Interview: A financial blogger thinks marriage can help manage finances better
In his twenty's, working in one of the largest banks of the United States. He doesn't need to promote his company's name because as per him we are all aware of it. He was in love with finance at an academic level and then migrated his way into personal finances. A blogger from "weakonomics", Philip, is a person to talk about. Let us know more about him from the interview below.
Jason: Are you sure you are 20? Because a person at the age of 20 working in a bank without a name sounds strange to us.
Philip: No I'm not sure I'm 20, because I'm not. My website says I'm in my 20s, which means I'm somewhere between the ages of 20 and 29. On Twitter and mentioned randomly around my blog I often point out I'm a few years out of college. While that doesn't necessarily give away my age, it does validate my working at a bank.
Jason: There are so many topics on which you can blog. But why Personal Finance and economics?
Philip: You blog what you know. I majored in finance and money has always been important to me. I started the blog to keep myself informed about the goings on in the finance and economics community. Cars and electronics are also of interest to me, but both of those are more hands on activities and so I don't believe I could write a decent blog on those subjects.
Jason: You consider yourself to be very smart and talented, smarter than any other financial adviser. What great things you have achieved in your life that can signify this statements of yours?
Philip: I don't think I've ever claimed to be smarter than any other financial advisor. Though I don't say it in the words you've phrased in the question, I do think highly of myself. My grades in college and the positive feedback I've received for advice provided have lead to a high self-esteem when it comes to finance. I don't know everything about. Taxes are my weakest point, I know little about estate planning, and considering I've never purchased a home I don't know squat about mortgages.
What I have claimed is that most financial advisors don't have your best interests in mind. This isn't their fault because in their hearts they might have an interest in helping you. However the companies they represent often incent these advisors in a method that may encourage them to not provide you with the best product for you, but what will pad their pockets. I know enough about money and this industry to know who to trust and who not to trust. When it comes to investments and budgeting, I don't need help but can certainly help just about anyone find their proper portfolio balances. So I don't claim to know more, I do claim to be smart and that many folks in financial services may not be your best friend.
Jason: You said you started working at the age of 15. Where did you work and how did you manage to come out of debt so soon? Please share your experience in brief with our readers.
Philip: I did what many teenagers do where I come from, I was a lifeguard. I worked for a few years as one in the summers. The work was good and the experience was great. Not so much the time sitting in a chair next to the pool, but the time I spent with the patrons of the pool. I didn't work at a country club, this was a public pool in a rough part of town. As for getting out of debt. I've only ever had a car loan. I paid it off in 11 months by simply putting every spare buck I had into paying it off.
Jason: We just noticed the tagline on your blog is, "30% Personal, 60% Finance, 20% Stupid." What does this signifies?
Philip: There are a two messages in this tagline. The most obvious is my blog is more about money than it is about you. It's about economics, finance, government spending, and investing. It's not teaching you about the proper asset allocation for your circumstances, it's not advice on budgeting, and Weakonomics does not exist to help you save money. The other message of the tagline is that a lot of what you see out there is ridiculous. Economists are almost useless yet we live and die on their words. Financial advisors rip you off. Guys rob banks using their own ATM receipts for their demands. Conservatives spend freely.
Liberals blame conservatives but do nothing to fix the spending. Insurance companies invest in home loans and at the same time offer insurance on the default of those loans, doubling their losses in a down market. It's my goal to highlight these people and businesses for my readers so that they too can avoid them at all costs. The sum of the percentages is 110%, which points out there you might find a little humor behind an otherwise serious set of subjects.
Jason: What are the three biggest finance mistakes you have ever made?
Philip: Thanks to supportive parents in college, hundreds of hours listening to Dave Ramsey callers, and smart use of my own money I've never really had the chance to make many mistakes. I bought a penny stock and lost a few hundred bucks once, that's about it. I am still young and may make many mistakes, but I'm doing my best not to. I rely on stories of others mistakes for motivation, and I always enjoy hearing of the successes.
Jason: Where do you see yourself in 10 years down the lane?
Philip: I'm getting married this fall. I expect in 10 years I'll be gearing up for a 10-year anniversary. It wouldn't be out of the question to have an MBA at that point. The future wife and I will probably have a couple of kids running around a house that I would hope to be paying down on a somewhat aggressive scale. Overall, I would like to have a net worth of $1 million by then (including the house), but that goal is somewhat lofty.
Jason: Are you afraid of disclosing any identities of your as in your workplace name or your college name?
Philip: I'm not afraid of anything. I don't disclose this information because I don't want to be bogged down with talking about my employer on my blog all the time. It's not important, but I did feel the need to disclose I am an insider to the industry I discuss. I don't share where I went to college because it would provide additional clues into who I am and where I'm from. In previous interviews and on Weakonomics I've said I have spent most of my life in the same state, this includes college and where I work now. I've also said I went to public school because I believe there is little to be gained from going to a private school. In state tuition is just too good.
Jason: Do you think blogging has changed your life in some way or the other?
Philip: I spend more time on my blog now than I do reading Digg, or watching TV. My Nintendo Wii gets lonely sometimes, and I annoy my fiance when I check on something while we're out together. No significant change has occurred, but I feel like I'm accomplishing something and have something to show for what I've done in my free time.
Jason: How long do you think this current economic situation will last and what do you think the answer to it is?
Philip: That's a difficult question. There are two "theories" out there right now. The first is that we did bottom out sometime in the winter of 2009 and we're on the road to recovery. This could mean the "end" of the recession in the fall of this year. However that doesn't mean it's all roses and candy, unemployment will probably still rise and things won't be easy.
But we'll at least be on track to a longer term recovery. The other idea is that we're scratching the surface of a depression. This could happen of government debt gets out of hand or if the commercial loans on the books of banks start to go bad. Remember much of the problems we've seen have been with residential credit and debt, not business debt. If that becomes a problem we'll likely dip down again and go deeper in the hole. I can't place odds on which is more likely, however most economists seem to feel more and more optimistic every day.
Jason: What was your best personal finance decision?
Philip: Getting married. By hitching up with The Sheconomist we will be able to leverage our skills and become more productive. I am seriously deficient in the common-sense department and my future wife will fill that void for me. This frees up my cognitive baggage to focus more on finance and my career. Most of my day to day expenses over the last few years have been associated with spending time with a girlfriend instead of a wife. Once married many of these expenses will come down. There's more to my marriage than a business relationship, but I have to say it's the smartest thing I've ever done and will ever do for my personal finances.
Jason: How do feel by becoming a part of world’s largest debt consolidation community now?
Philip: I wasn't really aware I was joining a debt consolidation community. At the moment I'm kind of hungry and somewhat chilly, but I don't think those are feelings associated with Debt Consolidation Care. I suppose if I ever needed to consolidate my debts, I'd feel pretty good right now. I guess I need to get some debt.
I really enjoyed interviewing Philip on his views on personal finance. If you have really enjoyed the interview too then please leave your valuable comments.