At Equities.com, we’ve always been focused on building an active community among the leading voices within the world of finance. As with many other fields, in finance, we’ve noticed a significant shift away from traditional sources of financial news, tips and predictions, and toward a growing number of financial bloggers.
In this series, we profile some of the most distinct and noteworthy voices in the world of financial blogging. Here, you’ll find our recent interview with Jeremy Biberdorf, founder of the site Modest Money. Read on for Jeremy's advice on finding a balance between spending less and earning more, and the importance of focusing on your financial future than any mistakes you might have made in the past.
EQ: What inspired you to start Modest Money?
Biberdorf: I'd love to say I started Modest Money simply to share financial knowledge and help other people. I'll be honest though - I started my blog to earn some side income. Since I have a website marketing background, I knew I could build up a profitable blog.
What I wasn't expecting was how much finance blogging has helped my own finances. First, I was able to learn more from my own mistakes by sharing them on my blog and getting feedback from readers. As I got involved in the blogging community, I learned so much from other blogs too. In the end, I'd like to think I'm also helping readers with their finances.
EQ: What differentiates Modest Money from other financial blogs?
Biberdorf: As my blog's name implies, I take more of a modest approach than most other finance bloggers. Many other bloggers are eager to share their financial accomplishments, net worth, investment gains and so on. I'm not one to boast though. I'd rather try to write content that is easier to relate to. I don't want readers to get discouraged if their financial situation is less than ideal.
I know this approach isn't for everyone - and some people do want to be motivated by other people's success. So I do what I can to promote other financial blogs including on my top finance blogs list. As long as you find financial help somewhere, I'm happy.
Also, I am one of the few financial bloggers with an online marketing background. With that existing experience my blog grew a lot quicker and may have shifted to a monetized blog sooner than others. I think that allowed me to mix in that strategy more seamlessly with less effect on the content quality.
EQ: What is your long-term goal for the blog?
Biberdorf: I guess it's a little tougher to maintain modesty with this question. Currently, my blog is a major part of my online business that acts as my full time job. My long term goal is to continue to grow this business to the point of being self sustainable and providing true financial independence.
As for my blog, one day I might sell it, but for now it is a useful asset for building up my other business.
EQ: What stocks or investments do you find particularly interesting right now?
Biberdorf: I admit that I haven't been investing long enough to be giving any kind of investing advice. So far, I have been focusing on a mix of dividend earning blue chip stocks and index funds. With my busy schedule, I use more of a buy and hold strategy. It's just not realistic for me to be spending a lot of time monitoring my stocks. In my case, my time is better spent focusing on my business.
EQ: Do you have one specific piece of financial advice that you’d like to impart to your readers?
Biberdorf: Focus more on your financial future than your past. Most of us have made some kind of money mistakes in our past, but those should be used as lessons rather than obstacles of your long term goals. We all have the ability to improve our finances if we keep learning and get smarter with our money.
EQ: Have you found that the financial blogging landscape has changed in the years since you began?
Biberdorf: Personally, I wouldn't really know. When I started blogging, I was focusing on my blog full time and was heavily involved in the community. After the first year or so, though, I've become less involved in blogging as my other business took off. These days I rely heavily on staff writers and assistants. I do know that when I started my blog a lot other new blogs were being launched. Google has made it tougher for new blogs to make money early on, and as a result, I think the financial blogging community may grow more slowly now.
EQ: You've covered a lot about getting in control of your finances, is there anything else you want to mention that we haven't covered?
Biberdorf: I would like to share some additional financial advice. Too many people focus heavily on either earning more money or reducing expenses. Not enough people effectively balance both approaches. A big part of that is our natural tendency towards lifestyle inflation. If you're able to attack your finances from both sides, you'll reach your financial goals that much quicker. Saving money is like getting a raise. Increasing your income can be more effective than trying to find every way to save a penny. You shouldn't ignore either strategy.
For more advice on saving more, spending less and other financial matters, visit Modest Money.
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