to people who need it, at least if you want to run it through a 501(c)3 for the write-off benefit – and – if you want complete freedom in doing so. Still, last week we had a major break through, and pending any new curve balls in the near future we’ll have something to show on Jan 1!

In the meantime, if you’re as antsy to start DOING GOOD as I am, head over to this forum thread here where we’ve taken a chunk of our own money to empower the community to give back in a fun – and meaningful – way this holiday season. It’ll give you a good idea of what we’re brewing up 😉

So all in all we’re 1 for 3 with my November goals, but as you can see we’re making strides and it will only be a matter of time until they’re all out into the real world finally.

I can’t wait!

rockstar finance new logo

I’ve also got 5 of my weekly series on Rockstar Finance out the door too, along with a freshened up logo (see above!) which wasn’t set to go live until January. So that’s a plus!

While this blog here is mainly MY thoughts on money, those of you who visit Rockstar Finance know it’s more of a “curation” site where we share the best tips by everyone else in the industry. It’s been working well so far, but the plan is to turn it into much MORE of a community where people are actually hanging out and engaging and then *taking action* – thus why the forums were the first thing built on it.

So while I’ll still be here rapping about money just like before (more on that in a bit), I’m simultaneously working on growing out Rockstar to be equally as powerful, just community-based vs everything centered on ME 🙂  Where my role is more of an “ideas” guy there vs “my words” which will remain here.

With that in mind, we launched our first handful of “weekly series,” where every day of the week is a new one like so:

  • Mondays: our weekly Money Challenges! Run by Derek of HowDoIMoney.com (The first one? Figuring out your “why,” of course!)
  • Tuesdays: our weekly Rockstar Reviews. Where every Tuesday we *ahem* review an app or product or service in the financial industry. So far we’ve covered Personal Capital, and next on the list for tomorrow are the beautiful “budgeting planners” made by fellow blogger Cait Flanders!
  • Wednesdays: our weekly Giveaways! Where I find something fun or helpful in my house to give away (or partner with a company to give away). We’ve only done one so far, and it was for an 1865 two-cent piece. Couple more days until it closes if anyone’s interested in it 😉
  • Thursdays: our weekly Rich Habit Series. Where I’ve tapped best-selling author, Tom Corley, of “Rich Habits” book fame to dive into one of the best habits the wealthy have based on his 5 years of research. You might remember him from previous posts on this blog – I’m obsessed with the habits of the successful!
  • Fridays: our weekly Book Reviews. Where Hélène from FreetoPursue.com shares her expert opinion on a new financial or entrepreneurial book each week. She’s on a mission to read 1,000 books (thoroughly), and loves and breathes this stuff! Check out her first review on The Millionaire Next Door. I learned stuff I didn’t even know before – and it’s one of my favorite books! : )

The (New) Future of Budgets Are Sexy

retro blog

Okay, so I’ve saved the best – or possibly most relevant? – part for last. What now happens to BudgetsAreSexy.com and all the fun we have here going forward? Will it all be the same? Different? Is J. Money going to burn out again and eventually disappear off the side of the internet Earth?

No, and Yes, and No 🙂

First off, I’m INCREDIBLY excited to get back to blogging again, and I’m most certainly in it for “the long haul.”

I’m not going anywhere, even if you tried to kick me out.

That being said, I also can’t continue writing here exactly how I used to or else I *will* be a hot mess again. So in that regard there will be some changes around here, but hopefully it won’t be too terribly noticeable, especially now that we have so many new areas to hang out online on top of this blog.

typing gif

Here’s the plan:

For the rest of December – To ease myself back into it again, as well as take advantage of family time around the holidays, I’ll be back to blogging every *Monday* for the rest of the month, and then we’ll publish one of our awesome guest posts I’ve been holding onto for *Thursdays*. This way we still get a healthy dosage of $$$ stuff to discuss, but it also doesn’t kill me. And I’m pretty sure you’re going to like these posts even more than my own as I’m pretty picky and they’re incredibly fascinating!!

So that’s the temporary schedule for December.

For 2017 – For the new year we’ll be back to publishing articles every Monday, Wednesday, Friday again – only I’m going to scale back to writing on Mondays and Wednesdays only, and then leaving that Friday spot open to more juicy guest posts provided y’all are actually enjoying them.

If that works out, we’ll leave it be and get right back to normal again 🙂 If I find I’m starting to get burned out again, then I might switch back to writing on Mondays only, but we’ll play it by ear and see how it goes. Regardless, I’m back for good and you’ll always have something fresh from me to marinate on each week.

Now these changes solve my *time* issue, but as I mentioned in my sabbatical post, I still very much do NOT enjoy all the background work that comes from maintaining a blog. Like dealing with the tech stuff, SEO, growth, monetization, fixing everything that breaks (you’d be amazed how often that is!), and pretty much anything else not relating to writing and talking to you guys 😉

It all comes with the territory of course as no job is “perfect,” but in the same spirit of wanting to come back BIGGER and BETTER than before, as well as to selfishly craft my ideal lifestyle, I’ve decided to make a bold move by partnering up with two of my blog friends in the game to do what they’re best at (all the maintaining/building/boring stuff), while I focus on what I’m best at – or at least have the most fun with, hah! – the writing and the community part.

These two friends? Nate and Han from InvestmentZen.com – a blog all about getting people to financial independence faster. And as part of this new partnership, I’ve sold them each a minority stake in the blog totaling $160k over the next year which gives us all skin in the game. And also pads my savings account again so I can continue on not thinking about money so much (see how it all ties together?? ;))

The other nice perk? Han is a killer developer which means I can finally get some of the upgrades and tools built here that I’ve never had the time (or knowledge) to do over the years. So while they’ll mostly be behind the scenes while I’m focusing on all the articles here as normal (I still call all the shots as it’s my baby, and again, they only own minority stakes as I’ve officially crossed off “selling out” once and for all!) hopefully some of the new features we want to start rolling out hit the stands sooner than later.

Either way, I feel like we finally have a great middle ground here, and having all this pressure off my shoulders now allows me to get back to the heart of what I truly love again: starting discussions around money and helping each other without a distracted mind! Just like it was those 9 fateful years ago when I published my very first (pretty silly) post 🙂

Needless to say, I’m damn excited for the future of this blog 🙂

Time will tell whether it all pans out, but going back to that one main takeaway last month – better to fail going after my dreams than be stuck on auto-pilot! At the end of the day there’s nothing much you can’t really fix or figure out either…

I honestly just can’t wait to get right back to it again and hit publish on this dang post. Stopping something you’ve been doing for almost a decade straight brought all kinds of emotions with it! And as many good days as I had last month, I had an equal amount of bad/uncertain/scared ones too.

If anyone ever tells you going for your dreams is easy – walk away from that liar right away, haha… The only easy part is committing to them!

As my friend Ty likes to say, “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” Gotta keep grinding!

Hope things have been well for you – what I miss? 🙂

  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •