My Money Secrets Revealed!

December 26, 2006

Bryan Fleming, founder of the Million Dollar Savings Club and the Personal Growth Carnvial recently sought out my thoughts on money in a short interview, which I have included below:

1. What made you decide to write about Personal Finances?

My blessing has been the great role models I’ve had when it comes to handling money. No, not Warren Buffet or Dave Ramsey. My parents and grandparents taught me the value of a dollar and how to use money wisely. I’ve been on the right track financially pretty much my whole life thanks to them.

I see a lot of people that didn’t have the advantage of having good financial mentors growing up. I saw them making poor financial decisions and I wanted give them the help that I’d had and make a difference in their life. Writing about personal finance online seemed the best way to spread the word to a wide audience.

2. What was your biggest Money Managing mistake?

I’m sure I will make more mistakes in the future but to date it was my investment choices during the dot com tech bubble. I was caught up in the tech craze and lost around $5000 investing in B2B companies that are now worth nothing.

On a positive note, I’m actually glad for the error because it taught me a good lesson. I learned the dangers of speculation and the benefits of diversification and valuing a stock appropriately at a young age. Now I just have to make sure that lesson sticks with me throughout my life.

3. How long have you been saving money?

When I was in 5th grade, my best friend and I started making money by selling candy. The neighborhood kids weren’t allowed to visit the gas station down the hill but we did anyway and loaded up on Now and Laters. We’d buy them for 10 cents, and then sell them to the other kids for 20 cents. I saved all the profits because I wanted to buy a Nintendo.

4. How much money did you accumulate before you stepped back and said “Wow. This is powerful stuff”? (ex. $50, $500,$1,000,$10,000, more??)

I started asking for shares of Wal Mart stock for birthdays and Christmas when I was in elementary school. Fast forward to my junior year of college when I was about to propose to my girlfriend and needed to buy an engagement ring. I couldn’t believe how much diamond rings cost (a total scam if you ask me and a recent topic in the personal finance blogosphere).

Where was I going to come up with thousands of dollars? I was overjoyed when my parents forwarded me a letter one day from the brokerage. I looked at the value of the stock I had accumulated and couldn’t believe it. I sold some to buy the engagement ring and had plenty left over. I think that was when the power of compound growth first really hit home.

5. What the biggest thing you’ve given up in order to save more money?

My site, Money Smart Life, is all about being smart with your money but also enjoying your life. In my opinion life isn’t about how much money you have stored in a bank but rather how many good memories you have stored in your head. That being said, being smart with your money will give you more freedom to create memories of your choosing.

When I make a money compromise I don’t see it as giving something up, I see it as a trade off. You may be giving something up now but it will pay off later in life when the dollars you saved have grown to multiple times their original value.

6. What advice can you give to the readers of Million Dollar Savings Club who are just getting started?

Getting started is one of the most important steps so kudos for that. The best tip I can offer is to find something that inspires you, something that you really care about. For example, my inspiration is my family, I want to provide for them and give them a good life. When you get discouraged or thrown off track, because we all do, come back to the thing that inspires you. Learn from your mistakes and use your inspiration to start trying again, this time twice as hard.

I’d also advise people to stick with the basics, I talk about some of the basic principles of being financially healthy in my Financial Checkup series.

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Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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