#MYDM is on a mission to make money cool. That's why when we came across budgetsaresexy.com, we thought it was worth exploring. Budgetsaresexy.com is the website of a gentleman who goes by the name of "J. Money". He responds to "J" and possibly "Money".
No. It's not his real name, but it is the alias he uses to share his entire financial life, real numbers and all, online. We asked J. Money a number of questions about his work and what he's learned about money in his six and a half year journey of running a personal finance blog for a living, and this is what he said.
How old are you? Where are you from? What’s Your Real Name (If You’re Open to Saying…)
I’m rockin’ 34, and usually from the DMV area (that’s DC, MD, VA to the non-area folks). I say usually because I’ve come to enjoy the life of constant change having grown up in a military household.
(I can’t say my real name I’m afraid since I divulge my entire financial life online. It sounds funny, but I’m able to be MORE transparent even though I’m anonymous!)
Who is your favorite musical artist or group of all time? Why?
Oh man, who can answer this one?? Haha… I’m one of those people who locks on to a different artist in different stages of my life. For example, growing up it was Jimmy Buffett all day every day. Then we hit up some Wyclef Jean and Biggie through College, and now in my old-man years, blast some Mumford & Sons countered by some Lil’ Weezy and Johnny Cash. So basically, my favorites change. Though I still believe all music is best listened through LPs if you have the time and patience to flip ‘em every 10 minutes ;-)
Who is J. Money and what inspired the start of budgetsaresexy.com and Rockstar Finance?
My whole existence online was purely accidental. I literally made a wrong turn while apartment shopping in 2007, bought a $360 house on a whim, and then realized I should probably have a budget going on (I literally put no money down). This led me to go searching online for ideas/advice where I stumbled across the blogosphere and fell in love with the idea of sharing your story online. Particularly divulging your entire net worth for everyone to see and learn from. I figured if others can do it so could I, so I created a free blog account and just started typing my heart out. And now here we are 6 and ½ years later doing it full-time for a living! And why I go as “J. Money” online too – not my real name, if you haven’t guessed ;-) As contrary as it seems, going anonymous allows me to be more real and SHOW my entire financial picture to others while not having to monitor my true thoughts. This has led to a pretty vibrant community on our site, as well as other fun projects too – like RockstarFinance.com which is my place to promote my favorite articles on money I find from around the web.
So I guess to answer your question more succinctly, I started my blog and other projects to help start conversations about money in a fun and non-judgemental way. And the format of a blog is perfect for this since it’s personal and is more like having a coffee with a friend than someone in a suit and tie trying to sell you something. The only thing I’ll sell you on is financial freedom (cheezy, but true).
Where did you learn your first lesson(s) about money? Who or what taught you?
It probably came from my mom who was, and still is, a thrift store aficionado. But I’ll give the credit to my dad today who once forced me to invest into my 401(k) despite my huffing and puffing and wanting to blow every last dollar of my paycheck back in the day. It wasn’t until I started seeing my balances climb, and eventually double (my investments now total over $400k), that it hit me how powerful that tool was. And specifically the *matches* employers give. You get FREE money just for investing in your future which you should already be doing anyways! And then it grows tax-free for decades and decades! I seriously don’t know of an easier way to get that much money for free, outside of the lottery. And you can guess which has the better odds of making you wealthy one day.