My friend J.D. Roth recently released the Get Rich Slowly guide. I sat down with him (over email, of course) to learn about the guide and get some extra insight for you guys. Here’s our interview:
Why did you put this together?
I founded Get Rich Slowly (the blog) in 2006. I wrote and edited the content for six years. But I burned out. I thought I was done. I thought I’d said everything I had to say about money, so I “retired”. During that time, I continued to write the “Your Money” column for Entrepreneur magazine. In one of the columns, I shared how to be CFO of your own life. I kind of became obsessed with that idea. What if more people managed their money at home as if they were running a business? About the same time, I started picking up some ideas about extreme saving from Mr. Money Mustache.
Bottom line? I decided to produce the Get Rich Slowly course to help people take control of their financial lives, to become better money managers, and to produce more “profit” in their personal lives. I’m proud of the way it turned out!
What’s different about this guide compared to Your Money: The Missing Manual? Should people expect the same thing?
These are two very different things.
Your Money: The Missing Manual is a dense book packed with tips and resources for basic money management. It’s not really rooted in any particular financial philosophy. It’s more like a dictionary of personal finance. (Hey! I’ve never thought of it that way before, but it’s true. I use my own copy of my own book as a reference all of the time. It is battered and torn, and I love it.)
From the outset, however, the Get Rich Slowly course was built around a specific philosophy, the idea that nobody cares more about your money than you do. If you want to be financially successful, you have to be proactive. You have to take charge of your life (and not just the money). I like the metaphor of managing your life like a business because I think most people understand what running a business entails, at least conceptually. And if they can think about their own lives that way, they can really turn things around!
Why once a week? Is there anything special about that schedule? Does it really take a whole year to master your money?
Great question. To be honest, the money mastery isn’t a fixed point. It’s an ongoing process. It’s something that even millionaires continue to work at every day. (I think it’s in The Millionaire Next Door that I read the statistic about millionaires spending much more time budgeting and managing money than the average person.)
So, when we designed Get Rich Slowly, we knew we wanted to build good habits. We wanted to encourage people to think of this as an ongoing project. You don’t just start a business an then ignore it. You have to keep working at it. And the same is true of your personal finances. So, we created the weekly email series as a way to keep reminding people that if they want to master their money, they have to pay attention. Plus, it was a great way to share info that didn’t fit in the Be Your Own CFO guide. That metaphor can only be stretched so far. What about estate planning? Insurance? Lending money to family and friends? The weekly email series is a great way to provide more info without overwhelming people.
Who should get this guide?
We’ve tried to create something that’s useful to everyone, so there are three different levels available. Everybody gets the weekly email series and the Be Your Own CFO guide. If you’re just beginning to master your money, the basic level features info on budgeting and getting out of debt. The middle level is probably best for most people. It includes a guide to Roth IRAs (with some retirement-planning advice), as well as info on negotiating your salary, and more. The upper tier is for folks who are ready to pursue financial independence. It has more advanced content.
What are some of the things people can expect to achieve by getting this guide?
My hope is that after people work through the year-long course, they’ll be well on the path toward money mastery. If people follow the advice in the guide and the emails, they’ll accomplish tons. They’ll set goals for their life, and use these goals to guide their direction. They’ll optimize their accounts, cutting waste and getting the best deals. They’ll set up a system to automate their finances. They’ll cut costs and boost income so that they earn more “profit”, and they’ll use this profit to pursue their goals, whether that means paying down debt, saving for retirement, or sending their kids to college. Plus, they’ll have a firm understanding of stock-market investing.
Have you mastered your money?
Not yet. Like I said earlier, it’s a process. I’m doing my best to get better every year. But even in the course of writing the Be Your Own CFO guide, I realized there were some weak spots in my own system. For instance, I was paying $120 per month for my cell phone. Oops. I talked to my girlfriend, who was paying $80 a month for her phone. We combined our phones into a family plan and now pay $80 a month total for both phones. And that’s all because I followed my own advice from the Get Rich Slowly course!