love letter to the personal finance community

A Love Letter to the Personal Finance Community

Tawnya here.

When we started Money Saved is Money Earned a year and a half ago, we fully intended to establish ourselves as a resource for the average individual to learn more about personal finance.

What I didn’t intend was for the personal finance community to become a resource for me to learn about and expand my own personal finances.

You see, I knew a lot about a lot, but I now realize I also didn’t know a lot about a lot.

Nor did I realize that there was such a robust community of like-minded individuals out there, each with their own unique views and experiences.

Personal finance encompasses such a large array of topics that it’s impossible for any one of us to be an expert in all things finance.

Now, a year and a half later, I wanted to take a moment to thank each and every member of this community. While we haven’t always agreed, the knowledge I’ve gained through being a part of this community has significantly changed my financial life for the better.

This is my love letter to the personal finance community.

Oh, the Places You’ll Go

I purchased this famous Dr. Seuss book earlier this fall for my niece, who began kindergarten.

But never in a million years would I have guessed just how far I would have come in the time I’ve been blogging.

I was already ahead of the game financially before starting the blog. In fact, I didn’t know anyone else that had accomplished what I’d been able to at my age except for a few that had significantly more help than I did.

Turns out, blogging is like most things in my life. The higher I go, the more I find people like myself, and the more I’m encouraged to keep advancing.

Although I’m still way ahead of the financial game for most my age, entering a community with people from all walks of life and age groups has allowed me to benefit from their collective knowledge and become even better.

In fact, there are so many people crushing it in this community that there’s times where I worry that I’m actually behind!

When the doubts creep in I try to remember my grandpa’s advice to strive for better, not best, and to complete only with myself. After all, you can only do the best you can with what you have.

That’s why it’s so important to keep learning and advancing throughout life, even if you get a late start.

Here are the main things I’ve learned from the personal finance community and how they’ve impacted my personal finance journey.

Investing

The biggest change I’ve made to my finances as a result of this community is with investing.

While I had a lot of great financial knowledge learned from family and friends, investing was not one of them. In fact, I was very wary of the stock market as a result of my Depression Era grandparents.

Long story short, I was more about saving than investing before becoming a part of this community.

However, I quickly realized that one of the common threads to building wealth was through the stock market, and through investing early and often.

With the help of this community I was able to quickly see what route was best for me and follow it. I was also given the confidence through my newfound knowledge to step outside my comfort zone and the understanding to know that investing is for the long haul.

I now know one of the best paths to wealth is through passive income and I feel confident moving forward with my investing plan.

I’m investing more of my income than ever before, and my net worth has grown tremendously in the last year as a result.

Financial Independence

The next most impactful thing I’ve learned through being a part of this community is the concept of financial independence.

I’ve always been a good saver and have avoided debt, but there was never any direction to it. I never had an end-goal that I could name. It was just a never-ending series of trying to reach smaller goals and accumulate more wealth.

Now I know, what I’ve been pursuing is financial independence.

Alternative Investments

As little as I knew about investing in the market, as least I knew about it. The same cannot be said for alternative investments.

The personal finance community is always on the cutting edge of various opportunities for creating passive income, most of which I’d never previously heard of.

For instance, I knew about having rental properties but was unaware of REIT’s. I’ve since begun investing in a REIT and have considered other alternative investments.

Whatever is out there, you’ll likely hear about it from this community first. Furthermore, it’s highly likely that several people will have already tried the investment, and most are more than willing to share their experiences.

Real Estate Investing

Speaking of wealth-building vehicles, real estate is probably the other most discussed method to build long-term wealth aside from the market.

It has been an ambition of mine to own rental properties for some time, but I didn’t really know what to look for or how to go about leveraging the assets I already have.

Enter the personal finance community.

Over the last year I read a plethora of articles about what an investor should look for, different markets and options for real estate investing, and ways to leverage your assets to get into real estate investing.

While I haven’t yet purchased a rental property, I’m far better prepared to do so than I was a year ago. In fact, part of my hesitancy is that there are so many options I’ve learned about that I having a hard time deciding which way to go!

My Own Personal Google

Aside from the specific things I’ve changed mentioned above, one of my favorite aspects of the personal finance community is that it’s like my own personal Google for finance topics.

Anything I want to know, or anything I’m interested in, all I have to do is put out a call for information and dozens of bloggers are more than willing to point me in the right direction or share the post so someone else can.

My favorite resources have been personal finance Twitter, the FinCon community on Facebook, and for a long time, the Rockstar Finance Forum (although that has slowed down since Rockstar was sold).

Another great benefit of these communities is that I have learned about many things just by perusing the Twitter feed or reading a discussion on Facebook. For example, I now have my emergency fund parked in a high-yield savings account after seeing a discussion on the topic on Twitter.

Gain Skills and Knowledge

I’ve already been talking about the knowledge and skills I’ve gained through being a part of this community, but it isn’t just in terms of personal finance topics.

Almost anything you can think of, from blogging to marketing to food to travel, is covered at one point or another in this community.

And the best part is that personal finance bloggers are an incredibly humble and giving group of people. Even the biggest, most successful among them is willing to take the time to answer questions and teach.

I’ve gained more new skills and knowledge through being a part of this community than at almost any other time in my adult life, which has been an amazing surprise and benefit of becoming a blogger.

Support and Encouragement

Last but certainly not least, the biggest benefit to being a part of this community, and why I wanted to write a love letter to the personal finance community, is because of all the support and encouragement I’ve received.

I remember when I was researching blogging multiple individuals said that other bloggers are your best friends, not your competition.

While I expected some support, I’ve been blown away by the deep camaraderie we all share with one another, and the amazing encouragement I’ve gotten and continue to get.

Moral of the Story

The last year and a half have been a whirlwind of change. There’s been a steep learning curve to this whole blogging thing, and I couldn’t have done it without the amazing support of the personal finance community.

Although I knew I had a step hill to climb in terms of blogging, I had no idea I had a similarly steep road when it came to my own personal finances.

I simple didn’t know what I didn’t know.

If I’ve learned anything in the last year and a half it’s this. Blogging and sharing personal finance knowledge is a collective venture, and all of us are needed to successfully complete our mission of sharing what we know with the world.

Every voice is different and every voice matters.

Making progress with blogging and personal finance is a long and slow process, and it can be hard to find others in our everyday lives that can relate or offer support.

So, thank you.

Thank you for teaching me, thank you for supporting me, thank you for encouraging me, and thank you for not giving up on me.

Talk about Money Saved and Knowledge Earned.

 

 

 

 

love letter to the personal finance community

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Tawnya Redding

Tawnya is an elementary special education teacher by day and co-blogger at Money Saved is Money Earned by night. She holds an Honors BS in Psychology from Oregon State University and an MS in Special Education from Portland State University. She has had a pretty successful writing career, first as a writing tutor at the Oregon State University Writing Center, and in recent years, as a freelance writer. Tawnya and co-blogger Sebastian have a wealth of knowledge and information about personal finance, retirement, student loans, credit cards, and many other financial topics. They teach people how to save money, make money, and understand money.

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