I recently joined a blog network called the Money Life Network with four other personal finance bloggers. Over the next four weeks I’ll be presenting an interview with each member. First up are Ben and Frank from the co-owned blog, Milk Your Money.
Who are you guys and why did you start MilkYourMoney.com?
Ben currently has 3 degrees (Biology, w/ Chem. minor, Physics and Math) and has a pretty decent background in IT, which paid his bills through college. He currently works as the “IT” guy for the same agency as Frank (Advanced degree in Political Science), who does the government & policy work at our office. Frank spends a lot of his time on the Hill working on various financial services issues.
We started this blog when we were talking one day about the best way to write a book that we were collaborating on. We would each write a few pages at a time and try to meld them together. It became difficult to do, so we thought the best way to compartmentalize all the data we were aggregating would be to have it in a blog. Very quickly, we saw the huge advantages of having a readership and we have been posting Monday through Friday, since February and have only missed 2 days that weren’t holidays. Ben does a lot of the grunt work for graphics and site administration while Frank is in charge of directing the content. There would be no way we could care for Milk Your Money as individuals, having a small team work on it has proven to be the best way for us, and have utter respect for those that maintain on their own.
What are your favorite topics in personal finance (i.e. what do you like to write about) and why?
When we first started, we got a lot of the easier topics done with and started to getting into more advanced topics, since the place that we work is heavily involved in the financial world as well as international economy. Every time we got an idea and started working on it we thought “who in their right mind would want to read this?” So we decided to write more about what was important to us in our personal lives, ergo, personal finance blog. We have found it much more interesting and rewarding but still throw in some stuff that will be coming down the road. We like to try to write about topics that easily relate-able or common so that readers feel like they are reading information that can help them in them in the present.
What would you tell those people that might be thinking of starting a personal finance blog of their own?
Start off with zero expectations and just start writing. Find things that matter to you and research the heck out of ‘em and try to convey what you learned to others. Have the mind set of helping people and take notes when things come up that someone might be interested in. You don’t want to be in the situation where something pops up that would be great to write about, if only for your own benefit, and forget what it was. Most people look at blogging as a way to make money. And it is, although only after an inordinate amount of time investing into it. The Internet is a big place and having the mind set of simply helping others will be much more fruitful in other ways besides money. It’s rewarding to hear that what you contribute is valued.
What would you consider the single most important thing people can do for their finances?
Save. Save. Save. There is a saying: “It’s not how much you make, but how much you keep.” You can make a million dollars a month and if you are spending a million and one dollars a month, then guess what? You are poor. Live within your means, and create a realistic budget that you can stick to, this will help you plan for the future. Not only are we advocates of saving but also of maximizing the potential that your money has, thus “milking it.” If you know the best ways to utilize your money, then over time you will have saved even more when compared to regular, conventional saving. Finance is a science and an art unto itself and there are a lot of twists and turns. Self education is also very important.
If you had to pick three of your own posts to call your “favorites”, which would they be?
Jump Start Your Frugality : an excellent start for anyone
25 Biggest Real Estate Mistakes : important issues when dealing with one of the largest purchases of your life
Five Common Money Mistakes to Avoid : Short, simple and highly valuable list
- Participate in Your Employers 401(k) Match Program : Most people have access to free retirement money through their employer – take it, it’s free money!
- The Impact Fees Have on Mutual and Index Funds : 1.5% may not sound like much, but taken out of a growing account every year, equates to thousands of lost dollars.
- Creating a Budget : How can you properly save, invest, spend, and plan without an accurate and realistic budget?
Thanks for taking the time to be interviewed, guys.
If you’d like to know more about Ben and Frank, the Milk Your Money guys, please visit their about page. To get more of their great content visit MilkYourMoney.com and sign up for their rss feed.